HERDING GROUP BREEDERS Q&A
In my opinion, is my breed in good condition overall? Any trends that warrant concern? I feel that Pembrokes are in excellent condition. The Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of America stresses breeding Pembrokes with excellent health and temperaments. As a result, Pembrokes have climbed in popularity since I purchased my first one in 1968. Then the breed was ranked 80th out of 100 breeds. Today it is ranked 11th out of 200 breeds! Obviously, when a breed becomes so popular, many people breed without regard for temperament and health. Potential owners of Pembroke Welsh Cor- gis must be careful to buy from breeders who are members of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of America, or one of its affiliate clubs, and who therefore breed to a very strict Code of Ethics. Is my breed well-suited to be a family dog? Who are the best candidates to own my breed? Pembrokes are outstanding family dogs—very affectionate, easy to train, and very devoted to their owners. I think Pembrokes do best in families where the youngest children are at least 5-6 years old. Do I feel that my breed is supported by a sufficient number of preservation breeders? Yes! For a bit of fun, what’s the most amusing thing I’ve ever expe- rienced with a Herding Dog? I was showing my Pembroke in the Herding Group to Sam McDonald, a very experienced judge who has always admired Pembrokes and judged them very well. He also has a wonderful sense of humor! When he approached the table to judge my Pembroke, he looked at me first and asked, “What hap- pened to her tail?” Because I have shown to Mr. McDonald in the past, I was ready for him and replied, “Oh no! I KNEW I forgot something at the hotel this morning!!” He and I both had a great laugh over this! Anything else I would like to share about myself? I am so for- tunate to have spent over 54 years in the Sport of Dogs. This sport has literally given me the world, as I have been able to travel to many wonderful foreign countries to judge Pembrokes; countries I would never have had the ability to visit if it weren’t for Pembroke Welsh Corgis! Any special message I have for all of us in the fancy? Being a dog breeder is a very special occupation because, if you do it right, you have the ability to sell love and change a person’s life. However, a dog breeder must always put temperament and health at the forefront of everything they do and every breeding decision they make. I always say, if a dog does not have outstanding health and temperament, it does not matter how beautiful he or she is. Health and temperament must always come first, as the vast majority of our litters go to families who want healthy and loving pets for themselves and their children. OLIVIA CALABRESE
Ivana had the heart of a lion in the ring, and she gave many “the chills” when she gaited around the ring. She did it with suspen- sion, but with such power, and she was “a natural.” We never had to do much training, she just knew... she was a complete package. Ivana was also our housedog. She was not only a great producer, she was one of the all-time Top-Producing Grand Victrix’s in our breed history... she was a great show dog and companion. Ivana was my Junior Handling dog. She taught me a lot. Then, as I aged out and started handling on my own, we had a bitch named “Chyna.” She was also a Canadian Grand Victrix and American Select GCH BIS bitch. I showed her at the all-breeds and helped in ranking her. She was also something else... a great show dog and housedog. Her show career took over and she only had one litter (with some major health difficulties), so we made the decision; no more litters for her. Which have been our most influential sire and dams? Ivana’s mom, we called her “Sweetie Pie,” was a top-producing ROM, also “back in the day.” She combined bloodlines from the famous Amber & Kolbrook top-producing bitch kennels and is what our foundation was based on. Those lines then combined with other top-producing male lines, going back to Covy Tucker Hill, Witmer, Karizma, and Kaleef. This is what made our strong bitch line. Can I talk a bit about my facilities? Yes, I’d be proud to. We have two. We have my mom’s kennel based in Virginia. She and I do the breedings, whelping, and growing up of puppies there, being that she has more time at home with them now that I am a handler and on the road so much. I make time to go down to help her. We discuss upcoming breedings and litters, Aramist’s future, and we also evaluate puppies there and make decisions whether they should go into performance homes, therapy homes or companion homes. We whelp them downstairs in the nursery, so they can be monitored closely. Once they are weaned, they go out to the puppy barn where they have more space and an appropriate setting; they have puppy activity boxes for mental growth, gym equipment for safe physical play, and they get socialized with all possible things to make them sound and healthy. My own home and facility is here in Pennsylvania, as mentioned, and once we evaluate the puppies and youngsters and know that they will be show dogs, they come to me and we start them with grooming tables and bath tubs, routine scheduling of crate training, and the environment of “on the road” training so that they are well- rounded by the time it is show time... probably much like most... it makes the transition easier when you start young, so there is no stress at the show or in the ring because they are used to it already. What is my “process” for selecting show puppies and at what age do I make my decisions? We start the process very young by just watching them while they are in the whelping box. You see attitude immediately, which is what you need to make a great show dog. Of course, as they start moving around the whelping box, we start evaluating their structure. The harder cuts come at around 5-6 weeks old. When we do a breeding, we are specifically look- ing to improve on something in this generation. So, if we don’t see it by then, then either we sell as a performance dog, companion dog, or if it’s still of show quality, we sell it to someone looking for something like it. We usually have a waiting list for puppies, so it’s easier to know what they want and what they are looking for when making those selections. We are growing up a litter now. (They were born in October and we still have them.) We tried a different bloodline going back to an imported dog, because our bitch line is very linebred… we wanted to wait and watch them to know their growth stages, since we decided we wanted to keep a male as a stud dog out of this breeding. I think, by now, not only are they proven show prospects, we have done their genetic testing and prelims, and we are very happy with the breeding... and now a couple of girls are ready for their new homes.
Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a breeder? I currently live in York, Pennsylvania. I have been in dogs since the day I was born. The first time I was in a show ring handling was when I was five years old. I have been a breeder alongside my mom, Donna, since I was about eight, when I got “the birds and the bees” speech as we were doing a breeding. What is my kennel name? We are Aramist Enterprises and Kennels (Ger-
man Shepherd Dogs). Which show dogs from the past have been my noteworthy win- ners? We have been lucky enough to have had many. Growing up, for me, it was our homebred American and Canadian Grand Vic- trix, ROM. Her name was “Ivana.”
194 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, MARCH 2022
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