A Kennel Visit with PaRay Bichons Frisés

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“Have a mind that is open to everything and attached to nothing... Greatness will follow.” Tray Pittman quotes author David Frost, then continues, “These wise words so apply to dog breeding. One must keep an open mind to all aspects and not become attached to mediocrity for anything.”

Paul Flores and Tray Pittman, well-known professional handlers, are usually seen showing top-winning Bichons Frisés, but their first love is breeding. In 14 years these partners have consistently bred Bichons that have impacted the breed both here and abroad. They have bred, owned and handled the Number 1 Bichon in the U.S. for 12 of those 14 years.

Paul Flores always loved dogs. He used to trim the family’s Toy Poodles in Continental show trims, an accomplishment that amused and impressed his family and friends. He acquired his first Bichons in 1972. “They were still in the Miscellaneous class, so I only owned them as pets. My first show dogs were Salukis.”

Paul bred three or four Saluki litters in 20 years and finished 15 of them breeder/owner-handled. His most influential mentor was Ethel Burge, a Saluki breeder. “I spent many days and nights at her home studying dogs, pedigrees, and what it takes to succeed at the art of breeding quality dogs.” Paul says it takes intuition, guts, and past knowledge of others to throw into the mix, and then you must learn what to keep for future breedings... and not just the “pretty” ones.

Paul’s involvement with show dogs began after he moved from Illinois to California and opened two grooming shops in Palo Alto. He was a self-taught, skillful groomer who honed his expertise by grooming his own Bichons. He began to scissor show dogs for several Bichon breeders in the area. His clients soon hired him to handle their dogs. One of the first Bichons he finished was Ch. Devon’s Puff ‘N Stuff, the bitch that went on to win 60 Best in Shows handled by Michael Kemp.

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