Miss Bailey bug had a pretty nice weekend at the Chattanooga KC shows. She was Best of Breed and Best Owner Handler both days. She also was awarded a Group 3 Owner Handler today under judge Fred Bassett. I believe that leaves her just 2 points shy of her Grand Championship. She showed great this weekend, even with being in standing season.
Always proud to show my first daughter.
A couple of weeks ago I attended a book fair author panel featuring one of my favorites, Spencer Quinn of Chet and Bernie fame. It seems that part of his agreement to come speak was for the event to invite a local rescue organization to set up an adoption booth at the venue. On leaving the panel discussion sure enough there was a pop up tent with a group of 10 or 12 big friendly mixed breed dogs who were clearly they’re looking for their homes of their own. That makes me sad.
Of course as dog lover to my core my first instinct was to go over to visit my furry obsessions only to pause and then pass by only later realizing I was afraid of rescue. And that made me very sad.
As a legacy breeder of purpose bred dogs I will no longer stand in the shadows and apologize for my love of creating wonderful dogs and because of that I am more likely to avoid all things rescue. My expectation is not one of a common goal to find loving and responsible homes for dogs but I expect vitriol and loathing and that makes me sad.
In polite company you shouldn’t speak about religion or politics and I have begun to add rescue to that list as well. Most people are well-meaning and have a great desire to help but the most vocal are like reformed smokers or religion zealots or “winged” politicians. Whose view is “my way or the highway” and the rest of you are off to some parts very, very south and hot of here. I can’t tell from a glance which are which so I just avoid them all. There are good people out there but I am now suspicion of all of them and that makes me sad.
I wish more people would take the time to educate themselves. There are many great dogs that need homes both mixed breeds and purpose bred dogs. I wish people would work on choosing the right dog for them and if they want something that has certain characteristics, size, coat, temperament etc. then buy a dog from an ethical, responsible breeder or breed rescue and be OK with it. If you just are looking for a good companion then find an ethical rescue and get a new friend and be OK with that too. Because it is not OK for people to be bullied for their choice in finding a dog by “the other side” when instead we should all be rejoicing that a good dog has a good home.
I really don’t want to be afraid of rescue, I want to support them but the divide between responsible, ethical breeders and rescue seems to be wider than ever before and that is what is truly sad because I don’t know how to fix it. Sad indeed.
This is an article I wrote in 2000 about stewarding. I think it still holds true. I know that stewarding prior to actually entering a show ring helped me tremendously. I honestly love stewarding and have learned so much from the job. Although I no longer live in the Southwest and as of last year no longer belong to the NMSA I know the NMSA members continue to bring a high quality experience to stewarding through the southwest.
I wrote this such a long time ago, I bet most of the people quoted don’t remember this article.
Stewarding…… What is it and Why should I do it?
The Dog, we can all agree is the most important component of a dog show but one of the most undervalued components of a dog show is the Ring Steward. Aside from being undervalued for their actual work on the day of the show, the job of a Ring Steward is an undervalued teaching tool.
Ring Stewarding give the Owner Handler an opportunity to observe dogs from the judge’s point of view, often a different one than ringside. It also gives the O/H an opportunity to see different breeds and compare movement and structure, something Professional Handlers get the opportunity to do by handling multiple breeds. “Another benefit is to help de-mystify ‘The Judge'”states Lucretia Coonrod, a breeder/owner/handler of German Shorthaired Pointers. She goes on to say that “it is also very beneficial to be an inside ring steward and get a chance to see exactly what the judge sees…you find out that the judge can only judge what they can see! Presentation is so important.”
Owner handlers normally handle one or two breeds, they are their passion but ring stewarding gives the O/H a chance to see breeds up close and personal. You also get to talk to the judges and some of them will tell you why and how they make their choices. That proximity to the judge often gives people the mistaken idea that judges will remember them and put them up later. Most judges remember that you were a great steward. AKC Judge Janet Robinson says “My advise would be to anyone interested in stewarding is to go to the club and be trained to do the job correctly as it can be very rewarding and a well run ring by a good steward is, for a judge a GREAT DAY”.
There are different ways to learn stewarding; the AKC has instructional material available and many show giving Kennel Clubs run classes for stewarding. Mary Jacobs of Wildrose Irish Wolfhounds recommends “A professional group is a great way to learn the craft and get paid also. It paid my show expenses for years. It is also required for prospective judges as you learn how a ring runs, etc., so folks who do steward need to document everything down to whom they stewarded for and what breeds.”
A job at a dog show that pays money? How is that? Stewarding clubs such as the New Mexico Stewards Association and the Stewards Club of New England contract with Kennel Clubs to provide stewards for their shows. The Association then is paid and the proceeds are split with the members who worked the show. Stewarding associations or clubs provides the training and the work up the schedule around members show schedule allowing exhibitors to exhibit and steward. Most associations are quite strict about allowing members to steward for the judge they will be showing to at a cluster. These professional groups work very hard to make dog shows run smoothly. Helen Turin of the Stewards Club of New England says, “I would like it if stewards were accorded the respect that they deserve, you couldn’t run a show with them.”
With all the advantages to stewarding Owner Handlers are missing a great chance to increase their knowledge about dogs and dog shows and if that isn’t enough you could as exhibitor Andi Owens puts it (with her tongue firmly planted in her cheek) ” have a good excuse for not showing and you get to drive the other exhibitors crazy worrying about whether you’re schmoozing up to the judges”!
Jinnie Strickland, Owner handler
Member, New Mexico Stewards Association
This article first appeared in the Spring 2000 issue of the American Canine Exhibitor.
Really, it is so odd to me to roll out of bed, give my dog a groom, jump in the car and run over to the dog show just prior to my ring time, show, hang out with friends for a while and then head home. But that is just what I did this past weekend at the Cherokee Rose Cluster. I entered PJ on Saturday and Sunday of the 4 day cluster. My main man PJ just needs a few single points earn his Grand Championship so off we went.
Thursday and Friday our breed’s top winner the lovely Coco was awarded Best in Show so we knew going in it would be working for the Grand Champion points that would be awarded for Best of Opposite and Select Dog. Mr. PJ did both, on Saturday he was awarded Select Dog and on Sunday he was Best of Opposite behind lovely Coco. So he earned a couple of single points leaving him just 4 to go.
PJ is always fun to take to the shows, he is fun to hang out with, always happy to make new friends especially new friends with benefits (also know as FOOD). He takes everything in stride and makes me look good by being so cute. What more could you want from a day a the dog show.
Being a show dog is hard work, you can tell he missed his doggy nap time. But who can blame him, he did what I ask of him and he deserved his nap time.
In my professional life I train adult learners and I always say in my intro that I show and train dogs and if I give them a cookie, I promise it will be a people cookie. That always leads to questions about the dogs during the 6 to 10 weeks of training. Most think it is cool but it there is often a question of why?
So I thought I would think about the why? What is my why? What motivates me to get out of bed at zero dark thirty to drive to a fairground or expo center to spend under an hour trotting around a ring with my dog to win a scrap of ribbon and “points” and pay $30 for the privilege?
I am a competitive person but not so much so that my identity is tied into winning. I hope I am a graceful loser and seen as a good sport. So my why isn’t about WINNING. I think my why really is about the dogs.
I find dogs to be highly entertaining. Their joy at life never fails to bring joy to my life. Of course I could just have pets and be joyfully entertained. I think showing for me is a visual art form. Beauty come to life, a masterpiece on four paws. I think it is the celebration of dogs that draws me in, the events themselves, the circus atmosphere, the gypsy lifestyle of the people.
I have had lots of hobbies where I shared experiences with other like-minded people and enjoyed them fully but with dogs and their people it is like joining a tribe. To quote a favorite author it makes me happy to be in “a nation within”
Yes I did it but why? I admit I thought it was a fun idea to get people together to support a charity that works to cure a horrible deadly desease. ALS kills the body while the mind still lives.
Yes, it was fun thinking about how to include the dogs and what I would say and who would I call out in challenge. But why did I do it? I did it because someone I didn’t know well but was much respected was lost to ALS and because of her I have a little bright spot in my day, everyday.
So I did the silly #IceBucketChallenge and dontated a little money, along with lots of famous, infamous and not famous people for fun, for awarness and with thanks for making my life a better place.
This bit of silliness was for you Helen Jones.
I’ve renamed myself:
As they say perception is reality and for many the word breeder is a dirty word. What is the difference between me a responsible breeder and a commercial/profit breeder, a backyard breeder or the horrific puppy mill breeder? Sometimes it is hard to tell if you are not a “dog person” and you are just trying to find a nice puppy for your family. So what am I in reality?
Let’s face it Legacy Breeders like me are never, ever going to produce enough dogs to satisfy the dog loving general public. There are lots of puppy buyers out there that might be wonderful homes but don’t meet the criteria that I set out for my placements. In reality, commercial/profit breeders are going to take the place of what we now call “responsible breeders” and they will be selling dogs that may have some health testing etc, since that is what much of the public now expects. So how do we the “responsible breeders” of today educate the public on the difference?
Education, anyone can talk about breeding dogs. Why should someone listen to what I have to say? Why? Because I am a legacy breeder, that is why. My job is to protect and support the breed and as such I should be mentoring anyone interested in the breed. Does mentoring mean I’m going to sell you a puppy? No, but it does mean I’m going to give you the best information I can and give you the tools you will need to make an informed decision on how best to choose a dog for your lifestyle.
So who made me a Legacy breeder? Well I made myself a Legacy breeder and I did that by hard work. First I know that I have Cardigan Welsh Corgis, dogs that meet the breed standard. How do I know that? I took them to 3rd party experts for evaluation. That’s right I took them to DOG SHOWS! There was enough consensus that they met the breed standard that they were awarded Championships. These dogs that look like Cardigan Welsh Corgis but do they that act like Cardigan Welsh Corgis? Well, yes they do and I know that because I have them in working events and out in public where their temperaments are tested so I know they are smart and loyal and bidable and act like a Cardigan should act.
Ok, so now as a breeder, I know I have dogs who look and act like Cardigan Welsh Corgis but are they healthy? Genetics, environment and plain old luck can make a difference in the health but as a Legacy breeder I am doing what I can to make sure the dogs that I am using in my breeding program are producing healthy puppies. Many breeders do health testing but using the test to produce superior puppies that look and act like Cardigans are what should be expected from a Legacy breeder.
Now as a self-proclaimed Legacy breeder whose job it is to protect and promote the breed I have put in a lot of hard work to protect the breed. I’ve bred to the standard, I’ve made sure my dogs are temperamentally sound and Cardigan like. I’ve done my health testing and made it available to interested parties. What else should I be doing to protect and promote the breed? I should be educating and mentoring people who are just discovering our breed. That includes telling potential puppy buyers that a Cardigan might not be the right breed for them. Helping new people at dogs events, any new person, not just the people who got puppies from me or my friends. People who get a Solstice puppy will know because I am a Legacy Breeder and that they can always count on me to assist them with their dog and I will be supportive of their success and failures
I should also be serving the breed by working with other Legacy breeders and the parent club to promote and protect the breed. By educating I should be helping the public understand the difference between a Legacy breeder and others who breed for profit. I should educate not preach.
So as a self-proclaimed Legacy Breeder have I fulfilled the requirements what I believe separates me from profit breeders?
1. I’ve bred to the standard and have had 3rd party experts judge my dogs and confirm that they look like Cardigans.√
2. I’ve training my dogs so that they can perform tasks in a public setting and have been rewarded with titles to show we were succesful.√
3. I’ve performed health checks on my dogs and made the information available.√
4. I’ve not only joined my parent club but work with the membership to promote and protect our breed.√
5. I am an AKC Breeder of Merit. Some would argue that, “that isn’t saying much” but to me it means I belong to a dog club that is working to promote our breed and/or dog sports and I have agreed to abide by their code of ethics and conduct. I have promised to provide adequate health testing for my breed, I have promised to register and place my puppies wisely and it shows that I have bred dogs who meet their standard and have been rewarded for other working activities.√
6. I use this blog and social media as an outlet for education about the breed and dogs in general. Open lines of communication and a commitment to work with other Legacy Breeders on the health and welfare of our beloved breed.√
Yes, I think I have met all the criteria I have set forth to be labeled a Legacy Breeder, do you agree? Do you think having a title or description would assist those of us who have always been termed “Responsible Breeders” but go a lot further for our chosen breed be distinguished from those commercial/profit breeders who meet minimum responsiblity requirements?
How about a poll to see what you think?