TOY GROUP Q&A
Judging the Toy breeds is like judging any other breed, except for having a softer, gentler approach and examination technique.
SHELLEY S. HENNESSY
When examining a dog that is a table breed, you really have the opportunity to go over every inch of the dog. This is not always possible when examining a large breed on the ground. What can non-Toy fanciers learn from exhibitors of the Toy breeds? My original breed was Afghan Hounds, and then Whip- pets, so I was used to larger breeds. Starting to show Chinese Crest- eds in both conformation and performance events was quite an eye- opener. For one thing, you have to be constantly conscious of where the dog is in relation to your feet! When gaiting a larger breed, you can almost always see the dog out of the corner of your eye. This does not always happen with a Toy breed. You have to adjust where you’re looking, to see both the dog and the path you’re taking! Exhibitors with larger breeds need to be aware when a small Toy breed is on the ground somewhere nearby! One of my favorite com- ments is, “Oh, he loves little dogs. He wouldn’t hurt it.” My reply is always, “My dog isn’t a mind reader!” MARK KENNEDY I reside in Murrysville,
I live in Toledo, Ohio. I got my first Afghan Hound in 1971. I have been judging since 1994. Do I have any hobbies or interests apart from purebred dogs? I am a big movie buff. Before COVID shut our the- aters down, I used to go to two or three movies a week. Can I talk about my introduction to the Toy breeds? I was always fasci- nated by Chinese Cresteds and got my first one in 1992,
shortly after they were admitted to the Toy Group. I was also for- tunate to have the most darling little Chihuahua for over 14 years. Have I bred or shown any influential Toys or any other breeds? With limited breeding, I have bred 40 Chinese Crested champi- ons, plus several more major-pointed and still being shown. This includes a Group winner! I am also very active in performance events with my dogs, including obedience, rally agility, lure cours- ing, barn hunt, and scent work. I had the first two Chinese Cresteds in the country to earn the Rally RAE title. And I have the first and only two Chinese Cresteds in the country to earn the AKC Rally Master (RM) title. I started in Afghan Hounds in 1971, and got into Whippets and Collies in the 1980s. One of the Afghan Hounds was a Group win- ner and one of the Whippets was a multiple Group placer! All of my dogs have an obedience and/or rally title. Several have agility, lure coursing, barn hunt, and scent dog titles. What are some breed-specific details that are a “must” in the Toy breeds? I think size is very important in the individuals Toy breeds. Each standard is specific as to the size each breed should be. In addition, temperament is extremely important in each Toy breed. Some may be more outgoing, some may be more reserved, but none should be shy. How important is the breed-specific presentation/handling of Toys? Few Toy standards address how the breed should be pre- sented. One that does comes to mind is the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel standard, which requires that the handler stand with the dog. In most other Toy breeds, the handler either free stacks the dog or hand stacks it on the ground, depending on the needs of the dog. Can I speak to “breed character” among the Toy breeds? Most breed standards have an opening paragraph that basically describes the characteristics of the breed. The last section of almost every standard covers the desired temperament. Combining these two sections gives you the “breed character.” If the dog in front of you does not meet both sections, it’s not a good example of the breed. Why are Toys a pleasure to judge and how are they a challenge? One of the best things about judging the Toy breeds is that they are presented on a table! The dogs are at a good eye level and the breed exam requires no bending over! With such small mouths, there used to be some problems exam- ining the bite. But having the exhibitor show the bite has completely eliminated this problem. How has my knowledge of Toys influenced my understand- ing of dogs in general? Most of the attributes and faults that you find in the Toy breeds you’ll also find in the larger breeds.
Pennsylvania, a town of approx- imately 25,000 people. It’s where the first commercial gas well was founded in 1878. My family and I have been involved in purebred dogs since I was in my early teens. I have been judging for 43 years, and I was one of the youngest judges to be approved by the AKC. My introduction to the Toy breeds came a few years after competing in Junior Showman-
ship and in the Non-Sporting Group with my Bulldogs. We par- ticipated in the same tri-state area shows as Evelyn Shaffer, George Heitzman, Barbara Alderman, and Jerry & Elaine Rigden. They always handled some of the top Toy breeds in the country. A few times, I would help Evelyn handle some of her dogs when she was short-handed. At that point, we’d decided to purchase two Peking- ese from a successful breeder in Ohio. I handled and finished both Pekes from the Puppy Classes. Most of the time, I ran into a time conflict with showing the Bulldogs and Pekes. I was fortunate to always have my Peke breeder at the same shows to help me get them groomed properly and ready to be shown. It was difficult to hand the Pekes off to a stranger. Usually, the tails would drop. Over the years, I was privileged to see many great Toy dogs shown in my area. Dotty White’s “Jewel,” Tom Glassford’s Papil- lion, Elaine Rigden’s and Edna Voyles’ various Pekingese. After learning how to groom the Pekes, I have a much better understanding, and I appreciate all of the preparation work that is done for all of the coated breeds shown today. Judging the Toy breeds is like judging any other breed, except for having a softer, gentler approach and examination technique. Preparation and training are as essential in the Toy breeds as it is in all breeds. The Toy breeds have a lot of courage and stamina, and they can hold their own on the table and on the ground. Showing a dog in today’s environment is very much a challenge. I appreciate and respect every exhibitor who’s showing a dog. Having prepared and shown my own dogs, I will never lose this important concept.
182 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, SPRING EDITION
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