Owner-Handlers and Canada’s Top Dogs

From Editor's Note, Dogs in Review August 2011

Welcome to the August issue. Whether your reading this month is done in the motorhome after a long day of showing, on a plane en route to a judging assignment or in a hammock in the backyard, enjoying some welcome down time with your dogs, we’ve brought you a smorgasbord of information and entertainment.

When we invited some of the sport’s most successful and accomplished owner-handlers to weigh in on the challenges of piloting your own dog in the ring, all were happy to share their thoughts. Their breeds are among the most competitive and time-intensive shown today — Standard Poodles, Afghans, Dobermans — so you know it’s not about the short cuts. Benefit from their advice in “Owner-Handlers Speak Out” on page 130.

If you’re among the many who have walked past the Owner Handler Association’s booth at Westminster, but don’t know much about the organization, read the OHA profile by Amy Fernandez on page 152. Longstanding members like Pattie Proctor and Rose Robischon explain the genesis of the OHA, the purpose it served decades ago and its role today.

In this issue we’re happy to celebrate and acknowledge Canada’s Top Dogs of 2010. Many of them, along with their breeders, owners and handlers, are familiar competitors south of the border. The No. 1 dog all breeds made history as Sherril Wallack’s Afghan ‘Keefer’ became the first of his breed ever to achieve Top Dog status. Other dogs broke records for their breeds. Meet the dogs behind the rankings in Dawne Deeley’s report, starting on page 156.

To achieve national recognition in your breed is a huge accomplishment for anyone in the sport. To become known worldwide for the quality of your dogs is indeed an honor. To reach such heights in two breeds is quite extraordinary. Finally, to do it with little advertising and fanfare, starting out in South Africa and then emigrating to Canada, is unbelievable.

Guy Jeavons and Mark McMillan are the pair behind GrandGables Miniature Dachshunds and Shelties. From California to the Midwest to New York, you will see GrandGables dogs competing in the show ring. For many of us, the first brindle Dachshunds we’ve ever seen have been GrandGables. Their dogs have won American National Specialties as well as distinguished themselves at Westminster and Crufts. Guy and Mark are also all-breed judges. Read more about them in the GrandGables kennel profile on page 174.

Today’s glamorous Yorkshire Terrier is far removed from the scruffy ratter of days gone by, yet the breeder-judges who participated in our breed feature are adamant that under the Yorkie’s elegant blue-and-tan peignoir must beat the heart of a feisty terrier. The judges and breeders from the US, Canada and Great Britain who responded to Bo Bengtson’s questions emphasize the challenge that the breed presents to fanciers. There is sound structure that all breeders strive for, but in addition correct coat texture and color that is supremely important.

It is interesting to note how many respondents credited Wildweir Kennels with giving them their start in the breed. This legendary bloodline provided foundation stock for so many. Our own columnist Rick Beauchamp was among the recipients of the twin sisters’ generosity. He shares his fond memories of Wildweir as part of our breed feature.

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