3 CONNOR DAUGHTERS’ HEADS EACH FROM A DIFFERENT DAM
C’EST LA VIE
so…which head best fits the standard?
Looks to me like Connor is throwing pretty consistent heads! Given a pick, I’d go with C’est La Vie.
Redd looks like my baby. Those eyes are killer!
During your years as experienced dog breeders of lhasa apsos, what has most surprised you…given you most pleasure?
Which head best fits the standard? Here’s what our standard has to say about heads:
Heavy head furnishings with good fall over eyes, good whiskers and beard; skull narrow, falling away behind the eyes in a marked degree, not quite flat, but not domed or apple-shaped; straight foreface of fair length. Nose black, the length from tip of nose to eye to be roughly about one-third of the total length from nose to back of skull.
Before I go any further, I love our standard! It is one of the shortest – if not the shortest – AKC standards. While I prefer the 1935 standard because it’s prefaced with “In judging these dogs, breed characteristics are of paramount importance” the current AKC standard provides adequate description without over-elaborating. The Lhasa Apso is a landrace. That and because of my work with the Gompas, I feel very strongly about written definitions, especially for an ancient breed like ours.
“Judging” dogs from photographs is often an exercise in futility. The angle is about the same, but the hair length and style is different on all three. Some dogs are more photogenic than others. C’est La Vie has never, ever been a photogenic dog. We’re lucky to have a few decent shots of her. On the newly revamped FFT homepage, her head is the featured photo. Below her, in a smaller circle, is a painting of Jelly Bean, my foundation bitch. Jelly Bean had an exquisite head.
I’ve had my hands on all three of these bitches. All three heads fit the standard. I’m not one to pit one dog against another, so to speak. I prefer to ‘make observations’ rather than ‘judge’ one dog against another. That being said, I consider C’est La Vie to have the best head we’ve ever bred. It is exquisite. She is 5th generation tail female to Jelly Bean. On her sire’s side, Jelly Bean is back 4 generations.
The point I think Julie is trying make in the photo essay is Connor’s prepotence in throwing head type. These bitches are out of three different females, including one outcross. Connor, himself, doesn’t have the greatest head. His brother Pryor had a better head. Prepotentcy is not a given by any means. In fact, it rarely occurs! And how interesting that it can come from an attribute that isn’t necessarily the best feature of a dog. This is why, to be a successful breeder, one must know what’s behind a dog; not only breadth of pedigree but width of pedigree.
thanks, Debby…do you feel more strongly about tail female or male? I remember reading Pat Trotter’s book and glazing over a bit during that part.
Before answering Kathy’s brainteaser, I’ll address Shelley’s question.
For myself, tail female has been more influential than tail male. There are several reasons, including my own attention to developing the tail female part of a pedigree. Of the current 5 FFT bitches with me, three are tail females. The other two go back to Jelly Bean, but not through the tail female. Both of my foundation males contributed through several generations of tail male and are present in the pedigree of every dog we currently own, but not through the tail male. I feel very strongly about using quality bitches in a breeding program and actually place higher criteria on the bitches. Call me a sexist!
And on to Kathy’s brainteasers… (And I hope Julie answers these too!!)
My initial response to ‘what has given me the most pleasure’ was the wonderful people I’ve met, especially those that have become friends. But I’m going to assume Kathy’s question revolved around the breeding program itself. The pleasures are tightly intertwined with the entirety of FFT. It’s difficult to single out a particular pleasure and give it the adjective ‘most’. Personally, I derive pleasure from planning a particular breeding, getting those puppies on the ground, training and conditioning my pick and ultimately showing that Apso to its Championship, preferably from the Bred-By Exhibitor class. Then, coming full circle, planning that dog’s part in the next generation.
I am a breeder at heart.
Don’t get me wrong, I can be very competitive! Does competition give me pleasure? Not really, not the act of competing. My competitive spirit (usually) comes from a place that has to do with acknowledgement of the quality of my exhibit, a reflection of my work and passion. Because I (usually) compete with class dogs – dogs working towards Championship – my ultimate goal in the ring is Best of Winners. The win records of my exhibits the past few years give me great pleasure. Edie finished with four-in-a-row Best of Winners at Specialties. Unbelievable, really. Picking up the torch, only one show in between, Thateus was awarded Best of Winners four times in a row to finish his title. Acknowledgment of my work and passion.
The show ring is not woven into the Gompa dog fabric. The pleasures derived from working with the Gompa gene pool, although similar, are different because ‘competition’ is removed from the equation. The opportunity to work with a gene pool that hasn’t been selectively bred for competition is an incredible learning experience. It remains a challenge; an opportunity for continuing education.
All that being said, the single thing that has given me great pleasure was watching Julie special C’est La Vie. With one exception, I was at every major show Julie exhibited C’est La Vie. I loved watching them in the ring together. I watched them at National Specialities, Regional Specialties, the AKC/Eukabu Classic, Westminster Kennel Club, many local Specialties and lots of all-breed shows. I never tired of watching them. I remember the first time Julie showed Punkin at an AKC dog show. She wore the lavender pantsuit mentioned previously on the blog. Punkin was sired by one of my foundation dogs, Ch. Nyima’s Hot Stuff ToNite ROM*. I was pregnant the first time I met Julie. It was a long time ago. She moved away not long after we met. C’est La Vie’s dam, Victoria, is an Olivia daughter. Olivia. I loved Olivia. She was my Almondine (read The Story of Edgar Sawtelle!). As I reread this paragraph there are so many stories between the lines. RD. Wanting to give up breeding, Julie sent Victoria back to me for a while. Victoria was Kaylee’s Junior Showmanship dog. Victoria biopsied normal. C’est La Vie is simply the best Lhasa Apso we’ve ever bred. Type, type, type! She represents perseverance, teamwork and our own growth as breeders and friends.
There’s nothing like sitting with Julie, sipping wine or a cocktail, watching the latest group of Apsos run the yard, either her backyard or my dogyards. Ah! Now there’s pleasure!
to answer Kathy’s question what has brought the most surprises? I think each litter that is born is a surprise. Breeding is not an exact science by any means, you need to know your lineage extremely well and then try and make wise choices in which dogs you choose to mate. You can think that you have the perfect litter planned and BAM the whole thing can become a nightmare. Not only did things not mesh the way you thought but then throw on top hidden health problems. But when you get it right—the smile that comes to your face when those puppies are born and the pride you get as you watch them grow is hard to explain. After the years Debby and I have been breeding more often than not things mesh and come together the way we thought they would but the surprise is still there even when we are right!!
WHAt brings the most pleasure??? Debby hit in on the head when she talked about sitting out in my yard, her dog yard or even at a show and looking at the young dogs we have coming up. To see the fruition of our breeding program come to life and to be able not only to share it with someone but someone who shares your passion for the breed has brought some of the most memorable times of my life shared with a friend. I have found out lately that being able to share feelings and experiences with a friend makes things so much better.
To answer what has surprised me the most…Renal Dysplasia. Not the disease itself; it’s been a long time well-known fact that this disease (by whatever name it’s called..a rose is a rose) is one of the major health issues in our breed. What surprised me was what I learned about people, including myself. People I thought were friends – or at least good breeder acquaintances – distanced themselves. Only to be replaced, if you will, by others that stepped forward providing support. I learned science is only as good as the scientist. I learned with every answer discovered, more questions arise. I learned that is spite of all the academics, the ivory towers, modern medicine, in the end one must make hard decisions herself. I learned I’m as tenacious as a terrier.
The Breeder’s heart is often broken, but it beats strongly with hope everlasting… and it’s always in the right place!
Oh, yes, there are breeders, and then, there are BREEDERS!!
Written by B.J. Andrews
Julie, you shared “A Breeder’s Life” many months ago…
You and Debby ARE BREEDERS!!
You are the very best!
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