Talk about a three-peat – just make sure you spell it with a capital “P.”
A winning family trio for more than four decades, David and Pamela Peat of Scottsdale, Arizona, along with their daughter Maggie first made a name for themselves in the sport with Longhair Dachshunds. Their Pramada kennel has produced more than 100 champions, won multiple Bests in Show, and regional and national specialties, and bred the first Longhair to win the group at Westminster.
A successful Junior handler, Maggie Peat showed her first dog as a preschooler, and at one point was the nation’s number-one Junior. Today, her parents are AKC judges and have downsized to Affenpinschers, which they breed under the Pramada prefix as AKC Gold Breeders of Merit. From her home in Northern California, Maggie has continued on with Dachshunds, joining the family kennel name with that of her husband Tom Sikora. With their Pramada Koradox dogs, they are platinum AKC Breeders of Merit.
Here, Pam Peat talks about falling into their first breed, Dachshund distinctions, and rooting on those whom you mentor.
In the beginning: “When we graduated from college in 1968, Dave went to law school at the University of Michigan and I started teaching. We weren’t ready to have a baby yet, so we decided to get a dog. We came up with the Dachshund. I wanted something with a long coat, and then we found out that Dachshunds came with long hair, too – we didn’t know that.
“We saw an ad in the newspaper. The mother was a smooth black-and-tan champion; the father was a red dapple longhair tweener. The breeder had a little girl who was a chocolate dapple longhair, and we got her. We had no idea that the pattern wasn’t considered acceptable at the time, and we didn’t know that she wasn’t quite a standard and wasn’t quite a miniature – she was in between, a tweener.”
Kindness counts: “We took our little Daffy to a dog show, where we met Russell Moffett, who was very well-known Dachshund breeder. We asked what he thought. He said, very diplomatically: ‘I think you could have a really good time showing her and you probably could get some ribbons. Why don’t you stick around and look at the other dogs?’
“He could have just said, ‘Why would you even think of showing this bitch? She’s ugly. You should buy one from me.’ But he didn’t. He introduced us to Hannelore Heller of Han-Jo Dachshunds, who became our mentor, and other longhair breeders. And he didn’t disparage our girl. That’s the big difference between then and now.”
Competitive edge: “Maggie went to her first dog show in utero. She went into the ring for the first time when she was four or five years old, in Iowa. She had on her little pink suit, and dress shoes and white socks. David took breed, and Maggie went Winners Dog, Best of Winners and Best of Opposite over a special under Doris Wear for a point – her first win.
“The owner-breeder-handler of the dog that Maggie beat said to her, ‘Aren’t you excited?’ And Maggie replied, ‘Why? I didn’t beat Daddy.’”
Adding the Affens: “We had Pomeranians with the Dachshunds because Maggie and our older daughter Rachel, who’s not involved with the dogs now, wanted other breeds to show. We moved to Arizona in 1998, and after college, Maggie moved to San Francisco and was totally out of dogs for seven years. We looked for a Pom for a whole year, and then we saw an Affenpinscher. Jackie Stacy was having a litter, and we got Trevor (Ch. Tamarin Trevor). When he went on the road with a handler for a while, we got a bitch, and once you have a male and a female, you know what happens. Affenpinschers are kind of like potato chips – you can’t have just one.”
Fertile mind: “I was a reproductive endocrinology nurse-practitioner – for 40 years I helped make babies, at the beginning of IVF. We used fresh semen, and I would help the women pick out their donors. What I learned from that experience was that, just like in dogs, not everything should reproduce. But the other piece of it was, it’s not easy when you have to work at getting pregnant, but it’s very, very rewarding. Same thing with those fluffy little things in our whelping boxes.”
Keeping the peace: “When two Affenpinschers decide to disagree, you let them work it out, but with two Dachshunds, you separate them, because they can do major damage to each other. We only have Affenpinschers now, because while the two breeds can co-exist if they are monitored, they really can’t be together unsupervised. The Affenpinschers don’t understand about big teeth and hard mouths, and the Dachshunds don’t understand that when an Affen squeaks, it isn’t a toy. Affens have no idea of their size, and neither do Dachshunds. The difference is that Dachshunds are dwarfs, so the only thing small about them is their legs.”
The variety in Dachshund varieties: “I would say the longhairs are a little softer. They don’t take correction as well. It’s the spaniel in them. They’re a little more affectionate. Wires, I think, are more playful and comical, like terriers can be. The smooths kind of fall in the middle – they’re not as playful as the wires or as affectionate or soft as the longs. But all Dachshunds are hounds, which means they are not easy to train. And you can’t let them free – they don’t come back.”
The meaning of mentoring: “We’re very involved in the Breeder of Merit program. Both Maggie and her husband Tom and Dave and I have been advocates for people showing their dogs, and having a good time doing it. Part of the deal with selling people dogs is that is you have to help them, and be happy when they succeed. How can you get upset when your kid can groom a dog better than you, or the dog you sold to someone else beats you? That’s the whole point.”
Advice to newbies: “It’s really important to keep your hopes high and your expectations low. Realize this is not a money-making process. You have to have a lot time, a lot treasure and a lot of patience. Do your research, and just because you talked to someone who was grouchy, be persistent.
“If you don’t like a certain person, that doesn’t mean they don’t have the right dogs that might help take you where you need to go. Put the people aside, and trust your gut.”