TOY GROUP Q&A
They are a labor of love and I appreciate the time and the effort put into them by their owners and handlers.
negative judge, but instead look for the good points in every exhibit at every show. JOHN C. RAMIREZ I live in beautiful South-
breeds each have their own essence, which makes them the breeds they are; their character, the silhouette, their heads and expressions. Take, for example, the English Toy Spaniel with its large “rounded head,” its plush, chubby-looking, well-cushioned face; the Chihua- hua, a big dog in such a little package, his beautiful apple-domed head and his saucy expression, and his attitude of self-importance; the Min Pin with its lovely hackney-like gait; the Pekingese with its rolling “over” the shoulder movement. Each breed has its “musts” and all must be sound. How important is the breed-specific presentation/handling of Toys? Very important, some breeds requiring more than others. I think the rate of speed at which they are moved is important to all. Some are more short-legged than others; they don’t need to be raced around the ring at such a speed that they can barely keep up with the handler. Breed-specific presentation might pertain to the Poo- dle, where grooming and age-related cuts are important; the speed at which a Min Pin is shown to accentuate the hackney-like gait and, likewise, with the Havanese, to show-off the springy gait; the drop coats with the meticulous grooming, requiring daily hair care and the time necessary to brush and prepare topknots and ponytails for ring presentation. All are important. Can I speak to “breed character” among the Toy breeds? Each breed has its own character and its own characteristics. The Toy Group offers breeds that are suitable and compatible to every- one’s taste, be it someone looking for a big dog in a small pack- age, the couch potato or the active little dog with the playful, Terrier-like personality. Why are Toys a pleasure to judge and how are they a challenge? They are a labor of love and I appreciate the time and the effort put into them by their owners and handlers. They require daily work and are not breeds that can be left unattended from show to show. They are a challenge: Keeping a Maltese free of urine and tear stains; likewise, with the Shih Tzu and the Silky with its delicately fine hair. Think about the amount of time needed to groom and keep a Peke in show condition. Physically, they must be in tip-top physical condition no matter how small they are. Personally, I have little patience for a dirty, ungroomed dog in my ring being exhib- ited by someone who should know better. I have made excuses for beginners and advised them to seek help from other exhibitors. I will not ignore a newbie because of this and, instead, try to help them out. They are part of the future of the sport and, sometimes, they just need to talk and learn, and the most seasoned exhibitors are willing to help. Which Toy dogs from the past have had the greatest influence on the sport? Malachy the Peke; the Affen, Banana Joe; Joanne- Chen’s Maya Dancer, the Maltese; We-Syng Lucky Mi, the Chin. These are just a few (some fairly recent and others older) that have impressed me over the years. How has my knowledge of Toys influenced my understanding of dogs in general? As I mentioned earlier, my basic background was in the Working Group. At the time, several of the problems that existed in this Group also prevailed in the Toys. So, I would have to conclude that my overall understanding comes from these two Groups. We now see more breed consistency and overall soundness that wasn’t there years ago. Regardless of size, they offer a lot of educational opportunities. What can non-Toy fanciers learn from exhibitors of the Toy breeds? Patience and dedication.
ern California in a small city named Downey, two hours away from the mountains or the deserts and about 20 minutes from our beaches. I have always had dogs as far back as I can remember; not all purebred or show dogs, but dogs, and they ranged from tiny to big. As to judg- ing, I am not sure how many years. I had some brief hia- tuses throughout my career for school and family mat-
©Nor Cal Bulldogger
ters, but I believe my starting date was in 1973. Do I have any hobbies or interests apart from purebred dogs? Not as many as I once had, but I still do enjoy an occasional day hike. It’s a good feeling to be outdoors and in the fresh air. But, due to certain limitations, I safeguard and stick to the easy or moderate trails. Also kayaking, which I loved. No strong current kayaking, just easy, relaxing trips on the river and, sometimes, an adventurous trip on the ocean (in calm weather). Lastly, my piano; I enjoy just banging on those keys in futile attempts at music. (I try, but enough said about my musical abilities.) Can I talk about my introduction to the Toy breeds? As men- tioned, I grew up with many types of dogs, among them some Toys. But, I would have to say that my real introduction came after a reunion with an old friend, Mr. Thomas Conway. After several years, we reconnected and we remained friends until his death. Coming from a show background of Working dogs, it was Tom who sparked my interest in Toys. He got me involved in the Toy Breeders Assoc. of So. Ca., and the rest is history. I met Martha Olmos, my dearest of friends, and between the two and all the books and articles they showered on me, my interest sprung. It was Tom who sparked my interest in the English Toy Spaniel, one of the Toy breeds I am deeply enamored with; Christine Anderson with the Japanese Chin; Martha with the Pekingese; and my Chihua- huas from longtime friend, Jill Hopper and, of course, Mr. C. Vis- its, phone calls, and sitting around the ring with Tom and Martha taught me a lot. Have I bred or shown any influential Toys or any other breeds? Never one to heavily campaign, we did have a few dogs that held their own in the Group ring. We had the opportunity to co-own a Finish import, Ch. Arnica Montana Pahkinanfantasy, and Ch. Dartan Flash Dancer (Chihuahuas), both co-owned with friend Jill Hopper and handled by Mr. Jim Lehman. Our English import, English Toy Spaniel, Ch. Amantras Secret Dream, had his fair share of Group placements. We shared luck with our Skye Terriers, pro- ducing a number of homebred champions in very limited breeding and, of course, my Saint Bernards. What are some breed-specific details that are a “must” in the Toy breeds? Each Toy breed is unique unto itself, and breed-specific details are outlined in each standard. Be it size or movement, the
194 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, SPRING EDITION
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