JULIE BUSS, HILLTOP RHODESIAN RIDGEBACKS
prior they won the Specialty in Florida during Royal Canin week. He passes on his signature beauty to his pups and never loses movement. He has extremely high fertility and enjoys every bit of every day. I only have one regret and it’s that Zohan missed so many opportunities while we were learning. Our best girl so far is “Zuri,” GCHB Wild West Courage Hilltop NZuri RN RATN CGC ROM. She was Brood Bitch of the Year in 2018. Her daughters carry on her mothering, from great whelping to raising healthy, sound pups. She goes above and beyond. If she could have pups until her last days she would be the happiest to do just that. You cannot replace what Mother Nature puts in a great brood bitch and I am grateful. Please comment positively on your breed’s present condition and what trends might bear watching. It’s nice to see some beautiful bitches do some respectable winning. Sometimes girls get lost in this sport. I also am encouraged by how aware we as breeders are on health testing. I would watch a size trend; bigger is not better. These dogs are not Great Danes nor Mastiffs. Nor should heads be narrow or slight. A liver-nosed Ridgeback should not be mis- taken for a Vizsla. It’s about balance; like a good recipe, each breed has its own. What are your thoughts on the current state of the fancy and the declining number of breeders? How do we encourage newcomers to join us and remain in the sport? I know that as we got started, it was scary not knowing whom to trust. Remember, showing was not new to us, but this world of showing was. The “top” people don’t talk to you and the people who come to you may well have their own agendas. Then there is the stigma that you have to “pay your dues,” even if your dog is competitive and worthy. Politics are forever present. If you are lucky enough to fall in the hands of a good handler from the start, you are ahead of the game. If you are going the owner-handler route, you need to stay out there showing consistently to get noticed and build your reputation. That is the same as we found in livestock. I feel people think it’s intimidating and costly. As a breeder, I want my puppies shown so I encourage new owners to come get their feet wet and see what it’s all about, even before they take their puppy home. I introduce them to a few people and make that transition easier. We as breeders need to remember we had mentors and it’s our duty to pay it forward. You need to be able to read people just like you do when questioning them about getting a pup. Better to have a few good owners than a lot of questionable ones. Always put quality ahead of quantity. Where do you see your breeding program in the next decade or two? We have a few girls that need to be bred so we may be having more pups in the near future than we have had. I would like to do more train- ing in other avenues beyond conformation than I have done. I believe I have dogs that could do well at many other things. I would like to visit other kennels, also. Never stop learning... Finally, tell us a little about Julie outside of dogs… your profession, your hobbies. We live on a farm in the small town of Denver, Iowa. We moved from our original acreage to a house we built on 24 acres in 1995. We have a large garden and my hubby, Scott, loves to cook, smoke and barbecue. We have two sons, Erik and Blake. Erik is married and lives nearby with his wife, Jen, and their daughter, our beautiful first grandchild, Maisie. Blake is in the Navy and has been deployed twice. He has inherited our love for animals and has a Rat Terrier named “Jet.” Scott does some cus- tom farming and catering, and I run a mobile scrub boutique. I actually have an Associate of Applied Arts degree in Textiles and Fashion Mer- chandising. I sell scrubs from a mobile store to nursing homes, assisted living facilities, hospitals and clinics. We enjoy fishing, hunting, and just being outdoors with our dogs and friends. We enjoy having friends back to the RV after a long, fun day at a dog show for food and drinks to unwind. Hope we can get back to that soon!
130 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, JULY 2020
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