BIS: Dear Hiroshi, thank you for taking your time to do this interview. Please tell us something about your background with dogs.
H.T.: Thank you for the interview. My father and Mother are not dog people, my father was a typical Japanese business person. But we always had dogs as pets since I was a baby. My very first pure bred dog was English Cocker Spaniels named Bob and Vivi. My Uncle had a kennel for breeding and show dogs , he was a breeder of Dobermans, English Pointers and Beagles in 1970th.
He was such an enthusiastic dog lover that he imported many kinds of pure bred dogs from overseas for his hobby. He has been interested in pure bred dogs for his whole life. I learned a lot from him. He had participated in lots of dog shows in Japan and I went there with him. He was the very first professional handler in Japan.
BIS: Did you have a mentor or somebody who helped you to increase your knowledge in the beginning?
H.T.: I had grown up near my Uncle’s kennel, and I helped with the kennel work from my childhood. My very first experience at the dogshow is when I was 10 years old. My parents has divorced and I wasn’t feel comfortable in my life. Then my Uncle took me to the dog show in Japan. He gave me the opportunity to learn about pure bred dogs since I was 13. He let me show his English Pointer at that age. I would say that my Uncle was my mentor regarding how to show dogs. He was the very first man who managed a boarding kennel in Japan. At that time, people never imagined that a dog could go to the boarding kennel, for training or trimming , it was not common in Japan in 1970th. He started many of the new trends in the dogs which we hadn’t had at that time.
BIS: How come you decided to become a professional handler?
H.T.: Many of the dog people gathered at my Uncle’s kennel, and they never stopped speaking about dogs. The little boy Hiroshi was so interested in what they were speaking about. I dreamed of joining as a member. When I showed the English Setter for the first time, I got a special prize and it made me feel like “I wanna be a professional handler”!
Another reason convinced me to become a professional handler, this is an important reason. My cousin KAZ HOSAKA. He was like my brother when we’re kids. I met him every summer vacation at my Uncle’s kennel and we began a great friendship. I followed everything he did like many boys who have a star in their small world. When Kaz graduated from high school, He decided to work at our Uncle’s kennel, I was 14 years old. After 2 years, Kaz decided to go to the USA to work and learn about show dogs under Mrs. Ann Rogers Clark and Mr.Clark.
After Kaz left, I dreamed that I would like to go to the USA to learn about dogs like Kaz did. Kaz is one of the people who made me a professional handler. After I graduated from high school, I started working at my Uncle’s kennel ,full time.
Then 1 year passed and Kaz came back from the USA for a while with lots of wonderful stories about the dog shows in USA. Kaz told me so many stories of the “American Dog Show”. Those stories made me think I WANNA GO TO THE USA!
BIS: When did you know that you wanted to become a Prof. handler, what was your “stepping stone” to reach that point ?
H.T.: Throughout my life, I have had 5 great mentors on my way to becoming a professional handler and a breeder. The first one is my uncle Tatsuo Tsuyuki. He taught me very important things about pure bred dogs and how to condition them, how to keep them, how to train them. The breed standard book was always on his bed side table until he passed away.
The second person was Mr. Clay Coady. I had worked for Clay and Bergit , “Bonnie Briar Kennel” while I was there, about 5 years. He taught me what the true professional handler should be. The professional handler must have the responsibility to keep continue working on conditioning, and training dogs, also we have to manage the kennel. Gardening, cooking, not only taking care of the dogs, but also taking care of the clients and assistants. I learned that the professional handler must manage everything! I believe those 5 years made me a professional handler. The dog show in the 1980’s in USA fascinated me , it was like a dream world.
Beautiful dogs, great dog people, and great dog shows at the time.
The third person who mentored me was Mrs. Ann Rogers Clark. I had worked for her almost 6 months. She managed the breeder’s kennel, and she taught me how the breeder should be. The breeder should breed correct dogs , not to win, not for the ribbons.
And the fourth person who mentored me about trimming and Wire Fox Terriers is Mr.Ric Chashoudian. Ric had taught me all about terriers. When I had worked at Clay and Birgit, he visited the kennel very often since his mother lived in L.A. Everybody spoke about what a great terrier man he was! Since 1985, Wire Fox terriers and Smooth Fox Terreiers became different varieties in the breed. After that time, the two of the most famous Wire Fox Terriers came from U.K. ENG.AM.CH.SYLAR SPECIAL EDITION and ENG.AM.CH.GALUSUL EXCELLENCE. Ric Chashoudian imported Sylar Special Edition and Peter Green imported Galusul Excellence.
Clay Coady showed SYLAR SPECIAL EDITION for Mr.Bill Cosby, and Peter Green campaigned Galusul Excellence at the same time. Everybody was crazy about watching the Wire Fox Terrier ring to see these two great Wire Fox Terriers with great handlers competing there. It was true, beautiful, amazing competition.
Watching these beautiful Wire Fox Terriers first hand and those great terrier men like Peter Green, Ric Chashoudian and Clay Coady fascinated me when I was a young assistant. While working under Clay Coady and campaigning Sylar Special Edition, I learned that the terrier man must have the patience to keep their dog in good condition, working on the dog every day.
BIS: What did you do after your experience in California?
H.T.: And the 5 th person who mentored me for a long time is Mr. Kaz Igarashi.
He is a great breeder and judge. He had learned in the U.K from Mrs. Dike, Hadleigh Pomeranian and Mr. Joe Braddon. Mr. Kaz Igarashi had taught me a lot about truth of the pure bred dog. How the pure bred dogs should be. The “core” of the pure bred dogs, how to judge them , how to evaluate them, how to choose the breed type and how to find a good dog. Sometimes the professional handler tends to forget about true breed type, and chooses the flashy dog with showy movement in the ring.
Some breeders do not like the professional handers since they say the professional handler ruins the breed with their technique.
Probably our handling technique or the grooming technique could mask the truth of the dog and made the wrong dog win.
Mr. Kaz Igarashi hammered into me me again and again what the each breed must be.
Not fashion, but Breed standard or the purpose of each breed.
The breed standard is the principle.
I think it is the most important thing that Kaz Igarashi mentored me for a long time.
If I had not met him, probably I would still like the show dogs with flashy movement, without breed type which can win a lot in the show ring.
But Mr. Kaz Igarashi never allowed me to be like that, so my one and only the principle is breed standard.
BIS: You had and still have some of the top winning American dogs. Can you name some of them?
H.T.: There have been so many beautiful dogs I showed after coming back from USA in 1987.
• 1992 German Short Haird Pointer – AM.CH PAWMARC,S WOODS OF AUTUMN #1 in All breed in Japan
• 1996 I sent a Scottish terrier named Magic Noir to USA from Japan and that dog won the Best of breed at Westminster in 1997, and I brought a Cairn Terrier named Grace of Lucky Carma JP who won Best of winners at Montgomery County Kennel Club
• 1999 Pembroke Corgi AM.CH.LOJEN IT’S A GUY THING won the BEST IN SHOW at largest FCI International dog show in Asia
• 2000 Pembroke Corgi INT.AM.CH. LARCHMONTS MICHAEL won the BEST IN SHOW at largest FCI International dog show in Asia
• 2000. Wire Fox Terrier AM.JKC.NIT.CH. JENWYRES GEORGE CINQ OF SANTERIC won BEST OF BREED at Westminster handled by myself
• 2014 my home bred Wire Fox Terrier won the National Specialty at MGKC, FOXCREEK JP IDEAL or IDIOT who was the grand grand son of the dog who won the Best of Breed at Westminster in 2000.
BIS: You used to show at the biggest shows in America and Europe, where you achieved some fantastic results. Can you mention a few highlights that mean a lot to you?
H.T.: So many moments that I can’t forget about. But Montgomery County Kennel Club dogshow in 2014 where my home bred Wire Fox Terrier won Best of breed was just fantastic.
Every body believed that the winning dog wuld be my competitor who won the breed at the NATIONAL Specialty. There were so many ringside photographers around the ring but nobody took a picture of my dog since nobody thought he could be a winner! So I still do not have any of the photos of him in the ring.
Another show is the World dog show in Paris 2011, It was the very first year that we brought our dogs to the European dog show. We brought one Jack Russell Terrier Lemosa Mr.Energizer leased by our great friend Mr. Simon Mills in Australia. Energy won Best of Breed, World Winner at the most prestageous World dog show in Paris over 200 entries.
Then he was shortlisted in final 6 in the group ring.
There was an incredible standing ovation when he walked around the group ring.
Also World dog show in Saltzburg in 2012, We brought an 11 months puppy Jack Russell Terrier, and he won Best of Breed over all the champions from all over the world.
Beside my own success, I must mention about Rebecca Cross who won Best in Show at Crufts 2015. She is the most successful my student I have ever mentored.
I taught her how to groom , how to condition the showdog, and how to be a patient professional handler when she lived in Japan.
She lived in Japan for quite a long time and she came to me to learn about dogs.
I gave my Scottish Terrier as a gift to her and she won the National with the dog named Marco. She was working so well after coming back from Japan. Now I can respect her as a PROFESSIONAL HANDLER. I am so very proud of her, and all she achieved, good student!
BIS: Going through your photos, I saw many of Terrier breeds you used to show. Besides your Fox terriers and Jack Russells, which is your favourite Terrier breed?
H.T.: My favorite show breed is Wire Fox Terrier and my partner loves Jack Russells.
But honestly Border Terrier is my most favorite breed. I can not live without a Border Terrier.
And speaking about show dogs besides terriers, I showed Pembroke Corgis over 25 years for my honorable owners Mr. and Mrs. Murase. I showed so many beautiful Pembroke Corgis and the breed always fascinated me.
BIS: You have won numerious Best in Show wins. What about your first Best in Show and how did you feel winning your first BIS?
H.T.: In 1982… 34 years ago. When I was 19 years old. I won my very first Best of Breed with the Doberman dog named Canon ball Max Million. It was like over the moon. I felt I DID IT!
That’s because I trained him, I conditioned him, I showed him, I did everything for that dog by myself under my Uncle. It was not only the winning in the ring but I did everything outside of the ring, from Monday to Friday. Morning to night. I felt great achievement from my very first Best in Show experience. It means joy through hard work.
BIS: What result do you consider as your the biggest and best one?
H.T.: Well it is too difficult to speak about the biggest one but the highest highlight was
In 2012, World dogshow in Saltzburg. Our home bred Jack Russell Terrier named MONAMOUR JP PART TIME LOVER won Best of breed over 200 entries from all over the world.
He was just an 11 month puppy and it was his 4th dog show in his whole life. Nobody believed that the puppy could win the WORLD WINNER title and we did it!!! It was the “turning point” of our life with Jack Russell Terriers.
BIS: Besides being a Professional Handler, you are very successful breeder of Wire Fox Terriers. Please tell me about your own breeding and how long you have been breeding?
H.T.: I had been showing Wire Fox Terriers ever since I came back from USA in 1989 and I started breeding Wire Fox Terriers in 2002. I always adored the Wire Fox Terriers which were bred by Ric Chashoudian and Kathy Ridge. Their Wire Fox Terriers had such beautiful heads and correct movement. So I started breeding primarily with the dogs from Ric. My priority breeding Wire Fox Terriers are: beautiful head with sound movement. The head tells the type, the movement tells the structure and soundness. My very first litter of Wire Fox Terrier was sired by .JENWYRES GEORGE CINQ OF SANTERIC out of SantericPearl of Kathrich from Kathy Ridge and Ric Chashoudian. It means my very first breeding of the Wire Fox Terriers are all from Ric‘s dogs. After this breeding, I continued breeding Wires mostly from Ric‘s SANTERIC dogs and Blackdale Royal Star and Blackdale Starlet, Blackdale Irish Velvet from Ireland.
BIS: Which og represents you’re greatest success in breeding?
H.T.: FOXCREEK JP IDEAL OR IDIOT named TARO. He won Best of Breed at Montgomery County Kennel Club dogshow in 2014, and then he went to U.K and won 2nd in the open dog class at CRUFTS 2015. He finished his U.K title in 2015.
BIS: Following your Facebook profile, I notice many seminars: grooming and handling, done by you. When did you start working with seminars? Have you ever held a seminar in Japan?
H.T.: After coming back from the USA in 1989, I started my part time job at a grooming school to teach how to groom Terriers or Schnauzers. Since then I have had my own seminars and my classes at some of the grooming schools in Japan, and handling seminars or occasional seminars for professional groomers or the Terrier fanciers. I have some experience in teaching grooming and handling overseas, especially Asia, Taiwan, Singapore, and the Phillippines. To mentor the young generation creates our future. Like my mentors taught me I must pass on so many important things to the next generations. I think this is where I must play a role in the dog world.
Not only Japanese people, but also many Asian young generations visit to my kennel to learn how to groom , how to train, how to condition dogs like when I was young and worked for Clay Coady.
BIS: What is the most important thing people can learn at seminars?
H.T.: I can’t teach everything in one seminar. All I can give them are some of the ideas about grooming dogs or ideals of how to work. So the most important thing they must learn is to continue working on the dog every day to maintain good condition. Good condition can’t be learned from one seminar. Don’t attempt the easy way, easy winning.
The most important thing is to be patient, to be a hard worker and to learn correctly.
BIS: What would you do, if you hadn’t decide to be a handler?
H.T.: Probably Gardener or Chef at a restaurant since I love gardening and cooking.
BIS: What do you respect the most in judging skills?
H.T.: Great knowledge and experience like Mrs. Ann Rogers Clark or Mr.Ric Chashoudian, like Mr.Peter Green like Mr Kaz.Igarashi.
BIS: Is there something in life that you would like to do or to visit, that is your life dream?
H.T.: I have travelled all over the world, but I have never had the experience of sight seeing travel. I would love to go to Hawaii to visit my friend Willam Wallace Kamai. We used to share a room while we worked together at Clay’s kennel in the 1980’s. He taught me a lot about pure breed dogs . Well my dream is to visit my old friends who gathered from all over the world to learn to be a professional handler under Clay and Birgit in 1980th. Donna Fox from Italy, Sanna Rossell from Sweden (now in U.K) , David Kasey from Oregon, Greg Strong in Maryland, Robert Carusi, Bill Kamai and a lot of the good friends.
BIS: If you could, what would you change in dog world?
H.T.: I am working as a professional handler because I like beautiful pure bred dogs.
The dog show must be the place where we show a good dog with good condition, good training or the place where we can find a correct dogs for the breed future. The judge must respect the breed standard and the breeder’s voice. I hope Dog show is the place for showing the dogs, not dealing out the ribbons. I miss Ric Chashoudian, Annie Clark, my uncle and so many good dog people in the past. They encouraged me to be a good dog person.
As Ric Chashoudian said,
Not hostile, but Respect each other.
The breeder must respect other breeders.
The exhibitors must respect other exhibitors.
The winner must respect the losers.
The judge must respect the breeders.
The owner must respect the handler’s work.
If everybody respect each other instead of hostile or deal , the dog world can be a bit better… I hope.