Articles & Publications
Getting to Know You!
An Interview with Max Hurd, Lifetime Member
by Virginia Lee
Q: First and foremost, would you like any of your contact information to be listed in the interview?
MH: Yes, email Mhurd4@cox.net
Q: Do you mind sharing your birthdate with us?
Q: When and how did you fall in love with Chihuahuas, Max?
MH: Well, we went out looking at toy breed dogs and originally had a couple of pet Toy Manchesters. They didn’t work out for us. My mother-in-law said she wouldn’t mind having a dog if she could have one like Les Paul and Mary Ford had on their TV show and it was a Chihuahua. We went out and bought her one for Mother’s Day, and that sparked the interest. The first one we got ourselves was 1957.
Q: What is it about Chihuahuas that you love the most? Can you actually narrow it down?
MH: <laughs> That’s kind of a hard one! I’ve always liked the small size of a Chihuahua. I don’t think they’re the easiest dog to train, don’t think they’re the easiest dog to breed, but I liked the fact that multiple colors came in the same litters. That appealed to me! I always thought it was kind of boring that everything in the litter looked just alike.
Q: What color was your first Chihuahua?
MH: Well, the very first one who remained a pet, she was cream-colored <laughs>.
Q: Can you tell me what color your first show dog was, and did you breed your first show dog?
MH: The first breeding dog I bought….I wrote 21 letters to breeders around the country telling them I was looking for a foundation bitch, something that would be capable of producing show quality pups…something of good bloodlines, something of quality of course. I got those answers all back and sorted out from there and the one I ended up with was a female that was about a year and half old, was Champion sired, and was bred to a Champion when I bought her. She was represented as being show quality, could probably have finished but at the advice of our mentor, she felt that we’d be better off to breed and keep a puppy and show it. We showed her for a couple of shows after we got her, and about 3 weeks after we got her from Chicago she had 3 female puppies. They were a tiny, a medium size, and a breeding size. The tiny didn’t get much over 2lb, went to a pet home, the medium size went to a friend of mine who showed her in obedience and had 11 pts and sadly getting hit by a car, and we kept the bigger female. She was a nice female but not show quality. We bred both her and her mother to a male that was a son of Ch Tejano Texas Kid who was the hot dog in those days and we got our first two Bred-By show dogs out of those two litters. In the meantime, we had bought a 8-week old show prospect from Marge Grosshart in Roanoke, VA. They came by train, railway express, 52 hour trip at 4 months of age. Once he got his first point he finished his Championship in 7 straight shows.
Q: How many Chihuahuas were you competing against in that time frame? Do you see the type of numbers we see now or is it about the same?
MH: Well, when we started him out in the 6-9 month puppy class we went to Illinois for a 3 day weekend of shows. There were 11-12 dogs in the open class and I had him in Open class, which was probably pushing it you know, but he was pretty well matured and such. Almost everyone in the ring but me was a professional handler. We did get a Reserve win that weekend and we also took a female that we sold to the friends from the first litter. So those were our first two placements that we thought we did darned good at! <laughs> That was our first shows, but the entries at those shows were pretty good-sized! It seems so strange anymore that there isn’t much of a number entered anymore in the Open class – like the National that only had one male in the open class!
Q: Do you or have you had any other breeds while you’ve also had Chihuahuas?
MH: My first wife had Toy Poodles. I bought her a show prospect male for our 10th Wedding Anniversary and we got up to about 20 Toy Poodles at one time along with the Chihuahuas. The grooming is why the Poodles were eventually phased out! When we first started the puppies sold like hotcakes and then we hit a period of time where all of the puppies had to maintain show coats or had to be trimmed constantly and it got to be a lot of work. We both worked so between Chihuahuas and Poodles so eventually, something had to go.
Q: So, this is probably a heavy question and you’re allowed to answer more than one thing of course, but what is your favorite dog show experience or experiences that you can think of?
MH: Mmmmm….probably the National Specialty that I retired from judging at. I enjoyed that one, and I thought I had a lot of nice dogs at that one to choose from. It was a fun one.
Q: In your breeding program, what is it that you feel you’re most proud of?
MH: I think in my dogs, soundness and movement has been a big thing. I like a good side picture when they come into the show ring and so forth. Nice tailsets and ears are other priorities. I think I’ve been pretty successful at having good sound dogs and I am probably more well known for that as I’ve never been too much to go the extreme on heads and extreme on short noses and such. CH Hurd’s Hi-Ho Silver who took Winner’s Dog at the National several years ago who is a good example of the movement and temperament I like to see.
Q: What is a dog from any kennel you can recall from the past who you can still see influence from today, and which virtues you see from that dog?
MH: <laughs> Another tough one. Well, the influence today is probably getting a bit thin but CH Ouachitah’s Beau Chiene is probably my favourite as far as he plus his get. I always followed his get because I loved to see what was out of him in the years thereafter and always liked his get. Things don’t always come from one dog you know, but you see the type.
Q: What is your favorite dog of your own breeding out of all you have produced over the years?
MH: That would be CH Hurd’s Honeybee.
Q: Do you have a favorite brood bitch from your time in breeding? Do you feel that people could still benefit from having dedicated brood matrons in their kennel?
MH: I cannot name just one, no. They all have something to offer, but I do feel that often times the “big sister” does a lot more for the breed than the show bitch does. If you finish a dog that’s 5.5lb by the time she has a couple of litters she’s gonna be a big brood. Most of them don’t stay at 5.5lb after a couple of litters. I think larger females absolutely contribute a lot to the breed and have. I think maybe breeding has gotten a little harder because we are sticking with smaller females – but then you know when I got started the breed standard stated 2-4lb preferred being of equal quality the more diminutive shall win. So many of the Champion females were 2-3 pounds and entirely too small to breed. I started out liking the 4.5-5lb. That was a challenge for me because a lot of the people thought my dogs were too big, but I liked free-whelping females then and I still do!
Q: What is your favorite historic Chihuahua fact?
MH: Well…I think of a story of Mrs. Mike Attas who had the first Best In Show Chihuahua – CH Attas Gretchen – I met her at a show in my early years. Something she said to me that kind of stood out in my mind was “They don’t walk on their G—damned heads!!!” <laughs> An important lesson early on. I never saw Gretchen but she evidently was a nice mover, and Mrs Attas’ dogs were all good movers. I met Mrs. Attas at some shows in the early years and I met her one year at the Oklahoma specialty. She was livid because coming up from Texas she had planned to overnight at a friend’s place and when she got to the friend’s place her friend told her the dogs would have to sleep in the garage. Mrs. Attas left and refused to visit her friends if her dogs could not be with her. She was probably 75 years old at that point, maybe 80. I enjoyed meeting her!
Q: Who did you get your first Chihuahuas from?
MH: The first breeding stock dogs I got from Tressa Thurmer. I got my first show prospect male from Marjorie Grosshart in Roanoke, VA. Mrs Thurmer had quite a setup and I got to visit her kennel a couple of times over the years. People kept a lot more dogs at that point in time. Tressa had a farm down in southern Illinois and had staff that helped her to raise the Chihuahuas. People back then kept a lot more dogs than they do now for sure.
Q: What makes a Chihuahua “A Chihuahua” to you?
MH: Their personality. Their mischievousness – that sort of thing!
Q: What are the issues you feel are most prevalent in the breed today, and is it any different than when you started breeding Chihuahuas?
MH: Too many are short-legged and long-bodied. Back in earlier days, toplines were a big thing. Tailsets weren’t as big of an issue back then – you know we want a pretty level topline with a high setting tail where back then it wasn’t talked about much. Bites were an issue back then and I think they still are today. Fronts are prettier today, straighter and such. I don’t know if they move as well as some of the ones did back then though. Maybe we straightened the front a bit much, tightened it up, and it doesn’t move as good. I think rear ends today are better than they were back then. I was always kind of big on rear ends – I felt like that’s one of my dogs strengths were back then. I think a lot of what we saw back then was more patellar luxation than there is today…there was a lot of lack of angulation overall in rears back then.
Q: What preventative care or special care can you recommend to new owners or new breeders that is specifically related to Chihuahuas?
MH: I hate to see so many of our bitches being sectioned – I would like to see people working harder at having free-whelping breeding stock.
Q: What resources that you wish you had starting out that are possibly even still not available today?
MH: I think we could use more seminars at the National Specialty like panel discussions and things like that. We have had them on occasion and they were beneficial but we don’t seem to have time for that in recent times. Three to four breeders at a table and a room full of people asking questions! Everyone answering questions as best they could. I’ve brought it up repeatedly since it died out but it has fallen on deaf ears. I would love to see these return as a learning opportunity.
Q: Do you feel there are specific roadblocks in Chihuahuas as a breed compared to other breeds that the average person may not think of?
MH: I think you need to have a good vet that’s prepared for you that is willing to be there for you and willing to take you into the office when you need them 24 hours a day and 7 days a week! My clinic sold out a few years ago and it was really bad for 2-3 years. One of the vets in the clinic eventually was able to break away and open his own clinic and that’s who I go to now who will come in for me when I need his help. In a lot of the areas of the country, there are a lot of vets who don’t even want to do or know how to do sections on dogs. We’re swimming against the stream on everything as breeders, such as limitations on dogs and having to have something such as a license to breed a bitch or a litter permit. The town 10 miles from me – people have to have a litter permit or they will get a pretty hefty fine. It’s much harder for breeders nowadays.
Q: What is one technology that you can access now that makes a positive impact now that you didn’t have before that you didn’t have when you started breeding?
MH: I would imagine ultrasounds would be one. I personally haven’t used them much. For me, having a vet that is actually qualified to perform a caesarian section. Back in the old days, the anesthesias were so bad that you had a big chance of losing your bitch during the sections because of that. I think that has gotten a lot better. Now that depends on your vet too and how they’ve been taught.
Q: What are the lesser-known issues you feel we are facing as a breed?
MH: I would say seizures might be another health issue from what we previously touched on. I don’t know if everyone might consider bites a health issue per se but that’s always a concern.
Q: What makes a show dog to you? What makes the difference from a breeding quality dog?
MH: A little better movement and a little sharper head. I don’t feel like there’s much difference between the two, generally, there will be something that will stand out. Some of them can be so darned stubborn to train! That may be the big difference in a lot of them! I look for the same temperament in both.
Q: What about dog show culture has changed drastically since you started exhibiting?
MH: People don’t pay much attention to other people’s dogs. They don’t stick around and watch. You may ask them what they think about so-and-so’s dogs or what they think about that one black and white dog they don’t even know that there was a black and white dog in the ring even when they’ve been right beside them.
Q: What is the most important piece of advice you can think of in general for newcomers for the breed be it someone wanting to exhibit in conformation, agility, other performance, or even just owning a pet?
MH: My model has always been a winner never quits and a quitter never wins.
Q: What are some of the common mistakes you feel a newcomer can make when selecting a show prospect or a breeding prospect?
MH: Getting too many people’s opinions. Find a good mentor – somebody that doesn’t smother you but gives good advice. Stick with them for opinions. Every time someone stops you and says “something’s wrong with your dog” don’t go running off to get rid of it and start with another one.
Q: What are some things you would like to see Chihuahua breeders working on currently and into the future of the breed?
MH: Kind of all the same old things – keep on keeping on.
Q: What made you decide to start judging Chihuahuas?
MH: I didn’t think we had enough judges doing specialties that knew the breed really well, for one thing. I liked judging a lot, but I didn’t have much desire to judge anything other than Chihuahuas and judge specialties.
Q: What advice do you have for people who are interested in becoming a judge of our breed?
MH: Don’t wait too long to start. Start finding ways to become involved in dog clubs in any way possible – find out what shows are really all about. Do everything you can to learn about the process, volunteer to learn to steward. Too many people sit or stand on the sideline and never end up getting started. Jump right into the dog show world as soon as you can!
Getting to Know You!
An Interview with Liz Bliss, CCA Lifetime Member
By Katie Greer
Q. Would you like any contact information listed in the article?
L.B. Yes, Liz Bliss, Noblesville, Indiana, and my phone is 317.770.9719.
Q. Do you want to share your birth date with us?
L.B. 11.26.26. I’ll be 82 next week.
Q. How did you get started in Chihuahuas?
L.B. Well it was my youngest daughter, who was about 11 years old. She wanted a dog of her own. We had another dog, another breed, but it belonged to her sister and she wanted a dog of her own. She wanted us to get her a Chihuahua, so we did!
Q. Were Chihuahuas your first breed?
L.B. Yes, we had had dogs when I was a child, this and that, and the other thing, but never did any breeding or anything like that. We just had pets.
Q. What is it about Chihuahuas you love most?
L.B. They are so sweet. They really are. They just appeal to me.
Q. What other breeds do you have now?
L.B. None, and I only have only have two Chihuahuas left, two Champions. We lived in Ft. Wayne and our daughters lived outside of Indianapolis. They were after us to move closer, so we finally moved out here. We always had a dozen Chihuahuas and my husband said we’d have to cut down. My daughter said we could have 2 or 3. I said forget about 2 I’ll take 3! We lost one recently. A little black doggie called Chrissie. She died the 4th of July weekend. We have her ashes in a little box on our table here.
Q. What is your favorite moment in dog showing?
L.B. When we get into Groups and in Best In Show, that’s exciting.
Q. What is the funniest moment in your dog career?
L.B. (Laughs) Oh boy, there’s been a lot of funny ones! Trying to name the dogs, is fun. I had a black dog that was named CH Bliss Hoosier Oprah Win For Me.
Q. What are you most proud of in your breeding program?
L.B. I guess it would have to be my Best In Show CH. BLISS HOOSIER BOY NAMED SUE. The way he got his name was when he was born on a labor day weekend, the men were all out playing golf and I had a cousin here. We were cooking food , you know, and then the mother went into labor, I told my cousin I was going to have to take her to the Vet for a c-section. There were 3 puppies, and I called them Small, Medium, and Large. He was Medium. He had a hard time getting going. One of the girls that worked in the clinic came over and worked on him and brought him around. I told her I would have to name the puppy after her and she said you can’t he’s a boy. I said I sure could, and I did! I finished him and then Linda George took over on him and specialed him. One day she called me and said he did quite well. She said he got a blue ribbon, well I said that’s good. Then she said he got a purple ribbon, and on and on. Then she said he got this thing you might want to hang on your wall or something. It’s a rosette, and it’s red, white, and blue and says Best In Show on it!
Q. Are you a judge, or do you aspire to be?
L.B. (Laughs) No! If I were a judge why would I be sell my best and keep the rest?
Q. What is the biggest difference between dog shows when you started and the dog shows we have today?
L.B. For one thing it’s the quality of the Chihuahuas. When I first started the quality was very poor and it increased all along and here we are today.
Q. What is the most important advice you have for us regarding breeding?
L.B. Well picking out the best stud you can find not necessarily from someone that lives down the street. You want to get one that has the qualities you want. I didn’t keep any males for a long, long time. I only had bitches.
Q. What parting comments would you like to leave us with?
L.B. Well there are several. I would like for our club to get back to where it used to be and not have all this back stabbing that is going on. That’s enough about that. Also, I didn’t want, wouldn’t have, and wouldn’t want any part of the merle issue, never had any part of that. But if everybody voted, it was a fair vote, and the people that wanted merle won then I would have to go along with it; although I wouldn’t ever have any. I wish everybody would be friends and get along and help put the qualities of your dogs most important. Go for quality!
Getting to Know You!
An Interview with Carolyn Mooney
Q : How did you get started in Chihuahuas?
CM: I’ve loved dogs all of my life. As a child, I would get a new dog, only to have to give it away when Dad was transferred to a new base. Then I married a military man, and it was the same old story. The hardest to give up was our Sheltie Scout. He was such a wonderful dog, and protected my daughter always. When we returned to the states in 1968, after a time in the Philippines, I told John I was going to get a little dog that we could take with us when we moved. I saw an ad in the paper for Chihuahua puppies, and advertising a long coat Champion at stud. I had seen one long coat Chihuahua a few years ago. I told John that I would like to get a long coat, because it would be similar to a tiny Sheltie. Answered the ad, and it was from another military wife, Muriel Jones. Went to see the puppies, who were only a few weeks old. Saw the Mother dog, Stober’s Miss Bubbles, C.D., her daughter (Ch.) Jones’ Baby Snooks, and the male Ch.Stober’s Gay Strutter, (C.D.). I fell head over heels in love with the long coat adults. The litter of puppies had only one female, a white pup, supposedly a long coat. (Sire was a smooth). I put a deposit on the female, and went to visit her every couple of days. Meanwhile Muriel made a two pup offer telling me the little fawn male was show quality. I bought them both. The female grew up to be (smooth coat) Mooney’s Little Bit, C.D.X, and gave me my first home-bred Ch. Mooney’s Dinah Mite. But I am getting ahead of myself, the “show quality” male turned out to have a heart defect. Muriel later replaced him with a long coat male who grew up to be Ch. Jocar’s Chico Abanderado. But meanwhile I was without the promised showdog, and Muriel put me in touch with Anne Stober. Ann sold me a lovely tri-color splash female, who grew up to be Ch. Stober’s Andra Lita, and my first Champion. I actually had her entered in the first dog show I ever saw, and thought I could win Best In Show with her. She did take the Variety under Clara Alford, but then she was the only entry.
Q :Were Chihuahuas your first breed?
CM: Chihuahuas were my first show and breeding dogs. I had owned a purebred, but unregistered Collie in 1950. A purebred but unregistered Cocker Spaniel in 1952. All other dogs had been mixed breeds until 1955. When we returned to the states from Japan after I graduated from high school, I won 64 silver dollars playing bingo. I had told my Mom that if I won the cash jackpot I was going to buy a dog. She laughed and said OK – believing she was safe. When I said Bingo, my little brother jumped up and said “we get our dog!”. For 30 silver dollars I purchased a fawn and white, with black mask Boxer bitch who I named Corky’s Golden Princess. I had her papers and her pedigree, and had no idea what I had. She was a Ch. Bang-a-way of Sirrah Crest granddaughter, and was truly a lovely girl. She loved my Dad best, and when I got married I sold her to Dad for $1.
Q :What other breeds do you have now?
CM: I own one Tibetan Spaniel, Ch. Eaglecrest Sik’is at Miclanjo, better known as Buddy. He is my constant companion. While I don’t own them there are four Chinese Cresteds here, three are Michael’s and one is Clayton’s. Clayton also has a Papillon in residence. We also have six Devon Rex cats.
Q: Many of your family members are also involved in dog showing please tell us more about them.
CM: Papajohn is currently approved to judge six toy breeds. He has been President of the Chinese Crested Club of Potomac, since the club was formed. And he was just humoring me with the dog show game. He was not going to get involved!
My oldest son Michael is an obedience trainer and is approved to judge Novice, Open and all Levels of Rally. He is still actively competing in obedience. He had the first powder puff female C.D. when the Chinese Crested was first accepted. He is, today, the only person to have a mother and daughter powder puff Chinese Crested obtain AKC U.D. titles. His kennel name is Wagayo
Clayton (second oldest) is continuing to carry our banner in the conformation ring, as well as breeding and showing his own under the kennel name of Ranton. He has one breeder/owner handled Tibetan Spaniel Champion, as well as his Chihuahuas.
Angela, my third child and only daughter, still loves dogs. Right now only owns one, a Korean Jindoo, but hopes to get back into showing some day.
John, the youngest does not “do dogs”. He is very active in Siamese cat rescue. When asked why he doesn’t “do dogs” he replies “Shoot, I grew up thinking I was a dog”.
Michael’s daughter Marie is currently away at college. But she has put a C.D. on one Chihuahua, and has legs on a second. But her greatest accomplishment was putting a C.D. on her Grandfather’s Afghan Hound, Silvertone Exotic Miclanjo. Marie was 14, Zottie was 7, and the C.D. was earned in three consecutive shows (and the first three entered), with scores in the 180’s.
Q: What is your favorite moment in dog showing?
CM: I think the day I handled my first Chihuahua to a group placement. She was my homebred Ch. Mooney’s Su Cie Miclanjo, and we got a 3rd. Papajohn was announcing the groups and he said “First to the Toy Poodle, second to the MinPin, AND THIRD TO THE LONG COAT CHIHUAHUA!” And yes he was shouting the last part.
Q: What is your favorite memory of judging?
CM: My judging career was short, but there are so many truly fond memories. Perhaps we can do a whole section on these.
The biggest thrill for me, as regards judging, was judging the Chihuahua Club of America in 1998. But that was preceded by the honor of having my peers vote for me to do that assignment.