If you had picked a person least likely to be involved in breeding and showing dogs, the ambitious hardworking senior commercial lawyer and legal project manager that I used to be was definitely a contender. From having vizslas as pets and running buddies, with firm behavioural expectations in 1998, even becoming involved in showing in 2008 through owning a dog whose breeder wanted to show him, I still had no desire to become involved in showing or breeding.
Brian Neaves was the first breeder I met willing to discuss scientifically and logically how he made breeding decisions, the breed standard as the focus for assessing dogs, and the good points of the dogs that had beaten his. He was an ex-policeman, having spent 31 years in the force, retiring around 1987 as senior Sergeant. Brian was known within the vizsla community for his good quality bitches, and his relationship with Pitswarren Kennels in the UK, who had provided his foundation bitch Aust Ch Pitswarren Esther. I only knew of him from the number of people who were thrilled with their vizslas from ‘a bloke down the south coast’, Brian Neaves. I am fortunate that Brian introduced me to Pitswarren Kennels, who have provided guidance where Brian left off.
Brian was justifiably proud of having bred more than 30 show champions, having won Minor in Show at Canberra Royal with Pitswarren Esther in 1997 just after her arrival from the UK, Bitch Challenge at Sydney Royal in 2001 with Ch Kimlise Solway Mist (he would tell you she should have won Best of Breed), and having spent the last of his savings to import Pitswarren Picasso in 2007. I was impressed with Brian’s focus on temperament as first priority, his emphasis on healthy, fresh bloodlines for the Australian gene pool, and the reputation he had among pet owners for dogs with engaging quirky personalities. He sold me Ch Kimlise La Cygne – Swan – in December 2009, saying his family would not let him keep any more dogs, and she was his pick bitch in her litter.
Picasso came to live with me in 2011, and I put semen away from him for future use. In 2012 I obtained semen from Ch Shaunuff Dominic, a Queensland dog I heard mentioned by another breeder as desirable. His breeder, Jacqui Shaw, graciously allowed to let me use him with Swan based on her view of Swan’s pedigree. That mating produced BIG Ch Metropolis Beaucoup Monsieur (AI) and BISS Ch Metropolis Beaucoup Beaucoup (AI).
It was obvious to me, as a novice breeder on only my second litter, that Monsieur was particularly well built and angled. He came to live with Brian in 2013 for 4 months until Brian was too unwell to have him any longer. Brian and I had a discussion one time in his kitchen on a sunny afternoon where he told me that Monsieur was possibly the best male pup he had ever seen.
I was much less certain about Beaucoup. Brian never told me what to do. When I asked what he would do about Beaucoup in my position, he suggested that if I was not sure about her I could always run her on to see how she turned out. That was the one of the best decisions I have made, in terms of her personality, movement, and the joy she has brought me on a daily basis, quite apart from her success in the show ring and producing wonderful offspring. She is our only dog so far to have won a Best In Specialty Show, although we have won Runner Up Best In Specialty and Best Bitch in Specialty twice each. When Beaucoup was 10 months old, Brian said he never would have thought she would turn out as well as she had. I thought it big of him as a breeder with 15 or more years experience in the breed to admit that to someone in my position.
And thus we come to UK Show Champion Metropolis Patriarch Nexus By Pitswarren (AI) (Imp Aus), also known as Nexus. Pitswarren’s webpage says it all. http://www.pitswarren.co.uk/dogpge.php?dog=49.
I cannot think of Nexus without thinking of the history that led to producing him, and how proud Brian would be yet again of his bloodlines having combined to produce an internationally recognised really good dog. It is a thrill to see how much Nexus is loved and how well he is doing in the UK.
All of the bitches mentioned above, and Picasso, are in Beaucoup and Nexus’ pedigrees.