LR: Welcome to Pure Dog Talk. I am here with Mr. Luc Boileau, and we are going to talk today about some of his favorite things at dog shows, and some of his least favorite things at dog shows. So, Luc can you tell us a little bit about your background in purebred dogs?
LB: Well, I was born in Montreal Canada, and my father had hunting dogs, and I had never shown dogs, but I used to take care of dogs. He was a great hunter, and I started to go to dog shows with a friend of mine that showed some Terriers. And she had an Old English Sheepdog which was Ceiling Zerio’s younger brother, a famous Old English that was shown by Bob Forsythe, and eventually, I met Nigel Aubrey Jones and Bill Taylor and from then on, I would go to shows but I would help Bill and Nigel with the show. Also, not too long after, I worked for Nigel and Bill at the kennel in the country. They had a trimming shop in the city, and the dogs would be left there to take to the boarding kennel, so I used to sometimes, when I could do it, I would take the dogs up there, and then ended up working at the kennel and being around the amazing Pekingese and also some of the amazing clients coming from America from the states to buy dogs, and paying prices that I never heard, and my eyes were like popping out of my head. A few years after that, I started to handle a little bit for friends. And then, when I got a driver’s license, I didn’t have to go with Valerie anymore, I could drive, and that’s how I started to handle. I had a very successful career in Canada. Then through Frank Savella, I got the opportunity to work at a kennel and I came to American in 1970, and I’m still there.
LR: Yes, and you were the Best in Show winner at Westminster Kennel Club in 1990 with the Pekingese.
LB: With the Pekingese. And it’s funny because Pat Craig was in the lineup, and I think of that night, but I guess was smooth and difficult to say, but Frank didn’t like that bitch that Pat was showing. And I’ve been to shows in California about two months before, and we had a little conference about this and that, and of course, I was the last group on Tuesday night, the toy group. And before the group, the hound group was the one before that, and when I heard on the speaker, the winner of the hound group is the Elkhound bitch, I thought oh my god, poor Pat, poor Pat again. And you know I say it the way it is. Frank, I’ve known and respected him, and I would have never gone Best in Show if some of the dogs got beaten in groups that weekend.
LR: Isn’t that amazing how that lines up?
LB: It’s very amazing, so you have to be at the right place at the right time. I can still remember the Pointer won second and he was crazy about that. Corki at the Ironsides with Bouvier won second to a Shelby that ran around the ring with his tail over his back and tried scream at the woman Best in Show slow down. That’s why I had won the sporting the group, and Joe Waterman won the sporting group with a Bichon, at the hound group Vicki Bellenger got had won the working group with a Giant Schnauzer. Also, Bobby Fisher with Ed Jeneqey won the Terrier group. It was a Wire Fox Terrier, but that was not supposed to happen under Dr. Doogle. That was something that happened that everyone’s still trying to figure out. So, in a way, when I won the Toy group, everybody kept saying, you’ve got a chance at this because it’s a very weak lineup. I know people say, why did you admit that? Because it’s true. Ya know, I know there were two or three dogs that would have been in there, I would have never won Best in Show, but they weren’t there. And I won Best in Show, and from then on, I said when I was in the middle of that ring looking at Ed Genis sitting in his seat, I thought this is it. I’m done. I’m not showing another dog. When we get back to the crates and I tell him, that’s how it’s going to be, and I did. And he said you can still stay at the farm and the kennel, and I stayed for 40 more years.
LR: Wow. That’s amazing. That’s some great stories, thank you so much. Ok, so what is your very favorite part of dog shows, what’s your favorite part, what do you love the most?
LB: My favorite part is to judge breeds that I really love and finding a good one, and discovering it and then watch it succeed, and go on to do a lot of winning.
LR: Give me an example, can you think of one that you found, off the top of your head.
LB: Well, you’re asking a lot of an old man. Well, I’ll tell you one that I think of it now, and I lived in Canada, I showed a dog that would just recognize the breed, Shih Tzu. And it was a black and white dog, and then I got very sick and I could not show him, and the people sent him to Bill Trainor. And he’s the one that did so much winning and first Best in Show, his name was I think Chow Chow and it was a black and white. And he did a lot of winning, and I saw him when he came to the States with Bill and everybody, and that’s one little dog that I showed. You know in Canada we used to have shows in March called The Sportsman Show. There were six of seven shows in a row all in the same building. A lot of people came from the states, so it was like a big family. And in those days, we stayed at the club even if we got beaten, and learned and listened to people. Today, it’s so hard, people leave after they are done in the breed, they don’t stay to learn anything. And the other sad part is nobody reads their standard, and you can chunk them in the ring and they go ehhh. I had a dog one time, she used to only have one eye, a Pub.
LR: Yes! I think I was by that dog once.
LB: And I thought to myself, oh wait a minute. So, I went and got my standard out of my case and the women said somebody, can you believe it? That dummy doesn’t know he’s got to be reading the standard, And I said ma’am, I’m not dumb nor stupid, but I’ve never had a dog in the ring with one eye, and I just don’t understand, I want to make sure. You know said nothing, and this lady was sort of upset and all this, and she said to me, well it doesn’t say either in there they should have four legs. And I said well, you’re quite right, but it also doesn’t say that you’ve got a big mouth because you’re criticizing me to go to find out if it’s right or wrong, or what to do with it. So, this a lot of the people, the new people that are on our sport, which is a great wonderful sport, but if people keep this going, they’re going to ruin the sport. People, you know, don’t understand. Thank God there are a few handlers that work hard, they show good dogs, not so good, that’s part, I was a handler. You got to pay the bills, and you gotta take sometimes, take some things that you don’t want to show.
LR: Try not to
LB: That’s right. That’s not part of the game of the sport. And people sometimes give you these dogs and they don’t know. Then they learn and they get a better dog. So, this is one of our big problems.
LR: And so, breeders. How do you think about breeders? Do you like the quality of the dogs now, do you think we’re making progress in last 40, 50 years? What do you think?
LB: No. I don’t think we’re making progress cuz there are no breeders to say much anymore. The old breeders that have died, nobody’s taken over. And people have no patience, they can’t wait. They don’t win with the breed, they get rid of that breed, get another one. It’s just collecting ribbons. It seems to be in our day in age now it’s that it’s the fashion, and they just don’t have the patience. You know yourself, you’re a handler, you know you get a puppy, have a hard time, you get it trained, and then it turns out to be, and then you say oh my gosh.
LR: A Chihuahua
LB: No you say oh my god, I stuck with this, I worked, it works. Nobody does this. In a big rush, instant winning. And of course, you have these people that get into breeds to make money, and all the problems that some of the breeds have bad hearts, and this and that, and they don’t care. I mean I have a Navy friend of mine that had a Yorkie that was beautiful, did a lot of winning, it came down with a liver problem. And I said to her, why are you breeding to all these bitches? Are you telling them? No. So of course, all these dogs got infected with this liver problem, it took all these times to get their string, their breeding program, and wasting four or five years which is terrible. But you see, this is why a lot of people don’t have any scruples about doing this.
LR: Ok, so we’re definitely into the this is the part that frustrates you! And so, exhibitors. What do exhibitors need to learn, what’s your pet peeve that you want them to know?
LB: They have to learn to, when you get to a dog show, first thing you do, you pick up your arm bands. You watch the judge’s pattern, what he does. Not walk in the ring and say, what do I do? Well, you haven’t been watching? You should go home because I’m not paid here to be instructing and telling, you should know. Or else, walk up to get the armband and move to the steward because I’m on number Mary Bell and Honey Boo. No, it’s what class, what breed that he knows because he doesn’t remember dog’s names, those are all different things. And, also, exhibitors don’t listen. You can talk til you’re blue in the face, and today, at this wonderful show, I had this problem today, and from yesterday. And yesterday, I made sort of a mistake because somebody was being, and I said, I can’t believe you’re that stupid. I shouldn’t have said that I agree. But, I’m older and I never did that when I showed dogs, I was very patient and I listened. They don’t listen, they don’t care.
LB: No respect, they don’t care. It’s their own rule they’re going to make and they figure they paid all this money. And it’s very expensive to show dogs if you use handlers or don’t use handlers, just the entries, the traveling, the gas, the motel. So, you know people should be a little bit more considerate. That’s one big pet peeve I have. People that arrive late in the dog show and breed, and run into the ring without ask the steward, can I come in? Cuz, you know you have to because otherwise, you’ve started pattern to go the end of the line, or whatever. But people don’t see that that’s not a rule anymore, that you can do whatever you want. Same thing when the handler comes to take a dog that somebody started, can ask. Not just walk in and go and take it. You have to have manners about it and you have to respect it.
LR: Ya. Respect and manners, I can see that being a pet peeve. And so, you judge toy, hound, and non-sporting. So, when you’re looking at your dogs, and you come from toy breeds from a background of hunting dogs, what’s the first thing that you see? What’s the first thing that captures your eye?
LB: Well, they’ve got to have type. I mean like you know, getting a sound dog, you can find one anyway, you go to SBCA.
LR: Any clerk
LB: And they have to be type. They have to breed type and that’s what makes them that breed. You know just being sound in this and that in a certain breed. And you know I judge three groups, and one of the reasons is on most of those breeds in those three groups, except maybe hounds, I’ve had and raised puppies.
LR: Oh, ok
LB: Like, you know Frenchie’s, Dalmatians, Poodles, Bulldogs, same thing with toys. Papillons, Pekingese, Yorkies, different breeds, Toy Poodles, I’ve raised a litter, I’ve whelped them, I’ve watched them grow. I’ve watched a beautiful puppy fall apart and then given away to a pet home, and that happens all the time. Same with hounds you know. Dachshunds, we bred them all fine. Beagles, hundreds of Beagles.
LR: In general
LB: Ya, which is amazing. A few Afghan, a few Whippets, cuz I came from Canada with Whippet, that was my breed in Canada. So, I feel that I have a great knowledge in those three groups because I’ve been so involved with those breeds, and raising puppies. And another breed that I feel very comfortable is Elkhound, because Ed Jenner sponsored quite a few dogs of Pat Craig. I traveled with Pat, I used to go to California, stay with her, watch puppies and learn, evaluate puppies and this and that. And you so, I feel that once you’ve had that great experience, you just get ahead of the game in those breeds, because you’ve raised them, you’ve seen them, you’ve watched them grow, you watch one that gets a little crazy, that falls apart and you say, how the hell could that happen? It happens.
LR: So, judges. What do you think of the process, the new, kind of the new process that’s coming on?
LB: Well, the new process is horrible
LB: And that’s what I say. And I’ve not applied since the last time I got the non-sporting group because I don’t believe in the stuff that they’re doing. Now, anybody can judge. Not only anybody, when judging on panels and you listen to some of these newer judges, you say to yourself where did they come from? Where did they learn this, and where did they talk to that? And this is why I’m not good about going to Judges Dinner and sit down next to these dummies because I get in trouble.
LR: Ha! I can’t imagine!
LB: Because we get into arguments, oh ya, I have a very difficult time. There are few judges out there that are the same, but they’re not quite as bold as I am, they’re a little shyer, I’m not shy. I was told when I was a kid I was sent to live with somebody because I loved horses and I didn’t want to go to school. And I was raised in a barn, and I was raised that shutting up and hiding, you don’t get anywhere. I mean really.
LR: And so what’s your advice to judges? What do you advise people that are new in their judging career, or want to advance their judging career?
LB: Well, first of all whenever you’re gonna judge the breed, learn about that breed and know it inside out in the standard, and read. Just don’t listen to people that got you to judge those breeds, and they’re pushing you and don’t know anything about it either. Just be prepared, if somebody comes after you judging, and say please, and very nice, polite about it, not just start screaming at you. Because when that happens, I turn off and I say get out of here, I’m not listening. And also, bring your dog back because we can’t always remember. And you know that I’m advising that be prepared, to read your standard. My dear, half of the people that show dogs have never read their standard.
LR: That boggles my imagination.
LB: Well, it’s so wrong, because you know these are guard dogs, and they’re there for a purpose, to help people. I mean they’re not just there for the beauty of being near somebody local.
LR: Exactly. So, final question. Thinking about the sport, you’ve been involved with this a very long time, all your life. And you’ve watched a lot of stuff come and go, and so, the future of the sport, and I ask everybody the same question. Where do you see the sport going? How do you see it progressing? What would you advise, what would be your recommendation, your suggestion?
LB: Well, I think the sport is going the wrong way because of the way we treat everything, and nobody gets educated. And nobody wants to it seems, because they don’t want to take the time. And I mean if we’re gonna keep this sport that is a wonderful sport, and has been a place for people to enjoy and have a good time and learn, they’ve got to start learning. And they’ve got to go to people that are reputable about breeds and talk about it, instead of not listening or, after they’re beaten in the breed, just get in the car and go. Not to stay there, and learn, and ask breeders that have been around for a long time, and keep picking their mind, and this is how you learn and just it on your little reserve in your little computer. You see, we are living in an advanced world, and everything’s moving too fast, because I just said, your little computer. It’s a big computer and a big bunch of crap that everybody does. I had somebody put something on Facebook, I don’t belong to it, I judge dogs and it’s Eukanuba and its Orlando, and some person sent me this thing on my phone. And I couldn’t get it cuz I didn’t understand it, and somebody finally got it on there for me, and this man is talking to two ladies that showed Dachshunds that day, and he says something about, I’ve never been so humiliated or blah, blah. I lost the breed of my special, wonderful dog to the worst, political, bitter judging. I hope the judges go for lunch and he chokes and dies. Well, I thought they were writing about somebody else, and somebody this weekend said Luc, they’re talking about you, because it was very small you know. And I said oh my God. Well, somebody said, you know who that guy is? And I said no really, I don’t. But then when they started to explain, and you know when I gave them best opposite in smooth Dachshund and he was automatically best breed-by, I said, it’s a beautiful bitch. He said, well she should have got the breed too, and snapped the ribbon and left. I didn’t do anything because usually I would have said hey, come back and apologize, but I thought you know what, I wasn’t feeling good. I had picked up a bug there at that show, I came home, I was in bed for Christmas and New Year’s, a good three weeks I was so sick with this flu. So, that’s the part that people have to learn, and when I first started to come to the states before I showed in Canada, Lance Gardis said to me one time, see these are all old judges and wise. He said you got to learn to be a good loser like a good winner, and don’t ever forget it. And it is so true. People don’t want to lose, nobody does, I agree, but it happens.
LR: It’s a dog show.
LB: Yep, it’s a dog show.
LR: Okey doke, well thank you very, very, very much Mr. Boileau, I very much appreciate your time.
LB: Well thank you for having me.
LR: And you have a wonderful rest of your day.
LB: Ok, thank you.