His official name is “BISS GCHS CH Takishan Rockin’ The Night Monvieux,” or “Rocky” for short. Rocky is a Belgian Sheepdog, a medium-sized herding dog, bred to show and he will do just that in the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Flushing Meadow Park on May 8.
“We co-own him with a very good friend who recently passed away,” co-owner and breeder Bruce Freedman said. “It was Cathie’s lifetime dream was to have a dog that went to Westminster and could excel in both herding and in show. He has all the potential of his uncle, who is a dual champion in both of those categories.”
Rocky finished the year in second place in breed points ranking for his breed in the herding group, but he is now currently in first place in the Belgian Shepherd breed.
“It’s not just that we are showing at Westminster; we were invited to show at Westminster,” Freedman said. “Only five dogs in each breed get invited.”
Cathie Rossman’s daughter, Irene, now co-owns the dog with Freedman and his wife, Lori Goldstrom.
Rocky has been on the road with his handler, Karyn Cowdrey, for more than 30 shows this past year.
“He’s got great movement and great conformation,” Freedman said.
This will be Freedman’s first show at Westminster.
“Before I was born, my family had dogs that showed at Westminster,” Freedman said. “I knew when I was eight years old that I wanted to show a dog at Westminster.”
He began more than 40 years ago training one of his first dogs, an Irish Setter, with hand signals.
“He was a high-level obedient, show and field trial dog, which is a rare package,” Freedman said. “When he passed away, I wanted to really get involved in show and obedience.”
His next dog was a German Shepherd, who he recalled reminded him of Paul Marcy’s dog, Blackie, a lifelong friend from Great Neck, as is Freedman.
“I always really loved that dog; he was a big, bold black and tan German Shepherd, who was very obedient and always listened to Paul’s dad like, ‘Yes sir!’”
Freedman was 25 years old when he got his show shepherd.
“From what I knew of Blackie, my inspiration was that I could not have a dog that was going to be big and powerful and not have him really under command,” Freedman said.
Following the passing of his German Shepherd, Freedman then took on his first Belgian Shepherd. Freedman and Goldstrom are now on their sixth generation of breeding Belgians Tervurens, the most elegant and agile of the three Belgian sheepdog breeds.
“My wife and I met while walking our dogs one day,” Freedman recalled. “We have had Belgian Tervurens now for 28 years.”
Freedman is originally from Great Neck. After high school he began to wander west and eventually ended up in California where he has since made his home.
“I have been on the board of directors and or the president of the Belgian Tervuren Club of Southern California for 22 years,” Freedman said. “I am very active in the national club, Belgian Sheepdog Club of America (BSCA).”
Words of Advice
Freedman shared some constructive advice for dog lovers who are interested in getting into dog breeding and showing.
“Don’t go it alone,” Freedman said. “That is first. Find an AKC Breeder of Merit, have them mentor you.”
Here are some of his tips and things to consider:
- Determine what breed of dog you want.
- What activities do you really enjoy?
- What are you looking to accomplish?
- Read about breed construction and movement.
- Know your breed.
- Know the standard of the breed.
- Know what your dog was originally bred to do.
- Join a local breed club.
“There are a lot of dogs, that because we are no longer an agrarian society no longer primarily do what they were originally designed to do, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t still have the instinct to do it,” Freedman said.
Visit www.akc.org, find the national club for your breed and ask for referrals.