How I found myself ruled by Chinese Cresteds...
I am a zoologist, physiologist and veterinarian by schooling and have come by the Crested world quite by accident. One day a client of mine came to my office and offered to give me a tiny two pound Powderpuff. At the time, I had three large, fluffy mixed breed mutts, the only kind of dogs I had ever owned. I had been an experienced dog trainer, (I still train), for over 12 years and my mutts had several titles in Obedience and were on their way to their Agility titles. I declined her offer and thanked her for her generosity, because I love my big fluffy mutts. Because she was leaving her older Crested for dental work, she asked if she could leave the tiny Puff for the day, to which I replied, “Of course! We’d love to play with him and perhaps another client of mine would adopt him.” Her last words to me as she sailed out the door that morning were, “They are wonderful dogs and THEY DON’T SHED!”
Hmmmm. I looked at my three large double-coated shedding dogs, (who come to work with me every day), and began to think. Well, to make a long story short, this tiny dog stole my heart in one day. Jo Jo, is so awesome, outgoing, self-confident, intelligent, adorable and loving who couldn’t love him? He has won the hearts of everyone who meets him. He has hair that is slightly curly, he is somewhat cobby in stature and his patellas are not so perfect. But HE is perfect and he is my heart. So he and the three big dogs, Dallas, a Collie mix, Katie, a Spitz mix and Reilly, a Border Collie-Samoyed cross were coming to work with me every day. (The office got a little crowded). He was so tiny, that he literally grew up in my purse. He got in my large leather purse every time I set it down, went to the store with me, shopping all over town. He was in a fashion show at a large fancy mall here in Charlotte, NC called Southpark. He’s been in TV commercials. I discovered the joy of having a dog you can slip into your purse and go anywhere with, (of course, I did get thrown out of a few grocery stores, but what’s life without a little excitement?)
Only a few months passed before I called this wonderful client and asked her for another Puff. I said, “I’ll pay, but I want another one of these wonderful little dogs.” She had a show quality puppy and she agreed to co-own him with me, BUT I had to show him in Conformation. Hmmm. The Foo Foo Beauty Contest type of Dog Show? Well, I wanted another Crested, so I agreed.
Thus began the Saga of Wendy learning about the Conformation world of showing dogs. Teddy is, by the way, absolutely gorgeous. He is everything perfect about a Chinese Crested dog. His face is beautiful, ear set perfect, hair is THE perfect coat for the breed, silky and straight, red and glowing, it almost never tangles. All of his health testing is perfect and normal. CERF-normal, OFA-excellent, (patella’s and hips), Optigen – clear. Cardiac – normal). He is gentle, brave and outgoing and LOVES to show in the Conformation ring, (could it be all the treats he gets?). His tail NEVER stops wagging! I’ve had judge after judge comment on his happy demeanor. The last one even laughed and said, “He’s fanning me with his tail!”
But I digress. The first day I showed in Conformation was at the Raleigh, NC Tarheel Circuit, (the largest show in NC). And it was a comedy of errors. I walked in with my large collapsible soft crate which I had always used at Obedience and Agility Trials with my other dogs. As I entered the building, I noticed some people right near the door with some Cresteds. Excellent, I thought! I asked if I could set up near them and they were very friendly and said, “Of course! But you can’t use that soft crate.” Stunned, I retorted, “It’s the only kind of crate I have.” (Not having looked at the rules of the Raleigh show, I didn’t realize that no soft crates were allowed. Go figure.) So, Mac kindly went with me to buy a metal crate I could use.
That done, I went to get my other things and dogs. Jo Jo, of course was along as Teddy’s assistant. When I walked in with Teddy, the kind Crested people inquired if I had groomed him yet. (Mind you, the Cresteds will be entering the ring in 15 minutes.) I brightly & proudly said, “Yes!” To which they responded with a pronounced head tilt, “Ah……. no you haven’t!” (Oops!) It was too late for me to shave the parts I had not known to shave, so I shrugged and continued to set up my stuff. They continued to be extremely kind and helpful in letting me slip in beside them as I started to comb Teddy on the floor. Marci looked at me and said, “Where’s your grooming table?” “Grooming table?” Hmmm, I didn’t have one. Judy’s response was, “YOU HAVE A POWDERPUFF AND NO GROOMING TABLE????” (Oops, again.) Sigh. They let me put my dog up on their table even though they too, were trying to get their dogs ready. (Truly generous people).
After my not too spectacular showing in the ring for my first time, Mac, again directed me to a place where I could buy my very own grooming table. (Too kind). Then later Judy and Billy helped me PROPERLY groom my Teddy and the next day, he did much better in the ring and placed amongst many fine dogs, (and handlers). From that humble beginning, the only way I could go was up. I learned mountains of information, bought tons of dog show equipment, met hoards of kind and generous people, and have spent hundreds, (no thousands) of dollars on this “hobby” of mine. Now Teddy is a finished Champion, I’ve made some new best friends, and I LOVE showing in Conformation. I’ll still do Agility and Obedience, of course, but the sport of Conformation is addicting, that's for sure!
I became so addicted to this breed, I fell in love with another Crested; an exceptionally tiny, extremely well-bred Crested named Chloe, (her uncle, John, was the number 6 Chinese Crested that year). She is the perfect form of a Crested and yet very small. She was the first dog I actually paid money for, and she was worth every penny. The tiny Princess rules the house. Even Reilly, my only mutt left, the former boss of the poopays, bows down to her tiny-ness. So, we all live in the harmony of Chloe’s design.
Please feel free to browse Cloud Nine's pages and learn more about our dogs, their "staff" and our upcoming shows and events!
-Wendy Ryan, DVM, MS, BS