Showsight Presents The American Eskimo Dog

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.

292 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, MARCH 2020

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