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How to Make a Midi

Take a cup of Beagle and add ¼ of Sheltie….

Sorry... there is no sure-fire recipe for making a Midi. People often get a puppy of a breed hoping it will make the size and be able to run Standard classes as well. But those two magic Midi inches between 15-17 that can be annoyingly elusive - even with a pedigree dog. Thankfully 99.9%, if not 100%, of these people just shrug their shoulders with an ‘oh well’ and have lots of fun their big Mini or small Standard dog anyway.

Of course, you could always get an older dog, measure it and be totally sure, but if you want to raise a dog from a puppy and end up with a Midi – then, my friend you will be gambling. My own midi came as a bit of a surprise and was certainly not planner, his mother was a small Jack Russell, his father – absent (avoiding maintenance no doubt) and so I assumed that the miniscule puppy in my house that looked disturbingly like a baked bean with legs, would be nicely compact and bijou.

My best friend had one of his sisters, Megan, who definitely smacked of Jack x Staffie, with short stocky legs and a heavy frame and couldn’t have been more than 13”. Eddie, however, did not follow suit. He got tall and lanky until he hit 16” when he just stopped. At this time I hadn’t started agility and had pushed the thought to the back of my mind as I didn’t know there were mini classes (let alone midi) and assumed Ed would be far too small to compete over the sort of jumps you saw at Crufts and Olympia. However, I soon came to realise that my puppy was turning into a scud missile with rubber feet and that, maybe, agility would suit him.

Having a Midi/Standard has its advantages
Midi classes are getting more popular but there are still relatively few shows that run them, so it is nice to be able to run in a starters class and still have a small chance of getting somewhere. In addition, in training I can slot into the Mini group or the standard group depending on the numbers.

And its drawbacks
With midi classes is that there is always the thought at the back of my mind that if I win out in an open class I will then have to play in the big league with the standard classes and therefore, although I want to win, I also don’t want to. With Eddie, this doesn’t worry me as I plan to run him mostly as a Midi anyway, even if it means less shows. However, it would be lovely to be able to run my first ever full-size Standard dog at Starters rather than Novice. I am fortunate to have had some experience of Standard classes but I really feel for those handlers that started agility with a Mini, competed to a decent level and then entered the quite bewildering world of standard classes. Surely it would be fairer for these handlers not to plunge headfirst into Novice level competition – but this is what they have to do.

Me, I would love another Midi, but I would also like a puppy and with my penchant for mongrels, the likelihood of getting a puppy that will grow to be the right height is at least fifty to one. Dear little Megan had a lovely litter of puppies not so long ago to a Dachshund / Papillion cross. Like all puppies, regardless of breed, they all looked like sausages at a few days old and of similar size to Eddie and Megan at that age. Now they are a year old and nearly all of them are less than 13” at the shoulder. Just one of the puppies, the only male, seemed to be getting very lanky and easily hit 16 inches. Unfortunately, his legs didn’t stop there and now he is at least 18.5 and is the sweetest but oddest looking dog you could ever see.

So, if and when the second dog comes along, don’t be surprised to see me with a puppy of indiscriminate parentage stood in a grow bag and later on just shrugging my shoulders when I realise I over did it and have to compete with a stumpy standard. If anyone has any tips on spotting a Midi mongrel at puppy stage – I would be very interested to hear them.

About the author...
Rachel Woods started agility about four years ago and has competed for last three with Eddie. They got their first clear round this year - he hasn't been easy! She started training a Labrador who was very enthusiastic but they had to stop as she has luxuriating patella. She belongs to her mum-in-law.

Hubby Alan loves Edd to bits and is long suffering as he is not really interested in agility (deranged!) despite Rachel's attempt to get him involved. They are planning to move to France in a year or so that she can have lots more dogs, run kennels and teach agility. She is shadowing Lois Harris who has been her trainer for her entire agility time. Still very much a 'youngster' in agility terms, Rachel is very keen to learn as much as possible before venturing into life en Francais!

Rachel started writing for the Eye a year ago this May, thanks to the prompting and support of the late Graham Pennington. She writes a monthly column, inspired by her experiences training. At least moving across The Channel will create lots more ammo for articles!


Feedback

From Pam Ellwood
I couldn't agree more with Rachel's article. My daughter Carrie would like a Mini of her own to train. My preference would be to go for a rescue puppy to fit in with the dogs we already have but, as Rachel says, it could grow into anything. If we do get a dog for her, it may have to be a pedigree, although there are obviously still no guarantees as to size. There are Shelties that are Mini, Midi and Standard sizes.

I knew my rescue mongrel was a Midi when I got her at seven months - even though I had been thinking of getting a Mini sometime - she was slightly over 15" and, therefore, had a bit of leeway if she had some growing to do, which she didn't.

I am very happy with my Midi and would love another just like her. It is a bonus that I can compete at Standard height with her as well if there are no Midi classes.

My standard dog is, and probably always will be, a Starter type dog. I have insured against bumping him up to Novice if I ever win with my Midi by registering him in my husband's name. This means that my daughter would still be able to run him in Starters as long as she doesn't win out herself, but of course most people wouldn't have that option.

I think that people should stop thinking of midis as 'mistakes' that should have turned out a different size and start accepting them for what they are and give them the respect they deserve.

From Rosie Ison
I expect I may get some flack from my comments but here goes... My interest in Midis has only just happened because of my daughter Laura's continued worries that Jake, her young dog, is going to be a Midi. Up until this time, I like most have probably not given much thought to Midis. At the moment Jake is ten months old and is a tad under 15", but we don't know if he's finished growing. Already Laura is getting person after person saying to her 'Oh dear, he's gone over the measure,' and she is getting very upset by it. I suspect if he stays under the measure, she will have to carry a measure with her wherever she goes!

You may wonder why she's so worried that he's going to be a Midi. Well the biggest problem is there are NO qualifiers for the major events - NO Crufts, NO Olympia, NO Championships. How unfair is this?

There is no major motivator to get the absolute best out of your dog. Jake is super keen at the moment and shows early signs of hopefully being good.-Time will tell! When someone like Laura has tasted the limelight of ALL the major events, it can seem like a real anti-climax to not even have the opportunity with a new dog. Hopefully, fingers crossed, she won't have to worry but what about all the other poor Midi handlers out there.

I have to say that Rachel is the first person to say she would LIKE another Midi. Most that I've spoken to say that they wouldn't get another Midi from choice. The reason exactly what I've just said - NO QUALIFIERS. I understand that to get changes is painstaking work and involves getting lots of support.

I suppose that one of the reasons for all the disinterest in Midis is because of the small class sizes. This is solely because of the small size range, a mere 2". One thought I had was to INCREASE the height range to 18" but once again, I was told the Midi handlers would be up in arms because then all the small fast collies would sneak into the class. Good I would have thought - more competition, bigger entries and, therefore, maybe then the major sponsors would take an interest. It would also take some of the burden off the swelling standard classes. If they lower the height then the taller Minis would have to re-teach their dogs, also a bit unfair. Unfortunately the Midi handlers can't have their cake and eat it. On my opinion, the only way the Midi classes can be more competitive is to open up the height range... somehow.