Showsight Presents The American Eskimo Dog

WiTh BarBara BEynon, hELEn dorranCE, arLEnE grimEs, KEKE Kahn & LUis sosa

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q&a

or more without getting their hands on an Eskie in the ring. Judges should not be afraid to reward the correct Eskie which may not happen to look like the others in its class. At the same time, judges should not to be afraid to reward a quality Eskie in the group because it was the only Eskie entered in the show. HD: I think the coat can sometimes be distracting for new judges. AEDs are not a trimmed breed. Consequently, profuse hair can make them look low on leg or longer bodied than they really are. A big ruff can make a dog look stuffy around the neck and shoulders, even though he may have plenty of neck and a decent shoulder. AEDs are not always great table dogs; they love to lean to one side of the table (naturally it’s never the judge’s side) as if they are in a hurricane and will blow off at any moment. Sometimes it feels like they have to be exam- ined one leg at a time. They aren’t a breed that likes a lot of hands on. In some ways it is easier showing and judging them now that the exhibitor shows the bite. In general, they are very food motivated and bait really well. However, with or without food, they are still devoted to their person and although always alert to their surround- ings, they rarely take their eyes off the person they are with. Consequently, many AEDs are unlikely to bait for keys or other objects, especially when held in the hand of a stranger. AG: New judges seem more concerned with finding the correct parts in each dog rather than the quality of the whole package. It takes a lot of looking at quality dogs and/or photos of quality dogs to be able to properly assess each one for breed type. LS: That they are little Samoyeds! I recall a time when I judged a Samoyed Specialty and a class bitch walked in that I thought was the size of a Standard. I checked the Samoyed standard and realized that the lower end of the Samy standard is the upper end of the Eskie standard. 7. Is there anything else you’d like to share about the breed? BB: Eskie are devoted to their families, which translates to handler in the show ring. Judges should remember that the AED is primarily an owner-handled breed, so please be understanding of requests for handler changes. Even specials who are out with professional handlers have their favorite pro or assistant for whom they will show much better. HD: AEDs are one of the smartest breeds I know of. Luckily that intelligence is coupled with a willingness to please their owner. However, they also have very good memories—sometimes to their detriment. If some- thing traumatic occurs, they may associate that event with that show for months afterwards (or extrapolate their fear to all shows in general). It can be most annoy- ing! Sometimes they may just need some extra patience on the part of the judge to overcome a previous unpleasant experience.

AG: As breeders, I think we have (happily) cut the incidence of Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) and are rightly con- cerned about epilepsy and diabetes. I do not think we are paying enough attention to monorchidism/cryptorchi- dism, wry bites and an aggressive temperament. Because we don’t talk about these three traits showing up in a litter, we tend to think it’s not occurring with a high incidence. I think they are occurring more frequently than they should. Entering our own Eskie’s data into the health database will go a long way in determining the extent of these problems and how seriously we should be considering them. KK: I remember this breed as an elegant workman coming in three different sizes. Just off-square, in my opinion, with a lovely stand-offish coat. Very important is the eye shape that is oval and never bulging. For a white dog, you are definitely looking for a dark eye with dark eye rims but white eyelashes. Also a natural breed forbidding trim- ming to the extent of disqualification. LS: I enjoy judging the breed and try to evaluate the three sizes independently. I like a good moving, sound Eskie that is not too long nor too short. I like a pretty face on every breed I judge—you have to look at them every day! 8. And, for a bit of humor: what’s the funniest thing you’ve ever experienced at a dog show? BB: When my niece was 12 and showing in Juniors, I allowed her to show one of my retired bitches. Kita adored my niece and would free-bait in front of her, waving her tail back and forth (and we all remember the handlers’ adage that movement draws the eye). During the old Astro Hall Cluster, Jen was showing in the Open Juniors class (there were only two Open classes then) and lined up with about 35 other juniors in the ring. Kita was standing there waving her tail as she just glowed in the ring. A friend who was stewarding came down side of the ring and quietly told me what a beautiful Eskie my niece had. Everyone was stunned when my quiet reply was, “The bitch is older than my niece!” And, yes, Jen won the class. HD: My funnier experiences seem to occur more on my way to the dog shows than actually at the dog show. When my local club put on their first show we were a very poor and struggling club—I think we only had a couple of thousand dollars in the bank. I had picked up the judges at the hotel and we were on our way to the show when the judges started talking about airlines and their flights to Austin. Everett Dean mentioned that he had flown first class to judge at our show and I was so upset to find out we were paying for a first class ticket, I missed the turn off to the show and it was a few miles before I even real- ized I’d missed it. I found the correct turnoff again when he casually mentioned that he had used his frequent flyer miles to fly to Austin and it didn’t cost our club anything. Luckily, we made it to the show on time.

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