Interview with Mr. Stefan Sinko • Interviewed by J. Danilovic
Published in Best in Show Annual 2014
BIS: Dear Mr. Sinko, thank you for taking the time to do this interview for Best In Show Magazine. You are a long time breeder and judge as well. Can you tell us how you got started in dogs?
S.S.: The start was very simple a kind of German Shepard puppyì adopted me when I walking down the street. I was a school kid back then. The puppy was a female and I named her Fify. My parents didnít like the idea of keeping her but since she was a stray dog I was allowed to raise and train her. She opened a ìnew worldì to me ! I started to be more and more interested in this wonderfool world of dogs! From her last litter I kept a male puppy, his name was Rocky. He was even cleverer than his mother and I was able to teach him several tricks!
BIS: When did you get your first Bulldog and when did you establish your kennel?
S.S.: As a student I traveled by train to Bern in Switzerland to learn more about pure bred dogs. I walked by the rings and suddenly I came to the ring with Bulldogs. I liked them a lot because they had been calm – no barking or hassle around the ring, so I decided I wanted such a dog! It wasnít easy, because back then I lived in a communist country and the prices for Bulldogs had been high too, several avarage salaries but I was persistent, worked in my free time until I had saved the money for my first Bulldog. It was a female puppy from the Goldengrove kennel in Switzerland. She came by plane to Slovenia and I was the happiest man in the world! In 1978 I established my kennel name : JUBILEE.
BIS: Which dogs do you consider your foundation?
S.S.: I got a female and a male from the best kennel in the UK ñ Merriveen. Oliver Twist and Merriveen Sweet Moon, bred by famous Mrs.Pat Dellar from Welwyn Garden City/UK. These two foundation dogs gave me two world winner puppys and that is where my success story with this breed started !
BIS: What do you consider your biggest success in breeding?
S.S.: I bred several national and International Champions, FCI World and European winners, so itís difficult to say which win was most important to me. They all have been important wins and achievements for my breeding!
BIS: Did you ever have a mentor or someone who was helping you in the beginning?
S.S.: No, I never had a mentor but as a young man – a novice – I always had my ears and eyes open to listen and watch what the most successful breeders did! I was lucky to learn from the most succesful people in the breed!
BIS: What advice would you give someone who wants to get started in Bulldogs?
S.S.: Only one advice is not enough to start a good Bulldog breeding program, but the basic advice is to try to get ahold of the best specimens you can get as a foundation, because for breeding only the best is good enough!
BIS: Is it difficult to breed a good Bulldog?
S.S.: Itís not difficult but its a very tiering process that needs a lot of dedication and personal involvment day and night!
BIS: Do you prefer linebreeding or outcross?
S.S.: Its is not a matter of preference, both breeding tehchniques are important. Outcross is of couse easy, linebreeding and inbreeding are techniques with restrictions and not for everyone to use!
BIS: In Bulldogs we have three different standards (AKC, FCI and UK). What is your opinion about this?
S.S.: Yes, we have three major pedigree dog organisations and each of them has its own standard. In 2008 the World Bulldog Club Federation was established in Budapest, and the main aim of this organisation is to protect the breed. We cooperate will all 3 entities and use judges from all 3 organisations ,however FCI is our main international entity and for all memebers the FCI standard is obligatory.The FCI has a policy to follow a breedís country of orgin with regards to the standard. The UK standard was revised in 2010, the FCI in 2011 but the AKC stadard did not changed at all. In the US the standards belong to the breed clubs and they are entitled to change them or not!
BIS: Is there a big difference between those three standards?
S.S.: There is not a big difference among them, in fact the FCI standard is a copy of the British one, the AKC standard is sligthly different in wording but basically the same.
BIS: What do you think about the revised FCI standard?
S.S.: My own opinion about the revised standard is that the FCI should follow the standard from a breedís country of origin, if it is a member of the FCI. If it isnít then to change everything in a hurry doesnít always make sense. The FCI revised the Bulldog standard in 2004 regarding some health issues but the British standard did not follow our changes, but then all of a sudden in 2010 they changes many standrads, not only the Bulldog but 31 other breeds too!
BIS: Which fault is the most common?
S.S.: It is not possible to describe in two words, wich are the most common faults but the World Bulldog Club Federation established an eductional program that is available as a Powerpoint presentation, and is free for all clubs and kennel clubs and we have done seminars in several countries using this educational material!
BIS: Do breeders work on correcting those faults?
S.S.: Breeders should be aware oft hem and try to breed healthy and happy puppies for their pet clients, free from hereditary diseases first and foremost. The show value comes in second place but a serious breeder should strive to have healthy specimens but also of a phenotypical quality that is able to win in the showring too!
BIS: You are a very successful and well-known breeder, but you are also a highly respected all breeds judge. Are Bulldogs the most interesting breed for you when it comes to judging?
S.S.: Yes, I am an all breed judge. Of course Bulldogs are my heartbeat but I love to judge all breeds. A top quality specimen of any breed give me a lot of joy and happiness. ,Judges in general prefer to give high awards, and disqualifications only with good reason!
BIS: What fauls do you look for when you are judging?
S.S.: Judging purebreed dogs is measuring pluses and minuses and the final result is the qualification! Top type, top anatomy, top movement are the keys to success in my ring!
BIS: Which show is the biggest show for Bulldogs?
S.S.: The biggest in therms of entries are the Incorporated Bulldog Club Show in UK, the ABC National in the States and on the continent the National Elevage of the French English Bulldog Club.
BIS: Which show was the most interesting show where you judged?
S.S.: During my judging carreer so far I have judged on all continents, all type of shows including Crufts, which was a very special occasion, judging my own breed in the country of origin. I also judged several FCI European and World Winner shows and also the prestigious EUKANUBA Challenge in the US. The last one impressed me a lot in terms of organisation. In general I would say we should give ,ore credit to our own FCI World Winner show. They should be the most prestigious, but for that they need some effort put in by the FCI and also the national organisation, wich is hosting the show!
BIS: Is there any show which you have never been to and where you would like to go?
S.S.: Every show has its own value for something, even the smallest CC show can be very remarkable
If there was something special to remember, I would find it unfair if I pointed out any specific show. I love them all! For me each one of them is a little piece in my own historybook!