It's a week since the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show and I find myself reflecting on the results. Instead of being in the press box as I was for so many years, I've taken to sitting in my den and watching on television. The TV cameras are able to get wonderful close-ups that you can't get in Madison Square Garden unless you look up at the big screen to see the same video. And anyone can be an armchair judge but only the real judge gets to put his or her hands on the dog to check structure. All we can see is the outline of the dog as presented by the handler, the gait, and the dog's personality.
There's no doubt that the little Affenpinscher, Banana Joe, owned the ring that night. He was completely on top of his game. His co-owner, Tina Truesdale, has been waiting for one of her dogs to go Best in Show at Westminster for a long time and I'm happy for her. But it's no secret that my heart dropped when the little guy won the coveted award. Why? The answer is quite simple.
The day after Westminster there is an enormous demand for whichever breed has won the coveted Best in Show. No dog is right for everyone and the Affenpinscher is no exception. They've been turning up in puppy mills for years and this bodes badly for any breed. It is very bad for a small, cute dog whose looks belie his personality and characteristic traits.
These little dogs are very much Terriers in personality. They're intelligent, quick and as Toy dogs go, this is one of the harder breeds to housetrain. Sadly, when faced with this fact becomes all too apparent, the dog is often abandoned to a shelter where, if not rescued by Breed Rescue or someone looking for a dog to adopt, he will be put to death.
Are they right for some people? Of course! But never and I do mean NEVER, get a dog unless and until you can make a commitment for the dog's entire life, you have done your homework and found a breed you can live with that fits into your lifestyle and personality, and you can deal with the breed's idiosyncrasies.
Joey is now in The Netherlands, relaxing into his retirement from the show ring.
Now, for the felines in your life. The people at World's Best Cat Litter, a product my cat uses daily, are hinting at a new product. What will it be? Stay tuned. I think an announcement won't be far away.