Nikki Riggsbee, Contributing Writer
Dogs in Review Magazine
Nikki grew up in New York and New Hampshire. Her family’s dogs included a Collie, a Cocker Spaniel, and several mixed breeds. All were pets. Her family was not involved in dog shows or breeding.
Her commitment to dogs can be summed up in Robert Mapplethorpe’s quote: “I am obsessed with beauty. I want everything to be perfect, and of course it isn’t. And that’s a tough place to be because you’re never satisfied.”
After attending high school in Chicago, she graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and taught school in Ohio for several years. After marrying, she moved to Florida and changed careers to data processing
When Nikki was able to afford a purebred dog, she opted for a Great Dane because of a photo of herself as a baby with a Great Dane that her parents owned. Her then-husband picked a Norwegian Elkhound for their second dog, and they kept both breeds. Their puppies’ breeders introduced them to dog shows and they were fascinated.
The same breeders introduced them to dog clubs, as well. Over the years, Nikki has been active in numerous all-breed and specialty clubs, holding many offices and helping to put on dog shows. For several years, she organized a series of breed seminars during the Florida January circuit. She was a delegate to AKC for Manatee Kennel club for 10 years.
Nikki showed both Great Danes and Norwegian Elkhounds, but only bred Danes. In over 30 years in dogs, she has bred fawn and brindle Great Danes under the affix McEmn, averaging one litter per year. She has finished nearly 30 champions, with many more produced by others from her dogs. In addition to conformation, she has put obedience titles on several Danes and certified and worked with two of her girls as therapy dogs.
In 1990, she applied to judge Great Danes. She is currently approved to judge the Sporting, Hound and Working Groups plus eight Non-Sporting breeds, Miniature Schnauzers, Cavaliers and Havanese. Besides the United States, she has also judged in Norway, Australia, Colombia, New Zealand, Finland, Canada and the Dominican Republic.Bernese Mountain Dogs and Cocker Spaniels. Two these won Maxwell awards Dog Writers Association of America.<>
Nikki has also written for print and online magazines on Great Danes and other breeds and on showing, judging and breeding. Her Breed Priorities series, begun in 2004, in Dogs In Review has won several awards from DWAA. She also produced a booklet Examples of Excellence that has been used in Great Dane breed education.
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Dogs in Review Editor Allan Reznik chats with judge Nikki Riggsbee.