Tony Siress is a busy man. He heads up the city of Mountain View’s Chamber of Commerce, he’s a co-founder of Spanish restaurant Duende Oakland, and he’s an investor and consultant for early stage startups, including Scollar! So, when he told us about the four Frenchies that rule the roost at his Mountain View home, we couldn’t resist—we had to learn more.
Here’s the backstory. The truth is, Tony’s heart lies with both Rottweilers and Frenchies. He’s always been a rottie guy and has owned rotties forever. In fact, he still owns seven (they live in Santa Barbara). But when Tony first spotted Frenchies, he was intrigued from the start.
“They looked like aliens. These little alien-looking dogs. My first thought was, are they going to get eaten alive by the rotties?” He laughed.
“Frenchies are incredibly sweet,” he explained. “They’re not yippy-yappy dogs at all. They like to be around people, they like to visit.” He compared Frenchies’ temperament to that of a clown. They’re sweet; they’re easy; they love company. And they live 12 to 15 years.
Like any dog family, there’s a leader of the pack. In this case, her name’s Lillie and she’s 10, the queen mamma. She takes her role of keeping the brood in line seriously. The younger pooches include Coco (6), Pearl (2), and Dita (18 months). Though, there’s never more than three dogs in residence at any given time, to meet Mountain View’s three-dog city ordinance.
Tony and his partner, Blake, entertain the crew with fetch and laser pointers (“They go after them like cats!”). They also enjoy cooking. While the dogs have never enjoyed human food, they linger in the kitchen, aware that magical stuff occasionally hits the floor.
Four dogs come with a lot of work. Tony and Blake take turns with feeding and medicine responsibilities, and they hired dog walker and poop scooper to help weekly. It makes a difference in the chaos.
Welcome to the dog show
When Tony fell for Frenchies, he just happened to fall for show dogs. This kicked off an entirely new dog ownership lifestyle, one of dog handlers, road shows, meticulous grooming and…well, let’s just call it pooch pageantry. The dogs travel the country on the dog show circuit and according to Tony, it’s a sight to see.
“It’s everything you think it’s going to be,” he said. “It’s just like the movie ‘Best in Show’. There’s the slew of RVs, the outfits, and every kind of dog imaginable.”
Lillie is now retired, but Pearl is a best-in-show dog. She’ll be home for the holidays but will be back on the road fast, competing at Westminster. Tony admitted that when the dogs are away, it feels a bit strange. But he likens it to kids, and when there are three “kids” in the house, it’s enough.
“And they love their handler,” he said. “For them, it’s like spending time with the grandparents. They look forward to it.”
Tony does have to play with the dogs more when one of them is gone, especially the young ones. Like all kids, they require more attention.
Considering a Frenchie
While “you won’t make money putting your dogs in shows,” Tony suggested dog shows are the best way to discover a truly incredible dog. Because they’re all about the best. If dogs experience any issue or are discovered to have a “defect” of any kind (however silly it may be), dog show participants go out of their way to place the dogs in great homes.
If you’re in the mood to find a dog show dog, then go to (you guessed it) a dog show. “Just go, and walk around and talk to people,” Tony said. “They all talk to each other and they all know what’s going on.”
But like any breed, of course they have their challenges, too. Their nasal passages are a tad screwy; get ready for snoring. Frenchies super sensitive to heat, like most small dogs. And, they don’t like to be left alone. If you’re getting one and you’re gone a lot, let’s face it—you might as well get two.
Home for the holidays
Like so many kids, the Frenchies will get spoiled at Christmas and enjoy every second of it, from their cozy sweater sets to stockings stuffed with the latest squeaky toys. The family will spend the holidays at home in Mountain View, but only after a trip to Fiji earlier in the month. We wish Tony, Blake and their cute little Frenchies a very Happy Holiday!