Updated: Nov 14, 2019
2 years ago, we imported a fabulous Long Coat Chihuahua from the Mystic Legion Kennels in Greece.
When Tracey approached George and Tony for a dog, she didn't ask for a particular puppy, she sent them a lengthy letter explaining the faults in the NZ lines that nobody seemed willing or able to correct because of the limited gene pool here.
This was not about health issues like slipping patellas and heart problems, which a responsible breeder can easily screen for. This was about fundamental construction faults being bred into NZ lines through either lack of choice or just ignorance of the Breed Standard, and those faults being rewarded by judges with no alternatives in the line-up. This had the added problem of local judges starting to believe a flashy coat, high stepping movement, incorrect head and bad mouth were features of the breed and handing out not just Breed titles but Group and In-Show awards as well, to dogs who would be pet-homed had they'd been born in a country with a larger gene pool.
This becomes a vicious circle that can eventually destroy a breed. When a short-sighted breeder's aim is simply to "win a best in show" they will breed what is winning, not what is correct, the health and welfare of the breed be damned. So the faults stop being accidental and start being deliberate, and before you know it, the breed is unrecognizable and in dire trouble.
As a preservation breeder and a vet, soundness and health are more important to Tracey than ribbons so there were a number of important structural problems on her list. Incorrect heads (deer heads, eyes too small, etc), bad mouths, bad fronts (the cause of the high stepping, mincing movement so many inexperienced judges confuse with reach and drive), incorrect tail set (too high, curling over the back and too long rather than a correct sickle tail), just to name a few. Tracey asked to be considered if they had anything in their kennels that might help us begin to address these issues in our lines. We understand that long standing issues like this can't be fixed all at once, but the first step was to introduce some fresh, correct (and sound) DNA into the gene pool.
Much to our delight, they came back with the choice of 2 dogs: a gorgeous puppy and a junior dog they had recently made up to Champion who was exactly what we wanted.
It sounded too good to be true. So much so, that we actually asked them why they would offer us Narci. George simply replied - "We have a better prospect coming up".
Fair enough. We accepted the offer of the Champion dog and the rest, as they say, is history. Narci is everything we could have hoped for, He is a NZ Champion now, has given us one NZ CH so far and several, dare we say it, better prospects coming up. George and Tony mated him before he left Greece so his lines have continued in Europe. We are on our way to addressing some of the construction problems in NZ Chihuahuas and Narci is the love of our lives.
So what happened, I can hear you ask, to that better prospect coming up they mentioned?
Well, good sound breeding counts. Multi GR CH Mystic Legion Drago is a Champion in 19 countries including the UK and the USA and yesterday he won Best of Breed at Crufts and came 4th in the Toy Group. He was then Short-listed in the Group 4 Final.
We are so, so thrilled for George and Tony and the Mystic Legion kennels. We know how hard they have worked for this and we couldn't be happier for them. Drago is a stunning dog and everything we aspire to as breeders.
Watch the video. This dog is so correct, so close to the breed standard it's a delight to watch him own the ring. He is the result of careful breeding from many different lines both European and American. He is what a Chihuahua should be and we are so honoured to be associated, even in a small way, with the Mystic Legion Kennels, and can't wait to see Drago's spectacular career continue.