No Hamiltonstovare at Westminster

Hamiltonstovare aren’t eligible to compete at Westminster, plain and simple. The reasons why are a bit more complex. The main reason is that Hamiltonstovare aren’t fully recognized by the American Kennel Club. The road to full recognition is a numbers game, the first stage is Foundation Stock Service which is where the Hamiltonstovare are. After there are over 150 Hamiltonstovare registered with the Foundation Stock Service then the Hamiltonstovare Club of America can petition to the AKC to progress to the Miscellaneous class. After over 450 Hamiltonstovare are registered with the Foundation Stock Service and the Hamiltonstovare Club of America writes an approved breed standard in the AKC format, then the Hamiltonstovare Club of America can petition to move to fully recognized. So if you own a Hamiltonstovare, please register it with the AKC as each and every dog even in other countries helps.  

Now the Westminster Kennel Club could host an AKC Open Show which would allow all FSS and Miscellaneous breeds to compete. I have requested this multiple times as it would be an instant boost to all rare breeds struggling for full AKC recognition. The Westminster Kennel Club never responded to my multiple requests, ever. The Westminster Kennel Club does host Meet the Breeds where Hamiltonstovare can participate but logistically, it is incredibly difficult to attend for just one day and not get even a chance to compete and it is very discouraging to the general public who ask over and over at the booth to see the breed compete and we have to constantly say that we can’t.  

Hamiltonstovare are eligible to compete in the agility competition and as of 2018, the Junior Showmanship competition. Hopefully FSS breeds will be able to compete and hopefully the breed will advance because it is my goal to compete on the green carpet with a Hamiltonstovare.  

Breed Community

When an experienced dog show exhibitor even thinks about getting a new breed, one of the first questions asked of the breed that they are interested in is "what is the breed community like?" Thankfully, the Hamiltonstovare breed community in America is wonderful, we all support each other and offer advice when needed. The global community is less than great. I am glad to be over 3,000 miles away from the majority of it. 

The UK breed community is factioned, badly. There are very few people that are willing to put their personal biases aside and benefit the breed as a whole. Recently, I received word of 2 dogs dumped in a boarding kennel/shelter in the UK that were bred by Alice and Rolo's breeder. Immediately, I contacted the RSPCA and another UK Hamilton breeder. The contact that I received was from an independent rescue group that knew I have dealt with rescue Hamiltonstovare before. My chief concern is for those 2 dogs that are away from everything that they are familiar with and kept in a kennel environment for six months and counting. The UK breeder that I contacted has offered to pay the outstanding fees for the dogs and take them in as long as the KC registration is transferred over. If I was in that situation, I would GLADLY accept that for the well-being of the dogs. However, that could be further from the truth, the "owner" of the dogs is doing everything to stonewall the dogs from receiving the love and care that they need. Now that the majority of the breed community knows about it, the ones who are genuinely concerned have expressed it. Those associated with the "owner" are doing everything in their power to suppress any of this knowledge coming forward. This is doing more harm than good, please put differences aside and help these dogs. This is NOT a private matter, this is a matter that needs to be resolved as soon as possible. The dogs' lives should be the paramount concern instead of reputation, bad feelings, etc. At this point, I do not care who put them in there as long as they get out to somebody who knows how to rehabilitate them in a manner appropriate for the breed. Unfortunately, that is just one example of factions within the breed. 

Every person is absolutely entitled to their own opinion and that opinion should be respected. However, the breed is incredibly splintered in the UK, that I am sure it does alienate owners and future owners. Most UK owners that I have talked to have expressed this to me at some point. Some differences are mild and opinion based, others are rotten. Poor sportsmanship is something that should never be tolerated in a breed community, but it happens. Jealously is a nasty green monster and some people give into that monster. When a dog wins the breed at Crufts, congratulate them instead of criticizing the dog, owner, handler, breeder on a very public forum. When people hear of dogs needing rescuing move mountains to help them instead of making excusing for the owner's horrific actions. When a dog gets injured, express your sympathies instead of blaming the owner who is already going through enough as it is. When a new breeder is proud of a litter of puppies who had a tumultuous birth, wish the breeder luck, offer educated advice and do not publicly ridicule them when you don't know half of the the story, do not wish their beloved dog's death, dog not wish terrible diseases on the puppies. When a new owner asks for paperwork that has not been delivered as promised, do not run away and hide, deliver on your promise. When an owner has gone well above and beyond expectations, it is the breeder's job to be incredibly proud of the dog and the owner, NEVER take credit for their successes that they put countless hours of work on, always encourage and motivate the owner to constantly succeed. When at a show, if you lose, graciously congratulate the winner, hug your dog and chalk it up to maybe it will be your turn the next show. Never make a winner feel so bad about winning that they are in tears and nearly shaking so bad that they can hardly compete in groups later on in the day. If your dog didn't win the breed, still stay and cheer for that breed in group competition. If a new exhibitor shows up, embrace them and treat them like old friends, instead of enemies that deserve to be destroyed. I can promise you, the Hamiltonstovare breed community is not the only breed community dealing with similar issues. If every exhibitor treated each other in a manner of respect, good sportsmanship, and in a way that they wish to be treated in return then I bet this sport would start growing again, the public perception of purebred dogs would change and our beloved breeds would be better than ever.  

PETA, a Tidewater perspective

Again, I do try my absolute best to make sure that every post is Hamiltonstovare related as possible but I just can’t with this post at all, on any level. This is going to be a tough topic to write about because it is dangerous, very dangerous. Most people who have written about PETA have a legal team, now live outside of the US, or can afford constant personal security. I do have personal security at my home and monitor my house remotely when I am not there.

I was born and lived the first twelve years of my life in the Tidewater, Va area. I went to elementary and most of middle school there. Why is this important? Well, PETA is based there, their headquarters are not in New York City or LA, but in Norfolk, Va. Norfolk, Va is an odd location for PETA’s headquarters until you break down the surrounding area, in the surrounding area you have 7 LARGE cities with lots of impressionable children. You also have sympathetic local governments that adore them. The first time I ever heard of PETA, I was in elementary school. From what I remember, PETA never came to my elementary school to do an assembly but it is possible. What I do remember is the posters and pamphlets, they deliver them to local schools. These posters were specifically geared toward kids and at the time was not as radicalized as they are now. The literature featured appropriate pet care and how you could join PETA and almost be an involved citizen to stop animal abuse.

While that sounds innocent enough, but what they were doing was grooming the next generation of activists. I remember once that I found a lovely hound roaming my neighborhood street, I proudly helped the dog into my backyard and tried to help it out, basically doing what those posters told me to do. The dog had a collar and what happened next imprinted upon me how I should trust PETA. I happened to have a poster with a phone number, I called it and asked them what I should do. The nice person said to me that I should take the collar off the dog, don’t call the owner because they didn’t care enough to keep their own dog, and either keep the dog myself or let it go. I couldn’t do that, so a friend of mine said that they would help me. They told me that they called the owner but nobody answered, and their grandmother would allow them to keep the dog so they dumped it somewhere. I was so upset that I cried. The worse part was the owners came to me asking questions and I told them what I was told to do by a trusted name in the area, that posed as a shelter. I was just 10 years old, very much a latchkey kid, and had to think on my feet. I never knew what happened to the dog but sometimes I think about that moment and how defining it was to me. How could PETA tell a child to do such a thing? This was in the late 90’s well before internet and cell phones, so I trusted what my school gave me. At that moment, I stopped trusting in PETA.

As I grew up showing dogs and loving dogs in a way that felt right to me, I learned more and more about PETA. I learned from the internet that PETA is a monster, not to be trusted. They are a “shelter” that has the highest kill percentage in all of Virginia. I never realized how bad they were until college. I attended a show in the Tidewater area where members of PETA would routinely point at dogs’ testicles and say “you are killing your dog because he isn’t neutered…”, thankfully I have a mentor that knew how to behave and kept her mouth shut. Other more quipy people would make retorts like “thanks for looking at my dog’s nuts.”

The next experience that I am about to tell was done by somebody that is a supporter of PETA and extremist animal rights, I do not know if they were employed by PETA, regardless it is shocking. In college I showed Clumber Spaniels, and this time we were showing in a series of shows in Baltimore, MD, right around this time of year actually. It was February and cold, I was traveling with the Clumber Spaniel’s owner, her handler, the handler’s mother and a string of dogs all are coated dogs. We checked into the hotel and began the process of taking dogs out to go potty. While myself and the daughter of the client was walking a few dogs, we noticed that a car kept on circling the hotel parking lot. Finally, they stopped and asked us why kind of dogs they were. We told them and kept on our business. We put the Clumber in the hotel room and loaded up the other dogs in the van (which is designed for housing multiple dogs at all temperatures). We got ready for bed and didn’t think anything about the encounter in the parking lot. That was until the handler got a knock at the door saying that one of the dogs was “near death” in the van. We went out to the van and the dogs were sleeping soundly and were in no distress at all. We made the decision to move the dogs into the two hotel rooms just to be on the safe side. The next morning we went to the show and then went out to dinner. While we were at dinner, we were told that the Baltimore Police Department had surrounded our vehicles. So we went to the police and explained the situation. Unfortunately, we did not know that it is illegal in Maryland to leave a dog unattended in a vehicle regardless of the weather or if the dogs were in any danger. The dogs were fine and the officer gave us a warning. The final day of the show, I just happened to look over my shoulder and noticed the same person that asked me a question at the hotel just standing at the show site. We alerted the show board who escorted them off the site. It was later determined that the person was an animal rights extremist looking to “rescue” dogs (meaning steal) that they thought were in danger. There is no way to know if the person was affiliated with PETA at all but we do know that they were cut from the same cloth.

PETA is a horrible organization and I am appalled by any celebrity that endorses them for any reason (I’m talking to you P!NK right now). PETA is subject to new legislation that will hopefully stop their killing practices at their headquarters but it does not stop them from stealing animals, like poor Maya, and killing them in a van somewhere. The Maya case is so shocking because no charges have been filed and PETA was caught on camera trespassing then returned later with a fruit basket instead of the dog. The dog’s body has yet to be returned to her owners, and never will be. PETA has doctored video footage to show carriage horses in danger, they have even caused NYC carriage horses to get injured. No animal lover should support PETA.

If you are an animal lover, please support your local kennel club. Please come talk to breeders and owners at Meet the Breeds on Saturday, education is the most powerful tool.