From the Editor

New fanciers, new contributors

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None of us is born knowing all the answers, and oldtime dog people aren’t always as generous as they could be when it comes to sharing “trade secrets.” Maybe it’s a form of “tough love.” If  novices are tenacious enough to hang in there, learning by trial and error, eventually they convince the veterans they’re serious and advice is offered in a more forthright fashion. To aid newcomers in their journey, we’ve gathered some articles in this issue brimming with valuable information.

In “The ABCs of Kennel Planning” (page 28), Alice Bixler’s mantra is “focus on the essentials first.” Surfing the ’net or eyeing the top-of-the-line equipment that tempts us all at dog-show concession booths, it’s easy to max out a credit card or quickly dispose of your disposable income. Time for a reality check. Sturdy fencing is essential. Well-made grooming tools are essential. Buying a dog from each of the top 10 show kennels in your breed is not only not essential but downright counterproductive, since it’s unlikely you can do justice to them all.

It doesn’t get more essential than education. Immersing yourself in books, videos and DVDs is a must if you are going to learn basic dog terminology, breeding principles, and the fundamentals of the sport. Progress is impossible without a thorough understanding of your breed standard and knowledge of the great breeders who contributed to today’s pedigrees. Longtime bibliophile and former librarian Stephanie Horan has eliminated the guesswork in her must-read feature, “Build a Canine Library” (page 36).

Matthew Schenker’s three-part series, “From Owner to Breeder” (page 42), comes to an end in this issue. It’s astounding to learn that a breeder of Barbara Miller’s formidable stature still asks herself what her goals are and why she is pairing two particular dogs together. It is gratifying to learn that her devotion to her breed (Norfolk Terriers) compels her to treat every phone call from a prospective buyer as a learning opportunity, even if her advice to a caller is to choose another breed. That’s a breeder worth emulating.

Jeff Pepper reminds us in his column (page 12) that judges can be novices, too, and there is a learning curve to be expected. Just because you’ve paid your dues in one arena doesn’t mean that entering another will be a cakewalk. Comfort level in the ring for both exhibitor and adjudicator comes with time. Read more from Pepper in this issue’s “Judge’s Perspective.”

Besides the new graphic touches you’ll discover in this issue, we also have some new columnists to introduce. William Secord, distinguished author and President of the William Secord Gallery, Inc., in New York City, will be gracing our Meet the Breed profiles with an essay on how each breed has been depicted historically in art. Author, artist and breeder extraordinaire Amy Fernandez is Dog World’s new book reviewer. We’ve also added a rating system to help you decide if a particular title is a must-have for your home library. “The Doctor is In” column has given way to “Natural Wellness,” which will be written in alternating months by respected veterinarians Dr. Randy Kidd and Dr. Jean Dodds. Finally, Barbara Chuck will be compiling our “Meet & Compete” listings.

We extend our gratitude to Janine Adams, Maryanne Dell, Dr. T.J. Dunn, Jr., and Marshall Tanick. Many will be back with full-length features in future issues.


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