Table of Contents
F.I.D.O.: Ken Beattie
Nunavik Dog Slaughters, Part II
In the News
Behavior Notebook: Life in the Pack
Book Review: Soldiers & Sled Dogs
Janice Howls: Preserving Nature's Standard
IMHO: Tough Dogs, Tough Owners
The following email comes from a Canadian citizen who doesn't breed, show, judge or even own dogs now. She is, however, campaigning to get the Canadian Kennel Club to create a Spitz Group as one of that organization's many categories into which all their registered breeds are placed.
May I have permission to reprint the article by Janice Dougherty "Janice Howls... the Spitz Group" which appeared in The Fan Hitch Nov. 99? I have a website and a section called Spitz Breeds which discusses "what is a spitz" by various authors. One of the purposes of the website is to educate people about the uniqueness of these breeds. Her article would fit in well describing the temperament of these breeds.
Having a group for the spitz breeds has become a 'passion', the most important reason being the preservation of these breeds and their working heritage, hopefully truer to their original type than what we see today in dog shows.
It drives me crazy how little judges know about these breeds and worse still that breeders/exhibitors don't care what effect they are having in the long term to a breed. I think this pursuit of false glory and consequent advertising has impacted the dog world very negatively.
Simply because a dog isn't used for its original purpose anymore, doesn't give anyone the right to breed those traits out and say that they don't matter anymore.
We need specialist judges and a mentoring system to make sure that new judges are steeped in what makes these breeds so unique. For the sledding breeds, it should be mandatory to visit and learn from people like you to get in depth knowledge.
I have to say that doing what you do to keep the breed 'working' is what dogs should be all about.
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At the time the following was received, the writer was in the United States Navy and based in Fresno, California…
My name is Joe Forslin and I'd like to thank you for your commitment to the ISD and your work for it. You often hear the comment that "the work is hard but if I were to reach just one person it would all be worth it." Well I am just one person of obviously many that you have exposed to your infectious passion, and I am very grateful for it. Although a life long admirer of Northern working dogs, I have been unable to actively or responsibly commit myself to any actions above expanding my knowledge and views. Your work has done a remarkable job helping me define what I already knew inside and certainly has helped to develop much of my attitude concerning responsible breeding and ownership of any animal regardless of the species. However it is the exposure to the ISD that captured me. While I'm tempted to list the reasons I am awestricken by these dogs, I will avoid singing to the choir. Your examples have provided ample justification for those feelings. My main goal in writing this letter is to thank you and encourage you to keep up the good work.
Most Northern breeds impress me in one way or another but a simple review of virtually all breeders and clubs' mission statements discourages me in one simple sentence, "We are committed to improving the breed quality by…" Your goal to preserve the breed is a telling statement that characterizes both the breed and your organization. It sets a higher level of responsibility and commitment and places it squarely in the laps of everyone involved. It's a level that is larger than individuals, one this breed deserves.
Thank you for your time,