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Kaz Hosaka: The Journey of an Icon

Kaz Hosaka: The Journey of an Icon

by Philip Schafmayer

When I was a child, Kaz was a superstar that only existed in books, magazines and on television once a year at Westminster. As I got older and more involved in the sport of purebred dogs, first as an owner/ handler then later as a breeder and a professional handler, Kaz became more real, even otherworldly if that’s possible. I was fortunate to live in the area of the country where Kaz predominantly exhibited dogs, giving me the opportunity to watch and study him. As time went on, our relationship grew from professional colleagues into a personal friendship. He is truly one of the “great dog men” in our sport, and I recently had the chance to have a wonderful conversation with him about his journey.

If you were to ask dog show people to describe Kaz Hosaka, the common thread would undoubtedly be that he is a top Poodle handler, professional, dedicated, talented, quiet, serious, courteous, and hard working. These would all be accurate descriptions of the man that we see diligently and methodically working, training and grooming his dogs at the end of a long day when the rest of us have gone to dinner or retired for the evening. However, there aren’t many people aside from his closest friends, that could tell you WHO Kaz is. Throughout the years I have been blessed to set up next to Kaz and Mizuki and share many evenings grooming our respective dogs; chatting; listening to his stories and ideals about dogs; and picking his brain on trims. I wanted to write this article to pay homage to a Poodle legend and an icon within the world of purebred dogs. He is a man that I have the utmost respect and admiration for, both professionally and personally.

For the full article, including contributions from Kaz’ closest friends, please see the June 2019 issue.