Thursday, November 20, 2008

Here's Holly!

I know, it's been MONTHS since Holly finished her championship, but I'm just now getting around to getting her picture! Here she is in all her glory, finishing with her third major under Judge Betsy Dale, and handled by my dear friend, Sally Watkeys. Sally did such a wonderful job with Holly - her coat looked FABULOUS. This particular weekend in Traverse City I was so lucky because Holly finished on Saturday and Tuxedo finished on Sunday and I got to see them both finish! What a weekend THAT was!

Holly is an Iris daughter (and Crystal's grand-daughter), and Magic's full litter sister. She is also Tuxedo's Auntie!

So enjoy!

Shown above is Holly - CH WoTeH'sin Breakfast At Sniffanys.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Magic goes Best Of Breed in Tucson!

Well, 9 points and counting! The Magic Man only needs a major and 3 more single points to finish his American Championship!

Magic is pictured here in May of 2007 getting ready for a show in Pomona, CA where we were there filling a major for Lucky - which broke. Magic hadn't quite decided he wanted to be a show dog at that time, and while he looked beautiful, he had a terrible outing that day.

Magic really hasn't been shown much. After the disaster in Pomona he was shown in Flagstaff but didn't get the crossover for the point. Then we went to Michigan where he went BW for four points. We then did the IABCA shows in December, where he finished his title in three shows. Prior to all of this I had only shown him in Vegas as filler for Lucky's last single points, and Magic wouldn't walk at all! It was so frustrating. Every judge just adored him and told me that I must find a way to get him to move.

I found a conformation class FINALLY earlier this year and since then we've been going to class before most upcoming shows. He lost to Garnet in Sierra Vista, but he's won in every other show. I'm very proud of his accomplishments, which include his first AKC major AND his IABCA International Championship. I'm hoping he will be a finished AKC Champion some day.

In the mean time, Magic runs the house and yard freely. His coat is indestructible and the only restriction on his day is that he must sleep in his 2x3 in the bedroom at night (on a satin bed mat) and stay crated when I'm not at home. Magic actually loves his crate. He loves the noise it makes when he hops in! Many nights here you can hear Magic and Garnet running through the house from the dining room, through the kitchen, down the hall and into the bedroom, where you will then hear Magic hop into his crate with Garnet barking at him because he won't let her in! And then they are off again on the chase. It's a nearly a nightly ritual here and it just proves that crates are happy places for dogs when they are given the choice to make it their own special place! In fact, the games are on as I'm writing this!

Magic is a very special boy. He is one of those dogs that is just adorable and so vulnerable. I adore him and whether he finishes his AKC title or not, he will always be a special boy to me.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Hold on to your hat - this won't be pretty

Something has been on my mind for some time and today, after another visit to a particular website, I'm compelled to write. I've let my blood pressure descend a little so as not to really torch this person. Hopefully eight hours was enough time.

I had a dog some time ago that I was interested in placing in a pet home. He was an older dog that had been out with a handler and had a rather rocky time of it since leaving Phoenix. Suffice it to say I was torn about this dog. I had finally made the decision that even though he was a nice enough dog for some people to breed, for me and the future of my breeding program, it just wasn't meant to be.

I had spent some time talking to a lady who had contacted me for a show quality puppy bitch. Well, good luck, I told her. Since I don't breed very often, getting a puppy was one thing, but a bitch? Was she kidding me? Any and all female puppies stay here for a LONG time, usually forever. The few that I've placed in pet homes had obvious conformation issues that would prevent them from being shown AND they were all spayed. Not to mention we all know how many boy puppies we get in comparison to girl puppies! But I digress . . .

This lady had me convinced she merely wanted something to show in an effort to spend more time with her daughter. A hobby of sorts if you will. I sent her pictures of the dog and this mere novice proceeded to tear into my dog's conformation as if she had been showing all her life. I was not impressed and told her forget it - he's not for sale.

Was I offended? You bet I was! I wasn't about to let this little boy go to someone that had ripped him to shreds when she hadn't as much as stepped foot into a show ring. The dog was pointed after all, and not just with a handler! I had put points on him myself - me and my ample ass! This dog was show quality. She TOLD ME SHE WASN'T INTERESTED IN BREEDING - she just wanted something to show.

Well, the little dog in question went on to complete his American and International titles. He even took a Group 1 placement in International competition. He is now living in Avondale, AZ with his new daddy James and his brother Oreo, a Shih Tzu about his same age. He is neutered and living large! James constantly is bragging about what a good boy he is. James is doing some therapy work with this dog - taking him to nursing homes - and he's flourishing! James has absolutely no regrets about adopting this lady's version of a less than perfect Shih Tzu.

And the lady? Well, these days she's got a full blown website hawking "Imperial" Shih Tzu. She even claims to be able to tell the potential buyer everything about the "Show dog world" yet she has never stepped into a ring. She has a Shih Tzu in every color of the rainbow, most of poor conformation in general - none meeting the weight requirements set forth in our breed standard. She has her nursery all set up online with varying prices for various colors and estimated full grown weights - we all know what an accurate science THAT is. The most ridiculous thing I saw on her site was a piebald pup advertised for $1,500. Eh GADS! Why? Because she estimates the full grown weight at 4 pounds! The key word here - ESTIMATED. She's been doing this now for maybe 2 years. Here truly is a lady that knows this breed - NOT! The whole time I was on her website I kept thinking "PT Barnum/sucker born every minute." If anyone buys a puppy from this lady, they a) haven't done their homework and b) are desperate! Me thinks this new found passion of hers has much more to do with the state of real estate (her "profession") in our country and nothing about her love of our breed - as she is destroying it.

Two points to consider: 1) All you Imperial hawkers out there, flame away at me - your comments are welcome. I can't be more pissed off than I am right now, and 2) Maybe this incident shows you why I don't believe anything anyone tells me anymore when they call me about buying a puppy. When you, the potential buyer makes it through my screening/interview, at the end I'll give you this lady's email address and you can send her a personal thank you note.

Frankly, I'd rather keep every puppy I breed then place them with people like this. It only proves that people will lie to get what they want without conscience. Especially someone that makes their living in a job squarely based on commission sales!

Shown above is AM / IABCA Group Winning CH WoTeH'sin If It Happens In Vegas - AKA "Lucky Christner" - going Breed over Specials is MS during his show career. Professional presentation by Corrine Thellman.

The Shih Tzu Reporter - Fall '08 - Mr. Stephen Regan

Paying It Forward
Nancy Manelski
WoTeH'sin Shih Tzu

When people ask me about showing dogs they always ask the question "Why?" And sometimes I take the time to explain my version of "Why?" and sometimes I don't. I guess it just depends on my mood of the moment or what I feel about how the question was posed. Let's pretend, if you will, that we are on the other side of that question "Why?" and we are faced with an individual that doesn't want to come clean. And now, let us ask the real question "Why?"

Sometimes we need to understand why a potential mentor - doesn't. I mean, how many times does it take to be "burned" before someone stops answering the question of "Why?" and just says "Because." without putting on their mentor hat to try to make people understand the passion of showing and breeding dogs?

If you are interested in learning and finding a mentor, you should know that this person, this breeder/owner/handler, has seen "you" before. "You" may have introduced yourself at a show, or "you" may have placed a phone call or written an email. "You" have laid out the "I am serious about this" argument. And "you" eventually failed. So now, when the real you shows up, fresh faced and eager with hopes and dreams of showing and breeding a Best In Show winner, you merely get the answer "Because." to your "Why?"

If this seems a little Abbot & Costello-ish, I apologize. But it's important for the new person to understand that you are not the first to express an interest. What sets you apart from the ones that have not succeeded before you is your will and determination. And most times the mentor worth pursuing needs proof of your determination. And even then, you will still need to work harder.

We all have setbacks in our lives. It's how we handle them that makes us who we are. This leads to the "two sides to every story" thing. And my purpose is not to go there. My purpose today is to help someone new understand that first of all, there are a variety of mentors out there available to you. The very best ones are going to make you work the hardest. They are the ones that won't just sell you a dog and tell you to be on your way. Most of the time the best mentor won't sell you a dog outright, if at all. They document, they care and they EXPECT. But they expect in a good way. They expect you to learn and to grow. They are gracious when they win against you. They are happy when you win against them. They don't bait you to fail - they train you to win. If you are looking for anything less than this - get a pet and watch Westminster in February.

If you are not willing to develop a relationship with this person, this mentor, for the duration of your non-professional career in Shih Tzu, trust me when I tell you that it is better not to involve a dog in the middle of that relationship. If you are not ready to live, breathe, sleep, eat, laugh and cry about Shih Tzu, trust me when I tell you that the mentor worth the effort will prefer you to walk away now. If you have any elements to your personality that prevent you from selectively forming lasting friendships, showing and breeding dogs really isn't the best hobby you could choose. Try something more suited to your personality.

As the newbie, tread carefully among the masses. TAKE YOUR TIME. Remember there are people out there that are driven by motives other than betterment of the breed. Use your head. Be logical - it's tough when you've got these sweet faces looking at you to say "No, I think I'll be moving on." Remember all dogs, and pedigrees, are not created equal. And another favorite cliche - if it were easy anyone could do it.

Be as selective as the mentor. When the planets align, you will know. It's not just about buying a dog. It's not just about finding someone local. It's about finding someone worth the effort.

So how do you get a dog? Ah - we'll save that for later.

I am pleased to introduce to you, Mr. Stephen Regan, AKC Judge #22219.

NM: How did you get involved in the sport of dogs?
SR: I grew up in London, England. Living in a house full of dogs, my Dad was a Rough Collie Breeder/Owner. We immigrated to the USA in 1974. I obtained my first Standard Poodle in 1988. This Standard Poodle was a rescue bitch. I thought she was the best of the best, her temperament sure was. I later purchased a dog from the late Dr. William Houpt (Willow Hollow Standard Poodles). I showed "Zack" to reach a ranked top 15 Standard Poodle, reaching Group 1 with him once to be beaten by a Basset Hound in BIS. Breeding this excellent Standard, I was lucky to obtain better conformation and also brains, having a Champion puppy and also an Obedience CDX out of this very first litter. I was hooked on this sport and since then have had many litters over the years, owner handling many from these litters to their Championships both in the USA and Canada, exporting the efforts of careful breeding to New Zealand and England. The dog chosen to export to New Zealand won 6 Best in Shows in New Zealand, making us all very proud.
Moving on with my involvement in this multi-faceted sport, living in New Jersey the past 12 years I have been a member of the Eastern Stewards Club, working with other local Chief Stewards. I have attended 40+ dog shows a year serving as a Ring Steward. Most of the stewarding assignments were Toy and Non-Sporting Breeds. This job is fantastic to be up close to see many judges examining Toy breeds and their placements, learning ring ethics and procedure as well as having a unique position to study the breeds. In 2002, I applied to the AKC to judge the Poodle. Since then I have worked hard in learning the Toy dogs' breed standards and attending as many breed seminars as possible to progress in the Toy Group with the goal of obtaining the balance of the Toy Group one day. As for the Shih Tzu, I think this breed is wonderful. If one is having a really bad day, a Shih Tzu will make things much better. Coming from Poodles, I totally appreciate the work that goes into the grooming of the Shih Tzu. I look forward to having many experiences over the years judging this breed.

NM: What was your first breed owned? Shown? Bred? Licensed?
SR: Standard Poodles

NM: Give us a brief synopsis of your dogs/kennel and show "career".
SR: Breeder, Owner and Judge of Standard Poodles.

NM: Why did you decide to pursue judging?
SR: Great interest in the Sport of Purebred Dogs.

NM: Why have you decided to judge Shih Tzu?
SR: Love the breed.

NM: When judging, what is the "must have" quality you look for in a Shih Tzu?
SR: Temperament as per the breed standard. Correct coat, correct substance.

NM: Tell us your definition of breed type in a Shih Tzu.
SR: As per the breed standard for general appearance. This covers the breed type well.

NM: Type and structure - Are they the same? Why or why not?
SR: Well, type and structure are indeed linked together but type is also to include temperament and this is not part of the structure. So it is not an easy question to answer conclusively.

NM: What do you look for on the table?
SR: Table exam is to include all of the anatomy of the dog being judged: head, bite, neck, body, topline, forequarters, hindquarters & COAT. Need to repeat that... COAT. And of course, the temperament, I would not like to see a shy Shih Tzu on the table.

NM: What do you look for in movement?
SR: Everything as per the breed standard; smooth flowing movement with adequate reach and drive. Level topline and high head carriage.

NM: Health, Conformation, Temperament - What do you feel is the order of importance and why?
SR: 1)Temperament. 2)Conformation & 3)Health.
As a judge, we cannot be Vets so the health of the dog is not examined in the few minutes in the ring. I would assume most all dogs presented are healthy. Temperament is really in my opinion the essence of this breed. Conformation is what we judge to see what dog is to be placed where on that individual dog show.

NM: If you could address someone just coming into the sport of dogs, specifically conformation and Shih Tzu, what advice would you give a novice?
SR: Learn by watching the breed. Contact reputable breed clubs and sort out responsible breeders that are preferably local so they can follow up and help. If one is going to show, learn how to groom this breed and get to handling lessons. It is not an easy novice breed to master.

NM: In the US, the Shih Tzu is a Toy, in Canada, Non-Sporting. Where do you feel the Shih Tzu is a better fit and why?
SR: I prefer the Shih Tzu as a Toy Breed. Coming from the Non-Sporting ring with the Poodle, I am quite happy to see it as a Toy breed. I got beaten in the Group ring every time I went to Canada by a terrific Shih Tzu there. Putting that aside, the ideal size and weight of this breed best suits a TOY breed.

NM: What is your feeling of the grooming techniques of today in comparison to those practiced when the Shih Tzu was first acknowledged by the AKC?
SR: I really only know the Shih Tzu to be groomed the way it is these days. I was not involved with this breed back in the beginning of its time as an AKC recognized breed. I would have to assume that with time the perfection of grooming has of course improved with the years. I am perfectly fine with the beautiful grooming that goes into this breed. I expect nothing less than a well groomed and presented Shih Tzu in my ring.

On behalf of The Shih Tzu Reporter, I would like to thank Mr. Regan for taking the time to respond to my inquiry.

If you have comments and/or suggestions on interview questions, judges or this forum in general, please email me at

Judge Regan is shown above with his selections for Best of Winners, Rembrandt's Rightful Heir, and Best of Breed CH Afterglow's The Big Tease, at the 2006 William Penn Poodle Club Specialty.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

News FLASH!!

Magic went Best Of Breed in Chino Valley today for a 3 point major - breeder/owner handled!! Ye HAW!

Thank you judge Sandra "Goose" Allen! It was truly a pleasure to show to Ms. Allen again. She is so wonderful with the dogs and she just RAVED about Magic! I think the words were beautiful and gorgeous along with a few others thrown in!

I'm on cloud 9 ~ we're keeping our fingers crossed for tomorrow!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Garnet has too much energy!

Today I was tasked with taking a picture of Garnet to use in an upcoming tribute to Max in The Shih Tzu Reporter. Since Max is Garnet's grandsire she definitely needs to be in there! Well, the picture I submitted last week wasn't a large enough file, not to mention my photo taking skills leave something to be desired! Well, today was no different, but I moved us outdoors to eliminate the red eye and flash problems. I waited until the sun was well past the backyard and out we went.

You don't want to know how many pictures I took.

Garnet is a wiggle worm. She can't stand still for a nanosecond. She's up, she's down. She has to investigate every noise. And the neighbors were barbequing and their dogs were out keeping them company. This should explain why I had to take so many pictures.

Next time she wins at a show - I'm just telling the photographer GOOD LUCK!

Shown above is S'Dandi's Crimson Crystal Of WoTeH'sin - "Garnet"

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Shih Tzu Reporter - Summer 08 - Mr. Richard Beauchamp

Paying It Forward
Nancy Manelski
WoTeH'sin Shih Tzu

Breeding better dogs involves a variety of elements. This forum will show you the views of some of those that evaluate what we bring them. These featured men and women play an important role in the goal we should all have of breeding the best we are able. But how did we get to this point of bringing our stock for evaluation?

Where does the new person out there start? How do we as a community of breeders help and encourage someone to get past what some envision as the unpleasant side of this venture and eventually into the circle of people that really want to give back to our breed? How do you guide the first-year experts and the five-year wonders into becoming respected members of the Shih Tzu community?

I've thought a lot about this lately for a variety of reasons. When someone comes to you and tells you that they want to breed, what do you tell them, as an established breeder in Shih Tzu? The statement or question may come to you in many forms, i.e. I want to show, or I want to buy something show quality to be my foundation, or it may take on some other form. But how do you answer that? What does your mentor "hat" look like? Do you take the time to really evaluate the sincerity of the person asking? Do you see this as an opportunity to have one of your dogs out there on the circuit, hopefully winning as you share information? Do you roll your eyes and say to yourself, "Oh, not again?" Do you roll up your sleeves and make this person before you give you good reason to share the knowledge that has taken you years to acquire? I hope it's a combination of most of these things. Tough lessons learned are always the most valuable.

From my past I can tell you that if someone comes to you asking for guidance, you should start by sharing that this game of Shih Tzu is not easy. Don't make it easy. It isn't just about buying a dog, finishing it and breeding something else. If it were that easy, everyone could do it. We can say that people have to pay their dues, but the real answer would be to explain the pitfalls of our passion. And not only the pitfalls of showing and loosing more than you win when you start. Lest we forget what can happen in the whelping box.

I recently heard a phrase that has been in my head gathering validation. "Teaching isn't about what you know, but rather it's about how you lead." Set high, but obtainable, goals making the road one of proving dedication and earning privilege so in the end, the lesson is appreciated and future chapters will be written in this book called Shih Tzu. The mentor in you should help that newbie navigate through the inevitable sea of errors and blunders with the patience to see them through. Help them learn to "play the game" and win. Remember it's not just about selling a dog, puppy or champion, and then letting them loose and hoping for the best. It shouldn't be that easy - there is no lesson to be learned by merely accepting a check and sharing war stories. Share openly your experience and be a partner, not an adversary to whom they must answer. Rejoice in their success and empathize with setbacks - offering your support and ideas to maneuver what really is just a fork in their road. Be supportive even if decisions made aren't exactly as you would hope. Remember their moccasins are a different shade than yours - but if you've done your job as a mentor, their decision will be the right one for the dog.

Your mentor hat should be tattered and patched, but indicative of what you can contribute to the future of our breed.

This issue I am pleased to introduce to you Mr. Richard Beauchamp, AKC judge # 6601.

NM: How did you get involved in the sport of dogs?
RB: When I was about 10 years old and down in bed with one of those many childhood "bugs," an Aunt brought me a copy of Albert Payson Terhune’s Collie story, "Lad of Sunnybank." That led me to my first dog show (Detroit Kennel Club) and the rest is history.

NM: What was your first breed owned? Shown? Bred? Licensed?
RB: My very first dog was an American Cocker Spaniel. This was followed by a Boxer and a Toy Poodle. Through the years there have been many breeds but most know me through the success of my Beau Monde Bichon Frise line.

NM: Give us a brief synopsis of your dogs/kennel and show "career".
RB: I began by showing my own dogs (Cockers and Boxers) as a teenager and then handled for a number of other people in other breeds. Through high school and college I managed the kennels and breeding programs for several Michigan based breeders.

I moved to California in 1962 and purchased Kennel Review magazine, which I served as publisher and editor for 30 years. This gave me the opportunity to get to know many of the country’s top breeders, handlers and exhibitors. The education I was privy to has served me well both as a breeder and as a judge.

I developed a great friendship with the Rev. Easton early on in Shih Tzu and we corresponded regularly in addition to his writing a number of articles on Shih Tzu breed type for Kennel Review. Peggy Hoag and I were close friends and I learned a great deal about the breed from her as well.

I have bred champions, Group, and all breed Best in Show winners in Boxers, Poodles, Cockers, Papillons, Doberman Pinschers, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. I am probably best known for my Beau Monde line of Bichon Frise in which, along with my partner Pauline Waterman, bred somewhere in the number of 75 champions. Among them were the top winners and producers in the breed. We owned the late, Ch. Chaminade Mr. Beau Monde who whelped in 1969 still holds the all time top producing stud dog record in the breed. We bred Ch. Beau Monde the Firecracker who is the all time top producing dam in the breed with 17 champions.

NM: Why did you decide to pursue judging?
RB: As owner/publisher of Kennel Review I was ineligible to judge in the U.S. for the AKC but was fortunate to be invited to major shows throughout the world as an all breed judge from 1972 to 1992. Among the many assignments I was privileged to have were those at Crufts in England, the Sydney Spring Fair in Australia, the Melbourne Classic and Goldfields in Johannesburg, South Africa. and when I began to judge here in the U.S. Since judging here in the U.S. Westminster, the AKC Invitational, and Del Valle Dog Club in California have been highlights in my judging career.

NM: Why have you decided to judge Shih Tzu?
RB: I have been intrigued with the breed since its earliest days here in the U.S. through my association with the Reverend & Mrs. D. Allan Easton. It was probably pure chance that I began breeding Bichon Frise instead of Shih Tzu as I was on the verge of joining Rev. Easton in his quest to have the breed recognized here in the U.S.

The Shih Tzu is a delightful breed and a challenge to judge. The challenge primarily in helping to maintain the breed’s true character and avoiding the fads and trends that come and go.

NM: When judging, what is the "must have" quality you look for in a Shih Tzu?
RB: Correct silhouette of course and that unique distinguishing head and eye.

NM: Tell us your definition of breed type in a Shih Tzu.
RB: In my opinion the Shih Tzu that has most of the best in respect to breed character, silhouette, head, movement, and coat is consequently the typiest dog.

NM: Type and structure - Are they the same? Why or why not?
RB: Correct structure is simply a part of type. Correct structure produces the correct silhouette--and that applies nose to toes!

NM: What do you look for on the table?
RB: It gives me an opportunity to have an up close look at the head and to check to see if what the eye beholds is a product of the dog or the hairdresser. Putting one’s hands through the coat reveals whether or not the Shih Tzu has the sturdy structure called for in the breed standard.

NM: What do you look for in movement?
RB: Ease!

NM: Health, Conformation, Temperament - What do you feel is the order of importance and why?

RB: The Shih Tzu is a companion breed and above all must be of sound temperament. No concessions can be made there. Health and sound conformation are paramount of course. Probably 98% of our dogs become home companions. They must be healthy and sound.

NM: If you could address someone just coming into the sport of dogs, specifically conformation and Shih Tzu, what advice would you give a novice?
RB: Find the best longtime successful breeder you can find as your mentor and LISTEN!

NM: In the US, the Shih Tzu is a Toy, in Canada, Non-Sporting. Where do you feel the Shih Tzu is a better fit and why?
RB: The Variety Group has little to do with breeding good dogs, the standard does.

NM: What is your feeling of the grooming techniques of today in comparison to those practiced when the Shih Tzu was first acknowledged by the AKC?
RB: All the painting, powdering and sculpting in the world do not make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

On behalf of The Shih Tzu Reporter, I would like to thank Mr. Beauchamp for taking the time to respond to my inquiry. In our next issue I will be pleased to introduce to you Mr. Stephan Regan.

If you have comments and/or suggestions on interview questions, judges or this forum in general, please email me at

Pictured above is Mr. Richard Beauchamp with his 2007 Best Of Breed winner selected at the Shih Tzu Fanciers Of Southern California Specialty - CH Xeralane's Facing Controversy.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Champion Tuxedo!

Here he is at nine months and 17 days old. What else is there to say?

Sunday, June 15, 2008


What a weekend!

Holly finished Saturday with yet ANOTHER major and Tuxedo got his finishing major on Sunday!

Pictures coming soon!

Monday, June 9, 2008

More from the Nationals

People keep sending pictures one at a time to Sally of her showing Tuxedo at the Nationals last month. Here they are during Sweepstakes. The judge is Wagner Fernandez of Wafer Shih Tzu.
If you enlarge the picture you can see where Wagner is going over Tuxedo's head and you CAN SEE the span of that headpiece between Wagner's fingers! What a head!
Tuxedo placed fourth in his Sweeps class. Not bad considering the number and competition in his class. I'm still so very proud of this little dog! And thanks Sally for your wonderful care and presentation.

PS - Can't wait to see the little fella later this week! :)

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Shih Tzu Reporter - Spring '08 - Ms. Gay Dunlap

Paying It Forward
Nancy Manelski
WoTeH'sin ShihTzu

I began as an owner/handler in Shih Tzu ten years ago. While I still try to keep coat and drag around all those necessities of showing in the trunk of my car, these days I hire a handler more often, due to my own professional obligations and the "kids" I love at home. I am also blessed to have a wonderful mentor that works with me in showing my dogs in areas of the country more apt to draw major entries. These things combined keep my checkbook on low and my excitement on high as my dogs make their way around the circuit.

I have listened to the "arguments" brought forth by many a novice stating that the show ring is political. My experience tells me that many times when my owner-handled dog has not won, it was not always politically driven. Perhaps I didn't do the best job presenting my animal on a given day. Perhaps, had I been able to compare structure to structure, I would understand where my breeding had fallen short. But of course there were times when I felt my dog was blown out of the water unfairly, thinking they of course deserved the win. And thankfully there have been days when I walked away with a sweet victory over competition others would agree was tough and the points won were well earned AND deserved. Through it all I have tried to not only remember my humble beginnings but that the reason I do this is because I want to move ahead - to "pay it forward" to the Shih Tzu breed, as my mentor has taught me.

I recently contacted The Shih Tzu Reporter with an idea that has resulted in this forum. I will admit it was a purely selfish idea at first and I had not planned on being the one putting fingers to keyboard on this one. You see, I am no writer, however I have a great interest in where our breed is going and I also still manage to get a dog out there myself in the ring every now and again. My thought was to "interview" some of our judges out there to bring some perspective to the task they have at hand. It might also help someone new, OR old, understand the level of excellence actually putting their hands on our dogs - hopefully giving many of us a new respect for those under whom we enter. But more importantly, I hope this give us all some insight as to where we can improve, not merely in presentation, but in breeding better dogs.

Initially I will bring to you provisional judges, some of whom you may recognize. As this feature moves forward, I hope to bring to you breeder judges and all-arounders as well. I am excited to begin this new venture with The Shih Tzu Reporter! Let the games begin!

I am pleased to introduce to you, Ms. Gay Dunlap, AKC Judge #4623.

NM: How did you get involved in the sport of dogs?
GD: I have been involved in the sport since 1968 when I bought a Yorkshire Terrier and thought if might be fun to show her!

NM: What was your first breed owned? Shown? Bred? Licensed?
GD: My first breed was the Yorkshire Terrier, which I also showed and bred on a very limited basis. I "graduated" to a larger breed, the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, in 1970 prior to their recognition by the AKC, applied and became approved to judge them in 1984.

NM: Give us a brief synopsis of your dogs/kennel and show "career".
GD: I have bred Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers for 37 years under the Gleanngay prefix with over 135 champions, including BIS, Specialty and Group winners. I bred and owned the top-producing SCWT sire and number 2 top-producing Terrier sire of all time, Ch Gleanngay Holliday, ROM. My foundation bitch was the breed's first BIS winner in 1974 and remained to only Wheaten bitch to achieve that honor until the early 2000s.

I am a regular contributor to numerous periodicals, including The AKC Gazette, Canine Chronicle and SCWTCA’s Quarterly, Benchmarks. I wrote the SCWT Standard Amplification and produced the SCWT Illustrated Breed Standard and Amplification. In 2005 I accepted the editorship of Benchmarks. The publication can be viewed on the web at

I was a member of the original SCWT standard committee and chairman of the standard revision committee that produced the SCWT standard currently in use by the AKC.
I am chairman of SCWTCA’s Judge’s Education Committee and have, for many years past, served on SCWTCA’s Board of Directors. During that time, I was both president and AKC delegate.

The SCWT Stud Register was designed and spearheaded by me and is featured on the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Club of America’s website. I recently provided SCWTCA with a Judge’s Education Power Point Presentation available on CD.

I am a member of the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Club of America, Sun Country Terrier Club, American Dog Judges Association, Dog Judges Association of America, Rocky Mountain All Terrier Club, Greater Denver SCWTC and the AKC Canine Health Foundation.

NM: Why did you decide to pursue judging?
GD: It seemed a natural course of action at the time, although many years passed between applying to judge my first two breeds (Wheaten Terriers and Kerry Blues) and the decision to judge the remainder of the Terrier group as I felt I did not have sufficient time to devote to it. I am approved for the Terrier Group, eight Toy breeds and provisional for nine more. I am also approved to judge Junior Showmanship, Miscellaneous and Best In Show. A successful breeder is, first and foremost, a successful and astute judge of quality. Nothing thrills me more than to find a beautifully constructed, well-balanced dog of correct breed type no matter what the breed.

NM: Why have you decided to judge Shih Tzu?
GD: Since I actually got my start in a Toy breed, I have always found myself drawn to them. I love the elegance and grace inherent in the Shih Tzu. The dramatic and distinctive high head carriage and luxurious flowing coat are qualities I find particularly exciting. Coming from a coated breed myself I truly appreciate the work that goes into its proper presentation.

NM: When judging, what is the "must have" quality you look for in a Shih Tzu?
GD: I judge whole dogs and even in my own breed am hard pressed to place one trait above another in term of "must haves". I do, however, place great importance on correct silhouette in all breeds. I also cannot forgive poor temperament.

NM: Tell us your definition of breed type in a Shih Tzu.
GD: Breed type in the Shih Tzu must include the requisite silhouette with the proud, almost arrogant, head carriage and curved over-the- back tail. It must be solid and of good substance for a toy. Equally important is its luxurious long flowing coat.

NM: Type and structure - Are they the same? Why or why not?
GD: Any breed can display correct breed type and still have structural, or functional, irregularities. So, no, breed type and structure are not the same.

NM: What do you look for on the table?
GD: Examination on the table (hands on) is an important aspect of judging a coated breed. I want to make certain that the head I am seeing is actually correct and not simply created by clever grooming techniques. I want to feel the dog’s substance (or lack of it), that the top line is level, that the loin is short rather than the rib cage, that it is slightly longer than tall and that the neck actually does flow smoothly, and not abruptly, into the back. With a coated breed, my hands must tell me that what appears to be true actually is!

NM: What do you look for in movement?
GD: I do not want to see a Shih Tzu strung up, but rather moving of its own accord, with an effortless, fluid gait, and displaying sufficient reach and drive.

NM: Health, Conformation, Temperament - What do you feel is the order of importance and why?
GD: I cannot place emphasis on health over temperament over conformation. All three must co-exist! In my breed health has been placed foremost of late and consequently our breed is in serious trouble in terms of both breed type and temperament.

NM: In the US, the Shih Tzu is a Toy, in Canada, Non-Sporting. Where do you feel the Shih Tzu is a better fit and why?
GD: Based upon size and taking into account the size spread among the Toy Group generally, I feel the Shih Tzu belongs where it is here in the US.

NM: What is your feeling of the grooming techniques of today in comparison to those practiced when the Shih Tzu was first acknowledged by the AKC?
GD: By way of addressing Shih Tzu grooming techniques, I can only voice that I was shocked over what I learned at a breed seminar. The amount of artificial "enhancement" (coloring) to create a more dramatic appearance saddened me.

On behalf of The Shih Tzu Reporter, I would like to thank Ms. Dunlap for taking the time to respond to my inquiry. In our next issue I will be pleased to introduce to you Mr. Richard Beauchamp.

If you have comments and/or suggestions on interview questions, judges or this forum in general, please email me at

Pictured above is Ms. Gay Dunlap

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Yesterday was Crystal's birthday

This week was really a pretty tough week for me. It just proved how much these little dogs are really a part of me.

Crystal would have been 11 years old yesterday.

I miss you Little Missy. I love you. I can't wait until the day comes when we meet at the bridge and I can hold you in my arms again.

It still hurts like hell every time I think about Crystal being gone.

I was going through some pictures last night and found the one shown here. This was taken July 18, 2006 at 6:43pm. My gardener had just finished doing the yard. I thought I'd go out and take a picture or two before the dogs drug all their toys back out.

Anyway if you look closely at the picture - there is Crystal - evaluating Aurelio's work.

The yard was Crystal's kingdom. She loved to lay on the stone patio but she adored standing at the fence line looking through what is a crack in the masonry, and barking at the dogs in the next yard. And barking! And barking! If Crystal wasn't in the house she was out at the fence or patiently waiting on the patio for her buddy next door to come out and play. In the blazing summer heat she would lay at the patio door on the cool tile in air conditioned comfort patiently waiting for the sun to cross over the yard so she could go back outside and do what she loved to do most. Bark at the neighbor! She would be out there until nightfall some evenings in the summer. Laying, lounging, chasing, resting, rinse, repeat. And the neighbors never complained.

After Crystal was gone, one of the neighbors was out and asked where she was. She noticed the familiar happy bark was gone. I told them Crystal had gone on ahead. They expressed their condolences and then laughed about how she loved her yard so much.

I miss you baby girl. There will always be a place in every backyard I will every have for you to run in spirit. Rest in peace.

Pictured above is Lady Crystalline of Foxhollow in her kingdom within Phoenix.


Over the last six months or so I entered into an agreement with The Shih Tzu Reporter to write a series I've entitled "Paying It Forward." It started out as an idea where someone would "interview" judges and present those interviews to the readership. Well, long story short, my suggestion turned into a new venture in writing. To find prospective interview subjects, I choose provisional Shih Tzu judges with email addresses. Real technical, eh?

So out went the email and the response was tremendous. I was amazed at how many interested people responded! One judge in particular followed my signature link to this blog and read through in an effort to decide whether or not to respond - to see if I was for real I guess.

I am.

So emails followed and I was honored to have one of my pieces right from this blog published in The Poodle Variety during the first quarter of '08! I am honored that people find value in my work. Most of the time I just come here to rant or brag. I guess sometimes I make sense! :)

So thank you Ms. Ann Kennedy for believing in my words.

The funny thing is that once I started to research Ms. Kennedy's judging schedule I realized I had already shown to her! And won! Talk about a coincidence!

As for The Reporter articles, I will begin to copy those published to this blog.

Pictured above is WoTeH'sin Breakfast At Sniffanys winning her first point under judge Ann Kennedy

Tuxedo and Sally at the Nationals

Pictured is WoTeH'sin S'Dandi's Black Tie-N-Tails

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Tuxedo's First Major Picture

Here he is at 6 months and 11 days old getting a four point major!


Shown is WoTeH'sin S'Dandi's Black Tie-N-Tails

Friday, May 9, 2008

Winning Streak!

Well, the kids of WoTeH'sin continue to tear it up out there in the rings.

Tuxedo (WoTeH'sin S'Dandi's Black Tie-N-Tails) now has 10 points, needing just one major and a couple of singles. This little guy is only 8 months old! What a thrill it has been during his whirlwind show career!

Holly (WoTeH'sin Breakfast At Sniffanys) gained another point last weekend and only needs three singles to finish!

Both Tuxedo and Holly are in the expert care of Sally Watkeys of S'Dandi Shih Tzu. Thank you Sally for your hard work and winning ways!

And on the home front, the kids and I went to Sierra Vista, AZ a couple of weeks ago and Garnet (S'Dandi's Crimson Crystal Of WoTeH'sin) beat the snot outta Magic (WoTeH'sin Smoke And Mirrors), taking WB, BW and the breed for her first point! The little brat! She had lots of fans by the end of the weekend, including one of my co-workers, Lauren, who joined us for the trip. Garnet is such a happy puppy, not to mention a stunning color, so people just gravitate to her. Red really does attract a lot of attention in the ring!

I was also approached by several folks in search of a good quality Shih Tzu puppy. Sorry to say that my next litter won't be bred until December! Ah but that breeding will be SO worth the wait - most likely a repeat of Tuxedo! Beautiful black & whites on the way! I hope this time there's a girl in there for me!

Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures in Sierra Vista - it was WAY too windy and I could barely get topknots in. I'll try to post some other candid shots if I can get any around the house this weekend.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

In the ribbons!

Well, Tuxedo continued on his winning ways, placing at the Nationals Friday and Saturday. I'm so proud of this puppy! Thank you Sally for showing him to perfection!

Pictures soon!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Specialty News!

Metropolitan Atlanta Shih Tzu Club
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Best Puppy In Show
WoTeH'sin S'Dandi's Black Tie-N-Tails
Bred By: Yours truly :)
Owned By: Sally Watkeys

Picture to come!


Sunday, April 6, 2008

Our breed has lost a legend

I got the word on Friday from Joan that her lovely boy Max was gone. Max grew up and lived as a pet his entire life, but with an unbelievable desire to show. He spent his days running the house and yard, playing with toys and reminding Joan it was time for dinner everyday at 3pm even though dinner wouldn't be served for another couple of hours. It was just his way. He loved his momma's home cookin'.

Fanciers will always remember Max as one of the greats. His movement was flawless - he was the typiest black Shih Tzu out there.

He was still in coat and showing as recently as 2004, taking BOS at our National Specialty after taking breed both days before at the independent speciaties. I wish I could have been there. Joan and Tom were so proud. I can remember Joan's calls recapping the days. She was so excited and proud of her boy's latest accomplishments. We joked after she cut him down that she should grow him out again to show him this year. Sadly, it wasn't meant to be. Even at the ripe old age of 15, Max was still playing with toys and loving life. Until last Thursday night.

To my friends Joan and Tom McGee - my heart goes out to you. I know what Max will always mean to you. He truly will be missed.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Solo is flying high!

If you've read through this blog, you will remember a little black & white boy born last August that I called Solo. He was a singleton puppy who grew up here fearing nothing. He began playing with the "big dogs" at 6 weeks of age. He was fully confident when he flew to Michigan last November with me to his new home at S'Dandi Shih Tzu. And Solo is now known as "Tuxedo" - officially WoTeH'sin S'Dandi's Black Tie-N-Tails.

Before he flew to Michigan he went to work with me one day and he was officially nick named "Killer" by one of the guys at the office. This puppy was havin' a ball being the center of everyone's attention during my workday. He spent the day being held and coddled by complete strangers, wagging his tail every step of the way. I knew then that he would be fine leaving the nest.

So off we flew Thanksgiving morning, and not a peep out of this puppy during the entire trip. We got to Michigan and within a few hours, this wonderpuppy was running Sally's kitchen with her crew - all complete strangers to him. And he didn't miss a beat. His tail and head held high, little Solo ran the kitchen, played with toys and started making friends with the other puppies, show kids and old timers of S'Dandi.

Sally kept saying how much she liked this puppy she now called Tuxedo. I was simply grateful he had a wonderful show home - hoping he would indeed be show worthy once he got old enough. I saw him again in January when I flew out to pick up Garnet. Tuxedo was just one of the gang and he didn't even give me a second glance. I watched him strut around thinking he had really nice movement. I was still in love with his headpiece, his topline and tail set too.

At the ripe old age of 6 months and one day, Tuxedo went Winner's Dog in Ft. Walton Beach, FL, and got a single point. It ended up he actually got another point due to an error in entry of another dog in his first show the day before - hey we'll take it! And not to be outdone, the following weekend, at 6 months and 11 days old, Tuxedo went Best of Winners for his first major! Four point major to boot! Gads - was I thrilled! This lovely puppy had 6 points before his 7th month of life was complete!

Pictured above is WoTeH'sin S'Dandi's Black Tie-N-Tails

Monday, February 18, 2008

Our new little girl

I am happy to introduce the newest addition to our household! Little Garnet is shaking things up around here! She is quite a dynamic puppy and I have great hopes for her future here. Garnet's mother is Aurora - S'Dandi's Lite Up the Nite and Garnet's father is my first homebred champion Cole who is a Tojo Midnight Max son. Max of course is a legacy within himself, so talk about heritage! Garnet's great grandmother is my first ever champion Booty, who is still, and will always be, very special to me.

I have to thank Sally and Richard Watkeys for allowing Garnet to come West. I have wanted a solid red girl for some time and this little wonder was worth the wait!

As a tribute to my baby girl Crystal, taken from me by cancer last November, Garnet will officially be known as S'Dandi's Crimson Crystal Of WoTeH'sin. In many ways Garnet reminds me of Crystal, only with a red dress on. Garnet is feisty and spirited like Crystal was as a baby, and Garnet is a big kissin' girl like Crystal. I miss Crystal with all my heart and sometimes I think she's come back just a little darker and, if possible, in a more mischievous persona. Garnet has come to me at a time in my life when I needed a puppy to keep my heart from completely breaking in two.

Thank you Sally - this girl is very special.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

I Am Officially A Snob

I will not ever sell a Shih Tzu to someone I don't know with full breeding rights. There are no exceptions to this rule. Even if I do know you, expect co-ownership. There is only one exception to this rule and if you don't know it's you - it ISN'T.

If I say anything else, I'll get myself in trouble.

Pictured above is WoTeH'sin Want U T'No Who I Am - "Iris"