Interview with Jennes Nyari
Published in Best in Show Annual 2020
Q: Dear Jennes, please tell us something about your beginning. When did you get your first dog and how did you get the idea to start going to dog shows?
A: I got my first dog when I was only 4 years old, this was my White Swiss Shepherd named Handur, who was also the base of our kennel. As my mother was a breeder of Beauceron in the past, she already had experience with shows and therefore also wanted to show Handur. I accompanied them to a show and I really loved everything about it. That was the moment I decided I also wanted to show my dog. I trained a lot at home, and attended my first show in the White Shepherd Breed Ring at only 5 years young.
Q: How did you decide that you will start Junior Handling and how was your first experience?
A: As I come from Germany where the rules are very strict about Junior Handling, I would have only been allowed to participate from 9 years old. This meant that at first, I was only allowed to show in the breed rings. I always loved trying different breeds.I had the possibility to show my male at the WDS when I was 7 years old. From then on we attended many shows in other counties like Montenegro, Hungary and Serbia where I had the possibility to participate in Junior Handling for the first time. I extremely enjoyed it, and knew right away that one day I wanted to be as good as the Juniors I saw at that time in Group 2.
Q: How would you describe relations between Junior Handlers? How friendly and helpful are they with each other?
A: I do believe that the relationships between most Junior Handlers are very friendly and helpful. Through Junior Handling a lot of long lasting friendships can be created.This is based on similar interests which is amazing. Especially now during the last months when we weren’t able to attend shows due to the Corona Virus, I have learned to appreciate these friendships even more. This has shown me how fortunate we are to have friends from all over the world. What a gift it is to have other Junior Handlers you can meet at shows and maybe even train together. Helping others will always benefit both of you, also you’re having a nice time, which should be a key point in this sport. However, when I look at the photos from the US, where all the handlers are congratulating each other and are genuinely happy for each other, I miss that a little in Europe.
Q: When you started, did you have any mentors or people who were helping you, maybe Introducing you to the Dog World and JH rules?
A: When I started participating frequently in Junior Handling I was only 7 years old, so when thinking back to this time I don’t believe I was mature enough yet to be bound to one person. I wanted to try everything, every breed, watch all the handlers carefully and try to analyze how they are doing it. Therefore I started off on my own, only together with my mother guiding me through the show world. As for every Junior Handling competition, I wanted to take a different breed to gain more experience. the owner or handler of the dog was always my “mentor” on that day. Thanks to this, I could get to know many different styles of handling, which I think is an advantage for me today. To learn the JH rules, I have printed out all of the rules and figures from the FCI web-page. I started practicing them at home with my dogs. I was never a fan of figures like “T” and “8”. I did not understand how some sort of gymnastics had to do with showing a dog breed appropriately. To my understanding Junior Handling should prepare you for the breed ring, learning how to bring out the best of the dog.
Q: Do you have someone helping you improve your skills nowadays?
A: Since the beginning that I am involved with dog shows, I knew that my personal goal is to focus on some breeds and show them at the highest possible level. I am not keen on becoming an All Breed Handler. The breed that has fully stolen my heart, are Afghan Hounds. Through some coincidence 3 or 4 years ago, I got to know Karin and Lothar Hessling, who since then have had a great influence on me. I find myself very lucky to have found someone who is happy to work and share their knowledge with a young person. Through them, I could finally fulfill my dream to have the possibility to work with an experienced breeder and handler. We have had a lot of fun when working with the dogs, but more importantly the love for the animal always comes first. For me there is no nicer thing than endlessly increasing your knowledge and noticing how much you have improved each time you enter the ring. I am very grateful to have them and extremely enjoy working with both!
Q: Have you ever worked for a Professional Handler, and is there someone you would like to work for?
A: I have never actually worked for a Professional Handler.However, I have had the opportunity to travel with some to shows and assist them. For example Valentina Zupan and Katja Rauhut. Both are extremely experienced handlers and I knew that I could learn a lot from. I definitely enjoyed my time with them. I would recommend traveling / assisting a Professional Handler to any Junior Handler, as it is a great experience. A Professional Handler I would love to learn from one day is Kristina Savina. I absolutely adore her way of handling Afghan Hounds and Standard Poodles in particular. You can see how happy the dogs are when she shows them, which I believe is one of the most important things. A dog that is happy to work for you will always show himself better.
Q: Seminars in handling and grooming, are very educational. Whose seminar would you like to attend?
A: This is an easy question for me, as it would definitely be Javier Gonzalez Mendikote! In grooming particularly, perfectionism is very important. I don’t know anyone who expresses this more than Javier.
Q: Lately there are many big handlers searching for assistants. What do you think Handlers are expecting from assistants?
A: I don’t believe they expect too much from you. Mainly I think they want to see that you are keen on learning, that you are grateful to them for teaching you and investing their time into your knowledge. Furthermore, an even more important point is that they want to see your love for the animal. When accepting you as an assistant they are trusting you with the dogs whom they carry the responsibility for. I believe you must appreciate the opportunity to go to a Professional Handler, and not expect to show their top dogs, but prove that you are a hard worker.
Q: What things are assistants looking to get from Professional Handlers besides knowledge?
A: Besides knowledge, I think an assistant also looks for a partner and a life-time friend. As well as support and meaningful advice, for improvement, that’s for sure. From my point of view I think an assistant looks for a person who will teach them not just what they are meant to learn. I think a good Professional Handler who’s ready to share their knowledge with someone will share personal experiences, anecdotes, jokes and it will make the assistant become a better person. When we are speaking with someone that has experienced many things and has learned from them (good or bad), and when you work with someone with a whole life of experiences behind them, it’s impossible to not become more mature and human.
Q: Do you have a favorite breed that you are usually showing in Junior Handling competition?
A: My favorite breeds are Afghan Hounds, White Swiss Shepherds and Standard Poodles, however for Junior Handling I use the opportunity and try to take a different breed each time. I love challenging myself with different breeds. I believe that after my Junior Handling career ends I will never again have the possibility to gain so much experience easily. This is why for Junior Handling in particular I enjoy “difficult” breeds.
Q: Even very young, you did many great wins in the show ring. Which results do you consider your greatest, not mentioning Junior Handling?
A: Definitely winning Best In Group 4 at the World Dog Show 2018 with my breed, the White Swiss Shepherd. It was an unforgettable experience running in the bright lights of the main ring, with this beautiful dog on the end of the leash. Another win that is very close to my heart was when I was writing breed history with our own home bred male.He was the first ever short coated White Swiss Shepherd in Germany to win Best In Group, in a very strong line up of dogs. A quite recent win that I am very proud of was when I was invited to show for the famous Starry Town Kennel in Italy and won Specialty Best In Show with a stunning Bernese named Giotto. Later that day we won All Breed Vet, Best In Show and Ru Best in Group.
Q: What about the future? Do you plan on pursuing a career as a full-time Professional Handler or do you have some other dreams?
A: After I graduate from school and have my International Baccalaureate, I want to take a year off and work full-time as a handler. This has always been my dream since I was only 5 years old. In this year I want to travel as much as possible and increase my knowledge and I will dedicate all of my time to it. When the year is over I plan on attending University and studying Medicine. Even though I expect this to be very time consuming, I will not give up handling and will continues as much as possible. Hopefully that will be a lot 😉
Q: Do you have hobbies besides Junior Handling?
A: I have played classic piano for over 10 years and went to the Steinway Acadamy for many years. At some point I noticed that I would have to make a choice, so I cut back on piano and stopped participating at competitions so that I had more time for handling. I still play piano for myself sometimes to get a clear mind.
Q: How do you manage your school and time for traveling?
A: I am absent quite frequently in school, because of the long travel to shows. I have however learned to keep the balance between both. I always carry my MacBook with me on travels to all of the shows.I keep up with all of the work and I don’t have a disadvantage in school. The car drive / flight to a show is usually fully used for school stuff, and in the evenings I try to keep 1-2 hours free to have time to revise for school after I have finished grooming the dogs.
Q: Do you have any advice for young people interested in Dog World?
A: Always believe in yourself. Hard work will always pay off. You should never try to show off, but rather always keep an open mind. Most importantly, never forget that you are working with animals. This means that you both must be a team and work together. The dog on the end of the leash always reflects you. If you love your dog and work with them in a sensitive manner, they will do anything for you. Teamwork makes the dream work!