LEGACY BREEDER INTERVIEWS2024-02-08T15:31:21-05:00

2006 National Specialty Breeder Education Panel

The purpose of the 2006 Breeder Education Panel was to bring together a group of well-known Lhasa breeders who earned their ALAC Register of Merit Awards prior to 1981. Attempts were made, either directly or through friends or relatives, to contact all who fell into that category. Many could not be found; some did not respond to the invitation; some were unable to participate because of conflicting schedules, travel distance to Olympia, and/or poor health.

Panelists included Dorothy Joan Kendall (Orlane), Marianne Nixon (San Jo), and Cassandra de la Rosa (Suntory), who earned their ALAC Register of Merit Awards in 1974, 1977, and 1980, respectively.

Larry Bruton videotaped the panel presentation. Those interested in obtaining a copy of the video should contact Larry at 503-297-7267 or jandlbruton@hotmail.com.

Panelists were given the option of writing and submitting a summary of their responses for publication on the ALAC website. The verbal responses were more detailed, and panelists, encouraged by the enthralled audience, expanded and illustrated their points with some interesting stories and details not found in the summaries. However, the summaries will give those unable to attend an overview of panelists’ responses. To read the summaries that were submitted, click the panelist’s name:

Dorothy Joan Kendall
Marianne Nixon
Cassandra de la Rosa

Dorothy’s Summary Comments2024-02-08T14:38:08-05:00

It was hard learning a new breed in the early sixties—there were no Lhasa breeders around me, and I had to go to Georgia Palmer (who lived 5 hours away in Chicago) for advice and help. It was Georgia who advised me to go to Gloria Fowler, and I’m so grateful for being less than knowledgeable about the breed when I got Sparky and Flame.

I might have passed these dogs by had I realized they were not “pure” or “straight” Hamilton lines…all I knew was they were happy, showy, and beautiful in my eyes! When they began winning, I received a lot of vilification about my “mongrels”—which only made me the more determined to show these people what they could do.

When Sparky had produced several champions, I began to really learn about the breed—and how to care for the coats…and it became increasingly obvious that this dog was a one-in-a-million animal! I’ve been so lucky through the years—Sparky, Avenger, Rah-Kieh, Gusto, and finally Intrepid! What a ride this has been! Now my daughter carries on the tradition with her newest Best in Show dog, Irish and Am. Ch. Showa Fantastic with Pantulf…and his kids are already winning. I’m not breeding Lhasas anymore, but I do have the No. One all-systems Toy Fox Terrier being shown—BISS Ch. Valcopy Penelope Pit Stop. A lot easier to groom, and fun to show—you may see her in a ring near you!

Marianne’s Summary Comments2024-02-08T14:38:55-05:00

My summary is really a series of questions for those present in the audience. Judges are required to educate themselves. They attend seminars and educational programs on the various breeds they hope to judge. They study canine anatomy, structure and motion, terminology, breed standards and observe various breeds at the shows. Hopefully, breeders are doing the same thing. If not, get busy!

When did you last attend a breed seminar on Lhasas? What about our flanking breeds? Have you read/studied the breed standards for the Tibetan Terrier and Shih Tzu or attended a seminar on either of them? Do you observe these breeds at the shows? How can you hope to appraise our own Lhasa stock if you don’t have an understanding of what makes your Lhasa a Lhasa, rather than a TT or a Shih Tzu? How are all three breeds alike? How do they differ?

I assume you have all read your Lhasa Standard. Do you know what it mean, or are they just words on a page? What does our Standard say about gait? What does it call for in head? Can you tell me the differences in the head of your Lhasa as compared to the Shih Tzu?

Have you read the Illustrated Guide?

Does your library at home contain copies of books by authors McDowell Lyons, Rachel Page Elliot, Van Hollenbeck, and Curtis Brown? What other books on structure and motion have you researched for answers as to why your dog moves the way it does? Please remember that your canine expertise is advanced through education. Books, seminars, discussion groups, and mentorship all await. This is the path that leads to your understanding and professionalism as responsible breeders.

Cassandra’s Summary Comments2024-02-08T14:39:34-05:00

I’ve spent about 35 years living with Lhasa Apsos, raising them, showing them, enjoying them. I consider them my friends. It has grown from a whim to a passion in my life. The dogs are very much a part of me, an expression of my creativity, an expression of my competitive pride. Above all, they’re my friends. I treat them as I treat my human friends. I care about their needs. I care about what’s important to them. I care about making their lives – and, in this case, not just my individual dogs, but the breed – fulfilling. Because it’s a passion it’s important to me beyond belief. It’s a very personal thing. I don’t want to impose it on other people I think everybody has to find their passion. It’s not something anybody can impose upon you. But, if your spouse enjoys it, it helps! So, that’s basically the effect Lhasa Apsos have had on my life. It’s an important responsibility. It’s an awesome responsibility to give back to the dogs, to be able to enjoy the dogs.

Register of Merit (ROM) Breeder Interviews

Sparked by the interested generated by the 2006 National Specialty’s Breeder Education Panel, the ALAC Breeder Education Committee has begun to contact ROM breeders, beginning with those from 1973, and asking them to respond to the same questions that the panel members answered. We want to save some of the memories, thoughts, and history of our ROM breeders. The interviews will be posted here as they are completed. If any ALAC member has contact with some of the older ROM breeders listed in the handbook and would like to assist with this effort, please contact Joyce Johanson, Co-chair of the Breeder Education Committee, at  jk-johanson@wiu.edu.

KeKe Blumberg Khan, Potala Lhasa Apsos, ROM 1973
Ellen Lonigro, Kinderland Lhasa Apsos, ROM 1973
Onnie Martin, Pandan Lhasa Apsos, ROM 1973

What initially attracted you to the breed?2024-02-08T14:57:44-05:00

KeKe: Loved the shaggy dog look.
Ellen: My daughter wanted a little fuzzy dog.
Onnie: Our first look at an 8 week-old Lhasa puppy began what has been a fifty-year love affair with the sport of purebred dogs.

How has your “eye” for the breed changed/developed over the years?2024-02-08T14:59:35-05:00

KeKe: So far and so much – and hard to explain, but I appreciate my breed and all it has done for me through the years.
Ellen: Originally liked a longer back dog with shorter legs but as I spent more time in the breed I wanted a more moderate/shorter back, longer legs and more neck.
Onnie: My “eye” has progressed from doting pet owner to critical judge as a result of countless hours of hands-on involvement of every facet of breeding, exhibiting, training (and loving) the breed.

When you look at a ring full of Lhasas, what catches your eye first?2024-02-08T15:01:13-05:00

KeKe: They are beautifully presented. When I began, they all looked like unmade beds!
Ellen: Basic outline, pretty long necks and long flowing coats.
Onnie: What I see in the ring today often disappoints me by being too> large, clumsy, and lacking true Lhasa type.

What year did you enter the fancy and who was your mentor?2024-02-08T15:03:28-05:00

KeKe: 1960. Dorthy Benitiz, Marie Stillman, and the Griffings
Ellen: 1956 – Georgia Palmer
Onnie: I don’t remember the exact year, but it was in the early 60’s, soon after Lhasas were recognized. I was fortunate in knowing Marie Stillman, Grace Licos, and Dorothy Cohen, all of whom were generous with help and advice.

What is one thing you learned from that person that you try/tried to pass on to others?2024-02-08T15:05:12-05:00

KeKe: A dog show is a beauty contest. A dog show is for healthy dogs – physically and mentally.
Ellen: Genetics and role they play in breeding dogs.
Onnie: All three taught me to appreciate type.

What is one mistake (if any) that you made early in your breeding/showing career that you warned newcomers not to make?2024-02-08T15:07:16-05:00

KeKe: Thinking the whole litter was show quality when perhaps one might be!
Ellen: I never made any mistakes. LOL
Onnie: I honestly can’t think of any significant mistakes.

What were the most important traits a Lhasa Apso had to have to be part of your breeding program?2024-02-08T15:09:28-05:00

KeKe: True breed type and a lot of soundness too.
Ellen: Straight fronts legs, good temperament, pleasing outline, good length of neck fitting well into the shoulders.
Onnie: I am no longer active in breeding, but my criteria remain the same: soundness, adherence to the breed standard and good common sense.

At what age did you first evaluate the puppies?2024-02-08T15:11:46-05:00

KeKe: (1) The day and minute they were born, (2) at 6 weeks, (3) at 3-4 months, (4) at 10 months
Ellen: Oh, at about 2 years of age. Actually, I began at 8 weeks and again at 12 weeks. Looked for outgoing puppies and the attributes mentioned above.

What breed health problems (if any) were of concern to you when you were breeding?2024-02-08T15:13:22-05:00

KeKe: The kidney problem called in the ’70s – “water drinkers.” Hip, knee, and elbow dysplasia
Ellen: Kidney disease was the biggest problem back then and we had to be very careful to try to stay away from any dogs producing these problems. Tested specific gravity, BUNs etc., on all puppies.

What do you think breeders can do today to collaborate to reduce health issues in the breed?2024-02-08T15:14:36-05:00

KeKe: There are new studies, medicines, and foods today and knowledgeable vets to help breeders.
Ellen: Share information and keep records on your dogs.

What are the most significant changes you’ve seen in the breed and in the fancy?2024-02-08T15:17:01-05:00

KeKe: The breed has gone through stages. Right now we have correct size and coats and better legs.
Ellen: They got big and course. Whatever happened to the nice 11” dog?
Onnie: I see a lamentable tendency toward breeding less important traits (color, heavy coat, etc.) and less attention to correct movement, size, correct conformation as set forth in the breed standard.

What would you like to see happen in the future with the breed?2024-02-08T15:18:19-05:00

KeKe: I hope we keep the oriental look and improve on health issues.
Ellen: I’d like to see more young people interested in our breed because Lhasas will be extinct without them.

What do you consider your most significant contribution to the breed?2024-02-08T15:19:53-05:00

KeKe: Producing 58 AKC champions of correct type with minimum health problems and with wonderful, correct, slightly undershot bites.
Ellen: I had lots of fun. My bitches, Sang Po (Ch Kinderland Sang Po), Isis (Kinderland’s Ta Sen Isis, ROM*****) and Seneca (Ch Kinderland’s Choks Seneca)
Onnie: My breeding program (Pandan Lhasa Apsos, Reg.) has proved to be a positive influence on the breed and a source of great pride. I am also proud to remember that judgments I made in the show ring had a positive influence on a good many breeding programs.

Who was your favorite Lhasa? Why?2024-02-08T15:27:20-05:00

KeKe: Ch. Potala KeKe’s Yum Yum and her son Ch. Potala Keke’s Tomba Tu. They were both truly magnificent.
Ellen: Not mine – Ch Frosty Night of Everglo – elegant, like the way he moved around the ring and his long flowing coat and proper size. Mine – Patrick (Ch Ruffway Patrick) he was a challenge to lead train but I liked the way he presented himself in the ring. and Rocks (Ch Orlane’s Scirocco,ROM****) loved the way he went around the ring looking spectacular and then said okay that’s enough.. Liked him from the time he was a puppy. And his ability to stamp his look on his puppies.

Would you like to add anything else?2024-02-08T15:27:00-05:00

KeKe: Thanks for asking me to participate. As an “old” Lhasa person, I appreciate all the breeders of today and wish them better and better specimens our breed throughout time immemorial.

Attention Exhibitors: When competing at conformation shows, please be aware that spectators unfamiliar with the breed may be observing the Lhasa Apso and our handing techniques for the first time. ALAC’s Board of Directors recommends that exhibitors learn how to set up their dogs by supporting the entire dog when placing the dog on and removing the dog from the table. When entering the ring, it is preferable to walk your dog into the ring when conditions permit, and then set the dog up.

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