Sunday, August 31, 2008
THE POODLE, DOG SHOW CLICHE?
To those people who have never been to a dog show (deprived souls that they are) the ubiquitous Poodle is the epitome of the effete dog show world. The poodle show clip is universally ridiculed as representative of the shallow mentality of dog owners. Even I, after 40 years of show dog indoctrination, still snicker every time I hear a Poodle owner tell some one that the unique grooming is designed to protect the dog in cold water when performing as a duck hunter’s retriever. Right…that is definitely the raison d’etre of the French, the same people who convinced us to eat snails.
Nonetheless, the Poodle is one of America's most beloved pets. I, myself, own two (Well, my wife owns two). I can remember a time when the Poodle was number one in the AKC registry. It has been declining recently, slipping from number five to number eight in the last decade. However, there are still nearly 30,000 Poodles registered by the AKC each year. I can’t fault the Poodle as a pet. They come in a rainbow of colors; large, medium, and small sizes, and are hypoallergenic. They are smart, athletic, and versatile. Our toy Poodle, Fannie, is the smartest dog I have ever met. She is amazingly agile and a better ratter than my Scottie.
Poodles are not as popular in the show ring as they once were. However, there are always a couple every year that impress. The current number three dog in the nation is the black standard Poodle bitch, CH Randenn Tristar Affirmation. “Yes” was bred by Randy Garren and Dennis McCoy, is owned by Toni and Martin Sosnoff of New York, NY, and handled by Timothy Brazier. Yes' most recent BIS was Saturday at the Longview-Kelso KC show in St Helens, OR. (Ever notice the number of people who shell out the big bucks for a top dog and then immediately ship it to the opposite coast to compete?) The general public tends to gravitate to the dog that they see in the company of their favorite celebrity in People Magazine or the latest cute dog food commercial. However, you have to see a dog in person, moving across a show ring, to fully appreciate a breed. Here’s a video of Yes going BISS at the recent Columbia Poodle Club show in Portland, OR. If a picture is worth a thousand words, this video is worth of a million of my poor prose.
Among the show results trickling in is the report of a BIS for CH Smash JP Moon Walk. This little beauty got the nod Saturday at the Newton KC in Augusta, NJ. He was bred by toy Poodle maven, Yukiko Omura, and is owned by Ron Scott & Debbie Burke of Dillsberg, PA. Looks like Ron and handler Kaz Hosaka have another winner to challenge the big dogs this year.