Page 66 - ShowSight - August 2019
P. 66

                Breeder Interview: Erica & Rachel Venier BY ALLAN REZNIK continued
  USA/AKC Ch. Orchard Hill Never Grow Up, ROM, LOM “Wendy” Group winner, multiple Specialty winner; Wendy produced well for us with nine AKC Champions, eight of which were also CKCSC-USA Champions. She is another bitch to which we owe a debt of gratitude. Her head study has been used by the AKC and the ACKCSC to illustrate a correct tricolor Cavalier. Best of Breed, CKCSC of Southern California, 2006.
Left to Right: Patty Kanan; FCI Judge Jan Tornblom (Sweden); handler Roxanne Sutton; Norman Patton.
focused but pragmatic approach. Having considered what we want to keep and what we want to improve in the bitch, we look for a male that not only has those virtues but has also produced them consistently when bred to our bitch’s family. We do not always find a proven producer who also matches our bitch in type, but we always try.
EV: Several years ago a friend who breeds and judges both Toys and Terriers was asked what one thing she wished she could change about her then top winner, a multiple Best in Show bitch. Her immedi- ate response: “If I could change one thing about her, I wish I were her breeder.” I loved that honest answer, straight from the heart of a real breeder. That is exactly how Rachel and I feel, always. We want to be able to cre- ate the best dog possible. If we cannot own it or show it ourselves, that’s fine with us. But we want to have bred it, to be able to see the years of thought and effort and expecta- tions come to fruition in a living creature. In the end, for us, it’s not all about winning. It’s about the pride of having been able to sort through a thousand choices and come up with the right combination; a dog which is sound, healthy, typey and respected by our peers. What an honor.
How many dogs do you typically house? Tell us about your facilities and how the dogs are maintained.
EV: We try to keep our group to a man- ageable number of around 15 adults and five or six youngsters which we are running on at any given time. The advantage is that our dogs are closely watched and well under- stood, mentally and physically. The disad- vantage is that we are often forced to place credible dogs as pets if a proper show home is not available.
Our dogs are kept in our home: dogs and bitches are together in one large, well- appointed room right off the kitchen. Bitch- es in season, puppies, and mothers with young babies are kept on the other side of the house.
Puppies are whelped in a downstairs bedroom. In good weather puppies have access to a large, safe flagstone play yard most of their waking hours. A covered per- gola protects them against sun or light rain. At feeding time or when the puppies begin to tire we bring them inside. As soon as they wake up they are escorted outside again. Although this process is labor intensive, it encourages puppies to become crate trained and house trained quickly. Our puppies are
raised much like one would raise their pet puppy; every puppy is handled daily and exposed to multiple sights and sounds and experiences in order to help develop sound social skills.
We have several acres of large, fenced paddocks. Dogs are turned out on a generous schedule which allows them to exercise themselves. Safe climbing apparatus are available in every paddock. We firmly believe this way of housing multiple dogs helps develop their minds, a crucial aspect of future success in the show ring.
We rotate the use of the paddocks so that every dog benefits from an extended turn-out in one of the larger, stepped pad- docks daily, weather permitting. Racing up and down stepped paddocks and through deep gravel helps the dogs condition them- selves not only physically but also mentally. Snow days or rainy days are a lesson in orga- nized chaos, as our covered areas are smaller and the dogs must take turns throughout the day. Even so, everyone gets an extend- ed outdoor play period at least once a day regardless of the weather. We take pride in presenting dogs which are not only properly groomed but also well muscled and fit.
  64 • ShowSight Magazine, auguSt 2019

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