LHASA APSO CANADA
|INTERVIEW WITH MR & MRS JAMES ROBERTS
ABBOTSFORD LHASA APSOS OF BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA
Arlene Miller interviewed Georgia and James Roberts on behalf of LHASA APSO CANADA in March 1979.
At the l979 LAC Booster Show held in November, Can Am Ch. Teako of Abbotsford was honoured at a
social following the judging.
Georgia Roberts died in March l981. James Roberts died in December 1992.
How and when did you get started in dogs?
GR-Oh my, that's a long story! Mrs. Ritchie from Vancouver, who was a wealthy woman, bought two Lhasas in
l953 from Mrs Haas in Toronto. The male was Ch. Karandale Dakmar and the little bitch -we called her Goldie-
was Ch. Karandale Tangee. She had three puppies in January 1954 and Mrs Ritchie brought them out to board
with us when they were only a few weeks old.
I had never see one before - had heard of them but that was it. There were none out here. There was a lady on
Vancouver Island who had some that she showed in obedience and did very well with them. She was married to
a sailor and he was transferred to Nova Scotia and that was the end of her. But we had these three puppies and
Goldie to board and we fell in love with them, absolutely! And I bought one of them, a little female "Ping" for Jim
for Father's Day. We had named them Ping, Pong and Phooey and I used to call them in the yard and everybody
thought I was crazy!
Later on when Ping was around two, my son-in-law Lewis and I took her to California and bred her to one of
Mrs Lieberman's dogs. Ch. Ming Tali II, CD. She had three puppies and one of those, a female, we sold to
Marianne Nixon (San Jo Lhasas) guaranteeing that she would be a good show dog. She even got a group with
her which was an unheard of thing for a Lhasa and Marianne to this day says she was one of the best Lhasas she
ever had. She was Ch. Jo-Mo Dkar-Po of Abbotsford.
Did the Lhasas pre-date your showing English Cockers?
JR - No, the English Cockers were first. We finished our first champion in l945.
GR - But he wasn't the first English Cocker we showed. We showed the first ones in l940, but I had to
quit showing cockers because my heart was bad and I couldn't go galloping around the Sporting Group
Has your husband always shared your interest in the Lhasas?
GR - Oh good gracious yes!
JR - It was me that started it because I was crazy about them!
GR - And then of course he had the butcher shop, which made getting meat for them a cinch. And our
son-in-law Lewis Roberts was the photographer.
JR - I was the one who brought all the dogs from England.
GR- And he was the one who had the good eye for a dog, knowing the anatomy of animals.
What has been your goal in breeding?
GR - Better. Always something better. Always looking to improving both the disposition and the quality.
Do you feel that you have acheived your goal?
GR - With Teako, yes. But he was once in a liftime. We don't expect to ever get another one.
What was Teako like?
GR - From the time he was six weeks old you couldn't miss him. He was one that we both agreed on
right from the beginning.
JR - He was perfection plus.
GR - Look at his pictures when he was 10 weeks old - you can see it right there.
JR - He projected himself. Nelson (Teako's sire, Brackenbury Kandron) did the same thing. They gave
something that said, " Here I am. Look at Me!" -Class. You can have a magnificent dog and if it doesn't
project itself it's just "blah" in the ring.
What was your greatest thrill in showing Teako?
GR - I think winning the ALAC Specialty in Beverley Hills. Because there were 79 Lhasas and 16
Specials and then he got second in the Group, besides that day. There were 3500 dogs in the show.
In the last 15 years the position of Top Lhasa in Canada has been held ten times by Abbotsford
dogs and the 2nd and 3rd position several times as well. To what do you attribute your
consistent success in breeding Top Dogs?
GR - Just tiail and error. Paying attention to the bloodlines and also paying attention to the individual dog
- what it needs. I like the combination of grandfather to granddaughter very much.
JR - Helping Mother Nature. In-breeding, especially in Lhasa Apsos, as long as the dogs are good.
That's the only way we've been able to do it, because we found it impossible sometimes to find a dog to
Have you always handled your own Lhasa Apsos?
GR - Absolutely.
What advice would you have for the owner/handler who wants to show his own dogs to the best
GR - Go to the shows - watch. Go to the odd handling class.
JR - Keep your ears open and your mouth shut!
GR - Right, keep your eyes and your ears open and your mouth shut. That's for anybody that has
anything to do with shows or with dogs.
Would you give a brief word picture of your idea of the ideal Lhasa Apsos.
GR - Yes- take a picture of Teako and look at it.
JR - Never over 10 inches at the shoulder - 10, 10 1/4 inches. At 10 1/2 you are getting too big. The
ideal is a compact little dog that projects himself. Nice neck, solid. Personality and projection.
GR - Good muscle and bone, and a head that measures properly. A level topline, and a tail that's flat on its
back. And one that moves right fore and aft. But the idea of the straight font legs - they should not be like a
terrier. They should have that little bend at the pasterns that gives them what Jim calls four-wheel
suspension. Otherwise, if they are built like a wire-haired fox terrier, how can they climb the mountains in
the terrain of Tibet.
JR - They have a fluid motion. They should be built like a Greek goddess, with the rear end of an Irish
GR - That's what Jim used to day, a face like an old tomcat and a rear like an Irish washerwoman. That
used to be his description and I think it's real good.
JR - Ten inches tall. Seventeen, eighteen pounds - depending on the dog.
GR - I would stress the size, I really would, because - you take these big dogs that they've got now.
JR - They're not Lhasas!
GR - No, they're not. Twelve inches is too big. They don't look like Lhasas - just big cumbersome dogs.
JR - I was talking to the Tibetan people at the University of Washington, and they said that their dogs are
little - and all mats!
How do you feel about the over-all quality of the Lhasa Apso as a breed?
GR - Oh, I think they have come a long way. When I think back to when I first started, people didn;t
know to groom them - they had beat-up coats. And the idea that everthing should be golden has gone by
the board. If it is a good dog, colour shouldn't matter.
JR - We never bred for colour.
What about pigment?
GR - Oh yes. they must have good dark pigmentation whatever colour they are.
Have you noticed any specific recurring faults which you feel that Lhasa breeders should be
especially aware of and concentrate on trying to improve?
GR - If you have a dog that is good every other way, unless it is very pronounced overshot, I wouldn't
ditch a really good specimen for something like that.
JR - You are supposed to have a correct mouth but if you have to get 100% perfection, you'll never breed!
What about coat type?
GR - Profuse, all over, straight - not curly, not fuzzy. They are supposed to have an undercoat - all of mine
do. They should have a dense coat, and long, reasonably coarse on the outside, but it is soft underneath.
The hair on their legs and chest is soft - it would be awfully funny if it was wiry.
JR - Firm, profuse, straight. They have to have an undercoat - remember that they come from a very cruel
country, the weather in winter is terrible. Not fine, no wire - no Afro!
Anything else that you would like to mention?
GR - Yes, disposition. This " chary of strangers" is fine, but they should not bite, you couldn't make one of
our Lhasas bite - not one in the whole twenty-five years. But they are marvelous little watchdogs. They will
scare the devil out of anybody that came banging on the door or somebody that they didn't know, but no
way would they bite. And that is something in the ring, if one bit the judge for any ordinary reason, out he
JR - And if he is "chary " as they say, then he doesn't show. You've got to have a dog that's biddable and
GR - But I would forgive that to a certain extent because some of them dislike certain people but if they'd
bite, out they would go.
JR - We always think a Lhasa likes children first, then women and men last.
REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION OF INTERVIEWER
CAN AM CH TEAKO OF ABBOTSFORD
CAN AM CH SA-MAR OF ABBOTSFORD
CAN AM SUMCHEN OF ABBOTSFORD
CAN AM KYMA OF ABBOTSFORD
CAN AM CH GYALSA OF ABBOTSFORD
CAN AM CH PU GYE BO OF ABBOTSFORD
CAN AM CH JUMLA OF ABBOTSFORD
AM CH GYANTSE OF ABBOTSFORD
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