CRUFTS! Preview with breeder, exhibitor, judge Sharon Pinkerton
Sharon Pinkerton, Bareve GWP, joins host Laura Reeves to preview the Crufts dog show held in Birmingham, England on March 7-10.
Pinkerton, who was raised with Greyhounds and English Cocker Spaniels, will judge Spinoni Italiano and the Breeders Competition finals at the show.
“Originally launched on 15 January 2009, the prestigious breeders’ competition, sponsored by Agria Pet Insurance, gives breeders the opportunity to showcase their skills and knowledge as a breeder,” according to the Crufts website. “Each year a number of qualifying heats take place at general and group championship shows. Teams compete to gain points by being placed between 1st – 4th.
The top 40 teams will qualify for the final at Crufts, of which two positions will be for the breeders’ competition winners from the European and world dog shows.”
“I’ve judged German Wirehaired Pointers (at Crufts) a long time ago. And I’ve also judged Hungarian Wirehaired Vizslas. But this has been a little while since I’ve been asked to judge at Crufts. And certainly the first time I’ve been asked to do anything like the breeders (competition).
“It is still quite a new competition. I’m probably the first true exhibitor that’s been asked to judge it. The last four years have been top all-rounders where they’ve had breeding experience but they are more considered now to be an all-round judging person as such rather than still a breeder exhibitor. So I feel quite special really to be at that level.
“I think that’s what I’m looking forward to most is actually doing that because I know it’s such an achievement to be asked. When I first got the email invite and I opened it and looked and I just thought no this is a mistake people like me we don’t get invited for these sort of things. I dutifully sent it back thinking it would just come back saying ‘I’m really, really sorry Sharon, but it was wrong.’ But it came back as yes, you’re now confirmed.”
Sharon decided German Wirehaired Pointers were the breed for her and acquired one from the second litter ever born in the UK. Since the mid ‘70s she has produced 66 champions, of which 12 are full champions, where the dogs have proven their ability in the field as well as the show ring.
“Dogs that have a job to do are considered to be show champions until they’ve actually been out in the field to prove their gun dog worthiness,” Pinkerton said, “plus of course the Border Collie which is the only herding breed that are show champions until they actually go and prove their ability to herd.
“So all the gun dogs, no matter what breed they are, are all show champions unless you then go out into the field and prove that they are capable of doing the job that they were bred to do. And then we can proudly knock off the show bit and then they become full champions.
Listen in to the entire interview for more details and insights about the famous Crufts dog show.
Gatekeeping Within Our Breeds: A Conversation with the Patrons
Host Laura Reeves is joined by members of the Pure Dog Talk Patrons group in an extended deep dive on the question of gatekeeping within our breeds. Members of this private group share their opinions, thoughts and mitigations on placing dogs, using limited registration, educating puppy buyers and more.
Spinning off a podcast conversation several years ago with Amanda Kelly on the topic of are we protecting our breeds into extinction, Laura and the members of the group discuss the various perspectives on the topic.
“This is a group where we talk about a lot of things and very rarely do we share those things into the public realm,” Laura noted. “But we all thought this was a pretty important topic and that we all had things we wanted to say about it and we wanted to share that with the larger Pure Dog Talk community as a podcast.”
One side of the conversation is the position that we have a lot of problems with new people coming to dogs and you have a new person who’s excited to do it and the gatekeeping is preventing them from doing so.
On the other side of the discussion is the opinion shared by a long-time breeder in the group.
“I do not want my only okay, mediocre dogs in the conformation ring. That is not my goal. I don’t care how many champions I do or don’t finish as a kennel,” Karyn Cowdrey said. “What I care about is that what represents my kennel be of, in my opinion, sufficient quality. I would be proud to have kept it I would be proud to walk into the ring with it and honestly if I deem it show ring worthy to me then it’s breeding quality and I keep my name on that dog until at least a certain amount of criteria are met by that person if they’re a new person.”
Education of new and potential buyers was also frequently mentioned in the dialogue.
“I’m very big on education,” Sandy MacArthur said. “And I can give an example and I will not name the person nor the breed, but there’s a person who went in the dog world and was looking for a ‘breeding pair’ … this was 30 years ago in the 90s… emailing everybody ‘I’m looking for a breeding pair’… We all know that’s an instant red flag and this person got put on everybody’s do not sell list.
“Someone in the breed she was interested in decided to take this person out to lunch and have a conversation. By the end of the conversation at lunch, she sold that person a bitch on a co -owned contract. This person put all the work into it, all the research, drove everywhere every weekend, did everything right, and 30 years later is a well -known dog person. Let’s just say that. Somebody took their time to pull them aside ’cause they didn’t know. They thought that what you do is you get a breeding pair. They had no idea.”
If you would like to join these types of conversations, as well as support the work of the podcast in education and mentoring, please visit the website and sign up to join us! Go to https://puredogtalk.com/patron/ to learn more.
WKC Inside Scoop with Don Sturz, Tell YOUR Stories
Dr. Donald Sturz joins host Laura Reeves to discuss this year’s Westminster Kennel Club dog show at the Billie Jean King Tennis Center in Queens, NY and plans for the future.
This year the club will celebrate the 90th anniversary of Junior Showmanship, Sturz noted, while the show is dedicated to the memory of Dave Helming. Sturz describes the search for new turf, new bracing over the courts for the outdoor rings, a gelato stand, an outdoor bar and new ticketing resources for evening events.
“We want to be respectful and pay homage to the history and the tradition of Westminster, but at the same time, attempt to move forward and remain relevant,” Sturz said. “Always keeping the experience for the dogs and the exhibitors as the priority. And it’s not always easy to juggle that.
“Will we ever be back in Madison Square Garden? That’s what you all want to know. Everybody wants to know, will we ever go back to the Garden?
“Okay, so my standard answer has been for the past year, never say never. Remember, I grew up in this. I showed at Westminster for the first time when I was 10 years old … I’ve moved to calling it Westminster because we’re not calling it the Garden … so I’d like to get back to being able to say “the Garden” so it is something that we’re working on.
“The fact of the matter is Madison Square Garden was remodeled and when they did that remodeling it’s what took away all that space. So there’s no way to have a daytime event. So that’s how we ended up with the Piers. So then that thing called covid hit and during that time Pier 92 fell into the water … so that’s gone. Pier 94 is actually being remodeled and will no longer be an exhibition space. It’s going to be smaller spaces for individual businesses and so on.
“So the Piers are off the table. (We) really basically looked at every possible venue in New York City or the metropolitan area. You know, we went to Newark … we had to exhaust everything, right? We also went a little further out into Queens, to the Nassau border and looked at an arena there. And all of these, we kind of looked at it from a space point of view, like, how would it work, right? In Manhattan itself, it’s very limited as to what venues… like, there’s really only one.
“We’re going to be in one of those kinds of venues that’s going to, hopefully, afford us the opportunity to then be back at Madison Square Garden in the evening. So, watch for that.
“The plan is to try to find something for ‘25 that is also ‘26 because we just need to stop moving. We need our home.
“There’s lots of fabulous events in our sport, but there is nothing in the world like Westminster. There’s something magical about that event. That’s something that we consistently commit ourselves to is the Westminster experience, right? Creating that magic.
“So. I think Westminster is in a really great place. I think it’s a pivotal moment for Westminster.”
Puppy Evaluation System Developed by a Woman Ahead of Her Time
Dr. Marty Greer, DVM joins host Laura Reeves for their ongoing puppy discussion. This month Greer shares the story of Virginia Apgar, who named a now-famous newborn evaluation system after herself.
Apgar was a human anesthesiologist who graduated from medical school in the 1930s, Greer noted.
“She was the first female anesthesiologist admitted to the College of Anesthesiology back in an era where there were no women doctors. There were no women a lot of things. So she was truly remarkable, Greer said.
“In that era, a lot of babies were born to mothers that were sedated or anesthetized. And so (Apgar) developed a scoring system to analyze the babies and it has stuck for the last 70 years and it’s very impressive that it’s something that people talk about every day, still using the word APGAR. The acronym stands for: appearance, pulse, grimace, activity and respiration.”
The system was adapted for small animal veterinary use by a vet on staff at the University of Minnesota.
“The advantage of a numerical score,” Greer added “is that it gives you something that you can measure and compare litter to litter, puppy to puppy within the litter over the course of time. And we have some really good data from Neocare, which we talked about last time, about what the relationship with the APGAR score and the survival of these puppies will be. So it’s actually super cool that you can take all this information and turn it into something that you can use at home, you can use at your veterinary clinic, and that your veterinary clinic can help you with. So I would encourage people to learn to do APGAR scores. It’s not hard, it’s not mysterious. It’s really pretty straightforward on what to do with it.
“The value of this is when you go home (from a csection, for example) and you have a puppy that had an APGAR score of a four and a puppy that had an APGAR score of a nine, that you know the puppy with the four needs a lot more attention to have the kind of survival rates that one would hope for. We always hope for a hundred percent (survival), but reality is 100% is probably not a realistic goal.
“Each of the five parameters, appearance, pulse, grimace, activity and respirations gets a score of a zero, one, or a two. So collectively, if you get twos on all five of your items, you have a score of a ten.
“It’s really simple to do. It doesn’t require high level assessment and like I said, a lot of us probably are intuitively already doing this. When you have puppy born, if it’s fish breathing and gasping and gaping, that’s not good. But, if it’s got nice pink color and it’s wailing and it’s crying and it’s wiggling and it’s pink and it’s all those things, you know that you’ve got a puppy that’s in pretty good shape. But it’s just nice to be able to give it a more numerical sign because that gives you data to work with.
“The average puppy is gonna be seven and up. It does give you a numerical score. The value of this is knowing that from the Neocare information, that’s from the University at the Toulouse -France Veterinary School, the puppies with an APGAR score of less than seven have a 22-fold increased risk of death in the first eight hours after they’re born.
“And they also know that puppies with APGAR scores between a four and a seven can achieve a 90 percent survival rate with the appropriate interventions. So, what does that mean? That means you suction them, you put them in oxygen, you make sure that they’re staying warm. You’re doing all those things that you already have been trained to do to help with puppy resuscitation so that they’re not just you know laying in the whelping box kind of hoping that they do okay.”
Greer’s seminal book “Canine Reproduction and Neonatology” is available HERE.
Pro Tips on Changing the Conversation from Ian Lynch
Canadian Kennel Club spokesperson Ian Lynch joins host Laura Reeves to talk about changing the conversation on purebred dogs with the general public.
Lynch, a broadcaster in his day job, brings his passion for purebred dogs to the CKC as their public spokesman. He describes his lifelong obsession with the sport, obtaining the Dogs in Canada Annual magazine and creating a “vision board” with pages from the book taped to his wall.
His first dog as an adult was a Dawin standard poodle.
“I used to get “Dogs in Canada” annuals and I used to put all the pictures on my walls because I love these dogs. And I had a picture on my wall in 1995. It was an Allison Alexander in a red dress, holding Dawin High Falutin, who was the number one dog and has all these records to this day. His name was Lutin, I believe his call name. And it’s funny because as I get older, I realized that I was making a vision board because now I have a Dawin dog.
“And I’m friends with Allison Alexander and she’s the greatest person alive. So, it’s so funny that like, you know, that you hear almost like manifestation stuff and I didn’t know what I was doing. But as a kid, I used to always have the picture of the Dawin dog and I used to tell my parents, ‘I’m gonna have a dog just like that one day.’
Don’t just talk. Listen!
Lynch recommends we just talk to people about dogs. And not just talk, listen also! On topics from training to doodles, listening to what people say gives you a chance to address their actual concerns and increase buy in to the information you do have to share.
“The easiest way for me, I think, to start talking to people about purebred dogs is to talk to everyone who has a dog.
“For example, there’s this lady on my street. She has this pitbull mix. And this dog was so reactive to my dogs all the time. I mean jumping in midair. And then, I noticed that from a distance, she taught the dog the look at me, you know, the treat out. And I stopped her and I said, ‘Sorry to bother you, I just want to congratulate you and let you know that I’ve noticed how good you’re doing with this dog and how far your dog has come.’ And she says to me, ‘Oh my God, thank you. I’ve always admired your dogs. What kind of dogs are they? Are they show dogs? Where are dog shows? Where can I learn more about these dogs?’ Simply talking to people about dogs.
“The way I think a lot of times, I’m lucky I have a radio show. I can infuse dogs. I got the mic. I got the platform. But we can all infuse dogs into our life at all times. When you have people over, my dogs are generally always well-groomed and bathed, basically weekly, but you want to make sure your dogs will look good if people are coming over.
“They smell good, they’re cuddly. I’m a big proponent of best self and make sure your dogs are their best self when people come over and, you know, people ask questions. Another thing we have to do is when we talk to people about dogs is we have to let people talk as well.
“We know a lot about dogs. We want to voice our opinions, but we have to let people talk.”
Breed Type First: Mary Dukes on Judging Dogs
Legendary handler, rep and now judge Mary Dukes continues her conversation with host Laura Reeves. Today they talk about judging, handling and all-time favorite dogs.
“I’m a type-first girl all the way,” Dukes said, quoting the notable Anne Rogers Clark common wisdom to sort first on type and then reward the soundest of the typical dogs. “I’m forgiving of leg faults, especially on the down and back. As long as it doesn’t offend me, it’s probably good enough.
“I do firmly believe this. A good judge can see right through a poor handling job. Sometimes it’s frustrating. I watched a breed in Orlando. It wasn’t a hound breed but a breed that I’m very familiar with and it was so frustrating because it’s an owner -handled breed for the most part and the best dogs in there were being tragically handled. It was so frustrating because there was a dog in there that’s beautiful and every time the judge looked at him (the handler) wasn’t even trying to do anything with him. His legs were everywhere. You know, all she was doing was feeding him basically.
“And I thought, God, if you could just rack him up once, just rack him up once and pull him up over his front and break him over, (the judge) just needs to see it once.
“I might be the one that will turn into Frank Sabella. I mean, not in terms of swapping dogs or anything, because he did that to me a million times, but I know he got in trouble for it. But in terms of, ‘Here’s what I want you to do. Can you go from this corner to that corner on a loose lead? Can you do that?’ If they give me five steps, we’re golden.
“At the end of the day, it’s putting up the best dog.”
Pro tip: Pacing
“It’s all about throwing them off balance when you take the first step. I always like to go into them because they learn pretty quick. A lot of people they jerk (the dog) and then ‘let’s go.’ Well, then the dog starts anticipating that. I just would turn them into me and then just bump them. Just bump their shoulder as you start your down and back.”
Mary’s fantasy best in show line up would be judged by Michelle Billings. It would feature Mick, the Kerry Blue who shows up in most judges’ all-time best line ups, but many of her other choices are more esoteric and focused on dogs she knew personally. From Iron Eyes, the Bouvier to Scarlett Ribbons, the Italian Greyhound. Listen in to hear her personal choice for Best in Show.
Mary Dukes: An Evolution from Owner to Professional to Rep to Judge
Host Laura Reeves is joined by Mary Dukes, legendary Whippet breeder, professional handler, AKC Executive Field Representative and now judge.
Dukes has spent a lifetime involved in working with animals. From showing horses to training elephants to showing dogs. Her work with the zoo animals instilled in her an absolute dedication to animal husbandry.
NO Dirty Dogs
“There are no shortcuts in animal care. Period,” Dukes said. “In zoo animals, you have to be even more on top of it because wild animals don’t have a tell that they’re sick. In the wild, any tell that they are sick or injured is going to make them dead. So they are really good at masking that. If you are sloppy or dirty or messy there is no room for you in the animal business.
“I’ll put this on blast right now, if someone walks into my ring with a dirty dog, we’re going to have a problem. There is no excuse to show a dirty dog. I won’t hold it against the dog, but the handler might get an earful.”
AKC Registered Handler Program
Dukes was an early member of the AKC Registered Handler Program. As a rep, Dukes was a coordinator of the RHP. She joined RHP because they demanded insurance, inspections, so “I wanted to put my money where my mouth was.”
RHP is not a guarantee the handler is going to win with your dog, Dukes said.
“The whole point of the program is so the people have a place to start looking where we had done some of the ground work for you. You know they (they handlers) are insured. You know their vehicle is inspected for safety and cleanliness. You know their kennel has been inspected by AKC kennel inspectors. You know they’ve signed a code of ethics.
“RHP members have to have a contract. They have to bill in a timely fashion. The bill has to be itemized. A lot of the trouble you see, most of it is because the expectations weren’t clear. If you have a contract, it’s
right there in black and white.
“One of the newest requirements is SafeSport. All RHP members have to take the training as a condition of membership.
“Safe Sport is a congressionally mandated program for every Olympic sport.
“There’s been a lot of abuses in every sport. Basically, Safe Sport is making you aware of what to look for. If you see a situation that you suspect might be something, it gives you tools. Because we aren’t an Olympic sport, we don’t have access to the mechanics of the national organization.
“It automatically makes everyone (who’s had the training) mandatory reporters. If you put it out in the open more, it’s harder for someone to creep around. I would like to see it spread out to judges, especially juniors judges.”
Join us next week for part two of this fantastic conversation. Learn what Dukes is looking for in a dog and hear about her fantasy Best in Show lineup.
BernerGarde Leads the Way in Open Sharing of Health Information
Host Laura Reeves is joined by Lori Jodar, president of the BernerGarde Foundation, to discuss this legendary program.
BernerGarde has been collecting health and pedigree data on the Bernese Mountain Dog for nearly 30 years. The founder of this concept began in the 1960s gathering information on 3×5 cards. The non-profit foundation was created in the 1980s and now includes 215,000 dogs’ information.
“The mission of BernerGarde has always been genetic, genetic, genetic,” Jodar said. “And because of that, we’ve been able to stay on course. The Parent Club, the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America, and the BernerGarde Foundation have remained very good partners throughout the years. So that’s a good thing.
“The most expensive thing that we have done to date is to start a repository. We started a DNA and tissue repository.
“We knew we wanted to study this malignant histiocytosis. So in 2006, we partnered with Michigan State University, Dr. Vilma, we call her Dr. Vilma. And she’s a brilliant researcher, as well as being a professor at Michigan State University Veterinary School, and she has managed a repository for us. We have 4,000 unique dogs in the repository, and I don’t know how many tumors we have, but not that many, but like 1,000, we use for research.
“It’s very expensive, very, very expensive, but what has morphed out of that is there’s a group in France that has been studying histiocytic sarcoma for a long time, and they are finding some answers. So, we have shared DNA with them, tumor submissions with them. We’re about to send several hundred DNA samples to them for their continuing research.
“The database that we have is so vibrant and vital to the community. I don’t think I can overstate it. It’s become part of everybody’s life. And if they complain about anything, they… they being the community of breeders, they complain about anything, it’s that there’s never enough information.
“Through this database, there’s health records. We divide the health records into what we call anecdotal and diagnosed. So, to be diagnosed, you have to have veterinary support, a pathology report or veterinary report to actually have a diagnosed condition. And then we do all the health certs, you know, we get a quarterly thing from OFA on hips and elbows and whatever they’re doing.
“We also have, you know, about 50% of the dogs in the database now are not US, they’re from Europe and Australia and Canada. So, we needed to learn how to interpret all of those records like through the FCI in Europe. And oh it’s a lot. So, we have database operators all over the world now. We have about 30 of them and they’re kind of the in-between, between the people that want to submit information.
“We are so focused on accuracy that I think that has given us legitimacy, actually, that focus.
“If you got a bitch and you are looking for a stud, you can go to our database. We have a stud-finder and you can put in parameters. What the age is, do they need their hips, do they need their elbows, do they need DM, do they need whatever it is that you feel you need for your breeding. And then, we’ll just… spit out a list of stud dogs.
“You can also do trial pedigrees. We also do COIs, Coefficient of Inbreeding, for every dog. You can put five pictures of your dog in there.”
614 – Neonates: Hypoxia, Hypothermia, Hydration, Hypoglycemia
Dr. Marty Greer DVM joins host Laura Reeves to talk about the four H’s that constitute critical care of neonates: Hypoxia, Hypothermia, Hydration, Hypoglycemia.
“The four H’s are hypoxia which is oxygen,” Greer said. “Hypothermia which is temperature, hypoglycemia which is glucose and hydration which of course is hydration or dehydration. So we’ve got those four parameters and basing the rest of the discussion on that, we can get started with some pretty important things that you can do at home to measure, to manage. It doesn’t do you any good if you can’t manage it. But collecting the data doesn’t do you any good unless you use the data.
Greer notes there is currently no good way to measure blood oxygen levels in puppies at home, but that physical indications will give you an accurate starting place.
“You can look at puppies and say, are they nice and pink,” Greer notes. “Do they have a curled pink tongue? Or is their tongue kind of grayish, blueish, a little bit flat? So curled pink tongue means you keep working even at one minute, five minutes of age, curled pink tongue with that curl to the edges, you keep going. If it’s gray and flaccid and you’ve got other puppies that need your help, set that one off to the side, keep moving.”
Greer recommends breeders consider investing in an incubator and oxygen concentrator. She advocates for the Puppy Warmer system in particular.
Well-hydrated puppies will have very pale yellow urine when stimulated with a clean cotton ball or tissue, Greer observes.
“For me, hypoxia is first,” Greer said. “For me temperature is second and then hydration is third. That’s my particular order. Hydration is very important but temperature in the immediate birth period, in that first hour after birth. Puppies come out wet… They come out without any oxygen in them, other than what they got from their mom. So, they’ve got to start breathing immediately, and they’ve got to stay warm.
“And so you want to get them born into enough absorbent material, like warm towels, that you can very quickly get the puppies dried off. Again, the incubator that Puppy Warmer has is a great place to put them for drying.
“I like heat sources under the puppies, under the bitch and under the puppies. I don’t like the ones that come from above. The ones from above, I have concerns about dehydrating the puppies. I have concerns about the bitch getting too warm and not wanting to stay with her puppies. I’m concerned (about fires) started with heat lamps. So, I’m really not a fan of the overhead heating.
This is the first in a planned series of episodes about neonates, their care and deep dives into the first hours of a newborn puppy’s life. Listen in for more today and BOLO the first Monday of every month for more from Dr. Greer.
Junior Handler Wins NOHS Finals in Orlando
The 2023 AKC National Owner Handled Series Finals was won by 14-year-old Adam Kucera and his two year old Irish Setter, Stryker. Adam and Stryker’s breeder, Patty Fanelli, join host Laura Reeves to share their story.
“At (Adam’s) first show, he beat me for Winner’s Dog,” Fanelli said. “It was one point with the brother. The next show was the Potomac Specialty. He went best in sweeps and he took a five point major and went best of Winners and best puppy.
“And I said to him, “You just took a five-point specialty major.” And he said, ‘I don’t even know what that is.’ He sure knows now.”
Stryker is Adam’s first Irish Setter that his grandmother arranged to purchase from Fanelli. He showed a Boston Terrier first, but really wanted to show a bigger dog.
Adam says he does all of Stryker’s grooming “except the clipper work because I am so afraid he’s going to just move and it’s just going to go, it’s all gone.”
The most challenging part of training Stryker, Adam said, was teaching him to freestack “Because he always just wants to jump, he always just wants to jump on my shoulders and thinks it’s time to play as soon as I hold a treat and not hold him.” A 4.0 home-schooled student, Adam says he practices with Stryker every morning before completing his school work.
Competing in NOHS gives Adam and is family more time to spend at the shows.
“My first show, we went to the show and I didn’t win the breed,” Adam said. “We went to go watch the groups and we saw that there were two groups going and we were like ‘why are there two, there should only be one?’ So then we found out what owner handler was. It’s kind of hard to show an Irish Setter. There’s not that many owner handlers out where I live, so if we want to stay a little bit longer at the show, we can do owner-handled and that gives us stuff to do and it’s a really fun competition.”
Adam has set lofty goals for himself and his dog. His remaining goals for Stryker include winning best of breed at the National Specialty and winning the breed at Westminster Kennel Club. He dreams of becoming a professional handler and breeding Irish Setters in his future.
Take a listen to the entire episode for more from this outstanding young man.