Tuesday, April 6, 2010

American Beauty

Tomorrow we head to Maine. Or rather, I head to Maine with my mom and a dog she is retiring with a couple who lives down there. I have never been to Maine but hope one day to hit some shows there, finish what I started with Raimi and perhaps get Leeloo's championship in her country of birth. Archer will also get shown but I am not putting a huge priority on getting his US championship while he's still so immature. He'll probably be at least 4 or 5 before I seriously try to get him finished there. If I can finish Raimi and Archer there(and Rosie finishes this year like I expect her to) Halo will get her US ROM which would be extra cool.

Strange thing with my dogs, they seem to do much better in the US than in Canada and in much stiffer competition. Halo took a year to finish in Canada competing against just 2 or 3 other Ridgebacks but in the US, sometimes with 30+ entries, she finished in a handful of shows. My dogs consist of all American lines though so it shouldn't come as a surprise really that their type would be more acceptable to US judges. Even Leeloo, with her white feet, would not be totally out of place in an American ring. Here ... forget about it!

Canadian Ridgebacks are what I like to call 'old school'. Often they are big, red and more heavily set with bone and substance than the American dogs. Raimi was relatively easy to finish in Canada because ... well, I just described him. He fills the eye doesn't he?

Canadian dogs remind me a lot of European dogs, but with better structure. I'll be honest, I'm not a fan of the dogs I see in Europe and I'd almost certainly never import one. As it goes the Canadian judges will see more of the big red dogs than American judges who are accustomed to their own types in the US. Archer and Leeloo are far and away American dogs. They do not look like Canadian bred dogs and they certainly don't develop the same way either. I like a clean, smooth outline with angles that do not stop the eye. This is Archer from about a month ago, smooth as silk and about 18 month away from maturity! He won't lose that clean look either, he's kept it since puppyhood and it will follow him his whole life.

I don't want to sound like I'm complaining about either type or system, just that there are differences and I recognize them. It goes a long way toward being able to sleep at night when I lose and don't think I should have! I always say I got Leeloo and bred Archer knowing what I'd end up with and frankly, loser or not, the dogs I have are the dogs I want to have because I will not compromise my ideals just to win. At the end of the day, cuddled on the bed with me, the dogs I have are the dogs I want.

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