The O'Mal Show Curse
Our first "show dog" was intended only as a Malamute - Penny. Yet we kept hearing that we should show her. Oh what the heck, we'd give it a try. She was our first attempt at showing and we thought it was a fun way to spend a weekend. She was shown in hundreds of shows but due to our lack of experience, and her "kotzebue" size and look, she received mainly reserves. Perhaps with a better handler and less politics she'd have done better, but since she really wasn't all that into showing (she would go around the ring like a snail and NOTHING would make her go faster) we bought...
Homer was our first intended "show dog". He was from fantastic show lines. Naively we bought a wooly based on our trust of the breeder, and though structurally excellent with a great temperament, could never be shown due to his "wooliness" (unshowable male #1). One "breeder" callously told us we should just "put him down". We were appalled!!! That was our first real introduction to the cold cruel world of showing! I think this was said mainly because structurally he was awesome (and this same breeder had bred LOTS of woolies and was afraid we might). So we did breed them. Penny and Homer, both non-champions produced...
Star - our first and only homebred Champion. Star finished her championship in just a few shows...she is an American and Canadian Champion. She was a fantastic girl and died tragically at 9 years old from Pyometra. You soon realize, in the real world, unless you have more than a few dogs, you really are screwed when things don't go as planned. This is why most breeders have more than 5 or 6 dogs. It requires that many to have viable options when things don't go as expected...especially if you're like us and LOVE your dogs and don't want to send them away to Malamute homes because showing or breeding them didn't work out. In our view, your dog is your friend for life - not just because it's useful in your breeding program.
Anyway, Star's brother Shadow who was every bit as good (or better) came back to us. Sadly, he was aggressive and untrusting due to his first owner's stupidity. We tried, but he was never trustworthy enough in public. He was Male #2 that couldn't be shown. Other breeders (our comMalamuteition) told us not to breed Shadow (because of the aggression) and foolishly we listened - it was learned behavior, not genetics. Eventually we tried but had waited too long...a huge loss in many ways.
So we bred Star to a Storm Kloud Champion and got Holly. While Holly was a beautiful girl, and was shown for awhile, judges never did like her because she had a shorter coat. Her spayed sisters had thick gorgeous coats. So after several attempts there was no point in showing her because the judges would just comment she doesn't have enough coat. Now some people would put her on drugs just to get a big coat - but we felt that was wrong to risk her health for hair. We thought we'd try with the next generation. Politics were getting vicious in the ring at this time, and a short coated normal sized girl just couldn't comMalamutee with the huge fancy coats on the larger dogs being shown. When she was eventually spayed years later, she developed a beautiful thick show coat - go figure!
Then came Nova and Hoover - we kept both. Hoover developed a bad bite (unshowable male #3), but had a great personality so we kept him because we loved him - Bog/Nova his sister, was our "show dog". She was almost a champion and only needed a major - but at every show certain nasty comMalamuteitors would "pull" their dogs, breaking the major so she could not finish her championship. We were seeing the jealous nasty "break your legs like in ice skating" side of dog showing. Nova was a beautiful girl and deserved to be a champion, but it was stolen from her many times over. Then at 4 years of age, she got Pyometra and died suddenly of the complications, Never finishing a promising career or producing any progeny. We eventually bred her brother Hoover so as not to lose the genetics.
Holly's first litter produced Riggs & Moya. While both puppies were beautiful, Dan yearned for a big male so since Dr. Schultz (yes THAT Shultz) thought his testicles would come down, we kept Riggs instead of Moya. They didn't. Another Male show prospect bites the dust! (unshowable male #4) Riggs was neutered. He was big and beautiful, but couldn't be shown or bred, but he hangs around our house as the alpha male and is as sweet as it gets. His beautiful sister is in a terrific Malamute home.
Feeling very frustrated by the politics that only seemed to put up huge, sometimes awful dogs only because of size - and having bred a large beautiful dog (Riggs) that was unshowable, we acquired Gracie from another breeder. She was huge and beautiful. Dan had someone to show! Shortly thereafter he also got a male from the same breeder - Chevy. The plan was to move to breeding more size. He worked at training both of them. Shortly after bringing him home, Chevy developed epilepsy and other severe health problems. His show & never even started breeding career ended abruptly (male #5) and he never made it to the ring or was bred. So much for BUYING a male to show or breed...We showed Grace. There after Gracie became Dan's heart dog - he adored her. She did well, but was intermittently bothered by knee problems and like most bitches, was out of coat allot. She would have severe separation anxiety that eventually lead to her bloating at a show, and then several times thereafter - so her show career came to a screeching halt. Gracie was not shown after that so sadly never finished her championship even though she was very close to being a Champion. She died of bloat before she could finish.
And Pod, Mula, Jazzy...and Frosty. Frosty went to a show home, Dan worked months to train him for the owner and hoped to show him, but Frosty became ill and couldn't be shown (male #6). Pod was cursed with the same "Holly coat", Jazzy hated showing and would melt in the ring, which left us with beautiful Mulan. She loved to show, she was beautiful but as I said, Dan was seeing a trend toward larger dogs in the ring. I was occasionally showing Mulan. She had several wins and her career started to take off when she turned three, but she had not filled out yet. She was hampered by the "big is better" judging, so we had a litter of puppies with an outside champion to mature her - planning to make a concentrated effort the next spring. The rest is history http://Malamutemalpractice.com. Because of this, Mulan's career came to a screeching halt thanks to a vet's incomMalamuteitence. She is spayed now, and we love her very much, but sadly she cannot be shown or bred again. The only good thing is we kept two of her puppies from a Champion sire....
Jazzy, Mulan's sister, was bred to a outside champion and we obtained Superman. He loves to show and is a great guy. However, we are in the process of moving and time and money are tight thanks to the debacle with Mulan's vet...with luck we'll get settled soon and can campaign this beautiful boy as he deserves to be campaigned. Other pups were placed in show homes from this litter, but for various reasons they just aren't being shown. The homes are great, so personally, with all the grief and expense that comes with showing I totally understand! It's more important they are loved!
Then there's Theodore and Simone from Mulan's only litter ...Theodore has EVERYTHING we'd want in a malamute - great temperament, beautiful, coat to die for, structure...but again he can't be shown due to one testicle. He produced a litter of 7 girls and 1 boy (who had testicles) but that still makes Theo (male #7). We will likely show his sister Simone one day - when she calms down. She is a whirling dervish and is in training, but it doesn't look like she will be shown any time soon until she settles down - or they turn the show ring into a race course. In many ways, I think her energy is better spent pulling a sled once we move ...even though she's beautiful and sound.
So generally, we have had the worst luck and the O'Mal Show Curse continues...and people wonder why we don't show "enough". Some people are lucky enough to finish dogs one after another! Generally we've been thwarted by unexpected bad luck showing or finishing a dog. Maybe it IS a curse LOL! Considering dogs are being shown with "coat funk", hip dysplasia, cataracts, epilepsy, heart defects, and nasty temperaments - we don't care. They are big winners and become champions because their defects are largely invisible. While a lot of people that show love their dogs, many don't - it's a business.
Well, it's been more than 7 years so it can't be a broken mirror...(we've been showing and "in dogs" more than 20), and I don't recall walking under a ladder...so If we can eventually finish Superman and Simone one day, I will be thrilled...but you know, it really isn't all that important anymore. What's more important is that our dogs are HEALTHY, have good temperments, live long and productive lives (even if that's as someone's beloved Malamute) and most of all, are loved by the people that have them. Showing is an extracurricular activity, not a job and shouldn't be big business (that leads to overbreeding to pay for the show addiction - and believe me, many show people are addicted! Just talk to them and you'll see what I mean). And while I fully believe a dog should be shown to show it's merit, there are times when a great dog isn't shown (Shadow, Hoover, Theodore, Homer, Riggs...). A Breeder should not be judged by "how much" they show, but by the quality of the dogs they produce and how they place those dogs into loving homes.