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?