Judge Portrait Darja Skok Lamut:
My interest for dogs started 40 ago. I was 10 when I was given my first dog, a black poodle. It was just a much loved pet, no shows or breeding. In my twenties I got myself another poodle, but as he passed away I was given a book presenting small companion dogs. The second I set my eyes on a lovely photo of a Shih Tzu trio was crucial. I fell in love with the breed instantly. From seeing one to actually obtaining one was a long and strenous journey which I will not go into now - it would take too much space.
Waiting and looking for a puppy gave me time to learn about the breed and to find the literature to study. My very own first Shih Tzu came finally from Holland from a famous kennel “v.h. Martinihaim”, and a female followed soon from the same kennel. I became quickly a devoted exhibitor and both dogs gained their titles shortly. On the way I learned about showing and more about Shih Tzu’s as well.
Although I have little time to breed, I have registered a kennel “Lian – Hua” (meaning Lotus Blossom) and even managed to breed three litters. I will devote more time to breeding when I have more spare time. I am married and have an adult daughter.
After Slovenia became independent a Club for Tibetan Breeds of Slovenia was founded with me as the first chairwoman. One of our primary task was to support the breeders of our breeds with advice, information, in order to help them breed correct, healthy dogs. In the year 2004 our club celebrated its first decade of existence. In the Club for Tibetan Breeds of Slovenia we also have Shih Tzu’s. Among other activities we annually prepare seminars on our breeds, that all interested - from fellow judges, breeders to pet-dog owners - can attend to widen the horizons on our breeds.
In 1994 I become a judge for Shih Tzu’s and a year later for the rest of small Tibetan Breeds, followed by the Do Khyi a few years later. Now I am an International Judge. I had an honour to judge Specialities for different Tibetan Breeds and several International Dog Shows around Europe.
Apart from the dogs I have a full-time job with limited number of free days, which of course, have to be divided between dog events and my always patient family.
Presently I am owned by four Shih Tzu’s – two pensioners and two younger females. It is hard to find enough time for everything, but I try to manage at least the opportunities to judge specialities for Tibetan Breeds and those for the Shih Tzu’s alone.
In my opinion judging is a very responsible task and a bit ungrateful one as well. No matter what you do, you can only make the winners happy. I find it especially frustrating seeing a ring-full of deserving, high quality dogs and yet I have to choose just one winner. But no matter what - I always try my best to award those dogs that conform to the standard best and represent the spirit of the breed most closely.