ESKIMO DOG AMERICA N
Let’s Talk Breed Education!
AMERICAN ESKIMO THE
1. Where do you live? What do you do “outside” of dogs? 2. In popularity, The American Eskimo is currently ranked #122 out of 192 AKC-recognized breeds. Do you hope this will change or are you comfortable with his placement? Do these numbers help or hurt the breed? 3. Does the average person on the street recognize him for what he is? 4. Are there any misconceptions about the breed you’ d like to dispel? 5. What special challenges do breeders face in our current eco- nomic and social climate? 6. At what age do you start to see definite signs of show-worthi- ness (or lack thereof)? 7. What is the most important thing about the breed for a new judge to keep in mind? 8. What’s the best way to attract newcomers to your breed and to the sport? 9. What is your ultimate goal for the breed? 10. What is your favorite dog show memory? 11. Is there anything else you’ d like to share about the breed? Please elaborate. BARBARA BEYNON In 2019, I moved to Thatcher, Arizona, in the southeastern portion of the state. Previously I lived in my hometown of Corpus Christi, Texas. I am a geologist by degrees and retired from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality where I worked as an Environmental Investigator. I now pursue personal interests and do occasional environmental consulting work. Do I hope the breed’s popularity will change or am I comfort- able with the placement? Today’s rankings of breed popularity are a shadow of what the breeds were 20 years ago when registrations of all breeds was much higher. I am not as interested in rankings as much as I am in the overall numbers of AED registrations. In order to increase the actual numbers and move the breed up in the rankings, I constantly work to bring new breeders into the world of American Eskimo Dogs. I don’t want to see the breed become so popular that the breed suffers from too many mediocre individuals. Nor do I want to see the breed made up of so few breeders that the breed loses its vitality and diversity. Does the average person on the street recognize the breed? Most people in larger cities are aware of the American Eskimo Dog. I now live in a small community, so many people believe that my Minis and Toys are Pomeranians, but they are not sure and they ask. I tell them that the Eskie is a cousin breed to the Pom, although serious fanciers know that they are different. Twenty to thirty years ago in Texas, I was asked if my dogs were Spitz, especially in areas with large German populations. Again, I said that they are descended from white Spitz, but that they were AEDs. I have not heard the Spitz reference since 2000. Are there any misconceptions about the breed I’d like to dispel? My pet peeve is that some breeders say that the sizes are different in temperament, with the Toys and Minis being “hyper” and the Standards being “calmer”. I believe that puppies and young dogs are far more energetic than older dogs. Eskies are like people—we seem to slow down as we age.
Also some breeders do not believe in crossing the sizes—Stan- dards to Toy and Miniatures. They are the same breed, and if the mating is a good one, then cross. What special challenges do breeders face in our current eco- nomic and social climate? Breeders face two common problems. Animal-rights’ and “Rescue shelter dogs”: Because of these move- ments, the average person believes that breeding purebred dogs is “wrong” and that they should adopt unwanted dogs from shelters. This reminds me of the movement a few years ago which encour- aged by shaming people to drive small cars instead of “gas-guzzling SUVs” in order to save the planet. Apparently car manufacturers managed to save the planet because Americans today love and drive their big SUVs and trucks. However, these same Americans are not allowed to get the dog they want because it comes from “a breeder”. I carefully watch the words I use when talking about puppies going to their new homes: I do not “sell” a puppy, I “place” puppies. I make very clear that simply because someone wants one of my pup- pies that they must demonstrate that they know how to take care of the puppy and raise it with proper care. The cost of quality veterinary care: Yes, everyone must have the money to properly take care of their dog(s). However, responsible breeders face costs involved in health clearances (required tests for the Eskie are OFA Hip and Eye exams and a DNA test for PRA- prcd). Breeders face additional costs of showing, stud fees, and other vet care (emergency C-sections, puppy care, etc.). I am not picking on veterinarians because they are medical professionals and deserve their fees, BUT the costs add up quickly for new breeders, who have work and family obligations. At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? I start critiquing my puppies at birth. I watched my dog Smoke being born and knew he was special! He did not disappoint! I watch the way the puppies look and move through those short weeks before they start going to new homes. My top show dogs must have the fighting spirit to demand that people look at them. Once I decide that a puppy isn’t destined for the Conformation ring, I am happy to place it in a loving home. Obviously, many show-quality puppies go to homes where they will never be shown. What is the most important thing about the breed for a new judge to keep in mind? Provided the entry is large enough, judges should not be afraid to use Eskies of different sizes, as long as they are the best. I have seen judges start awarding the first classes to one particular size and then continue using the same Eskies of that size even though they were not the best, because they started with a certain size and felt they had to continue with that size throughout. When you examine their winners, they are the same size, but of all variations of type. Just find the Eskie which best fits your mental picture of the breed and place it, and do not worry which size it is. What’s the best way to attract newcomers to my breed and to the sport? Make everything fun! If it isn’t fun, why on earth would anyone want to compete? We must also remember that not everyone wants to show in Conformation. Maybe they want to show in Agil- ity or Obedience, or they just want to meet other owners and have fun with their Eskies. The key is not to push them. If they see that showing dogs is fun, they may change their minds over time and start showing. Other owners could teach grooming and training and then show their Eskie for them to get them started. The biggest turn-off for newcomers is exhibitors who are not only unfriendly, but they are downright mean. We all like to win, but running down the competition (whether you win or lose) will cause 99% of newcomers to decide to never show their dog.
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AMERICAN ESKIMO Q&A
“The most important thing about the breed for a new judge to keep in mind? The three sizes can make it diffi - cult to evaluate gaits when they are all shown together.”
My ultimate goal for the breed? My goal is to leave the breed a little better than I found it, and to do no harm to the breed. So far, I have been successful. I only hope that I can continue. Oh, and when this is no longer fun, I’m getting out! JACKIE BLACKBURN I’ve shown dogs since the mid 70s. I started with Samoyeds and slowly graduated to handling all breeds. About 13-14 years ago, I saw an American Eskimo that took my heart. I started showing Chill for Carolyn Jester and fell completely in love. Beautiful, intel- ligent and bred to be in conformation—Julian—was my first AE. As I got older, I stopped showing the Samoyeds and started with AE’s. I’m getting slower, so I figured I’d better get a smaller breed. I’ve been very happy with the American Eskimos and have done many, many shows with many, many great wins! I live just south of Granbury, Texas on an acre. I live with my four footed fuzzies and three cats. I retired in February 2020 after working for 25 years at the Brazos River Authority. My time is free to work with my dogs and assist others who would like to learn more about the sport. Do I hope the breed’s popularity will change or am I comfort- able with the placement? I actually prefer that the American Eskimo is not one of the top popular dogs. I want them to be popular, but not as common as the top breeds. I remember when Lady and the Tramp came out and everyone wanted a Cocker Spaniel. The breed is unique with its intelligence, coloring and three sizes. They are great with children and fun to train in all sorts of dog sports—con- formation, agility, obedience, etc. Does the average person on the street recognize the breed? Most people say, “What a nice Pomeranian”, but a few have identified them correctly. Are there any misconceptions about the breed I’d like to dis- pel? Properly socialized and trained, the American Eskimo is not a snippy, ill-tempered breed. What special challenges do breeders face in our current eco- nomic and social climate? You definitely have to keep up with all the vet exams and tests and certifications. Most people (I believe) don’t understand the high prices for puppies also reflect the health checkups of the bloodlines. At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? I start watching and evaluating when they start getting on their feet and moving. I’ve been handling them and loving on them since day two. I hold them on their backs and make lovey noises so they can identify me from the beginning. When they start walking I start watching the fronts and rears; when they are steadier on their feet, side movement starts being watched. The puppy develops fairly quickly and you will be able to start seeing desired qualities. The most important thing about the breed for a new judge to keep in mind? Eye stain does not disqualify the dog. It is preferable to not have any, but it does happen. The best way to attract newcomers to my breed and to the sport? Take the dogs out to socialize them. Let people see them and inter- act with them. It’s good for both parties—the people and the dogs. My ultimate goal for the breed? Keeping with the standard and producing healthier, longer lived dogs. Using them in all types of sports and tasks—herding, scent discrimination, etc.
My favorite dog show memory? Winning a BIS—but everyone had left and I had to load all by myself—wasn’t so fun then, but when you’re on cloud 9, it’s doable. Now I just smile and laugh. They make the most loving companions—they can tell when I’m upset, they learn quickly on hand movements making it easy to communicate, they snuggle really well in bed for sleeping. LAURIE BOLES
I grew up in Houston, Texas, and have always loved animals, especially dogs and horses. I have previously res- cued Shetland Sheepdogs and owned Pekingese, a Great Dane, a Siberian Husky, and Labrador Retrievers. I live in Central Texas, between Austin, Houston, and San Antonio. Outside of my dogs, I enjoy garden- ing. I am also a real estate broker, and
semi-retired RN. Do I hope the breed’s popularity will change or am I comfort- able with the placement? Although I would like to see the American Eskimo breed become a bit more popular, I do not want them to become so desirable that quality is sacrificed for quantity. Do these numbers help or hurt the breed? As far as breeding goes, low num- bers can make it more challenging, although not impossible, to find a suitable mate. Does the average person on the street recognize the breed? Many people do, but I still have people ask me about my “Sami” or “white Pom”. I just smile and tell them the dog is an American Eskimo, then explain that it used to be called a “Spitz” if they are unfamiliar with the name. At that point, they often exclaim “Oh, my grand- mother had one of those!” Are there any misconceptions about the breed I’d like to dispel? Some people think that these dogs tend to be biters, but mine treat strangers like new best friends! What special challenges do breeders face in our current econom- ic and social climate? Although I wholeheartedly support canine rescue, some people believe that any intentionally bred dog equals a “puppy-mill”. As breeders, we need to get our health clearances and carefully select our sire and dams for desired traits, and to rule out as many undesirable traits, as possible. At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? I start evaluating my puppies at birth, then thoroughly at eight weeks. Bites are checked until permanent teeth arrive. The most important thing about the breed for a new judge to keep in mind? The three sizes can make it difficult to evaluate gaits when they are all shown together. The best way to attract newcomers to my breed and to the sport? I think to let newcomers see and meet the breed while being educat- ed on all of the fun facts about these dogs definitely attracts people. For instance, describing all of the sporting events that they excel at, their herding ability, and their innate intelligence; I don’t have to mention their beauty; people meeting them for the first time tell me about that! My ultimate goal for the breed? I would love for the breed to become better understood as a good, multi-talented companion. My favorite dog show memory? I was at a dog show in Mis- souri, and another breed was holding a seminar on the Trick Dog
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AMERICAN ESKIMO Q&A
Most people think they are fancy dogs meant to be spoiled while sitting on laps because of how beautiful they are, but they are hard working and intelligent dogs who need a job to keep those sharp minds of theirs fulfilled. A smart Eskie will keep you on your toes, testing the human pack to find the weakest link and manipulate that person to do their bidding if they feel they are lacking in leader- ship and/or activities to do. Is there anything else I’d like to share about the breed? Eskies are wonderful and unforgettable companions, especially for the right match of a person. They are the quintessential tricksters, for they excel at learning tricks (which is likely why they were used in traveling circuses to walk a tightrope in the earlier part of the 20th century), and everything about them initially, literally, tricks you: You think they’re from Alaska and are sled dogs because of their name, but no, they tricked you! You think they are frou-frou dogs who like to sit on satin pil- lows and do nothing but eat Bon-Bons all day because of how fancy they look, but no, they’ve tricked you again! They love to work, are smart, can be willful, and need mental stimulation to keep them out of trouble. You think they require lots of fastidious grooming because of their striking all-white and soft fluffy coats, but no, they’ve tricked you yet again! Their coats have an oil on it that repels dirt and exter- nal odor, and they also do not have your typical doggy odor on their skin. So, they are a bit of a self-cleaning white dog. Getting an Eskie from a reputable breeder will ensure that the pup you get has the right temperament that is a good match as a family companion. A good breeder will not continue breeding any pups that do not fit this description, no matter how beautiful they may be. HELEN DORRANCE I live in Leander, Texas and own a boarding kennel so there isn’t much “outside” of dogs for me. For years my goal has been to get the Eskie off of the low entry list and move it up in the AKC list of recognized breeds. I think being more popular would definitely benefit the breed. The Eskie is very distinctive and easily recognized by the general public. For years they were known as “spitzes” and it seems everyone has an older relative who used to have one. I would like to dispel some of the misconceptions about the siz- es. The American Eskimo Dog is a very versatile dog and all three sizes are fully capable of doing anything you ask of them. I do scent- work, agility and herding with my all of my toys and miniatures and they easily excel in all three activities. One of the biggest challenges breeders face is having big enough litters—especially with the toys and miniatures. Anyone who has had one always wants another one and it is very hard to produce enough to supply the general public with dogs—especially if you want to keep any for yourself. One of the things important to keep in mind is the toys and the smaller miniatures can look short-strided compared to the standards. It can sometimes be difficult to compare gaits of three dramatically different sized dogs in the same ring. Because the standards can usually cover more ground than the smaller siz- es it’s sometimes easy to dismiss the toys as not having enough reach and drive when many times they are equal, it’s just not readily discernible. I’m doing my part to attract newcomers to the breed. Almost all of my ex-employees and current employees have dogs from me and are doing agility and scentwork with them. A couple of them have even bred their dogs, but it is still hard to produce enough pup- pies to supply the demand. The ultimate goal is to encourage more breeders of this incredible breed.
title, which was new. I was watching in the crowd, and the speaker invited me and my dog to participate. My American Eskimo dog figured out the requested “tricks” right away! Back in the day, these dogs were used as circus dogs and one was the first dog to walk a tightrope! I personally just love the way these dogs are eager to try anything that I suggest; as long as it is with me! THY CAVAGNARO I’ve been the Chairman for the
Public Education Committee for the American Eskimo Dog Club of America since 2011. I’ve also been the owner and trainer of a trick dog team since 2009. “The Amazing Eskies” (for- mally known as “Atka, the Amazing Eskie” until our star, Atka, recently passed away in 2019) have performed
stunts and strutted their stuff all over the area, for massive crowds and intimate gatherings. They skateboard, jump through hoops and people’s arms, jump over people and other dogs, and spread love and joy everywhere they go. They’ve been movie stars, TV stars, have done high fashion magazine spreads with supermodels, and have shot commercials on Broadway. Lastly, they provide therapy to those in need at nursing homes and military bases, where they also salute when given the command to “present arms”. I live in Barnegat, New Jersey, and my day job is as a Project Manager for Canon, U.S.A. I’m also the founder of the movement, “Thanking Vietnam veterans in Barnegat, which focuses on events created to thank and honor Vietnam veterans at local levels. Do I hope the breed’s popularity will change or am I comfort- able with the placement? Many may want the Eskie to place higher, but I’m not that upset about it being not very popular. It makes them stand out more in some ways because they’re not as common. In addition, when there is a smaller population of Eskie breeders, you find most of them to be fiercely protective about preserving the breed for the right reasons, as opposed to breeding profusely because there’s such a demand for them. Does the ranking help or hurt the breed? I believe it can be seen both ways. A less popular breed can have a smaller, but more devoted set of breeders for it. At the same time, funds might not be as readily available for certain causes, or volunteers (human or canine) may not be as readily available for certain events around the country. Does the average person on the street recognize the breed? No, and that’s one of the things I love about having Eskies! They are definitely a magnet for conversations, bringing strangers together to talk with each other, since people love asking questions about them. I feel like people learn more about Eskies when they encoun- ter one on the street specifically because they’re not as well-known, and instead of making assumptions and thinking you may know enough about the breed and not stopping to talk about them (as may be the case with the more popular breeds), people cannot help but find themselves being compelled to say, “Excuse me—what kind of a dog is that?” Are there any misconceptions about the breed I’d like to dispel? Yes! Their name is a misnomer, since most assume they are from Alaska and pull sleds because of their name—“American Eskimo Dog”. Their roots are from the German Spitz, which was a multi- purpose farm dog, bred to herd, and keep a watchful eye over every- thing on their property, acting like the property’s loud and persis- tent alarm system should anything look out of the ordinary.
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AMERICAN ESKIMO Q&A
I have owned and loved American Eskimos since 1969. In 1973, I formed a local UKC club to host shows for the AE. Then I wanted more, so in 1985 I helped to organize the AEDCA for the purpose of seeking AKC recognition for the AE. I served as AEDCA Presi- dent from 1985 to 1998, and kept the stud books for recognition. In 1995 the AE was accepted into AKC. I have spe- cialized in raising the toy size American Eskimo, because they were so much easier for me to handle. I live in Oklahoma. I am retired now, but worked most of my life for a Veterinarian. Do I hope the breed’s popularity will change or am I comfort- able with the placement? I would like everyone to know how special the AE is, but I would not want them to be so popular to cause detriment to the breed. Do these numbers help or hurt the breed? Very possibly both. They hurt the breed because it would be ben- eficial for more good breeders to be involved in producing excep- tional examples of the breed, but on the other hand, there are fewer “puppy mill” breeders producing poor specimens of the breed. Does the average person on the street recognize the breed? Not usually, there is a lot of confusion with Poms and Samoyeds. At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? Usually around four to six months of age. The most important thing about the breed for a new judge to keep in mind? Probably the size range. The AE has a huge size range, and it can be confusing to Judges who have not seen all sizes. The best way to attract newcomers to my breed and to the sport? Just getting your American Eskimo out to be seen, they are eye catching, and they do attract a lot of attention. That opens the door to discussion about the wonderful qualities of the breed. My favorite dog show memory? Winning BOB at Westminster the first year they were eligible to be shown there (1996). The American Eskimo is a very devoted and loving breed. They just want to be with their owner all the time. They will follow you around the house, lay at your feet, or in your lap all the time. DENISEMILLER
I have been in Eskies for 17 years. I purchased my first show dog (AKC CH UKC GRCH Sycamore’s Mischief Maker) in 2006. Shortly thereafter I purchased my foundation bitches (AKC CH UKC GRCH ArtcMgc Snpf ’s Queen of Hearts, NJP CA and AKC CH UKC GRCH Car- ara Reason T’ Believe). I have a breeding program focused on the total dog that can do it all and look good too. My dogs excel
at performance events as well as conformation. I live outside of Athens, Georgia. I am a Registered Nurse for a behavioral health company. Do I hope the breed’s popularity will change or am I comfort- able with the placement? I would like for the Eskie to be more popu- lar. It’s rare to see one in the community or in training classes. Most people who see my dogs in public don’t know what the breed is. Does the ranking numbers help or hurt the breed? Hurt—we need more breed fanciers for the breed to thrive. Does the average person on the street recognize the breed? No, the average person thinks my dogs are either a Husky, a Samoyed or a Pomeranian. Are there any misconceptions about the breed I’d like to dispel? Yes, the breed has a bad reputation for having a poor temperament. Today’s responsibly bred dogs typically have wonderful, sweet tem- peraments and can excel at most anything the owner wants to do with them. What special challenges do breeders face in our current econom- ic and social climate? The current “adopt don’t shop” mantra most pet people seem to have is a daily struggle. I am constantly pointing out the benefits to getting a dog from a responsible breeder—espe- cially on social media in pet-oriented groups. At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? I can tell by eight weeks if the puppy will grow up to be a worthy show dog. The most important thing about the breed for a new judge to keep in mind? In my opinion the most important thing to keep in mind about the coat: 1) There is to be no trimming of the body coat. Trimming is to be severely penalized. Unfortunately, this isn’t being penalized and professional handlers are sculpting the coat. 2) Eskies blow their undercoat two times a year. The quality of the coat should be considered more important than quantity of coat. The dog with the most profuse coat isn’t always the best dog in the ring. The best way to attract newcomers to my breed and to the sport? I believe the best way to attract newcomers to the breed is to go out into the community with our dogs. Once they meet the dogs and see how great they are people tend to be interested. A lot of people in the agility community have become interested in Eskies after seeing the ones I bred excel in the sport. My favorite dog show memory? When I finished my bred-by boy Flash to his AKC Grand Champion title—my first bred-by GCH! I’d also like to share about the breed that Eskies can do “all the things’. I have bred Eskies that hold dock diving titles, trick titles, herding instinct certificates, farm dog titles, top agility titles, a dog that does disc dog and multiple conformation Champions and Grand Champions. I have bred an NADD National Champion and a top finisher at the Agility Invitational (multiple years). They can also just hang out on your couch and be fine with that.
I have been involved in American Eskimo Dogs since 2002 when we purchased our first Eskie from a local breeder in the Seattle area. Langley was supposed to be our pet, however his breeder encouraged us to show him. That started an 18 year odyssey with plenty of ups and downs, but also plenty of personal rewards. I strongly credit my focus on campaigning my
dog Zephyr to helping me deal with breast cancer diagnosis and treatment in 2012. I didn’t start showing until my 40’s proving that it is never too late to start showing dogs. I would not change a thing and would encourage others to not be afraid to join the sport of dogs no matter their current age. I have met some amazing people and made many friends over the years. At some point Bob and I will slow down and focus on showing locally, but it is going to be a long time before that happens. Currently we live in Des Moines, Washington; a suburb of Seattle. However we will be moving in the next couple of years to
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AMERICAN ESKIMO Q&A
“Meet the Breed opportunities at shows is a very good way to introduce people evaluating breeds to add to their family and is a great way to attract newcomers.”
Grapeview, Washington. Our new home is in the planning stages and will be constructed on property we purchased a few years ago. I have to admit we do not have much of a life outside of our dogs. Both of us are members of, and involved in, the American Eskimo Dog AKC and UKC national breed clubs as well as a local all-breed UKC club. Bob is an officer of the AKC breed club. I just became a member of the board of the local UKC club. Now that Bob is retired, I’ve been retired for a number of years, we are traveling in our RV to dog shows around the country. We do try and take the road less traveled, as we phrase it, as time allows in our itinerary. For example, we spent last 4th of July at the Dev- ils Tower National Monument in Wyoming where Mother Nature competed with the local fireworks show. Mother Nature won. We’ve also started visiting local wineries and buying wine for our- selves as well as Bob’s dad. We plan to continue traveling and seeing more of the USA, and hopefully Canada as well, as our dog show schedule allows. Do I hope the breed’s popularity will change or am I comfort- able with the placement? I have mixed feelings about increasing our popularity. I know there is a corollary between an increase in popu- larity and an increase in puppy mill activity for a breed. However I admit our ranking still does not mean we do not have puppy mills breeding American Eskimos. A number of years ago a puppy mill was busted in eastern Washington state with several hundred Eskies needing to be rehomed. Bob and I fostered two of those dogs for almost a year before they could be placed. On the other hand with our travel around the country I have met several people who are new to the breed and to showing or performance. I always enjoy meeting new folks, learning about how they chose their breeder and chose to start showing their dogs and give them pointers on showing and grooming. Meeting responsible people who are joining the breed and getting involved in activities and the national breed clubs is a plus. Here in Washington and Ore- gon many of the breeders that were active when I started showing 18 years ago have now cut back on their breeding and showing or have retired all together. We need to continue to encourage young, responsible people to become American Eskimo Dog owners and to participate in dog sports or just be good owners of their Eskies. Does the average person on the street recognize the breed? It amazes us that in the Pacific Northwest about 50% of people on the street recognize our dogs as American Eskimo Dogs. The other 50% either have no idea or think our Eskies are miniature Samo- yeds. What is funny is that we found out a few years ago at a local show, from a bunch of Samoyed owners, that their dogs are fre- quently mistaken for giant Eskies! All of us had a good laugh over that piece of information. Are there any misconceptions about the breed I’d like to dispel? When I bought our first American Eskimo Dog, Langley in 2002, I was told there were several veterinarians in the Seattle area that would not accept Eskies as patients because of a reputation for hav- ing a nasty temperament. The breeders in the Pacific Northwest worked hard as a group to dispel this view of our breed. I have not heard of a veterinarian refusing to accept an Eskie as a patient for years. Of course I always have to tell folks at Meet the Breed oppor- tunities or others who ask me at shows or on the streets if my dogs shed that they do shed. Not sure why the general public thinks a double-coated dog would not shed at times, but that does seem to be a misconception out there. At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? I have purchased dogs from three breeders. They evaluate their
litters from five to nine weeks of age depending on the breeder and evaluator. I’ve always been told the sweet spot for evaluation is eight weeks. That is the point where you get the best indicator of a pup- pies conformation at maturity. However, I have been present at a number of whelpings by my local breeder who bred four of my dogs past and present including our first Eskie. When the first litter sired by my original Eskie made its appearance, I knew from the first day that one of the males would be the pick male and an amazing show dog. That has proven to be the case. Sometimes you just have a feel- ing from the get go. What is the most important thing about the breed for a new judge to keep in mind? There are two things I would like a new judge to keep in mind about the American Eskimo Dog, especially if their own breed is not one of the many Northern breeds. 1. As a rule, of course there are exceptions, Eskies are not happy, yappy, bouncy extroverts. A well trained Eskie will not shy away from the judge, but they are not going to have the outgoing person- ality of a Terrier. Eskies will be focused on their handlers as they strongly bond with those who own them and/or show them. I would say their ring demeanor will be happy and pleased to be in the ring, but more reserved in their manner. 2. The other thing I will mention is that American Eskimo Dogs are shown in their natural state. Except for trimming to neaten the feet, the Eskie is shown as is. Judges coming from a breed where trimming is allowed need to adjust their expectations of how the dogs presented to them in the ring will look. Of course they should be neat and clean, but do not expect trimming in other areas except the feet. What’s the best way to attract newcomers to my breed and to the sport? Meet the Breed opportunities at shows is a very good way to introduce people evaluating breeds to add to their family and is a great way to attract newcomers. I also ensure that I take the time to answer questions about Eskies when I am stopped on the street or in the park with one of my dogs. Additionally having quality repre- sentatives of the breed in the show ring and performance events is a good way to get prospective owners and future participants to take notice and research our breed. My ultimate goal for the American Eskimo Dog currently is to see a slow, but steady increase in new owners. This can lead to a new generation of participants in dog sports as well as families in love with their pet dogs and with this fantastic breed. Finally there needs to be a steady addition of new breeders to take the place of our long term breeders who are starting to cut back or retire from breeding. Again, we need younger people coming in who are in love with the American Eskimo Dog and want to breed them, show them and to join the ranks of the existing preservation breeders. My favorite dog show memory? I had to think about this for a bit. But I realize I have two favorite memories that involve my now retired (at the age of 11), boy Zephyr who is now 12. The first is from the AKC in 2012 while I was dealing with can- cer treatment, Zephyr earned his first Best of Breed over a large class of quality specials. It was a very proud moment for me. Of course shortly after we earned the Best of Breed ribbon, I took Zephyr outside to go potty and he peed on my shoe! That’s one way to bring the handler back down to earth. The second is from the UKC in 2017, at the age of nine, Zephyr earned a Best of the Best award at a multi-day show over all of the other Best in Show winners from that weekend. What a thrill for my dog, who I showed in Brace, Veteran and Breed that weekend, to beat the other Best In Show winners.
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AMERICAN ESKIMO Q&A
I am a graduate of the University of Georgia with a BS in Chemistry. I am a Registered Medical Technologist and a Certified Paralegal. I have been in American Eskimos for 31 years. I have been a UKC judge since 1997 and attained my AKC license in 2018. My husband and I are retired and live on ten acres in Krum, Texas with our dogs and cats.
I have been raising and showing miniature American Eskimo Dogs since 1996 under the Wintersun Eskies name, and am an AKC Breeder of Merit-Bronze. My first and foremost goal is to ensure the vitality and lon- gevity of the beloved American Eskimo Dog breed, which involves taking every action possible to not only ensure good physical and genetic health, but also
I live in Krum, Texas on ten acres. I am a contract paralegal when needed, specializing in criminal, personal injury and medical malpractice. Do I hope the breed’s popularity will change or am I comfort- able with the placement? I am comfortable as I do not want the breed to become too popular. They are not for everyone. Do these numbers help or hurt the breed? They hurt the breed when trying to find majors and I have had people tell me they have had trouble locating a puppy when they have contacted me. Does the average person on the street recognize the breed? Not always. Many stop and ask me if that is a Spitz. Of course it was once called that, but not since World War 1. Are there any misconceptions about the breed I’d like to dispel? Many think they are snippy. A well-bred American Eskimo is lov- ing and craves attention. They are very energetic and intelligent, but as the standard says, they are conservative. Also, the American Eskimo was not brought to this country to be a circus dog. They were brought to this country by German farmers to serve as multi- purpose working dogs of the farm. What special challenges do breeders face in our current econom- ic and social climate? Many people want small lap dogs, so some- times, as I am a standard breeder, people think they are too big. They really are a medium-sized dog. However, the standard is not an apartment sized dog. Minis and toys work better in apartments. At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? I evaluate my pups at 12 weeks of age. The most important thing about the breed for a new judge to keep in mind? The American Eskimo must have a Nordic type head with a wedge shaped face, small erect ears and broad muzzle and a well pronounced occiput with a well-defined stop, but not abrupt. They must be of medium bone. Length of neck is extremely impor- tant, with a correct return of upper arm. The standard states that the breed single tracks. A judge should pay close attention to move- ment when judging the breed. The best way to attract newcomers to my breed and to the sport? Participate in Meet The Breeds, take your dogs to public places. Show people how smart and agile the breed is and encourage them to join dog clubs so they can participate in conformation or perfor- mance with their whole family. My ultimate goal is that judges and breeders alike will strive to award structurally sound dogs that are not trimmed, and that breeders will strive to produce single tracking, structurally sound, typey dogs. My favorite dog show memory? In 1996, at Purina Farms, we held our National Specialty. My dog beat 21 Grand Champions to be awarded National Grand Champion and be awarded the breed. It is a day I will never forget. I wish the judges would become more educated on a breed that is beautiful, intelligent, wants to please his owner and is the dog beau- tiful. I want our breed to be appreciated for those things. I want everyone to see that they are not only beautiful, but are incredibly smart and excel in not only conformation, but obedience, rally, agil- ity, barn hunt, scent work, dock diving, and yes, even herding trials.
mental well-being in order to develop pleasant and confident tem- peraments. I also believe that focusing on structure, movement and gorgeous expression are essential to carrying on the essence of this breed. I am a member of my local all-breed AKC club, my national AKC breed club, and have participated in conformation, obedience and agility with my Eskies since 1991. I live in Idaho. “Outside” of dogs, I’m a paralegal for a commer- cial finance company, I have my own business as a mobile notary loan signing agent, and I enjoy traveling with my husband as he performs and teaches flute across the Country. Do I hope the breed’s popularity will change or am I comfort- able with the placement? I’m comfortable with the American Eski- mo Dog’s popularity ranking at this time. It’s already difficult for the interested public to find well-bred, responsibly-raised puppies. A higher popularity ranking (i.e. higher demand) would make this more difficult and/or increase the number of breeders who are in it for reasons that don’t contribute positively to the breed. A gradual increase over time would be reasonable. Do these numbers help or hurt the breed? I don’t think these numbers help or hurt our breed at this time. I don’t believe lower popularity numbers sway the public or the judges one way or another; they either prefer or don’t appreciate our breed for their own personal reasons, which is not likely based on lower popularity. However, if American Eskimo Dogs were highly popular, I could see that being possibly detrimental as higher demand creates higher volume which is not necessarily better. Does the average person on the street recognize the breed? About half the time. People still ask if he’s a “spitz” or a Pomeranian (even though my Eskies are around 15-18 lbs.). Are there any misconceptions about the breed I’d like to dispel? Yes, a couple of things. One, that they are stubborn or hard to train. They aren’t, they’re just really smart. Sometimes that means they can be manipulative or they can decide they have a better way of doing things than you expect. And two, that they are perfect for everyone. American Eskimo Dogs are highly intelligent and fast learners; whether they are taught something or not, they will learn. This means they require an owner who has good leadership skills and is dedicated to training their Eskie. Also, a lot of veterinar- ians comment about how “good-natured this one is, compared to others.” Responsible breeders have been focusing on good tem- peraments for multiple generations over 30-40 years now. The old, snappy, nervous “spitz” of the past are not the products of today’s responsible breeders. What special challenges do breeders face in our current econom- ic and social climate? Even as highly responsible breeders, we are facing the risk of having our reputations and our beloved animals destroyed. This is partly due to the public’s misunderstanding of what constitutes responsible breeding, and how we contribute to a breed’s health, longevity, and our individual dog’s safety through- out its life. This is perpetuated by the animal rights activists’ con- stant social messages to “adopt not shop” and the overpopulation myth. Paired with the unchecked importation of dogs and pup- pies from other states and countries, bringing unusual diseases and
304 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, MARCH 2020
AMERICAN ESKIMO Q&A
“Some folks seem to think Eskies are biters and unsociable, but none of the eight I’ve had over my life have had this temperament. They are protective, but with proper socialization they are happy, well-adjusted dogs.”
parasites across borderlines, the “adopting” public’s emotions are being manipulated, and we are harbored with blame and responsi- bility for situations we did not create and cannot control. At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? Between five to ten weeks. An experienced breeder observing the development of their puppies’ structure, type and temperament will be able to determine which pups are show prospects. We are look- ing for overall balance and proportion, an outgoing and cooperative attitude, flowing movement and gait, and representative breed type. The most important thing about the breed for a new judge to keep in mind? American Eskimo Dogs should not be trimmed, oth- er than to neaten the feet and hocks. Our breed standard is very spe- cific about this, and trimming is to be heavily penalized. Recently, we have heard judges advising exhibitors to trim their dogs to cre- ate a preferred body outline and proportion. This is not acceptable. Instead, a judge should be relying on his/her hands during physical examination of the dog, and the dog’s movement, in order to deter- mine structure and proportion. The coat is icing on the cake, it’s not what makes the dog. Our breed club does cover this in our judges’ education seminars. The best way to attract newcomers to my breed and to the sport? Be nice, be welcoming, and be a good sport. The public observes us constantly. My ultimate goal for the breed is to ensure its longevity and health. American Eskimo Dogs have been known for living long lives of 13-18 years with few health issues. I’d like to encourage breeders to maintain health testing, and use the information rea- sonably and responsibly in order to preserve our breed’s health and longevity into the future. My most favorite dog show memories are of my puppy owners’ wins and brags in the show and performance rings! American Eskimo Dogs can do just about anything with you! They love all kinds of performance sports and excel at them. They like to hike and swim and spend time with you, doing everything you do. They are silly and fun, active and curious, and a bit mischie- vous, so be prepared for a full life that includes your Eskie! TAMMYWALDROP Although Tammy Waldrop has had American Eskimos since 1989, she didn’t enter the show world until 2016 with her first toy bitch, Lillie Belle. Four years later Lillie is a Bronze Grand Champion, Multiple Best of Opposite Specialty winner, including the 2019 AEDCA parent club regional specialty and the 2018 National Owner-Han- dled Championship. In 2019, Tammy began her Kennel, Snow Song Eskies, with the breeding of Lillie
Belle (GCHB Arctic Magic’s “Once-Upon-A-Princess) and Smoke (GCHG Sunfall’s Smoke Gets in Your Eyes), which produced a sin- gleton male—Snow Song’s “Lord of the Dance”—Finn, who won a Group 1 and 3 in the 4-6 month puppy class at his first show! I live just north-east of Houston, Texas in New Caney. Out- side of dogs I spend my time composing music, writing children’s novels, vegetable gardening, cheesemaking, and directing music ensembles, especially handbell choirs. Do I hope the breed’s popularity will change or am I comfort- able with the placement? I hope American Eskimos will become better known and more widely sought after as performance dogs and personal pets. They are such wonderful companions and love to interact with their humans. Does the average person on the street recognize the breed? Very rarely. Most people say of my toy girl, “Is that a Pomeranian?” Are there any misconceptions about the breed I’d like to dis- pel? Some folks seem to think Eskies are biters and unsociable, but none of the eight I’ve had over my life have had this temperament. They are protective, but with proper socialization they are happy, well-adjusted dogs. What special challenges do breeders face in our current eco- nomic and social climate? The unfortunate picture that some ani- mal activist and rescue groups paint of breeders, respectable or not. Also, the mind set of people who want only a “pet” and seem to think you should practically give those pups away! At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? I’ve only breed one litter, and that was a singleton, but I could tell as early as six weeks that he moved really well. What is the most important thing about the breed for a new judge to keep in mind? The breed standard. And also, that because he/she judges three sizes that show together, bigger is not always better. If he/she can’t see the movement as well in a smaller dog then bend over and look! (I actually had a judge tell me that he chose the bigger size, because he could see the movement better). What’s the best way to attract newcomers to my breed and to the sport? Social media. I post the fun things I do with mine all the time on Facebook and it had generated interest in the breed. Also, taking your dog places with you and interacting with other people. And not making a sour face when they ask “Is that a Pomeranian?” My ultimate goal for the breed? To see it increase in numbers, in health and soundness, and in new people participating in show- ing and performance sports and in the national and regional clubs. My favorite dog show memory? That’s easy! The very first time that I or my toy bitch, Lillie Belle, stepped in a show ring we won Best of Winners and a five-point major and I was hooked! Thanks to judge Cindy Stansell! I’d also like to share that Eskies are extremely intelligent and need interaction. They are not a dog to leave all day in a crate. And there’s nothing cuter than an Eskie puff-ball puppy!
SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, MARCH 2020 | 305
AMERICAN ESKIMO DOGS: JACK OF ALL TRADES, MASTER OF ONE
by HELEN DORRANCE
W hen it comes to perfor- mance events and per- formance titles, Ameri- can Eskimo Dogs seem to excel at pretty much anything they are asked to do. In fact, many Eskie owners subscribe to the philosophy that a well-rounded Eskie has titles at both ends of its name. However, when it comes to the sport of agility, Ameri- can Eskimo Dogs are one of the best kept secrets of the Non-Sporting Group. Although they love being active with their humans in all AKC sports such as rally, obedience, nose work, cours- ing trials and barn hunts; they particu- larly excel in agility. When the breed was developed in America, their intel- ligence, agility and trainability made them candidates for performing as trick dogs in circuses and other types of per- formances. These same inherited traits, coupled with a willingness to work and an eagerness to please their owners, all contribute to making the Eskie the per- fect teammate in agility competitions (or any kind of performance competi- tion). Eskies live long and are active well into old age. They have very few health problems with a low hip dysplasia rate which adds to their appeal as a long- lived, hard-working agility dog. With
lots of drive and a good work ethic, Eskies are excellent jumpers and rarely knock bars. And size, big or small, is no deterrent—the first Master Agility Champion American Eskimo Dog was an 11-inch toy. Eskies qualify each year for the AKC Agility Nationals and the AKC Agility Invitational (5 dogs competed in both in 2014). Eskies frequently make the finals in both and/or place at the Invitational. Last year two Eskies made it into the finals at the Invitational, with Shirley Michaels and MACH12 Artcrose’s Livin On The Edge MXC3 MJC4 (“Emma”) placing fourth in the 12-inch jump height class and Denise Schneider with MACH13 Sr Extreme Curiosity MXB4 MJS4 MXF MFB TQX T2B4 (“Kody”) placing fourth in the 16-inch jump height class. Emma was also the top agility American Eskimo Dog in both 2013 and 2014. There is no end to what Eskies are capable of as shown by MACH3 Kessona Too Much Caffeine MX6 MJB2 NF (“Tweek”), owned by Jay Kessel, who was the first American Eskimo Dog to make the US Agility World team. In 2013, Jay and Tweek travelled to South Africa to represent the United States and were one of the four teams
competing on the small dog team, which jumps at the international height of 14-inches. The small dog team won the silver medal for team jumping! Four Eskies competed at the second annual Westminster Kennel Club Agility Trial and Lynn Ancona and MACH2 Kes- sona Life In The Fast Lane MXS MJG XF not only made the finals but they finished fourth in the 12-inch height class. And for the first time, the Ameri- can Eskimo Dog Club of America was able to host two days of Eskie only agil- ity at their 2014 National Specialty at Purina Farms. More than 20 American Eskimo Dogs competed with over 40 runs each day. People always seem surprised at how good Eskies are at agility. Many people think because Eskies are a Nor- dic type breed they must be indepen- dent and stubborn. Although Eskies are thinkers—and sometimes think they know the course better than their human team member—I don’t find them stubborn or willful. They are always eager to please and play the game by the human rules. They can surprise you with the amount of drive they can exhibit. I remember one of my very first agility trials where my Eskie in the 12-inch Novice Standard
“THEY ARE ALWAYS EAGER TO PLEASE AND PLAY THE GAME BY THE HUMAN RULES.”
Biz on dog walk. (Photography by Furry Fotography)
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