Saturday, September 6, 2008


This is the time of the week when show results start dribbling in and the first reports are pretty spectacular. New Jersey often takes a backseat to its more glamorous neighbor to the east, but while the giants of fashion were strutting their stuff at Bryant Park in Manhattan, several of dogdom’s stars were facing off in North Branch today. Four of the top nation’s ten dogs made it into the final seven at the Somerset Hills KC show; the Harrier, the Sealyham Terrier, the Brussels Griffon, and the Pointer. They were joined by our choice for heavyweight contender of the year, the German Shepherd Dog, CH Woodsides Pacino.

The Brussels Griffon had an especially tough group, besting both the up and coming Toy Poodle, CH Smash JP Moonwalk, and the country’s number one Pekingese, CH Pequest Matchpoint, to get into the BIS ring. At the end of the day, it was CH Cookieland Seasyde Hollyberry, the Pointer, who prevailed. It was the second BIS in two days for Holly, who went BIS the day before at the Tuxedo Park KC show.

We’ll have to wait a couple of days to see how the rest of the top ten did.


Anyone who was a child during the the Golden Age of television remembers the two great canine leads of the 1950’s, Lassie and Rin Tin Tin. While Lassie was the more successful and critically acclaimed program, I always preferred Rin Tin Tin. After all, Timmy was the kind of kid that got beat up in my elementary school. I mean, even the dog was a cross dresser. Rusty and Rin Tin Tin were what every boy and his dog aspired to be.

My childhood bias notwithstanding , I still think that we should all take notice of the young German Shepherd Dog, CH Woodsides Pacino. Tony was bred by Sandy Anderson & Linda Wheeler, is owned by Roger Rechler, Janet Lange, and James Moses. Tony is knocking at the door of the AKC’s top twenty all breed dogs. He has caught fire recently winning four BIS since August 1. Tony is just two years old and is handled by the legendary James Moses. Mr. Moses’ charges have won over 1,000 BIS. The top winning German Shepherd Dog in history, Ch Covy Tucker Hill's Manhattan, accounted for 201 of those wins including a BIS at the 1987 Wesminster KC show.

CH Woodsides Pacino

Those may be some big paw prints to fill, but the smart money says look for Tony to be running with the big boys from here on out. This is one re-run I will be watching.

Friday, September 5, 2008


Or so said the other six BIS finalists at Thursday’s Eugene KC show in Eugene, OR. OK, this one has it all…A rare breed going Best In Show, a tribute video, and owners with a connection to a product synonymous with police brutality. The first of this week’s Best In Show winners is the number six dog, the Affenpinscher, CH Tamarin Tug. “Taser” was bred by Jacqueline & W Terry Stacy, is owned by Phil & Patti Smith of Paradise Valley, AZ, and handled by Jorge Olivera. The Smiths are the parents of Rick and Tom Smith, the inventors of the famous stun gun used by police forces everywhere. These justifiably proud parents decided to name their top winner in honor of their sons’ contribution to technology.

CH Tamarin Tug

This stunning (I’m not even going to apologize for making the most of this one) little dog epitomizes the “monkey face dog” description of this rarest of toy dogs (only 215 registered in 2006). Taser is currently the number two toy dog, but is in hot pursuit of the number one spot, having won seven of the last ten shows entered. We can all look forward to an electrifying (you ARE allowed to groan) match between the Brussels Griffon and the Affenpinscher at the Eukanuba World Championship.

I promised you a tribute video and here it is.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


I wrote in my first post that I was one of those dog show junkies that could identify the real dog show people who inspired the characters in the movie, BEST IN SHOW. Hollywood has often looked to less mainstream sports to break the tedium of action flicks, slasher films, and date movies. Here are three films that every dog show junkie should see.

BEST IN SHOW, released in 2000, is another “mockumentary” by the wonderfully sly Christopher Guest, the man who gave us THIS IS SPINAL TAP. BIS follows the owners of five dogs as they prepare for a Westminster-like show. Christopher Guest not only directed and wrote this gem, he plays the role of a country boy Bloodhound owner, who is also a ventriloquist. As funny as Mr. Guest is, my favorite characters are the duo of Jim Piddock and Fred Willard, as the dog show expert and the clueless color commentator. Anyone who remembers the urbane James Edward Clark and the rough around the edges Joe Garagiola from the early Westminster broadcasts will appreciate the parody. My only criticism of the movie is that there is only one professional handler in the final seven. Now that’s a Hollywood ending.

Now for a memorable portrayal of a pro handler, you can’t beat Harry Dean Stanton as Philo Skinner, a desperate man who dognaps a top winner to pay his gambling debts. Happily, I’ve known no real life inspiration for this character in Joseph Wambaugh’s 1980 film, THE BLACK MARBLE. Wambaugh is a former Los Angeles cop who has written several successful novels based on seriously jaded police officers. After being unhappy with the first movies made from his books, Wambaugh penned his first screenplay for THE BLACK MARBLE which resulted in several extremely memorable characters.

If you are a fan of film classics, then look for a copy of 1933’s THE KENNEL MURDER CASE, the precursor to William Powell‘s THIN MAN films. Like all in that series, this one has deliciously decadent rich people, lightening quick dialogue, and dogs who steal every scene they’re in. If you know the THIN MAN movies, you will remember the mischievous WIRE FOX TERRIER, Asta. In this film, Powell’s canine companion is an equally clever, SCOTTISH TERRIER. There’s also a DOBERMAN PINSCHER , who gets to play a near death scene followed by a miraculous recovery, and a heroic capture of the villain. I’m sure all the actors were jealous as hell.

Now every movie visit should end with a cartoon.Try the wonderful 1939 Disney offering, SOCIETY DOG SHOW, starring Mickey Mouse and Pluto, It just doesn’t get any better than this.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


CH Pequest Match Point

If you are an admirer of this little, flat face, hairy dog then you want to be in Denver. The Pekingese Club of America is sponsoring national specialties on Wednesday and Thursday. The Metro Mile Hi Dog Club moves the show to suburban Denver, Greely to be exact, on Friday for an all Toy extravaganza. Then everyone joins the party in Greely on Saturday and Sunday for the Evergreen Colorado KC all breed shows. The current number one Pekingese in the country is CH Pequest Match Point, who was bred by David Fitzpatrick and is owned by Sascha M. Rockefeller (and, yes, it’s that Rockefeller). So if you are in the Denver area this week, stop in and see the dog that has fascinated the rich and powerful for thousands of years.


When I first starting showing shows rarely occurred on week days. We doggy people were pretty much restricted to the traditional weekend, Saturday/Sunday events. However, fancier enthusiasm and skyrocketing transportation costs have conspired to popularize the “Cluster” concept. This allows exhibitors to park the gas guzzler at one location and attend three, or more shows. Add in a Federal holiday, like Labor Day, and you have a Dog Show Happy Meal.

Charmin and Owner/Handler Margery Good

And no dog took more advantage of the Cluster Craze this past week than our number five all breeds dog, the Sealyham Terrier, Ch Efbe’s Hidalgo At Goodspice. Charmin parked the RV at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds in Raleigh and romped to five BIS at the Cary, Alamanace, Durham, Salisbury NC, and Raleigh KC shows, August 28-September 1, defeating 4937 dogs along the way.

So how did the rest of the top five fare? The number one bicoastal team of CH Galilee's Pure Of Spirit and Taffe McFadden started off the long weekend in Kentucky, going Group one on Thursday, at the Lexington KC show, and BIS the following day at the Northern Kentucky show. They then hopped on a plane and showed up fresh enough in Grass Valley, CA to go BIS on Saturday and Group 1 Sunday at the Gold Country KC shows, amassing 3531 points.

Ch. Ab-Rafiki The Icon Of Cool

The number two dog, the pointer bitch, CH Cookieland Seasyde Hollyberry, spent the long, long weekend in Kentucky. Thursday, Holly and Spirit faced off in the final seven, but it was the Basenji, Ch. Ab-Rafiki The Icon Of Cool, who ended up BIS. Holly didn’t even make to the BIS ring to face Spirit on Friday, going Group two behind the English Springer Spaniel, Ch. Cerise Jesse James. On Saturday with Spirit 2,000 miles away in California the path to BIS was clear for Holly. However, it was the tiny Long Coat Chihuahua, Ch. Tradewinds Star Dust that got the top prize. However you can’t keep a good dog down and Holly is one of the goodest dogs. She finished the weekend with BIS on Sunday and Monday, ending up with 3690 points for the five days.

Ch. Tradewinds Star Dust

The Standard Poodle, CH Randenn Tristar Affirmation, the number three dog spent a leisurely weekend in St Helens, OR, going Group one and BIS at the Longview-Kelso KC shows on Saturday and Sunday, defeating 3259 dogs. Rounding out the top five is the pint size short coat Brussels Griffon, CH Cilleine Masquerade. Lincoln was bred by Denise Barney, is owned by Mamie & Evalyn Gregory & Anne & Harlowe Jahelka, and handled by Paul D Catterson. Paul lives just north of Kansas City, MO and spent the weekend in Amana, IA, where he and his charge went Group 4 on Friday and BIS on Sunday, picking up 1031 points.

Lincoln and Handler, Paul Catterson

Look for the energetic Sealy to move up two spots when August results are tallied.

Monday, September 1, 2008


Here’s a follow up on endangered AKC breeds. The current number three hound in the US is CH Downhome Family Tradition, a Harrier dog. “Coda” was bred by Barbara & Jeff Fox & Linda Johnston & Susan Lowder, and is owned by Dr & Mrs William Truesdale & Susan Lowder. Coda is capably handled by Kimberly A Calvacca. Coda led the pack at the Muncie KC and Anderson KC shows in Muncie, IN on August 16 & 17, judges Mrs Lee Canalizo and Mrs Donelle Richards presiding respectively. Harriers are the second rarest AKC breed in with only 23 registered in 2006. Only English Foxhounds are rarer, with eleven registrations.

CH Downhome Family Tradition

Susan Lowder literally grew up in the game as the child of professional handlers. We applaud Susan and Down Home Harriers for promoting this wonderful breed. I encourage you all to visit their terrific web site. It has lots of information on the breed and beautiful pictures. I would have provided a link here, but unfortunately, Coda’s breeders/owners not only sound like a law firm, they have more legal jargon on their web site than do drug companies. So just Google “Downhome Harriers” and find their site. It is worth the extra effort. Are you beginning to understand why some breeds are so rare?

And just so you know that I’m not singling out Poodle people, here’s Coda’s vanity video from You Tube.

Sunday, August 31, 2008


To those people who have never been to a dog show (deprived souls that they are) the ubiquitous Poodle is the epitome of the effete dog show world. The poodle show clip is universally ridiculed as representative of the shallow mentality of dog owners. Even I, after 40 years of show dog indoctrination, still snicker every time I hear a Poodle owner tell some one that the unique grooming is designed to protect the dog in cold water when performing as a duck hunter’s retriever. Right…that is definitely the raison d’etre of the French, the same people who convinced us to eat snails.

Nonetheless, the Poodle is one of America's most beloved pets. I, myself, own two (Well, my wife owns two). I can remember a time when the Poodle was number one in the AKC registry. It has been declining recently, slipping from number five to number eight in the last decade. However, there are still nearly 30,000 Poodles registered by the AKC each year. I can’t fault the Poodle as a pet. They come in a rainbow of colors; large, medium, and small sizes, and are hypoallergenic. They are smart, athletic, and versatile. Our toy Poodle, Fannie, is the smartest dog I have ever met. She is amazingly agile and a better ratter than my Scottie.

Poodles are not as popular in the show ring as they once were. However, there are always a couple every year that impress. The current number three dog in the nation is the black standard Poodle bitch, CH Randenn Tristar Affirmation. “Yes” was bred by Randy Garren and Dennis McCoy, is owned by Toni and Martin Sosnoff of New York, NY, and handled by Timothy Brazier. Yes' most recent BIS was Saturday at the Longview-Kelso KC show in St Helens, OR. (Ever notice the number of people who shell out the big bucks for a top dog and then immediately ship it to the opposite coast to compete?) The general public tends to gravitate to the dog that they see in the company of their favorite celebrity in People Magazine or the latest cute dog food commercial. However, you have to see a dog in person, moving across a show ring, to fully appreciate a breed. Here’s a video of Yes going BISS at the recent Columbia Poodle Club show in Portland, OR. If a picture is worth a thousand words, this video is worth of a million of my poor prose.

Among the show results trickling in is the report of a BIS for CH Smash JP Moon Walk. This little beauty got the nod Saturday at the Newton KC in Augusta, NJ. He was bred by toy Poodle maven, Yukiko Omura, and is owned by Ron Scott & Debbie Burke of Dillsberg, PA. Looks like Ron and handler Kaz Hosaka have another winner to challenge the big dogs this year.

CH Smash JP Moon Walk

Ron and Kaz campaigned the top winning toy Poodle in history, CH Smash JP Win A Victory, affectionately known as Vikki. I found this unintentionally funny tribute video to Vikki on You Tube. And Poodle people wonder why the rest of the world smirks about the funny haircut. Let me tell you, capturing this girl on video is difficult. If you were lucky enough to have seen this gorgeous toy in the flesh, you know that she was all flash and fire, a spectacularly moving dog with a metlting expression.