TOY GROUP Q&A
I have been blessed to have shared my life (and my bed) with many sweet, adorable (not in the standards, maybe it should be), and sometimes naughty Toy dogs. I can’t imagine life without them. DAVID R. MILLER
I live in Port Ludlow, Washington, with my hus- band, Manuel (aka Manny), where our home overlooks the Admiralty Inlet. Our 38 ft. Gold Star power boat, Twilight Time , is moored at the Marina, which is within walking distance of our house. We spend much of our time cruising the San Juan Islands and Canada. I have pictures of myself at two-years-old holding my
Toy Fox Terrier while laying on my Samoyed. When I was a teen- ager, my mother came home with two Toy Poodles. These three breeds were always a part of our lives. As an adult, and after my children left home, I purchased a Toy Fox Terrier and a Samoyed, and thought I’d dip my toe in the waters of the dog show world. This opened the door to exhibiting (in 2011, my Sammy won the National Specialty), breeding and, ultimately, judging, which I began in 2002. I was fortunate enough to make friends with the late Richard Beauchamp. He was writing his book on the Toy Fox Terrier at the same time that I was researching the breed. Richard was very gener- ous with his time, and the dam and sire of my TFTs are, in fact, pictured in his book. One of my daughters fell in love with Yorkshire Terriers, and we found a lovely bitch, which I encouraged her to show. We did finish her, even though her coat color was a silver-blue, not the dark steel-blue we enjoy seeing on the Yorkie. Boy, that topknot was a challenge—something I could never quite master. About five years ago, both my Toy Fox Terrier and my Samoyed passed away after a long, healthy, happy life. Being out on our boat for a major part of the year, we questioned if either of our beloved breeds would be the best fit for us. A TFT could blow overboard in a storm and the Sammy was too large to live on the boat com- fortably. So, the search began. I wanted a happy-go-lucky, loveable, sturdy, small dog. It didn’t take long to find the perfect boat dog; the Havanese. Our little puppy, Poppy, turned out to be pretty nice and finished by taking WB or BOW at three specialties as well as getting her Canadian Championship. She is retired and truly loves cruising. I always smile when I judge Toys. I am not a small person and, although my instincts want me to enjoy each dog, many Toy breeds are not comfortable with a judge hovering over them and looking them in the eye. AKC Rep. Gina Weiss and I have had some good conversations in this regard. My demeanor is a bit different from when I judge Working, Non-Sporting, and Hound breeds. Through the years, I have written several articles for Top Notch Toys and the Working Digest . I’ve thought about writing an article on priorities in judging Toy dogs, so I made a list of the 10 “top” Toy judges and telephoned them for their input. Over half said that movement did not matter. I was appalled and never wrote the arti- cle. Coupled with breed type, soundness should be sacrosanct as it definitely affects the dog’s quality of life. The Breed Standards are very specific regarding the gait and, for many, this is the hallmark of their breed. For example, a TFT that moves like a Miniature Pinscher should not be in the ribbons. I find that Toy breeders are eager to share and are open to a fair and unbiased discussion. We must all continue to learn.
I live in Northeastern Ohio, in a city called Men- tor. I have been in dogs for 47 years. I have been a judge since 1988, nearly 33 years. My hobbies and interests are varied. I have been an educator for many years, hav- ing taught on the high school, university, and graduate lev- els. World languages have been my area of interest, and
I have been blessed to have lived, studied, and have strong family ties abroad. I am retired after having served as department chair of World Languages at a school system east of Cleveland. Further- more, I am an avid collector of art and bronzes from the anima- lier artists of the 1800s and have representative pieces from Mene, Dubucand, Fremier, Gayard, Barye, and Delabrierre. My introduction to the Toy breeds happened while very young. My mother was enamored with Chihuahuas. She owned several throughout her life. It was not until later in my canine resumé where a specific indoc- trination to the Toy breeds occurred. I was interested in Italian Greyhounds and owned two of them, one from the famous French kennel Du Manoir Des Ombreuses associated with Jean-Louis Grunheid. I showed Italian Greyhounds in the late 1980s in the United States while at a young age as this picture illustrates. (The young man next to me is the famous Luke Ehricht of Toy fame.) IG’s were my first real introduction into the Toy world. I was fortunate to have known the Baron Renaï, Piero Renaï della Rena, from Florence, Italy. His del Parnasso IGs and Whippets were very successful. Coincidentally, he married an American who was study- ing art in Firenze, Pamela, who was from a city bordering mine in the United States. I can remember him lending me his measuring stick when I was judging IGs at Genoa, Italy. He was extremely fond of this measuring stick. I did measure when judging the breed upon his insistence, since FCI mandates that IGs are disqualified if under 32 centimeters or over 38 centimeters. After the judging, his mea- suring stick was not to be found anywhere. Perhaps a disgruntled exhibitor made off with it. If there is any consolation in this story, the IG bitch to which I had awarded BOB won the Group 10 (IGs are a member of the FCI Sighthound Group) under the discerning eye of the Swiss judge, Elizabeth Mach.
184 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, SPRING EDITION
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