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Syndication

The American Kennel Club’s Pick of the Litter is a monthly podcast that covers

canine pop culture, its people, and news you can use.

 

Join us to hear from dog owners, handlers, trainers, lovers—and their dogs—at home and in the field, at shows, and anywhere that four legs are as good as two.  From canine heroes to celebrated artists, listen in on the wide world of dogs.

On this edition, we celebrate all things May.  In honor of Mother’s Day, AKC Breeder of the Year Plius Davern talks about her Sussex Spaniels and her rewarding work turning rescue dogs into rescuers.  May 1st is May Day, and gets us in the mood for spring, but it was also celebrated as a workers’ holiday in the former Soviet Union.  One of the most interesting legacies from that period is the Black Russian Terrier, a dog “engineered” by the Soviets as a military dog.  Post Cold War, these striking big dogs have turned into charming companion animals, and we hear about them from breeder and trainer Olga Kornienko. 

 

On Memorial Day, the country honors its military heroes, so we interviewed author Maria Goodavage about her book Soldier Dogs.  The bond between soldiers and their canine partners is “beyond anything we can imagine,” she says.  “They save each other.”

We see one vigilant canine soldier here, in a photo from the book taken by Marine Sergeant Mark Vierig.  

Finally we listen to more your “Best in Show” moments—great dog stories from our readers and listeners.

Direct download: PICK_Ep5_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:39 PM

The American Kennel Club’s Pick of the Litter is a monthly podcast that covers canine pop culture, its people, and news you can use.

 

Join us to hear from dog owners, handlers, trainers, lovers—and their dogs—at home and in the field, at shows, and anywhere that four legs are as good as two.  From canine heroes to celebrated artists, listen in on the wide world of dogs.

 

On this edition of Pick of the Litter, a brief history of dogs on the Titanic, in honor of the 100th anniversary of its tragic maiden voyage.  Also, handler David Fitzpatrick tells us about his willful Westminster Kennel Club Best in Show champion, Pekinese Palacegarden Malachy, and why he’s made a career handling this regal ancient breed: “They’re very aristocratic, they’re dogs that you sort of have to win over.  You end up doing things their way, and they oblige you and do a few things for you along the way.”  Such as winning Westminster!

 

Not all great moments happen in the ring.  Journalist Glenn Plaskin got his first puppy, a cocker spaniel named Katie (after his favorite celebrity, Katherine Hepburn) relatively late in life.  She was the runt of her litter, but “I looked at those long drooping ears, and that blonde hair, and knew she was the dog for me.”    Plaskin was concerned about training a dog on his own, then discovered by accident that his elderly next store neighbor had recently lost her own cocker.  “I knocked on her door—and my whole life changed.” 

 

Plaskin’s book Katie Up and Down the Hall, which is coming out in paperback this May, tells the story of how Katie created an extended family in his New York apartment building, and he talks to Pick of the Litter’s host Lisa Peterson about the transforming power of his little dog.  Katie and her “family,” John, Ryan, Pearl, and Glenn, are pictured here.  (Photo: ©ScottJonesPhotography.com)

 

Plaskin isn’t the only one with a good dog story.  We’ve been asking our newsletter readers and Pick of the Litter listeners to tell us about “Best in Show” moments with their dogs, and getting great responses.  You’ll hear a few of them on this program, featuring a “canonized” St. Bernard, a steadfast Golden Retriever, and an uncannily intuitive Collie.

Direct download: PICK4_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00 PM

The American Kennel Club’s Pick of the Litter is a monthly podcast that covers canine pop culture, its people, and news you can use.

Join us to hear from dog owners, handlers, trainers, lovers—and their dogs—at home and in the field, at shows, and anywhere that four legs are as good as two.  From canine heroes to celebrated artists, listen in on the wide world of dogs.

On this edition of Pick of the Litter, we meet an Angel on a Leash, welcome a Coonhound to the AKC, find Fido in fine art, and talk to talented juniors.  Plus, could there be a canine Oscar winner?

David Frei is known to millions of television viewers as the voice of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, but in private life Frei has another important role—therapy dog volunteer.  We talk to Frei about his charity, Angel on a Leash (http://www.angelonaleash.org/)  his dogs Angel and Grace, and the book inspired by their work together, Angel on a Leash: Therapy Dogs and the Lives They Touch.

We also accompany Frei and his wife Cherilyn as they visit with children at the Ronald McDonald House, in New York City.  The facility provides accommodation for families of children undergoing cancer tests and treatments at hospitals in the New York area.

This year the American Kennel Club admitted the Treeing Walker Coonhound to its registry.  We hear about this vocal, but kindly, breed, from owner/handler Nancy Winton. 

The 136th annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show comes to New York on February 13th and 14th.  Among the related events and festivities is the AKC-hosted annual Barkfest at Bonhams Charity Brunch, which benefits the AKC Humane Fund.  Alan Fausel, the Vice President of Bonham’s Fine Arts Department, comments on the paintings and drawings that will be offered at the “Dogs in Show and Field” Fine Art Sale, on February 15th.

At the AKC/Eukanuba Championship in Orlando, Florida, this past December, junior competitions were held in agility, obedience, and showmanship.   Two talented juniors, Anneka Dahle and K.T. Spencer, talk to Pick of the Litter host Lisa Peterson about their experiences. 

Last on this show—forget George Clooney.  Dog lovers are rooting for Uggie, a Jack Russell terrier who co-stars in The Artist, to pick up an Oscar Award—in his teeth maybe.

 

Direct download: PICK3_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00 PM

The American Kennel Club’s Pick of the Litter is a monthly podcast that covers canine pop culture, its people and news you can use.

Join us to hear from dog owners, handlers, trainers, lovers—and their dogs—at home and in the field, at shows, and anywhere that four legs are as good as two.  From canine heroes to celebrated artists, listen in on the wide world of dogs.

On this edition of Pick of the Litter, we take the AKC’s Canine Good Citizenship test, learn how to have a happy and responsible holiday season with our dogs, meet a mountain dog, and talk with author Susan Orlean about an American icon—Rin Tin Tin.

Dogs are everywhere during the holiday season.  Their cute faces—often wearing Santa hats—are used to sell everything from handbags to handsaws.  But we shouldn’t let this relentless loveableness persuade us to buy the dogs themselves for the wrong reason.  At the recent AKC “Meet the Breeds” event at the Jacob Javits Center in New York, we spoke with representatives from some of the most-featured “holiday” dogs—the Dalmatian, the Parson Russell Terrier, and of course, the Beagle--about what these breeds are really like.

Another potential holiday challenge is taking your dog home, or elsewhere, for the holidays: strange dogs, strange people, little kids, ornaments, and tempting food all await you along with family and friends.  The Director of AKC’s Canine Good Citizen program, Mary Burch, has some tips for us on how to keep our dogs smiling at this time of year. And, if you’ve been wondering about exactly what it takes for your dog to become “a good citizen,” Mary takes us through the actual test with a lively Shih Tzu.

Winter.  Snow.  Mountains.  Mountain Dogs.  This year marks the entrance into the AKC registry of the Entlebucher Mountain Dog, a cuddly Swiss breed that owner Jan Vincent prizes for its loyalty and versitility (even if she did choose them originally because they matched her cat!)

And speaking of loyal:  New Yorker staff writer and bestselling author of The Orchid Thief, Susan Orlean, reached back into her own childhood and American popular culture to write her recently published history of a canine entertainment icon.   Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend reveals that this striking German Shepherd Dog was not simply a character on television, but a real dog who combined astonishing physical prowess with an emotional intensity that made him an unforgettable character.  Host Lisa Peterson interviews Orlean about the book and her own breed, the Welsh Springer Spaniel.  (The image of Rin Tin Tin featured on this site is one of many signed autographs "Rinty" and his trainer Lee Duncan distributed to fans.  Courtesy of Simon & Schuster.)

We’re also initiating a call for your dog stories, your own “picks of the litter.”

Direct download: PICK2_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:00 AM

On this edition of Pick of the Litter, we honor search-and-rescue dogs; the PETS Act turns 5, an ancient breed re-joins the AKC, and seeing dogs through a photographer’s eyes.

The AKC’s annual Humane Fund Awards for Canine Excellence, or ACE awards, honors one exemplary dog in each of five categories.  We hear about the 2011 search-and-rescue winner, Border Collie Hunter, from Captain Billy Monahan of the Los Angeles County Fire Department.    “He’s just one of us, one of the team,” says Monahan of his partner, who helped locate victims of the earthquake in Haiti.

Award-winning photographer Lisa Croft-Elliott thinks of dogs as “fashion models with four legs,” and cites as her influences David Bailey, Richard Avedon and Italian Vogue.  The results speak for themselves—imaginative, unconventional pictures, like the one of the Bracco Italiano shown here—that she shoots for clients all over the world.  Croft-Elliott tells us about her process, and why she knows dogs from “both sides of the lens and leash.”

Speaking of photogenic, the Xoloitzcuintli, or Xolo, Mexico’s ancient breed, was reintroduced to the American Kennel Club registry this year, and fancier Joe Patalano tells us why he’s devoted to this unusual-looking dog.

 We’re also initiating a call for your dog stories, your own “picks of the litter.”

Direct download: PICK_Ep1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00 PM