Showsight May 2021


Then there was Mim Barnhart, “Granny Mim” as she was called, of Miri Cal Bichons. She said to me, and I quote, “Sit your- self down in that chair, take out your pedigree, and I will not only teach you how to read this, genotype, but I will also tell you what each dog looks like, their phenotype, their strengths and their weaknesses.” And write I did, generation after generation... tall, short, good leg, no leg, level topline, good underjaw, weak under- jaw, good backskull, so-so pigment, great pigment, great tempera- ment, good coat, good tail set. She explained that doubling up on one side of said pedigree would not produce what I wanted, but doubling up on the other side had a much better chance. She painted such a vivid picture of each dog that I could visualize them. It was then that I realized if I wanted to go forward, I had to look backward. To this day I write notes about every dog in my pedigrees; their strengths, their weaknesses. One must not be ken- nel blind, though. An honest evaluation will only enhance your breeding program. The Judges Choice Bichons are widely known, highly successful and well respected. What breeding philosophies do you adhere to? First, let me thank you for saying this about my program. After listening to my mentors and learning from well-respected breeders, I decided a few months after buying my bitch to look for a foundation dog that would complement Muffy. Back to my pedi- grees, I went to look for genotype and phenotype. I was very lucky that there was a litter on the ground that had three males to choose from. One boy just pulled at my heartstrings, Cody, and to this day his profile is still the one I think of when judging dogs. Linebreed- ing was drummed into my head, so with this in mind I checked the two pedigrees and Muffy’s sire was Cody’s grandfather, a perfect foundation to start my breeding program. And as I started with linebreeding, it is still my program of choice. If I have to go out, I will only breed to a tightly linebred dog, so I know what to expect. I know those breeders care as much about their line as I do mine. At my age I don’t like surprises. And as much as we try, there are sometimes surprises anyway. How many dogs do you currently house? Tell us about your facilities and how the dogs are maintained. Facilities is an oxymoron in my case. I live in their house. I have five dogs: Ch. Judges Choice Who Knew, aka Oops. (I guess you can figure out the name.) Her daughter, Ch. Judges Choice On The Edge Of Glory, aka Gaga; her daughter, Ch. Judges Choice Good Golly, aka Molly; and my two boys, Ch. Judges Choice In Pursuit, aka Chase, father of Molly; and my new puppy just start- ing out, Judges Choice A New Twist, aka Oliver, a Molly son. Four generations of happy, healthy, linebred dogs that I am still trying to housebreak! They get groomed every three weeks and brushed every day. They share everything I have: food, bed, love… well, everything except my wine. I considered ending my breeding pro- gram, and while this will sound dramatic, I just couldn’t do it. I kept thinking, ”That really great one could be in the next litter.” Who were/are some of your most significant Bichons, both in the whelping box and in the show ring? I guess the obvious one has to be JR, Best in Show winner at Westminster. I bred his mother, his grandmother, his great grand- mother, and his grandfather. And, of course, JR goes back to Cody and Muffy, my foundation dogs. This question really made me think. Yes, I have had some very good dogs, including some males that were great in the ring and never produced what I expected. On paper, they should have, but those are the surprises and dis- appointments. I had two littermates, both champion bitches, one a multiple Group placer while the other couldn’t have cared less. Guess who was the better producer? But I digress. Who stands out


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