Regency in China

When Sonny called and asked me to come to China and give a three-day seminar to a group of Schnauzer breeders, I jumped at the opportunity. . . - by Beverly Verna (Regency) as printed in "Schnauzer Shorts"

 

The night before Jerry and I left Bejing, Sonny Wang and his students took us to the biggest Buffet we ever saw. It was so big and had so many international tables and sections of food, people got lost. After dinner we went to a private Karaoke Bar where we all took a turn at the microphone. At first a bit shy and not knowing all the words in English, only a few of the students sang, but then we changed it to Chinese and played what must have been a pop favorite, for this time everyone sang with great theatrics and passion. I can still see them now, acting all silly and singing their hearts out. The song was "One Night in Bejing", and I will never forget that night or my two weeks in Bejing.

 

Ch Regency's Playmaker with Sonny Wang-China

 

are the people who can speak English and have traveled to the United States to learn about their breed from US breeders, and have attended our big Specialty Shows. My friend Sonny is one of those people, and he has a group of "Students" who he teaches and advises.

When Sonny called and asked me to come to China and give a three-day seminar to a group of Schnauzer breeders, I jumped at the opportunity. We planned to see three Dog Shows, have the seminar, and then sightsee in Bejing and Chien, the oldest city in China, and the home of the famous 'Terra Cotta Soldiers'.

In China right now, there is a sort of "Master/Student" arrangement within the breeds. Because dog breeding and showing is so new to this country, there are only a few "Masters", or as Sonny calls himself, "Teachers". Usually, they

The Dog Shows were given at a big complex outside of Bejing. The average Show had approximately 500 entries. The building was decorated with banners, signs and vendor booths very much like our own. But there was only one ring, and it was huge! The judges, in this case, four of them, along with the Show officials, sat in a semi- circle of couches on a kind of stage in front of the ring. I am not sure, but I think exhibitors could enter the day of the Show. That part, early in the morning was hurried and somewhat confusing to me. We all had to have a badge with our picture on it (which they took right there) in order to come inside the building. Most of the grooming was done in a huge room behind a curtain blocking any view of the rings. Ring procedure was a little AKC, a little FCI, with no Specials classes. A Best Male and Best Female were chosen with the best of those two going on to the Group. The Groups were divided as in AKC, and 1st through 4th was awarded. Best in Show consisted of a Best and a Reserve Best. There is also at every Show, a Best Puppy contest run the same way as above. Puppies could be shown starting a 4 months of age.

The one big ring was divided in half to accomodate two rings for all the breed judging. The handlers all dressed well and most showed their dogs very well, some very professionally. Owner/ handlers did not show their dogs well at all, with few knowing correct ring procedure. It was evident that they did not have a "Teacher". All the professional pictures were taken after Best in Show, so with only four judges and most all exhibitors wanting a picture, this took hours. It was a fun day with lots to see and do. All the exhibitors were very polite and seemed happy to welcome two new Americans into their fold.

The day after the three Shows, my seminar began. The location was out- side Bejing in the country, about three blocks from Sonny's kennel, which is a very large, modern kennel complete with large paddocks and a swimming pool for the dogs! Our classroom was the banquet building of a restaurant that was a part of a country resort-type property. The bulding was emptied for us so that each student could bring their grooming table and

dog. Some of the students flew in from outside cities and they were housed in the 'motel' of the property - really cute little painted egloos. Everyday, we all walked over to the restaurant for a fabulous Chinese meal, mostly done 'hot-pot' style with lots of meat and fish, and vegetable of unknown origin, that became known as 'I don't knows' (vegetables with no counterpart in the US therefore no English name).

My dog experiences and some of the famous dogs I have bred or handled. The handling contest was a tough one. Most were very good, so we ended up with three 'Best Handlers' - Elvis, Spud and Max.

The first day we covered stripping patterns and techniques, and then rolling a coat. The second day, trimming for show, and the third day I talked about breeding, understanding pedigrees and health issues, then Jerry and I gave handling lessons. We ended that day with a handling contest between the students. Because I knew that I wouldn't be able to pronounce their names correctly, we gave those that didn't already have one, an American name (from which name cards were made). There was Monica and Carla, Max, Mark, Elvis and Spud to name a few. Elvis was one of Sonny's first students, and Spud was already a professional handler.

My students were a warm and wonderful group. I think of all of them often, and so wish that they could come to America - a few in particular I would love to have apprentice me for a year or two, but I am told that Visas now are especially hard to get. If and when they can come, I will welcome them to my home.

If any of you think that this seminar was for beginners or for a bunch of Chinese people who didn't even know the basics, think again. My students were far more advanced than even I had thought. And their dogs were for the most part, of very good quality. So teaching them more advanced concepts and techniques was a pleasure for me. Some students could speak and understand some English, and Sonny, who speaks very good English, was my translator. They listened to every word and all crowded around to watch me trim. No one was shy or afraid to speak, and all of them had a wonderful sense of humor - we laughed often. They were ready and able to soak up as much information as I could give them. During lunches they asked me to relate stories about

The second half of our stay included sightseeing and shopping. Oh the shopping!! Sonny sent me with his wife Su, who is the very BEST Shopper/ Bargainer/Haggler I have ever seen - I loved her! One of the students, Max, was our host in Chien, a city about 400 miles away. We flew there for a three- day stay. What a beautiful city - it is the China I pictured in my mind, and I could go on for days about seeing the 'Terra Cotta Soldiers' while there.

I am told that the Chinese people who are giving the Shows have been to the AKC in an attempt to gain an alliance between the two countries. The first thing they have to do is establish a China Kennel Club with a registry that is compatible with ours. In the meantime, I encourged my students to come together and form their own Miniature Schnauzer Club. They are a smart group of people who want to have a say in the management of this breed.

From the moment we landed until the time we left, every need we had was foreseen and taken care of. Our host, Sonny, worked very hard at making this trip so unforgettable and special for us, as did Max. The Chinese have perfected the art of Hospitality . I give them our many many thanks for making this experience such an unforgettable joy.

Our wonderful Chinese 'Students'