Monday, July 9, 2018

Chinook Club of America National Specialty

On July 7th the Chinooks had their AKC National Specialty at the Tacoma Kennel Club dog show in Puyallup, Washington.  I was show chair for this show and I had a couple dogs entered.  It was great to see some friends I have not seen for a while and to meet new friends.  A few potential Chinook owners also came to meet the breed and talk to breeders and some judges came to watch, examine, and learn more about the breed. Results and judges comments follow the pictures.
 Chinooks waiting ringside for the show to start
One of the things I love about the breed is how peaceful they are milling together.  A few playbows happened but we don't need to be concerned about keeping the dogs away from each other.
 Amateur Owner Handler Males- Remy and Kelvin
 Part of the Winner's Bitch lineup- Mouse is about to gait and standing very nicely is Chelan
 Remy in front and Kelvin at the rear in AOH male class
 Kate in the Bred by Exhibitor Bitch class
 Dylan in the Bred by Exhibitor Male class
 Dylan won Best of Opposite Sex to Best of Breed. I did not handle the Best of Breed winner myself so Dylan was also the Best Owner Handled Chinook and was able to compete in Owner Handler Group.  He showed very well and looked great! 
 Dylan in Owner Handler Group
 Winners Bitch and Best of Breed Mouse
 Mouse in Working Group.  She had just seen me sitting ringside and I had to duck down behind some judges to hide from her.
 Mouse waiting her turn in a very large Working Group

 Mouse was just coming out of season and the Boerboel behind her was interested in her and staring at her, which made her a little uncomfortable. 
 Mouse in Group 
 Mouse  in Group 
 Seeley in Amateur Owner Handler Bitch class
 Chelan in front and Seely behind in AOHB class
 Kasute in Open Bitch 
 Kasute in front and Mouse behind in Open Bitch
 Kelvin and Remy in AOH Dog 
 Dylan and Kelvin on Winner's Dog
 Tribble in Puppy Bitch
 Reserve Winner's Bitch lineup  
 Remy in Veteran Sweeps
 Lilah in Veteran Sweeps
 Lilah and Remy competing for best Veteran.  Lilah came out on top

CCA Specialty Results
Best in Puppy Sweeps: Moonsong Trouble with Tribbles
Best Veteran Sweeps: Moonsong Halona Delilah of Frontier
Regular classes:
Amateur Owner Handler Dog: Frontier Ice and Snow Kelvin
2nd: Rain Mountain Frontier Shuksan
Bred By Dog: Frontier Time and Tide Dylan
Winners Dog: Frontier Time and Tide Dylan
Reserve Winners Dog: Frontier Ice and Snow Kelvin
Puppy Bitch: Moonsong Trouble with Tribbles
Amateur Owner Handler Bitch: Frontier Still Waters Run Deep
2nd: Laughing Mountain Aspen Seeley
Bred by Bitch: Frontier Pure of Heart
Open Bitch: Moonsong Mighty Mouse
2nd: Frontier Halona Joy Kasute
Winners Bitch: Moonsong Mighty Mouse for a 5 point major!!!
Reserve Winners Bitch: Frontier Pure of Heart
Best of Winners/Best of Breed: Moonsong Mighty Mouse
Best of opposite sex: Frontier Time and Tide Dylan
Best owner handler: Frontier Time and Tide Dylan
Judges Comments:
Both the Sweeps Judge ( Mr. Gary Dunlop) and the Breed Judge (Mr. Lee Herr) had some positive comments on the breed and also some constructive comments on how we can improve. I was very pleased with their comments and felt they had a good grasp of the Standard and also our struggles as a small breed. All the judges, including those ringside, raved about the conformation, substance and movement on the Veteran Bitch.  They felt she was very close to what we are looking for in our females.  The Sweeps and Breed Judges liked the movement, angles, and topline of the puppy bitch showing but thought she still looked quite immature. The Judge liked the overall look and topline of the Winner's dog.  He liked the fore chest, substance, and coat on the Winner's bitch  and it was her prominent pro-sternum, which is missing in many of the Chinooks that caused him to put her up over the Winner's Dog for Breed. He thought both Winners moved well but thought the Breed winner looked a little more powerful.  There was praise for the fitness of the dogs present as the judge stated he really disliked putting hands on a working dog and having it feel like jelly. Both judges commented on how, even though this was the largest group they have seen at a show, they looked more of a cohesive breed than in the past.  I daresay a lot of this is because most of the Chinooks present were closely related! I passed on the comments from the judges on each individual dogs to the owners. Overall the biggest criticism from both judges was about the chests and how some lacked the width and/or depth/ and or prosternum wanted in a powerful sledge dog.  The breed judge also commented on how he sees some Chinooks that were more square than desired but warned us that some of our Chinooks have the proper length but it is because the dogs have a very long loin with a shorter ribcage and this can cause weakness, especially as the dog ages. The last criticism was over the lack of proper coat in some of the Chinooks- primarily coats that are too short and/or without the noticeable ruff.  These are all issues that are prevalent across the breed and breeders of aware of but with so few litters a year and diversity, health, and temperament a greater concern for many breeders, it may be a long road to get them consistently improved.  We talked about the struggle to get people interested in breeding to increase our number which will better allow us to better address these conformation issues.
It was a crazy day but a great time and many of us met for a nice dinner after the show.  I plan on heading to Oregon for a show or two coming up and hope to see more people at these Washington shows as well. 

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Rainbow Bridge

I did not think losing any dog could hurt worse than when I lost my dog Chili last year but Faethe dying has been a huge punch in the gut.  I did not realize how much she meant to me, how much she did for me, and how much she was a part of my life.  She was, simply, the best dog I ever owned.  She was a good show dog, a good hunting dog, a wonderful household helper, a good obedience dog, a great 4H dog, and a loving therapy dog.  Faethe was not only an incredible ambassador for the breed but for dogs in general. She never had a cross word for any person.  She had 100% trust in humanity- I think that is why she loved everyone and was never afraid.  She liked other dogs but LOVED puppies. Even in her old age, she would take any youngster under her wing. 
2017 family photo.  Faethe could get along with any type of dog.  Having Chinook and Saluki 'siblings' was not a problem.  She sled with my sled team and happily chased swallows with my Salukis.
Faethe at 6 weeks of age.  I really had no interest in getting an Irish water Spaniel but I liked Faethe's parents and how could I resist this chubby little monster.

Faethe was a very pretty puppy and was sweet and easy to train. She only wanted to please.  

Faethe was a very natural retriever and took to bird work easily.  She LOVED the loud bang of the gun because that meant birds were going to fall from the sky.  That transferred over to a lot of happy excitement over fireworks.  Her happiness over these loud noises was a great influence on my other dogs who have not had any problems with the loud bangs of the 4th of July or neighbors having target practice.
Faethe taking off after a bird. If it was in an open field, a thicket of thorny blackberries or in the water, she would get the bird. She may be sweet and kind but when it came to retrieving, she was quite determined.
 Faethe LOVED LOVED kids.  She was a loaner dog for 4H and was used by kids who did not have dogs of their own.  She happily allowed peewees to drag her around the ring and if they wanted to take her for the weekend to practice or compete in fair then she settled into their homes like she always lived there. She trusted and listened to anyone who asked anything of her. 

 It may not be practical but I loved the look of a long topknot. I would finally take pity on her when I saw she could not see the ball to play fetch
Faethe displaying the medal she won at the IWSCOPS Specialty
 Here is Faethe snuggling with a visiting Irish Water Spaniel puppy named Demi who is now all grown up and has had puppies of her own.  I have fostered countless Water Spaniel puppies who came to my house for a few days to a few weeks ( and one time almost a year) to learn manners and confidence from Faethe and my other dogs.
 Faethe playing fetch off the dock at my parent's camp.  She was a true water dog

 Sometimes a very nice, obedient dog can be a bit boring but not Faethe. She had personality.  She found this doll head in the woods while hiking one day and carried it all over for years.  I would not see it for weeks and then she would get in the mood and track it down.  She especially liked to pull it out and show it off when I had guests.  It never failed to get a reaction!
Faethe taking a break from fetch and getting ready to find kindling for the fire.  I showed her a stick and told her to fetch it up and she went out and brought stick after stick to the fire pit for me.  She was a great helper.  She would go out and get all the toys out of the yard for me before I mowed and if I was carrying a load of laundry and dropped a sock or cloth, she would pick it up for me.  She was a great lazy persons dog as I could ask her to get the remote for me if I plunked down on the couch and forgot to grab it off the tv stand.  She would get bowls, bones, and toys out of the back of crates for me so I did not have to crawl in myself. She would have been an incredible mobility assist dog or service dog. 
 Faethe may not have been a flashy or showy dog but she was very sound and correct and she looked better and better as the years went on.  After she finished her Championship as a youngster, I rarely showed her except for once a year at the Irish Spaniel Club of Puget Sound specialty that was held at my place of employment.  Here she is winning Best of Opposite Sex to Best of Breed out of the Veterans class!  She was always so young looking and had a lot of life in her- people were shocked she was a veteran, they always thought she was a puppy. 

Faethe showing off her winnings
 Faethe was never happier than when she had puppies. She just adored being a mom and when any of my other girls had puppies, she would produce milk and help nurse them as well. Faethe had three litters and her pups inherited her very sweet and kind disposition. 

 Faethe adopted a litter of Chinook puppies who were born the same day as her first litter of puppies.  I put the Chinook pups with her pups and she took them on without a second thought. 
One of Faethe's Chinook pups all grown up with a pup of his own so I guess this is a three generation photo:-)  Peter still thinks Faethe is his mom and he is so excited every time he sees her
 Faethe playing with Alsea.  She was gentle when a dog wanted to be gentle but she was up for some ugly face and WWF wrestling if it was called for
 One of the many family photos taken in Faethe's life.  I regularly re home dogs after they are finished their show careers and I like raising pups and placing trained young adults so Faethe saw a lot of turnover in my pack but she was accepting of every new dog coming and going. 

 Chinooks are not known for being great retrievers but I had a line of Chinooks that just loved to fetch and Faethe's influence really helped develop their skill.  Here is Faethe teaching my Chinooks with Frisbee.
A good game of tug is always appreciated
 My Christmas card for 2017 My oldest and my youngest welcoming in the new year 
 Faethe still looking good for an oldie
 So beautiful
 Last year I drove from Seattle to New York to visit family for two months.  I left all my dogs at home except for Faethe.  She went with me and got to be only dog.  She was the perfect traveler and I was so glad I was able to spend this time with her.  She helped me fish, went with me to visit family and accompanied my mom and I as we walked Portland Maine.  
 Faethe playing frisbee with my co worker's dogs.  This was a few short months before she passed over the bridge.  It was not too long after this that her leg became incapacitated and she could no longer play ball or go after birds. Even in pain she would have fetched anything thrown for her so I just kept her away from any other dog's retrieving.  It was torture for her not to be able to play fetch. 

God speed Faethe.  You were loved by so many people and you will be so missed.