I started with Norfolk I guess when Barbara Fournier moved west in 1973, and I took a Norfolk bitch from her – it proved to be a false start because I never got puppies from that one. My foundation breeding stock came from Haggerty’s estate. I got three puppies. Len Brumby was helpful in every way getting me underway. The pups were Bethways by Newry. I’d been watching Norfolk and Norwich, when they were one, a long time you know. I knew a lot already, but Barbara Fournier helped a lot. I ordered a bitch puppy from Mrs. Bunting and got a six-week old male puppy instead. A friend brought him back on her lap on the plane.
I’ve never had problems with whelping or breeding Norfolk. For breeding I just let them out in the runs, no problems at all and my bitches whelp easily. Lots of people have ear placement problems with Norfolk and always have had. And these dogs have loose teeth early, I don’t know why. Also, one thing, the Norfolk correct overbites as they grow up, which is not true often in Norwich.
The whole dog show world has changed over the past ten years. Most of us did not use handlers. Our breed is a “ladies breed” and needs sensitive hands in my opinion. Also, we shouldn’t expect a lot of group placements with our little dogs. Now there are these cluster shows and when I see that something like 72 Norwich and Norfolk have become champions in one year when the total registered are something like 250 I think it is ludicrous – we have a lot of champions who don’t deserve to be.
I’ve bred about twenty litters and about eight or nine champions. Home breds mean the most to me and I haven’t won big from them. I suppose Magic Marker is the most exciting in terms of recent wins, two BOB at Montgomery, etc., but I want to stress that the most fun and rewarding thing to me is to see my home breds out there. I pick the stud with great care! A lot on pedigree and mostly on personality. They HAVE to have nice personalities. And then convenience…I’m not crazy about shipping, though I do it. I plan ahead a generation, that is why I got Mark’s father (Dusty Daffran). He turned out luckily for me to be a dominant sire and I got pretty heads which I needed in my breeding. When having a dog at stud I do not select bitches for him. Anyone can breed to him. He’s at public stud. Unless, of course, it is an impossibly bad bitch.
In selecting puppy buyers, I want a loving home. The puppy has to be getting a better home that he or she would have with me or the puppy stays right here!
The dogs of which I am fondest are Mark’s grandmother (Shenanigans at Chidley) and his mother (Chidley’s Pooka). They are both with me all the time and wonderful.
The best advice I can give to breeders is : Try to breed to strengths, not weaknesses, and most of all keep our breed sound and happy, watching with utmost care to whom we sell our puppies.