Feature Articles

Volume 1, Number 3

AKC Responsible Breeder's Program

AKC June Delegate's Meeting

The Breeders Perspective

"At the National" by April Leonetti

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The AKC welcomes responsible breeders to the world of purebred dogs. Breeding involves art, science and total devotion. It will show you the best in the human-canine bond ... and the result of absolute commitment by responsible breeders. What are the hallmarks of a truly responsible breeder?

A Responsible Breeder Is Always A Student

Responsible breeders seek to improve their breeds with every litter. To reach this goal, they must devote hours to continually learning as much as they can about their breeds, including health and genetic concerns, temperament, appearance and type. They also need to know about general dog behavior, training and health care. In short, they become canine experts.

How can you acquire this expertise?

Become involved with dog clubs.

Each breed has a national club (or "parent" club), and there are about 2,500 local clubs devoted to individual breeds. (Local clubs are also called "specialty" clubs.) There are thousands of other clubs across the country, including all-breed clubs and clubs devoted to obedience, tracking or performance events. Most clubs sponsor educational programs and events that will help you increase your knowledge. For lists of parent clubs and specialty clubs in your area, call AKC Customer Service.

Study your breed standard.

The breed standard is the official guide by which dogs are judged at dog shows. Each breed of dog recognized by the AKC has its own standard (written by the parent club). The standard may specify everything from the curvature of a dog’s tail to the color of its eyes. You can obtain a copy of your dog’s breed standard and order breed-specific educational videos from the AKC. Many parent clubs offer more detailed information on the standard, such as amplifications and illustrated standards.

Attend dog events.

Dog shows, obedience trials and performance events provide the opportunity to observe purebreds in action. You can learn about different lines by viewing real dogs and studying the pedigrees of those you like. Many people competing at dog shows are experienced breeders. Attending shows can give you the chance to meet and learn from these experts.

Read, read, read!

There are many books and magazines available about every aspect of the dog experience. There are books devoted to individual breeds, groups of breeds, breeding and whelping, genetics, behavior and training and many more topics. The AKC publishes books such as the Complete Dog Book and Dog Care and Training, along with numerous videos.

The AKC Gazette, published monthly, features breed-specific columns and articles on topics ranging from developmental orthopedic disease to how to establish a club website. The AKC also publishes AKC Afield, a magazine devoted to performance events. Most parent clubs produce periodic publications, as do many local clubs.

Responsible breeders are familiar with AKC rules and regulations concerning the sale and registration of AKC-registrable dogs. Before you breed your dog, you should contact the AKC to verify that you have all the correct paperwork, understand how to register a litter, and are able to provide proper documentation to your buyers. To request AKC rules and regulations or order AKC publications, contact AKC Customer Service.

A responsible breeder is objective.

Virtually every dog is the best in the world in the eyes of its owner. Responsible breeders have the ability to separate their love for their dog from an honest evaluation of its good and bad points. Why is a detached point of view necessary? Breeding is hard work. Every breeding is a carefully planned endeavor to produce a better dog. A good breeder recognizes a dog’s flaws and finds a mate with characteristics that will help reduce or eliminate those flaws. So how can you honestly evaluate your dog as potential breeding stock?

Seek assistance from some of the best informational resources available – longtime breeders and the breeder of your dog. This person should have extensive knowledge of your dog’s line and, like you, should want to see it continually improved. You may also want to consult with a professional handler who has worked with your breed.

An excellent way to develop an impartial eye is to test your dog against others. To see how well your dog conforms to the breed standard, get an assessment from an experienced breeder or dog fancier, and enter dog shows. Entering obedience and field tests and trials will allow you to measure your dog’s abilities against star performers. If your dog is a success in these events, you’ll be more confident that breeding your dog will contribute to the betterment of its breed.

A responsible breeder conditions the sire and dam.

Good puppies start long before their parents are bred. Both the sire and dam need constant care, or conditioning, to produce the best offspring. This means regular veterinary care, screening for genetic problems, pre-breeding health tests, regular exercise and good nutrition. It means consulting with a veterinarian or experienced breeder to ensure that you know how to meet the dam’s (mother’s) special nutritional needs while she is in whelp (pregnant).

It also means maintaining your dog’s mental health. Stressed animals can experience fertility problems. Many breeders swear by the belief that the dam’s temperament affects the puppies – good puppies come from good mothers. Consequently, they avoid breeding shy or unstable dogs.

A responsible breeder nurtures the puppies.

Preparing for puppies means building a proper nursery. A whelping box must be dry, very warm and draft-free. It should be big enough for the dam to be able to move about freely with sides that will safely contain the puppies.

The dam normally takes care of the puppies’ needs the first few weeks of their lives. Of course, you should be prepared for unusual situations, such as a dam with no milk or an orphaned litter. You will also need to provide additional food and water for the dam while she is nursing the puppies.

Once the puppies are weaned, they become much more active and require lots more work. You will need to oversee feeding to ensure each puppy gets adequate food. You will need to keep the towels, wood shavings or shredded newspaper lining the whelping box clean. The puppies will need their first round of shots, they may need grooming and they will definitely need plenty of playtime and opportunities for getting used to being around people. You may even want to start working with them on basic obedience commands to ease their transition to their new homes.

A responsible breeder places puppies wisely.

As you can probably imagine, once it’s time for the puppies to go to new homes, you’ve invested a lot of yourself in them. A difficult and important aspect of breeding is making sure your puppies go to owners who will provide loving and permanent homes.

The complete picture is important to responsible breeders. They make sure new puppy owners know what to expect, both the pros and the cons, from the furry little bundles they’re taking home. If their particular breed requires extensive grooming, drools profusely, or can be difficult to train, responsible breeders will point that out.

Responsible breeders also know the right questions to ask prospective owners in order to get a feel for the type of home they’ll provide. Some of these questions include:

• Why does the person or family want a dog?
• Who will be primarily responsible for the dog’s care?
• Are there any children? If so, how old are they?
• Does anyone in the household have allergies?
• What is the potential owner’s attitude toward training and obedience?
• How often is someone at home?
• Will they have time to walk and play with the dog?

If feasible, it’s not unreasonable for a breeder to make a house call after the puppy has had time to settle in with its new family. Some breeders require dog buyers to sign contracts indicating that if specified conditions of care are not met, the breeders are within their rights to reclaim the puppy.

Important qualities to look for in potential puppy owners are interest and inquisitiveness about you and the dogs you breed. A person or family truly committed to responsible dog ownership will want to learn about the breed and how to care for it.

A responsible breeder is responsible for life.

Now comes the best part of being a breeder. (No, it’s not putting away the newspapers and puppy food.) It’s having those great families you selected call you with news of puppy’s first tooth, first vet visit, first dog event, first win! It’s getting letters. It’s getting holiday cards. It’s getting family portraits with your puppy (yes, it’ll always be yours) smack in the middle. What’s not to love about being a breeder at these times?

But now can come the worst part, too. It’s the nice young couple who is divorcing and neither person can keep the dog. It’s the distraught owner calling from the vet with news of an unforeseen illness. It’s the devastated parent telling you that the dog (that you encouraged her to train) bit their child’s friend.

Responsible breeders are there for all situations – both good and bad. They know they were responsible for this puppy being born, so they are responsible for it until the day it dies. They are willing to provide guidance and answer as many questions as they are asked. They are always concerned about their puppies.

One breeder once said the most satisfying phone call she received came 14 years after her first litter. The caller said one of "her" (the breeder’s) dogs had died of old age. At that moment the breeder knew she was responsible for bringing years of the same kind of love and joy she experienced from her dogs into someone else’s home. Ultimately, isn’t that exactly why you want to breed your dog?

For More Information Contact:

The American Kennel Club
5580 Centerview Drive
Raleigh, NC 27606

Customer Service: (919) 233-9767
Fax: (919) 233-3627

The AKC is now on the Internet!

Our World Wide Web Home Page address is:

Our e-mail address is:

Mission Statement of the AKC:



· photos & text Sari B. Tietjen


The Delegates got a chance to visit the North Carolina State Capital building in Raleigh. (photo by Thom Stanfield)

On June 8, 1999, over 260 Delegates to the American Kennel Club met in Raleigh, North Carolina for their quarterly meeting. The Delegates came from across the country and enjoyed many pre-meeting functions scheduled on the days leading up to the meeting, including museum and garden tours, a Mystery Theater Dinner and a special tour of AKC’s North Carolina offices – which is home to the kennel club’s operations facility. Delegates that stopped by Event Operations were asked to guess the number of dog biscuits in the jar. Tom Carneal, Delegate of the St. Joseph (MO) Kennel Club came the closest. Mr. Carneal guessed 429, there are 425 biscuits in the jar. Arrangements are made to send the jar and biscuits sent to Mr. Carneal.

During their AKC tour, the delegates met many AKC’s employees, walked through the new computer operations, had the opportunity for one-on-one discussions regarding the various departments, and were treated to a special look at AKC’s newly designed website, which will be online during the summer months.


A sign welcoming the delegates to the Raleigh offices. (photo by Jill Wilhelm)

At the morning forum on the 8th, which was devoted to topics-of-the-day, the Delegates watched the new AKC DNA Video, which demonstrates dogs being DNA’d, the methods of analyzing DNA, and the virtues of this new technology for AKC’s registry and breeders; listened to Dr. James Holt, AKC’s Washington, DC consultant talk about pending Federal legislation affecting breeding and having dogs; the proposed cropping/docking stance to be considered by the American Veterinary Medical Association during the association’s upcoming July meeting; and the increasing threat to the use of public land by individuals with their dogs.

During the regular meeting, the delegates did not pass the proposed amendment to Article XVI, Section 2 of AKC’s Constitution and Bylaws that would have made it obligatory for each meeting notice to include the most current quarterly financial report, excepting the annual meeting, which includes the financial report for the fiscal year just ended. On a standing vote, of the 262 delegates voting, 151 voted affirmatively and 101 voted against the proposal. As the measure needed a 2/3rds affirmative to pass, it failed to get the required votes.


At the DNA table, AKC staff members Bill Hughes, Pat Fiore and Dr. Jim Edwards answer a question from one of the visiting delegates. (photo by Jill Wilhelm)

In other measures, the Board Chairman, David C. Merriam, addressed the body with an update on the topics the board is exploring (this update appears as a separate Chairman’s Report to the Delegates on this website) while AKC’s president and CEO, Al Cheauré, spoke on the benefits of the proposed new registration application; talked about his May 28th DNA update letter to the Delegates as being a concept approved by the Board’s Business Committee for the staff to develop a proposal regarding frequently used sires and DNA; and thanked staff for its enthusiasm, dedication and commitment to serve AKC.

The Club’s secretary, James Crowley, read proposed general housekeeping amendments to AKC’s Constitution & Bylaws concerning a consistent reference to AKC in the document as AKC; the adoption of neutral gender throughout the document, such as him/her, he/she, chairperson; that the word purebred would always appear before dog; and that dog events and event committee would be used to describe the various events under AKC’s umbrella. These housekeeping amendments are slated to be voted on at the September Delegates meeting in New York City. There was also a reading of a Special Rule of Order for Delegates to allow for discussion of a proposal during its initial reading rather than waiting until a subsequent meeting.


Sari Tietjen demonstrates the new AKC website for delegate Myrle Hale. (photo by Jill Wilhelm)

There was an announcement of Delegate committees’ vacancies would be filled at the September meeting and plans were being made to mail these Committees’ annual reports to all delegates prior to that meeting.

In other matters, various delegates addressed the assembly on topics such as judging procedure; a suggested resolution of AKC’s part in co-ownership disputes by making the registry of a dog by a designated registrant rather than all co-owners; called for a straw poll on delegates meetings to take place on weekends versus weekdays (the standing vote was about equal); wanted to know what AKC was doing about negative media attacks on the kennel club; suggested exploring the concept of the corresponding date calendar and the resulting havoc every seven or so years; and discussed hidden agendas of animal rights groups and legislation that appears innocent until studied in depth with the realization of negative ramifications for the hobby breeder and dog owner.

When the meeting adjourned, the delegates departed Raleigh with a better understanding of how AKC functions and the giant steps being taken to prepare the kennel club for the challenges of the 21st century.



AKC Staff members Mari-Beth O'Neill and David Roberts answer questions from delegates. Each department had an area set up highlighting the department. Staff members were on hand to be able to address questions from the delegates. (photo by Jill Wilhelm)

One of the most interesting aspects of the June meeting was the DNA video, which demonstrated the importance of DNA and the simplicity of collection. This Beagle quitely stands as a mouth swab is being taken.

Dr J Holt


Legislative consultant, Dr. James Holt, brought the Delegates up-to-date on the topic of the various pending Federal legislation initiatives affecting owning/breeding dogs.

After the forum, the Delegates enjoyed lunch before the proceedings for the regular meeting started.



Chairing the meeting was the club's president/CEO, Al Cheauré.

Also on the dais was the Board Chairman, David Merriam, and Club Treasurer, Ken Marden.


Paula Spector

The over 260 attending delegates listened carefully to the proceedings.

Paula Spector counted the standing delegates during the Constitution & Bylaw amendment voting.

Carl Holder

Charles Gavin

Delegate Carl Holder, representing the Beaumont Kennel Club, addressed the chair on parliamentary procedure.

Charles Gavin, who represents the Marion Ohio Kennel Club, was the origniator of the proposed special rule of order that, if passed in September, would permit delegates to address a measure on its inital reading.

John Ronald

Tom Davies

John Ronald, from the Samoyed Club of America, who is chairman of the Delegates' Strategic Planning Committee, told the assembly of the Committee's plans for the selection process of any future meeting sites held outside of NYC.

Tom Davies, Springfield Kennel Club, who is also Chairman of the Delegate committes' Coordinating Committee, advised the audience that the annual committee reports should be received prior to the September meeting.

Diane Albers


Diane Albers, Central Florida Kennel Club, spoke about the danger of pending legislation that is not always what it appears to be on a simple reading and the work of Animal Rights groups on a state/county/city level that could lead to backdoor legislation aimed at legislating out the ownership and breeding of dogs.




The Breeders Perspective

 This interview was conducted by Boris Pegan (The Talking Eyes) at February 31, 1999 with Lee Ann Gutzwiler (GENTRY)


 · · How did you get involved in show dogs?

 I grew up with a springer from Mac Mar breeding (Mac McKenny) and showed him in 4-H (I knew nothing about showing dogs). I won Best In Show over 30 kids, (many of which knew how to show), at my very first 4-H show, and I was bit by the bug. When I was 15, I met Jan Mau of Ramsgate Springers. She took me under her wing, and taught me how to groom and show springers. Every night after school I use to go to her house and groom dogs. I went to conformation classes with her and helped at the shows, showing many of her dogs as well as dogs for other people. After a couple of years she gave me a co-ownership on a puppy who turned out to be Ch. Winward's Gentry of Ramsgate CD, J.J., who was bred by Judy Lundbeck (Winward). My kennel name "Gentry " was taken in honor of J.J..

· · Were the English Springer Spaniels your first breed?

They were my only breed until I acquired a Pointer 6 years ago.

· · How did you develop the Gentry breeding program?

I had always admired the Salilyn dogs. Ch. Salilyn's Classic was being shown at the time I became involved in dog shows. I liked the look and style of the Salilyn dogs and I admired Barbara Gates greatly. I learned a lot by watching how she handled and groomed, I also learned technique by watching Karen Prickett. When I bred my first litter, I did not feel I knew enough to make the best choices so I let others influence my choice of stud dogs. After a few litters I decided to go back to what I was the happiest with, which was the Salilyn line. From there I have linebred on Salilyn, bringing in a few outside pedigree's that I have admired.

 · ·Who are some of "your" favorite Springers?

My personal favorite dogs were my first dog J.J., her daughter Caprice (Ch. Gentry's Caprice CD/WD), Darby (Ch. Gentry's English Darby), Minny (Ch. Gentry's Flashdance), Trent, Olivia, Skye, Sly, Lana, my Pointer Biff, and every dog I have ever owned. Most admired dogs, Ch. Salilyn's Condor, Ch. Felicia's Etching, Ch. Salilyn's Bacardi, Ch. Salilyn's High Regard, and Ch. Dalin's Silverhill's Straight Up, to name a very few. There are truly many dogs I have known inthe past that I have greatly admired and their just is not enough space to list them all.

  · ·What dog or bitch that you bred, do you feel established your family?

That would be Ch. Gentry's Private Dancer "Lucy." She was from the first litter that I felt pointed me in the direction I wanted to go. "Lucy" produced 10 champions out of 2 stud dogs. 8 of those where sired by Condor. In her first litter every puppy finished, with a total of 12 major specialty wins. She was the mother of "Olivia" Ch. Gentry's Private Party (a group placer and parent club SHOW DAM OF THE YEAR 94') who produced 10 champions, with 18 specialty wins, "Connie" Salilyn's Concord who produced 6 champions, and had a total of 8 specialty wins, including Ch. Salilyn's Quest who was Best Opp. Sex in Sweeps at the 93' National, and, a specialty breed winner. "Lucy" was also the Dam of "Trent" Ch. Gentry's High Tech (multiple group placer, multiple specialty winner, sire of the l996 National Specialty Winners Bitch/Best of Winners).

 · ·Which litter accomplished the most for you?

That is hard to say as I have had several litters that produced multiple champions, who have went on to be top producers, group winners, and multiple Specialty winners, as well as Best In Show. I expect each litter to be better then the last and the entire litter to be consistent. I guess from a breeders perspective I would have to say the litter that I co-bred with JulieGasow, Ch. Salilyn's Recognition x Ch. Gentry's Private Party, produced some of dogs that are having the greatest influence in my breeding program. Ch. Salilyns' High Regard produced Ch. Salilyn's N' Erin's Shameless and Ch.Salilyn's Obsession who is the Sire of Ch. Gentry's Beautiful. Ch. Gentry-N-RoseLane's Incognito TD/CGC, who has produced many speciality/Group winning kids, as well as a Canadian Best In Show winner,and, Ch. Gentry'sVictoria's Secret, who is the dam of Ch. Gentry's Gallantry my first breeder/owner/handled Best In Show dog.

· ·Do you believe that you have developed a distinguished line over the years?

I am still working on that. I feel that I have a certain style or look. I am proudest of the fact that I have worked very hard on temperaments and feel · that I have very sound, stable, sweet temperaments. I expect everyone to get along, even the stud dogs, as they all have to run together.

· · Are there any certain faults that you find that are harder to correct with breeding than another?

Defiantly fronts, and shoulders.

· · What particular do you look for when planning a breeding?

What will complement the bitch I am planning to breed in both type and pedigree, also, any dog I breed to has to have a good stable temperament! That is "THE" most important factor. After that good hips, eyes, and I try to find out if there is a seizure history.

· · What is your breeding philosophy?

I do what makes ME happy, and not the FAD. I try to be very critical of what I produce, and learn from others. I also have a goal for each litter, I only breed when I want to go on to the next step, and I do not breed to "The man of the hour" just because it sells puppies.

· · Do you collect your stud dogs?

I have only collected "Sly" so far but plan on collecting selected dogs in the future.

· · At what age do you evaluate your puppies?

Between 8-10 weeks. At 10 weeks I have a pretty good idea what they will look like as adults. As soon as they can stand I teach them how to stack, and they have their heads groomed, and nail cuts once a week.

· · Is there any other dogs that go back to your dogs that you are specially proud of?

Well, of course "Samantha" Ch. Salilyn's N' Erin's Shameless, and Ch. Jasmines Nick of Time to name a few. I take great pride in all my kids accomplishments whether I have bred them, or they were sired by my stud dogs. Just hearing that they are the perfect pet for someone, or attained a CD, makes me feel proud.

 · · How many Champions have you bred or owned?


· · What is your goal in your breeding program?

To produce sound, typy, Springer Spaniels with fantastic temperaments!

 · · Who are your favorite dog people?

I really admire the older breeders who have been around for 20 years or more. I love having long discussions with them about dogs of the past who have had a great influence on the breed, or pedigree's, or the changes they lived through as the breed developed. They are a great source of knowledge.

· · Are you involved in any other breed?

Yes, Pointers, I have 2 at present. A male who I won Winners Dog and Best of Breed at the Pointer National in 1994, and is a mutable group placer, and a puppy bitch who is his granddaughter.

 · · Do you prefer Specialties or all breed shows?

I really love specialties! I love to see dogs I do not normally get to see, and talk to other breeders face to face and not on a phone. I am always shopping for a dog I can breed to, to compliment what I have at home. I like to see what pedigree's look like in other areas of the country and how they work together. I think they are a great place to learn, and I cherish the wins I receive is such competition.

· · Do you prefer having professional handler show your dogs, or doing it yourself?

I really enjoy the challenge of going up against the professional. I have not been very happy the way most handlers groom and present a springer. There are those who specialize in springers, and they do an outstanding job.

· · How often do you go to shows?

I work Monday - Saturday, Sunday I go to dog shows, and I will take off for selected specialties.

· · What advice would you give to a new beginners in this breed?

Keep an open mind, and be honest! Find the type you like, and decide what you want to accomplish in the breed, and when the undesirable pops up, learn from it and go on. Treat people the way you would like to be treated.

· · What do you do for living?

I have owned and operated a grooming shop for 16 years.

· · Do you enjoy it?

Yes, I do.

· · How have dogs affected your life style?

I would be living in a mansion and have a corvette, if not for them.

· ·Do you think that the standard revision allowing level bites and one or two teeth out of order was a good idea?

No, I do not. I have found more bad bites in the last few years than I did when I started showing 25 years ago. In the last 5 years the bites have progressively gotten worse.

· ·In your opinion are there more temperament problems today than there were when you first started?

I don't know what the temperament were like back then, but I do feel that a lot of aggression is excused. Either the owner cannot accept the fact that their baby is not "nice," or, " it is normal dog behavior," or some people, just do not care. I do feel this is a subject that needs addressing. The term "Rage" is also a bug of mine as it is thrown around by people who have no idea what it is, and use it as a blanket for a temperament problem. I am tired of hearing about a dog that was put to sleep because the Veterinarian said it was "rage," or an obedience instructor who won't allow a springer in his class because they all have "rage." We need to educate not only the general public but also the professional.

The Springer Showcase at the National

by: April Leonetti


Wow what a great week!! The National began on Saturday June 26th with the two day Tracking event and run through Monday July 5th ending with the Hunt Tests. Everything in between was non stop action, competition and fun. Mike and I, having competed in Breed, Obedience, Agility and the Hunting Test, can tell you the competition was fierce. All the Best of the Best where there. There is no question the Breed competition was a thrill and certainly a dog show. With final result including three littermates as Best of Breed, Best of Opposite Sex and Award of Merit. The Obedience ring was once again a show of the Springer unique brand of cooperation and/or individual expression. I know of at least one new Springer invented excerise-the retrieve on flat down on return-thank goodness her owner has a good sense of humor. I for one never tire of seeing a beautiful Springer working with it's owner and we did get to see a great display of that by Alvin Eng and Cybil. The team competition was again a source of true entertainment and enjoyment. I laughed until I cried. Of course the Sweepstakes were delightful. What Springer owner doesn't enjoying seeing these beautiful Springer puppies out there showing their stuff and allowing us to get a glimpse of the future. But for me Agility brought us all together. Seeing top show dogs like Lars competing with wonderful field bred Springers out in the Agility ring was amazing. The overriding impression of the Springer is that they are truly fun loving, large living, uniquely expressive dogs. Wrapping up the week with the Hunt test I was once again pleasantly surprised to both our field bred and show bred Springers competing side by side and reminding all of us of the heritage of this beautiful breed.

I hope you enjoy the collage on pages 14 and 15, I selected pictures that would give you a sense of the spirit of the National, whether or not you were there is person. Sincere thanks to Randy Hamblin for the wonderful photographs he captured all of the excitement!