Top Notch Toys September 2018

THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY by George Milutinovich

A s we enter the last months of 2018, let’s take a minute or two to reflect on the world of pure- bred dogs and the sport that we all profess to love! It is imperative that we look back at our involvement and ask ourselves what we could have done to be a better ambassador for our breed, the American Kennel Club and the fancy in general. Many of us wear multiple hats in our lives. For example, in addition to judging purebred dogs since 1999, I amcurrently the Vice President of the CCSPCA in Fresno, California! We have a monumental task of attempt- ing to find forever homes for tens of thousands of unwanted dogs and cats each year! Unfortunately, many wind up being euthanized! Education here is key in teaching each genera- tion responsible dog ownership and stopping the cycle of indiscriminate breeding! Change hats and I become a committed advocate for the pur- poseful breeding and preservation of purebred dogs! This goes far beyond the sport of showing dogs! It goes to the very existence of our breeds and the original purpose for which they were bred! As with almost everything today, it becomes an “us versus them” sce- nario and solutions rarely come to fruition because not enough people are willing to step across the aisle, get involved and help educate! Often reputable breeders are demonized as being the root of the problem! We must do our part to dispel this myth to avoid unrealistic government bans and restrictions that could decimate our sport! Get involved! Are you will- ing? Toy breeds comprise an ever

photographers, superintendents, ex- hibitors and vendors; there is plenty of room for all of us in dog shows! No one has ever advanced themselves by ridi- culing their colleagues! At least not for long! The original purpose of dog shows was to evaluate breeding stock and that objective should remain to- day! Given the current political cli- mate in our country and the divisive rhetoric coming from all directions, let’s all strive to be the individuals that make our sport great! Have re- spect for one another, admire qual- ity and talent, congratulate one an- other and keep personal attacks out of our sport! And finally, I recently attended a se- ries of shows in an attempt to finish my young dog! There has always been two schools of thought regarding judges showing their own dogs and the perceptions and biases that might be created! Without getting into that controversy, I am certain after that cluster of shows, I walked away with a renewed respect for the owner han- dler! It had been over 25 years since I had entered a ring as an exhibitor! Literally I was a nervous wreck; I was sweating profusely through my sport coat in 60 degree weather and did a mediocre job at best of show- casing my dog’s attributes! Friends and colleagues watching ringside would certainly confirm my account. I came away from the experience of those four days with the sincere belief that all judges should be required to change hats and “become the exhibi- tor” from time to time to reconnect with the beginnings we all share!

growing segment of Dog Shows! More and more fanciers are flocking to the Toy Group and honestly, competition for a group placement in any part of the country is intense withmany wor- thy exhibits exiting the ring without a ribbon! Judges coming from other groups face new challenges evaluat- ing Toy breeds! The American Ken- nel Club National Owner-Handled Series, has provided judges who are permit or approved for at least one breed in the Toy Group or an entire group to judge the NOHS groups and Best in Show! It is a wonderful learn- ing experience for the judge but he or she must be vigilant in learning cor- rect examination techniques of a Toy dog before the assignment! This ap- plies to Bred By Exhibitor and Puppy Group judging as well! Show Chair- men must confirm the judges desire to judge a particular group before the assignment is approved by AKC and published. It is imperative that aToy judge is light handed. Knowing hands can gently feel without poking, prodding or be- ing intrusive! The table is the place to evaluate fine points within a breed but toplines must be evaluated on the ground and on the go around! Bites and teeth can be a bone of contention between judges and exhibitors of Toy breeds! Judges must follow each par- ent club and AKC directive regard- ing the proper way to evaluate a Toy mouth! Many a worthy exhibit has been negatively impacted by a care- less examination! Inexcusable! Sportsmanship at Dog Shows is in desperate need of resurrection! True competition is a cornerstone of our sport. To all judges, handlers,

54 • T op N otch T oys , S eptember 2018

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