9. What advice would you give a newcomer? Find a breeder/mentor who has been in the breed for a long time and LISTEN to what they have to say. Do your homework. Be aware that this is a double-coated breed with seasonal shedding that must be groomed regularly and will leave white hair on your clothes, furniture and carpet. Also, they are high energy, so be prepared to do something with the dog. They are not characteristically couch potatoes. 10. What is your funniest experience at a show? My friend and I had littermate females. Both of them liked to carry the leash in their mouths when they moved around the ring. I am much taller than my friend and one day her dog decid- ed to get her skirt in her mouth and everyone could see my friend's slip all the way around the ring. RUTH SAMPSON SILVEROAKS AMERICAN ESKIMOS 1. Where do you live? What do you do outside of dogs? My primary residence is in San Mateo, California but I can only have two dogs (Darcy and her daughter Becca) with me there. I also have three acres with a home and kennel near Portland, Oregon. A very nice family lives there and I visit for at least a few days most months. Someday I'll retire up there. I was a full time CPA but now have a tax practice and also trade stock options to support myself and my Eskie habit. Many of my friends are people I’ve sold puppies to in the past so except for traveling, most of my activities have some relationship to dogs or dog people. 2. Number of years judging/approved breeds? I’ve had regular status as a judge of Eskies for a couple of years and am currently in the process of applying for all the Nordic breeds. 3. What are “must have” traits? What short- comings are forgivable? Eskies must be able to perform their function. The consensus seems to be that they are an all-purpose working dog. They are also a Nordic dog and must have the characteristics of adapta- tion to that environment. They are a rectangular dog with the ability to work tirelessly.
According to the standard their structure should include 50% leg-to-body ration and must include good angulation. And to me, to get endurance you also need short hocks and the 20-degree angle of the pasterns. Lastly they must look like an Eskie, that is, have the correct outline with good arch to the neck and loose over the back tail. A pretty and functional head never hurts either. I'm willing to forgive not quite single tracking if they are converging AND have good reach and drive in the side gait. This is, of course, just my personal take on what is most important to Eskie function. 4. Does the standard adequately prioritize the traits that are breed for? The standard is fairly easy to understand. The disqualifications all make sense. There are a few items that seem a little extreme (like prohibiting black toenails), but generally, it is a pretty clear standard. However, it does not really prioritize the various characteristics. 5. What, if any, are the traits breeders should focus on preserving? My personal fear is that some Eskies are get- ting larger and more Sammy-like. We need to keep our breed distinct from the much larger and coarser Samoyed. In my opinion we need to highlight the unique combination of intel- ligence, alertness, soundness and beauty of our Eskies. The biggest weakness I see right now is in ignoring the standard that calls for 45-degree layback in the front assembly and full angulation in the rear. The Eskie is supposed to be the most angulated of the Nordic breeds based on the standards. While it is rare to see true 45 degree angles, we are seeing a lot of straight shoulders and rears. While the animal can look balanced (and even elegant), the legs are not under the dog as required. Therefore the gait is short and
awkward with little reach and drive. 6. Do you think the breed’s quality has improved?
I’ve been in the breed almost 30 years and I remember many of the great dogs of the past. I think temperaments have improved but I can’t make a judgment about the overall quality of all Eskies. The dogs that were great in the past would still be great today. 7. What is your funniest experience at a show? My memory always fails me on these types of questions, but I know my dogs manipulate me. Eskies are so smart and just plain cute that a day doesn’t go by that I don’t laugh at my dogs and myself.
S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , J ULY 2015 • 191
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