TOY GROUP Q&A
Although they may be small, the bigger- than-life aspect is exhilarating to witness.
its tail was not wagging in movement. So too would an Affenpin- scher if it does not carry itself around the ring with comical serious- ness. Therefore, character is paramount in consideration of awards and, more importantly, to distinguish the definition of type. Toys are a pleasure to judge. Many years ago, a revered judge, Frank Oberstar (from whom I was mentored to take over the Grand River Kennel Club) told me, “David, you must learn to judge Toys. They are on the table and you do not have to bend over to examine them.” Frank knew Toys well and he and his partner, Larry, cam- paigned the famous Maltese, Poona Dancer. Frank and I are both tall. Therefore, this is one physical, rather non-important, reason why it is a pleasure to judge Toys. On a more constructive, serious note, there is nothing more thrilling than a Toy dog, determined and filled with spirit, possessing the ring in which it is being pre- sented. Although they may be small, the bigger-than-life aspect is exhilarating to witness. As with any other breed, and in the bigger picture of the dog sport, a specimen of the breed that fulfills the standard and is motivated is a sight to behold. In looking at the results of one of the most prestigious and cer- tainly the oldest canine event in the United States, Westminster, Toy dogs have definitely made their mark and [have had the] great- est influence on the sport. I shall mention just a recent few: 1. Affenpinscher – Banana Joe V Tani Kazari 2. Papillon – Loteki Supernatural Being 3. Pekingese – Palacegarden Malachy Needless to say, there have been many more throughout the his- tory of dogdom that have shaped the vision of Toy breeds. Judging Toy breeds is not an easy task. Attention to detail found in each Toy standard is crucial; carrying the importance of detail stressed in Toy breeds in reference to other breeds. Learning the Toy breeds enhances the need to examine and revisit defining points of each dog standard. Therefore, this fosters an appreciation and understanding of dogs in general. Non-Toy fanciers can learn much from exhibitors of Toy breeds. One quick and apparent observation that one can make is the dedi- cation and attention that Toy exhibitors bestow upon their dogs. Owning and caring for many Toy breeds is a constant, serious regimen of care and love. These little dogs—some no larger than a human heart—have woven their way into the hearts and spirit of their owners. Because of Toy dogs’ diminutive size, Toy owners are protective and understanding of their particular needs for sur- viving and flourishing in a bigger-sized world. Toys depend upon their owners, and the owners depend upon their Toys’ gratitude and unwavering love. I am a new judge to the Toy Group. However, I do have a story to share. I was invited to judge the World Dog Show in Shanghai, China. Remarkably enough, being a new judge in the Group, I was selected to judge Pomeranians at this event. This was a significant honor. Being a neophyte to the breed, my aim was to do the best I could at officiating on this beautiful breed. My Best of Breed winner was a dog named Allen, bred in China by Andy Chen, HC Pomeranians. During the photoshoot, I jok- ingly suggested to Andy that he should bring his Pomeranian to the States to finish its championship. I suggested our Kennel Club’s shows, The Regatta Classic on the shores of Lake Erie, since we had a supported Pomeranian entry. At the World Dog Show in China, this Pomeranian went on to a Group Two by judge Rafael Malo Alcrudo, a revered Spanish judge who was scheduled to judge the World Dog Show in Madrid in 2020 before COVID devastated canine plans on the European Continent.
In the course of my judging career, I met some very knowledge- able people who were instrumental in forming my breed templates as to how certain salient aspects of Toy breeds should manifest themselves. One such person is Elaine Lessig, celebrated for her Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. Having concentrated upon Toy breeds, Elaine was always willing to impart her expertise on many of the Toy breeds that I was studying. Also, along the way, countless experts on breeds have offered their opinions and insights, which I have enjoyed and have taken into account in many countries in which I have visited and judged. It is my observation that Toy people are eagerly willing to help a new judge, since judging a new Group is like being a stranger in a strange land at times. However, once firmly acquainted with a new Group, the landscape becomes more familiar, and confidence and knowledge increase. My familiarization within the canine world started in the Hound Group in the 1970s. After having lived in France for a time period before this, I set my sights on Salukis. Upon returning to the US, I started showing Salukis. I finished several champions, both acquired by breeders and bred by myself. I was fortunate to have bred and owned Group-placing, coursing champions, and specialty winners both in the US and in Europe. There is a vast amount of breed-specific details to center upon in the Toy Group. This is what makes this Group unique and interest- ing! For me, in specific, outline/proportion is a must to consider. If the proportions are not correct, the dog loses type. Who would not want a Pug or a King Charles Spaniel to be square? Eyes, their shape and position, are equally important since they adorn the expression of many Toy breeds and, in many Toy breed standards, eyes are stressed. Who would want a Cavalier King Charles without a melt- ing expression, a Pug without large, globular eyes, a Pomeranian without an almond eye, and a Pekingese without far apart set eyes and large? Tail position and carriage are of equal and determining consideration. A Shih Tzu that does not have a “heavily plumed, set on high, carried in a curve well over the back” tail detracts from type. Coat is an obvious must in many Toy breeds. The list of musts can go on forever in Toy breeds—this is why this Group of canines is detailed in many features that seem infinite in scope. As in all other breeds, handling may accentuate the merits of the exhibit being shown. In a judging perspective, capable handling makes the judge’s task easier and less time-consuming. However, a good specimen of the breed is a good specimen of the breed no mat- ter the ability of the handler. I learned this early on in my career, since I judge many events throughout the word. I have officiated in about 33 countries. Sometimes, a judge will have to piece together a badly handled dog only to find it is a quality animal. Therefore, handling is not everything—it is the merit of the animal being judged. Handling just makes the task easier and more efficient for the judge. Breed character is essential. In Richard Beauchamp’s book, Solving the Mysteries of Breed Type , he defines this aspect as one of the five criteria to assess breed type. I am quite familiar with Mr. Beauchamp’s views, since I have given seminars in India, Singapore, Malaysia, Latvia, Australia, Philippines, and the United States on his views of solving breed type—in addition to other breed seminars. This has been a rewarding venture since I feel I am preserving his ideas while dedicating this particular seminar to Mr. Beauchamp. As far as character with Toys is concerned, this is an essential aspect of judging Toy breeds. Can a Yorkshire Terrier be a York- shire Terrier without a confident manner and self-importance? Can many of the Toy breeds be awarded if they are not happy or if they are cringing around the ring? A Cavalier would be objectionable if
186 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, SPRING EDITION
Powered by FlippingBook