Meet the Millennials
Editorial notes: Recently, there has been a conversation sparked in the fancy about “Millennials” (Anyone born between 1981 and 1996)- their commitments, work ethic and value to the conformation community. ADF is proud to offer this series highlighting the positive contributions of this hard-working, passionate and diverse demographic as they’re a growing asset to the sport of purebred dogs.
NAME: Charlie Cleveland
YEAR OF BIRTH: 1992
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN PUREBRED DOGS? HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN INVOLVED? Technically I was involved via my parents. They bred Neapolitan Mastiffs and owned Dobermans, but they got out of that when I was two and never got back in. We did have a Rottweiler for 14 years, but he wasn’t well bred.
I got in on my own in 2020. I had a Corso for a short time that didn’t end up working out, and I sent him back to his breeder in late 2020. About 6 months later in 2021 I ended up with another Rottweiler. He was a year and a half old at that time, and came off a family hobby farm. No show training but a solid base of manners.
In December of 2021 we spectated the UKC Eastern Classic. I had dreamed of showing my entire life, and during that show I saw a dog that looked like my boy. It inspired me to try and show him.
In March of 2022 we stepped into the first ring green as all get out but on a mission, 3 days later we walked out of the ring with his UKC championship and I’ve been hooked ever since.
ARE YOU A BREEDER? IF NOT, DO YOU HAVE PLANS TO BREED?
I’m not, and I don’t ever plan to have bitches. Just health tested studs.
DO YOU HAVE ANY MENTORING?
Not specifically from a breeder. My peers have helped me fill gaps but I’ve mostly been figuring it out on my own.
ARE YOU ACTIVE IN ANY CLUBS (BREED, ALL BREED)? IF NOT, WHAT WOULD ENCOURAGE YOU TO DO SO?
Not at the moment. There isn’t a club that isn’t an hour or more from me. I’d love to help out as the closest one is very welcoming but it’s too far away.
HOW HAS YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH THE DOG SHOW COMMUNITY BEEN? HOW COULD IT BE IMPROVED?
My experience with UKC has been absolutely wonderful. Everyone is friendly and welcoming and have helped me learn and grow. I’ve made so many impactful friends at UKC shows.
I’ve only been to one AKC show so far and aside from people I already knew, only one person made any effort to speak to me. It didn’t necessarily feel unwelcoming but more awkward.
WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU’RE ESPECIALLY PROUD OF?
Finishing my dog’s UKC championship in one weekend
WHAT IS/ ARE THE BIGGEST OBSTACLES AS A MILLENNIAL IN DOGS?
The old guard gate keeping us and thinking we’re lazy. The ones that do this won’t even give us the time of day, and they discourage us to the point that we don’t want to look for ones that will help us.