Greendeer shows her best at nationally-televised dog show: Westminster next in her sights

By Ken Luchterhand

Brittany Greendeer’s love for dogs goes well beyond a hobby or an occupation.
It’s her life.
Brittany appeared on the national television on Thanksgiving Day, showing Quill, a wirehaired Vizsla, on NBC’s 16th annual edition of its popular holiday special “The National Dog Show Presented by Purina.”
Although Brittany feels at home in the show ring, this time it was a little different.
“It was a little more stressful, mainly because they reminded us about 20 times that is was going to be on national TV,” she said. “But once I got into the routine, I was fine.”
Brittany is the daughter of Jon “Maasusga” Greendeer and Stacy Sieber.
Multi Group Placing CH Zoldmali Fanni CA, better known as “Quill,” is owned by Megan and Eric Wallendal of Pivot Kennels in Grand Marsh, Wisconsin, and Brittany has been hired to train him, make him presentable, and take him into the show rings.
Brittany is now living in North Carolina, having moved from Wisconsin Rapids a year ago. Now she makes a living by training, handling and showing dogs for other people.
By living on the East Coast, she has better access to national dog shows, but that’s not the only reason. She likes to explore new areas, and she’s been to North Carolina before, so this was the perfect opportunity to accomplish both her objectives.
She started showing dogs about five years ago while working fulltime as a dog groomer at a dog grooming in Wisconsin Rapids.
Her love for the show ring propelled her to get even more involved, to the point where she has made handling and showing dogs her livelihood.
Her main show dogs have always been her own, in particular Multi Group Winning Bronze GCH Impact’s Golden Ray CA CGCA Rhea, her Australian shepherd. But now she has Zilean, the son of Rhea, who is beginning to shine in the spotlight.
 “I’ll show every weekend, if possible,” she said. And she is very dedicated to the profession, making personal sacrifices along the way.
She’s handling dogs fulltime now, making a career out of something she loves, and accepts show dogs owned by other people.
“It’s a lot of work, but a lot of fun,” she said.
When she got Quill, his coat was in rough shape and needed a lot of work. It took three weeks of proper daily care to get it into proper condition for showing.
CH Riot’s Chronokeeper Zilean will be Grand Champion in a week or two, she said. Zilean is the son of her main dog, Rhea.
In February, she plans to show at the Westminster Kennel Club Show, which is the most popular dog show in the country. She’ll be showing Zilean and Rhea. This will be Rhea’s last show before going into retirement and also to produce another litter of puppies this year.
“I’m starting to screen homes for her next litter,” Brittany said.
The National Dog Show, shown on Thanksgiving, actually took place the weekend before and recorded for later viewing.
“What made it really great is that Quill’s owners drove all the way from Wisconsin to see him perform,” she said. He placed second out of 35 wirehaired Vizslas entered at a recent national show.
What’s really unique about Quill is his uncommon breed: a wirehaired Vizsla.
“A lot of people are surprised because they never heard of a wirehaired variety of Vizsla, even other people in the dog shows,” she said.
The dogs are judged on their conformity to the standards of what the particular breed should look like, including the body standards.
And each judge has a preference for a different aspect, such as one judge will look at gait more heavily and another has a preference for a certain physical trait. That’s why it’s important for people to know what person will be the judge and what he or she likes.
“If you don’t know what the judge likes, you don’t know what to emphasize,” she said. “The first impression is the most important. The judge will see a dog that he or she likes when they first enter the ring, then the judge will go over each dog individually.”
She also plans to compete in the Royal Canin Show in Orlando Fla., in a couple weeks.
“He has a shot of being best of breed. It’s time to introduce a new generation to the show ring,” Brittany said.
Brittany also is preparing for the annual Westminster Dog Show in February. She plans to show Quill in the wirehaired Vizsla group and both Rhea and Zilean in Australian shepherd.
 “They split up the males and females for different showings, so I will be able to show both,” she said.
This will be Rhea’s last competition in a dog show.
She said Rhea is her “heart dog” and she will always stay with her, even after she has retired from showing.
The televised appearances help her and her dogs advance because it increases their exposure and notoriety.
“They’ll see Quill and Zilean in a positive light,” she said.