Picture Caption: Susann with Champion Philbrook's Magic Pixie Dust
Paying My Dues
Establishing My Kennel
That's Show Biz
Pomeranian (And Maltese) Preferences
A Word To The "Newbies"
Pomeranian (and Maltese) Available For Sale or Placement
I was born and raised in New Jersey and still live in the same home, a rather unique occurrence in today's world. For eleven years I worked as a lead editor/analyst for a computer- related publication and have since left the corporate world to pursue freelance opportunities with other publications. My main area of interest these days is in multimedia and Internet technology.
As a child, I was horse-crazy and still find horses to be an unaffordable obsession (after having two more horses as an adult). So I decided to turn my love of dogs into a more full-blown hobby by breeding, showing in both confirmation and obedience, and doing television work with my Pomeranians. In general, my goal is to pursue every possible, enjoyable experience that I can share with my dogs.
Since I was two years old, my animals were my siblings, especially the canine variety. I had almost every conceivable kind of pet including dogs (of course), cats, hamsters, gerbils, birds, rabbits, fish, goats, a pony, and eventually a horse. All were raised on our little half acre of heaven here in the woods of Southern New Jersey. It was much more of a rural area back then and I had an abundance of stray dogs to add to my little zoo, much to my parents dismay. Guess you could say I am a frustrated farmer type. It was always my dream as a little girl to own a farm but I have had to learn to settle for my little rancher in the woods. My first dog was a very sweet Cocker Spaniel named Taffy who met an untimely demise due to internal bleeding as a result of being fed chicken bones by our dog- sitting neighbors when we were away on vacation. Although I have had many other dogs, the one I was most fond of was a stray I called Flower who, now that I look back, was probably an oversized Pom mix. She was my constant companion until one fateful day when my father accidentally ran over her as she laid asleep under the car in the garage on a hot summer day. I was eight years old and watched my Flower die a painful death. It was a hard lesson to learn at such a young age and I was never really able to forgive my father for taking my best friend away from me. A couple years later, I was invited over a friends house for a party. Her mother owned a Pomeranian which I was immediately drawn to, but we were not allowed to touch the dog because the children were told that the dog would bite. Even so, I never forgot that dog and begged my parents for a Pomeranian. Instead, they bought me a Chihuahua (oh well, at least I was getting closer to owning a toy breed).
My first Pom was purchased when I was an adult, after losing my Chihuahua to breast cancer. I was, to say the least, an uninformed puppy buyer and a complete rank amateur. Poppy was purchased from a middle-man passing himself off as a "kennel." In reality, he was shipping in dogs from puppy mills just as most pet stores do. Since I had no knowledge of kennel operations, I assumed this was an actual kennel. Anyway, Poppy turned out to be infested with worms and ear mites but otherwise in good health so I suppose this was pretty lucky considering that I could have obtained a dog with parvo or distemper from a place such as this. Years passed and I decided to purchase a dog to keep her company and possibly breed. I purchased a dog from a backyard breeder. He was actually a pretty good specimen. When I finally bred them together I experienced my first C-section. Two puppies were produced that seemed to be perfect to my untrained eye. I had great hopes that these two puppies would grow up to be excellent Pomeranian specimens...Not! I learned that there was a local kennel club show. This was great! Now I would be able to show my Pomeranians...Not! The result of my first litter produced a female and a male. I sought out to train the male to be shown in breed. After four months of handling classes, I attended my first match show. Following the judging, I asked the judge what he thought of my dog. The judge replied "he would make a fine obedience dog" and he reached underneath of my dog and said "I think he only has one testicle down." Well, this was one of the most embarrassing moments in my life. My pride and joy did not have two testicles! This shattered my dreams, at least for the moment. I later took him to obedience classes and finished him to a "CD" in 3 out of 4 trials. After another attempt at breeding the female from this litter it was starting to dawn on me that I was getting nowhere with breeding from these lines. Even when bred to champion studs I would get pet quality puppies.
It was at that point that I started getting truly serious and researched different lines to try and decide who to approach about buying my foundation bitches. There are so many excellent dogs to choose from but multiple BIS/BISS Ch. D-Nee's Darin Duffie was the dog I was most attracted to and I contacted Jackie Liddle Stacy to arrange a breeding with Duffie. Instead, Jackie knew of a litter available that was bred by Doreen Fernandez. I would like to thank Jackie for helping me start with such an excellent bitch.
Foundation Bitch: A/C Ch. Dainti D-Nee's Desirae and Her Get
|This was my first foundation bitch, American/Canadian Ch. Dainti D-Nee's Desirae, who was owner/handled. Dee was a dream to show. She loved it! Even in her elderly years, Dee would always head for the door every time I was ready to go out as if to say "take me to a show." Dee passed away in August 1999 and I shall always miss her.|
|Dee produced my major-pointed bitch, Philbrook's GE Jersey Tomatoe, call name Binky, who has been producing many nice puppies.|
|Binky did not finish her championship due to the loss of several teeth after her last litter. Among Binky's get are Philbrook's Furocious Freddy, Philbrook's This Buds for Me, and [Ch.] Philbrook's Magic Pixie Dust. Pixie went reserve her first show and her second time out took fourth in bred by at the 1995 APC winter specialty. She is a small but extremely sound bitch that has the kind of show attitude "to die for."|
Foundation Bitch: Ch. Bi Mar Saucy Sadie and Her Get
|My next foundation bitch was purchased from Mary Rosenbaum. Ch. Bi Mar Saucy Sadie was handled to her finish by Debra Wheeler. Sadie is the sweetest schmooze I have ever owned. She is a favorite whenever we have company. Sadie's last litter produced Philbrook's Virginia Plain, a small but very nice bitch that I would also like to show. (Picture of Ginny forthcoming.)|
|Her first litter out of A/C Ch. Mi-Dee Mikie of the Pines, produced two group-winning puppies: Ch. Philbrook's Mama's Lil Jewel (co-owned by Debra Wheeler and myself) and Ch. Philbrook's Home James (co- owned by Kathy Hartz, Patricia Foley, and myself).|
|One of the happiest moments in showing was when Jamie finished with a group I and was a serious contender for BIS that day. Unfortunately, he was retired at that show because he really hated the show ring. Although it still eludes me, I have dreams of one day winning a Best in Show.|
Foundation Bitch: Watt's Little Ophelia
and Some of Her Get
Another foundation bitch, Watt's Little Ophelia, was later purchased from the late Mrs. Dolores Watts. Oppie is a beautiful heavy sable orange bitch. Oppie's first litter produced Philbrook's Zippy Zach, a show-quality heavy orange sable, and Philbrook's Eazy Ezmeralda who has produced Philbrook's Dezdemona DeLuna (see photo), a very heavy-coated wolf sable.
After researching the pedigrees on many lines having dogs with traits I admired, I found a common factor; every pedigree was line bred on Great Elms and Bonner lines. I have used these lines to weave together my lines. Many of my Pomeranians are line bred on Ch. Great Elms Firestarter, Ch. Watt's Little Dakota, and many other Great Elms dogs. My lines also go back to Bonner through Ch. Chriscendo's Calvin Klein, BIS Ch. Bi-Mar's Sundance Kid, among other Bonner dogs. Other lines that are intertwined in my pedigrees include Scotia, Cedarwood, and Creider.
|Another acquisition that I co-own with my good friend Gail Rodgers is Watt's Little Sultan who is out of Ch. Watt's Little Socrates. Sultan is a gorgeous little orange Pom which we will have out in the ring by this summer.|
We're Having A Parti!
Somewhere along the way, I became interested in color breeding, mainly black and white partis. I started with a locally bred cream and white colored bitch that I knew had parti behind her (Lizzy). From there, I bred her to several Pombreden dogs including Ch. Pombreden's Heavenly Toy Boy. This produced two black and white bitches which were bred to Sungold's Lil Sir George, a cream and white parti. George has greatly improved the quality of my partis. Color breeding is definitely more involved than orange breeding. But quality Pomeranians of all colors have been surfacing over the past few years which should help those of us interested in the pursuit of the show-quality parti Pom. All of my parti Pomeranians are line-bred on mainly Pombreden, Burgundy, and Sungold lines.
Lizzy was my foundation parti.
Cookie is one of my more recent parti offspring.
Also, I have been very active in dog-related activities. My club participation includes serving in the past as a board member, program chairperson, obedience chairperson, and alternate delegate to the New Jersey Dog Federation for the Burlington County Kennel Club, as well as secretary, current president, temporary treasurer, trophy and show chairperson, and charter member of the Delaware Valley Pomeranian Club Inc. In addition to being a member of the American Pomeranian Club and the American Chinese Crested Club. (Did I mention that I have two other toy breeds? A token Chinese Crested hairless bitch, and two Maltese bitches.) Although I have "toyed" around with the idea of a second breed to show, they can never take the place of my Pomeranians.
One of my most intriguing experiences with my Pomeranians is when Warren Eckstein, host of a New York City Radio Station Pet Show, invited me to bring some Pomeranians up to NYC to be shown on a segment of the Regis and Kathy Lee show. This was very exciting and a very interesting experience to boot. It was fascinating to watch the behind-the-scenes production of a television show. The first segment that my Pomeranians were featured in concerned "Choosing a Puppy." It was a real circus with so many other breeds being portrayed in this segment, but the Pomeranians stood there ground side by side with the Golden Retriever Pups that towered over them. Warren later invited me back to be included on another segment discussing "Pet Massage." Oppie got a professional massage by the famous Tony Danza. It was a hilarious segment. I hope to be involved with more television/publicity work in the future. It is a whole new world to be explored! On the FX Network's Pet Department Show, Pixie was brought in to give Joanne Worley "moral support." Since Joanne was Pomless while appearing on broadway and missing her Pom who was back home in California, Pixie comforted Joanne over her separation from her doggies. Most recently, it was back again to the Regis and Kathy Lee show for a segment, hosted by Warren Eckstein, on "Small Dogs." I always look forward to receiving "that phone call" for another television assignment.
(and Maltese) Preferences
What I look for most in a Pom for breeding would have to be an overall structural soundness, but I do admit to being a freak when it comes to a Pom looking like a toy breed (especially the head type). The head must be reminiscent of a toy breed but I feel we must also maintain a look that shows the Pom's relationship to the northern breeds (i.e. the Spitz). I prefer a foxy expression with a muzzle that is neither too long nor too short. The eyes must be fiery black buttons with the unmistakable alert intelligent expression of the Pom. The ears do not have to be incredibly small but must be placed high on the Pom's head. As far as body type, I like a bitch that is square and a dog that is a bit shorter in back, both having a high tail set. I prefer heavy leg furnishings but it is not as important to me as the overall quality of the dog. I like a profuse coat but prefer a sound dog with adequate coat to an unsound dog dripping in coat. Size is irrelevant to me for the most part. If the dog is sound and very good in every other way, my belief is that we should not be as concerned with larger or smaller examples of the breed. In fact, I would very much like to see the breed offer classes based on size. It is a shame to think with all of the genetic problems that exist today, a dog that is eight or even ten pounds is passed over due to size even though it may be a beautiful Pom! On the other hand, I have walked out of the ring with very small (three pound) Pomeranians only to hear people mutter under their breath "oh, that's too small for me." Just because it is a small Pom does not make it any less of a sound dog. Another characteristic that seems to be taken for granted is the temperament of the Pom (probably due to so few Pomeranians having aggressive temperaments). I like to see a dog that is very "happy." This is the word that I mainly use to describe the Pom to people inquiring about what a Pom is like. The exuberance of the Pom was one of the prime attractions for me. The Pom Fancy still has a way to go in convincing all judges that color should be judged equally. The dog that best matches the standard is the one that should be put up by the judge. Unfortunately, all too often Pomeranians of different colors are passed by.
I believe in light trimming, even light sculpturing, but I still prefer a Pom to look like a Pom and not a cotton ball. I like to see a coat that shines in the sun because it is well conditioned, and to see the coat lightly sway in the breeze (the way a natural coat should).
One comment made by fellow Pom fanciers which greatly disturbs me is "If the dog isn't finished than there is something wrong with it." This comment usually refers to dogs in pedigrees being researched that have not obtained their championship. For myself, I can say that this is not true. I have many show quality Pomeranians here, but I happen to be in the "financially challenged" category. My dogs have only been shown sporadically over the past years due to my full-time job and my second full-time job of caring for my mother. After my mother's death, my job required that I take on additional tasks that absorbed most of my free time as well. Finally, when I am faced with making a decision over whether to devote my finances to campaigning a dog or giving my dogs the proper care they deserve, I guess you can understand which has always been my choice.
Word To The "Newbies"
The advice that I would give a newcomer is this. Find a very knowledgeable breeder who is willing to show you the ropes. Be prepared for a lot of heart-aches as you watch puppies being stillborn, or newborns that die for no apparent reason. Know what to expect and except the responsibilities involved in raising litters. Can you tube-feed a puppy around the clock to keep it alive? Are you prepared for the cost of C-sections and that most litters are born at unearthly hours such as 3- 4- or 5:00 AM. Are you squeamish about aiding a bitch in whelp when it means pulling on or rotating a puppy to help it be born? If you are still reading than you pass the test. Don't forget that you should also accept the responsibility of taking back a dog that you have bred if the owner can no longer care for it and find a new suitable home no matter what age the Pom is.
I have been involved in Pomeranian rescue for quite a few years and can not believe when I hear, for example, that a breeder has told the owner that if the dog is taken back by the breeder, he/she will have to euthanize the dog. This is simply unacceptable irresponsible behavior on the part of the breeder. We as breeders must do right by our dogs and not turn our backs on them in times of a crisis. Also due to my experiences with breed rescue, it is very difficult to obtain a dog from me for breeding or show. I actually prefer keeping the best progeny to replenish my stock and to sell most of my Pomeranians as spayed and neutered pets to the creme de la creme of pet homes where my babies will be pampered and loved for the rest of their lives. Many times these are actually show-quality Pomeranians but I admit that for the most part I am very skeptical to the intentions of a caller that I do not know who is inquiring about a show or breeding-quality Pom. It is particularly important for me to see potential puppy buyers express a genuine interest in the dog rather than treating it as though it is some sort of object to posses. If a buyer begins to express concerns that really do not directly relate to the interests of the dog, I usually terminate the sale. I like to approach these situations the same way as King Solomon and the true nature of the potential puppy buyer usually will surface.
Although I tend to be a bit of a recluse, I am always willing to help a novice but only if he/she asks for my advice. Due to my own experiences, I know how easy it is to become manipulated and I would strongly advise novices against believing everything they hear. Only time can help you sort out what is true. In no way will I ever consider myself an expert when it comes to breeding. Each litter always offers a new set of circumstances and each breeding is always a gamble as to what will be produced from any lines. I am not a proponent of in-breeding, but I find line- breeding most acceptable with an out-cross every three to four generations. Type- to-Type is just as important. If you like a certain look than make every attempt to breed the same type stud to the same type bitch. I also prefer to limit the number of litters produced by my bitches. The usual number is three and at that point my bitches are offered to pet homes. I feel strongly that no animal should have to live its entire life as a kennel dog. After they have produced litters for me, they deserve to live out the rest of their lives as the joy of someone's life in a good loving home.
We recently finished our two-car garage into a kennel. Since the number of Pomeranians (plus my couple of Maltese) have grown, we could no longer keep them in our family room (which is attached to the garage). The Pomeranians and Maltese have individual cages at night and during the day they get free rein of the backyard which is enclosed by a six foot stockade fence. Bitches that are pregnant or in heat are segregated to the front yard which is enclosed with a chain-link fence. Our puppies are raised in the kitchen in special whelping pens. I usually have at least six Pomeranians who also roam the rest of the house.
Over the past ten+ years of breeding and showing, I have made many friends and sadly enough, probably a few enemies too. Animosity is something that I find difficult to deal with but I guess is a sad truth in life. It is a shame when members of the Dog Fancy have a certain amount of "bad blood" between them. Instead we should rise above our trivial differences and focus on what really matters. The betterment of our breeds.
Many thanks to the breeders who have helped me establish my lines and to the good friends I have made along the way. Thanks to the many judges who have put me up in the ribbons even though I am not seen regularly campaigning on the cover or splashed inside of the many dog magazines that are out there. It should be noted that handlers may bring back dogs in the future to a judge, but it is the breeder/exhibitor that is actually producing the dogs they are showing and will also bring dogs back to those judges who judge dogs and not popular faces. But, most of all, I would like to thank Art, my housemate, who not only helps with the daily maintenance of the dogs, he also takes temperatures, helps with around-the-clock tube feedings, and assists me in delivering the puppies in the middle of the night. (Eat your heart out folks.) As they say, "to love me you must love my dogs!" S.P.
This article contains excerpts from the April 1995 issue of the Pom Reader Magazine "Knock, Knock! Who's There, The Pom Reader visits Philbrook's Fancy Kennel."