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Best in Show Daily Visits With Eleanor “Ellie” Goiffon

Interview by Christi McDonald

It is our great pleasure to introduce Best In Show Daily readers to one of the many talented young people who are contributing to the sport of purebred dogs. Ellie Goiffon has been enjoying plenty of success with her home-bred Australian Terriers, and we’d like to share her story with you.

Ellie Goiffon 2011 Eukanuba Interview by Christi McDonald

Ellie and Gabby in Orlando.

1. Can you give us a brief bio of yourself, including your involvement showing dogs so far? What are your interests outside of the dog show world?

I am 12 years old, a 7th grader and I am home-schooled. I live out in the country in Wisconsin with my family. I love it because we’re able to keep a variety of animals. My favorites are the dogs and horses. I also enjoy riding and fishing, especially ice fishing.

I first became interested in dog shows when I was younger. I’d watch the televised shows with my mom and when I was 8 years old, we decided it was the right time to choose a breed that my older sister and I could show and eventually breed.

I helped my mom research a variety of dog breeds, and narrowed our selection down to a few. We eventually decided on the Australian Terrier and started Dunham Lake Australian Terriers. We purchased two female Aussies, one for my sister, Lydia, and one for me, to show in Junior Showmanship and Conformation.

I began showing my first Australian Terrier, Dakota, when I was 9 years old, but it wasn’t easy to get started or to find a mentor in this breed. We didn’t know anyone else who was involved with showing dogs either. This was a completely new adventure for our family, but we enrolled in dog handling and obedience classes and I showed Dakota to her championship when she was approximately 16 months old.

2.  Tell us a little bit about your success with your current show dog prior to the 2011 AKC/Eukanuba National Championship show.

My mom, my sister and I are a team in the breeding of Dunham Lake Aussies. We are all part of the planning process, including deciding on sires for our litters. Dakota is my dog and the mother of my 2-year-old Bred-By bitch, Gabby, Ch. Dunham Lake Gabriella Touched by an Angel. I was there to assist with the whelping of Gabby’s litter.

I took Gabby to her first fun match show when she was 5 months old, and she won Best Terrier Puppy. Then when she was 6 months old, I showed her at her first AKC show and she won her first point. She also won Best Bred-by-Exhibitor Group First with many other Terriers showing.

Gabby received her first major win under Mr. Ronald Menaker when she was 7 months old and, with limited showing, she finished her championship when she was 16 months old. In October 2011, at the Devon and Hatboro shows during the Australian Terrier Club of America Specialty/Montgomery County weekend, Gabby won Best of Opposite Sex at two of the four shows under judges Mrs. Barbara Keenan and Mr. Terry Stacy.

3. How did it feel to be invited to show your dog at the prestigious AKC/Eukanuba National Championship, and then to go on to win Best Bred-by-Exhibitor in Australian Terriers?

I was very excited to be invited to the AKC/Eukanuba show with my first Bred-By champion. This was my second year attending the show, but it was the first time for my girl, Gabby. We were not going to attend at first, but we had two reasons to attend: She did very well at the National Specialty weekend shows and we wanted to visit with a puppy of ours that lives in Florida and was in an accident this past summer. I am very happy to report that he is doing quite well.

I was thrilled with the honor of winning the Bred-by-Exhibitor class, as well as the first Award of Excellence. It was an incredible experience! My family and I are very dedicated to this breed and do what is in its best interest. We breed to the AKC breed standard, perform health and temperament testing, and raise well-socialized puppies. For our breeding program to be recognized at this very special event was a very proud moment for my mom and me.

Ellie Goiffon 2011 Eukanuba Interview by Christi McDonald

Ellie handled Ch. Dunham Lake Gabriella Touched By An Angel to Best Bred-by-Exhibitor Australian Terrier and an Award of Excellence under Dr. H. Scott Kellogg at the 2011 AKC/Eukanuba National Championship.

4.  Have you helped with the training of the dogs you show? Do you do the grooming on your show dogs?

My sister Lydia and I do the dog training using positive and food-motivated methods. This has worked well for us. I bathe and brush our dogs, but my mom grooms them for the conformation show ring. I’m learning to groom as well, and I always make the final touches before entering the ring, such as getting the topknot to stand up just right. I typically groom the dogs that are not being shown and do my own grooming for the dogs I show in Junior Handling.

5. What is your favorite part of showing dogs?

My favorite part is spending one-on-one time with my dog. I also enjoy seeing how our efforts at home come together as we work as a team in the show ring. I enjoy the experience of traveling to shows in different parts of the country with my dog and my family. I’ve met some really great people through our involvement in the dog shows.

6. Who have been your role models in the show world? Who are the people that you admire?

I have made many friends in the dog show world. I’ve learned a lot from Pamela Levy, a very good Australian Terrier owner-handler, and from Chelsay Paul, a former junior handler who is now a professional handler. Both have given me so much good advice. I have to say, most of the handlers have been very nice to me. My first mentor, Wayne Harmon, is a friend and judge from our local kennel club, the Cambridge KC. He is always helpful and has guided us in the right direction. I admire honest and ethical people who display good sportsmanship, and people who love their dogs as I do. My dogs are always my companions.

7. What do you feel you’ve learned so far from being part of the dog show world?

Dog showing is a lot of fun, but it is also a commitment. Sometimes people at the shows do not display good sportsmanship, but I have learned to ignore these people and just have fun. For me, showing dogs is an exciting and different way to include my dog in an activity we both enjoy.

8. What would be your advice to other young people who are interested in showing dogs?

Pick a breed that you enjoy. Practice and learn together to be good team. Never forget that you and your dog should always have fun. It does not matter if you win or lose — your dog will always be your best friend.

Ellie Goiffon 2011 Eukanuba Interview by Christi McDonald

Ellie winning Bred-By Exhibitor Group First  with 6-month old Gabby.

 

Written by

Christi McDonald is a second-generation dog person, raised with a kennel full of Cairn Terriers. After more than a decade as a professional handler’s apprentice and handling professionally on her own, primarily Poodles and Cairns, she landed a fortuitous position in advertising sales with the monthly all-breed magazine ShowSight. This led to an 11-year run at Dogs in Review, where she wore several hats, including advertising sales rep, ad sales manager and, finally, editor for five years. Christi is proud to be part of the editorial team for the cutting-edge Best In Show Daily. She lives in Apex, N.C., with two homebred black Toy Poodles, the last of her Foxfire line, and a Norwich Terrier.

14 Comments to “Best in Show Daily Visits With Eleanor “Ellie” Goiffon”

  1. leahb Leah B says:

    Great article and interview with a lovely young lady!!!

  2. Theresa says:

    Thank you Christi for interviewing my daughter, Ellie and for the article. What an honor for her to share her excitement with others here on this site. She works very hard with her dogs, as her mom, I couldn’t be more proud :)

  3. Sheila Dunn The Farm's Australian Terriers says:

    I have been a breeder of Australian Terriers for many a moon and Elli (and her family) just make me beam with pride! And our breed needs breeders like Ellie! I am positive that she has begun a life long love of our breed and dogs in general. And boy! can she handle!

  4. Hello from Belgium,

    This a very nice interview of a young Lady who loves to show and take good care of her beautiful Gabby.

    Congratulations dear Ellie and Best wishes.

  5. Pamela Levy says:

    It is my great honor to be mentioned in Ellie’s article as a mentor. Ellie, her sister Lydia and her mother, Theresa have exhibited wonderful sportsmanship and a great interest in learning about the breed, They have worked very hard with their dogs and their breeding program. It is to my great embarrassment that I was on the Board of ATCA and one of their sponsors for membership to ATCA (the Australian Terrier parent club.) Most of the people who voted to not allow them in the Club are still on the Board. Such a lovely family deserved better than that. I am so pleased they are being recognized for their wonderful contributions to our wonderful breed.

  6. Dianne Wall says:

    Ellie is a lovely, articulate young woman who will be successful on any path she takes. I enjoyed your article!

  7. Janet Maas says:

    I met Ellie for the first time in Florida and she shows such poise and confidence for a young lady her age. She is a better sport than many who are much older than she is! She did a beautiful job showing her girl at Eukanuba and they are certainly a team.

  8. Lynne Dahlen says:

    Great article about a great handler! Congrats Ellie – wonderful job! It is my pleasure to have Ellie’s family as neighbors! Theresa and her daughters are the epitome of responsible, caring breeders and exhibitors. I’m so happy to know them and proud that they’re members not only of the dog community, but of our little town in Wisconsin.

  9. Nathalie says:

    What a wonderful article about a very special person! Ellie is by far the most mature 13 year old I have ever met and I am so blessed to call her my sister. She is very skilled at dog showing and it is always fun to watch her show! I am so proud of my little sister and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for her:-)

  10. Carolyn says:

    I have been interested in this breed for a long time and have been following this little girl and her dogs. I have seen her show her dog locally and I am so impressed. I think I have found my breeder after seeing this accomplishment! Ellie, I can’t wait to see you at the next show!

  11. Jan says:

    Thanks for this piece about Ellie. It really shows the dedication and love she has for raising, showing and playing with and having fun with her Aussies! We met Ellie and her family several years ago and her love for her dogs was definitely one of the reasons we decided to bring an Aussie into our home. She’s a great role model for other junior handlers and a real sweetheart whose grace and kind spirit are not only reflected “in the ring” but outside of it as well.

  12. Diane says:

    FANTASTIC!! My husband and I have met the family a handful of times and just love the integrety and passion they have for their chosen breed, the Aussie – which just happens to be the breed of dogs I have owned for the last 40 years. I have watched Ellie on a couple of occasions and agree with all that she is a charming and hard-working young lady and I hope she continues on with the breed for many years to come. The Goiffons are great ambassodors for the Austrailian Terrier and for being the Best in Breeders!

  13. Michael says:

    Nice article! It has been so fun following this breed, and especially, Ellie Goiffon. Keep up the good work.

  14. Cathy D says:

    Ellie does an awesome job with her dogs. Always a professional….
    Such a great family!

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