Poodles were the ninth most popular dog breed in 2010. Karen LeFrak, one of the world's most accomplished poodle parents, knows why America can't resist these fluffy, four-legged charmers. Karen is a dog enthusiast (loves poodles!), accomplished musician (concert pianist), best-selling author (check out her latest children's book, "Best in Show") and philanthropist (active in many of New York's major philanthropies). She also breeds and shows champion poodles. Her poodle "Miki" retired as America's No. 1 Standard Poodle with 88 Best in Show Titles (including ribbons at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show).
Karen's newest children's book, "Best in Show," teaches children what it takes to raise a champion show dog. Kids will fall in puppy love with Abby (the girl who loves fluffy white poodles) and Gem (the soon-to-be champion poodle). It's a great book for any child who loves pets. Let's see what life is like for Karen and her champion poodles:
Your gorgeous Ch. Ale Kai Mikimoto on Fifth has won so many blue ribbons, including at Westminster! What is the show like and what is most exciting about it?
Karen: I love seeing all my poodle pals and friends who come in from out-of-town for this show. It's my hometown, and I love showing it off too. We are competing this year with a close relative of Mikimoto. There will also be other Miki relatives in the ring, owned by others whom I will root for too! After all, family is family.
Ch. Ale Kai Mikimoto the Fifth -- what a name! How did you come up that?
Karen: My husband named Mikimoto for us. Miki's mother's was named Diamonds and Pearls, so my husband thought a big pearl on Fifth Avenue would be a "pawfect" choice! (Mikimoto Pearls are considered among the finest in the world.)
If Mikimoto were a celebrity, who would he be?
Karen: Louis the XIV, when he was in show trim. Now he's a blonde Gregory Peck -- tall, elegant and honest!
Do you bake or make special treats for your poodles? What's their favorite snack food?
Karen: I'm not a great cook, and my poodles aren't too fussy about treats. But anytime something is happening in the kitchen, they are there waiting!
Who is your favorite animal actor?
Karen: Lassie, of course!
If you could describe yourself as any breed of dog, what would you be and why?
Karen: I think people would say I was a miniature poodle! I so wish I were tall, like the Standards.
For more about dog shows, check out www.AnimalFair.com
Photo courtesy of Cutty McGill