Interview by Kerri Denter, Felicity Shelties


     

   
 



Chris Schmidt has been a show breeder for 6 1/2 years.  She handles all her own dogs, showing once or twice a month, at least eight months of the year.  She occasionally helps handle shelties for others and has recently started handling other breeds as well.  Since the start of Road’s End Shelties in late 2000 she has finished four champions, three of which she bred. Also has three other homebreds, two of which are minor pointed, the third only needing a major to finish. Her four champions have been finished with Specialty and All-breed wins, multiple Best of Breeds and a few Group placements. 

 

She is striving to produce show quality dogs that meet the AKC standard, are healthy, sound in body, excelling in movement and temperament.

 

Chris lives with her husband Jim in rural Oregonia, Ohio, on five acres. She has a grown step-daugher, Cherie and two grandchildren: Braden and Bree.


Ch. Road's End Obvious Conclusion
 
"Bear"
 
Road's End By Private Treaty x Ch. Road's End Miss Fit Maggie

 

 

 

 

Kerri: 1. How did Road's End come to be and how did you decide on a kennel name?
 
Chris
:  Ours was certainly not a deliberate venture into "sheltiedom", but a gift of a small biblack male that got us hooked on the breed and then with his passing, the gift of small tri girl that really got us going and became the foundation for Road‘s End.  My husband, Jim, came up with the farm name when we moved here with our horses and it just seemed appropriate to use it as our kennel name.


 

The house

2.  How long have you been showing and breeding shelties?

Respectively 6.5-7 years; our first litter was born in 2000 and I started showing in matches that year and the AKC ring in Spring of 2001.


 

The barn

3. You are quite successful for the short time you have had in the breed, can you share with us what were you looking for in breeding stock when you began and how did you obtain it?

I was very fortunate to have a friend, Betsy Guttman, who let me have a beautiful little tri bitch with an amazing pedigree who turned out to be a non-stop showgirl and great producer.  I couldn’t have asked for a better start even if I had planned on this path.  So I guess it was really Good Luck and a Really Good Friend.
 

4. What dog or lines would you say have been an asset to you in your program?

BISS Ch Homewood Hurricane ROM and the Starhaven lines.

5. How much of a problem has size been to you?

In the five litters we have bred to date, we have placed almost half of those puppies in pet homes because they were on the smaller side.  We won’t keep males under 14 ½” and females under 13 ½”.  At this point we have not lost any due to oversize.  What do you go by in determining size in a puppy? To determine size we use the Noble Chart, watch weights and use past litter notes to try to calculate adult size.  We have had a couple puppies who were 6.5 lbs at 8 weeks, but have stayed in size.  One of those matured at 13 7/8” and another at 15 ¼”. At what age do you feel you can safely begin to “cull” out the show puppies from the pets? Usually by six to eight weeks I know which ones I will pet out.  Between eight and twelve weeks we can usually pick the pups we want to grow out for our show/breeding prospects. Where do you draw the line in your breeding stock? Since we keep our numbers small, all dogs must be what we want to continue on with in our breeding program and compete in the breed ring.  Health, soundness and temperament are of the utmost importance.

Road's End Kioko (ptd)
Best of Breed winner

"Kiki"
 

BISS AM/JAP GR Ch. Kencherry's Keep Top
x
Ch. Road's End Miss Fit Maggie
 

 


6.
How many dogs are in your kennel? Is there such a thing as an “ideal” number of dogs in a kennel in your opinion? 

Presently we have eight dogs, six adults and two hopefuls. None of the dogs live in the kennel, all have daily house privileges at different times and all but three sleep in crates in the house at night.  These three have earned their right to be permanent house dogs.   In my present situation I have an “ideal” number I keep in the back of my mind.  This ideal number has increased slightly from the one I used to have since I am no longer working outside the home.  Although we have plenty of room here for more dogs, each day we have group play time out in the back field in the morning and evening; along with each dog receiving individual “special” time.  Then there is regular maintenance and chores; this takes a lot of time, but we feel is an essential part of raising our dogs, so our numbers will always be low.  The “ideal” number of dogs in any kennel is different for everyone and very much an individual decision hopefully based on time and finances to properly care for the dogs. 

7. How many litters do you have per year?

We breed one to two litters per year, mainly when we are looking for our next show/breeding prospect to go on with.

8. How do you handle whelping? Do you use whelping boxes, crates, etc? Do you use heating pads, shredded paper, blankets, etc? How and when are puppies weaned at your kennel? 

All our litters are whelped in our bedroom in a whelping box with heating pad and for bedding I use white quilted horse leg wraps.  We also have 3x4 puppy pens with baby bed bumpers set up in the family room and kitchen as by day two our bitches want to be wherever we are and so the puppies come along.  Our puppies are started weaning approximately 3.5 - 4 wks and are on wet kibble by six weeks.

 


Ch
Road's End Little Girl Blue

"Betsie" 

 Ch. Oakcrest Bach GI Joe x Ch. Road's End Miss Fit Maggie
 

9. How do you socialize your puppies? Do you use any type of chart that you go by as far as testing the puppies?

Our puppies are handled several times a day right away, with the turning on the sides and back while getting lots of kisses and rubs.  They are moved regularly to different locations in the house; TV and radio are left on at different levels even before their ears/eyes are open.  Small road trips start, trips to the back yard with mom on a blanket as weather permits and the experiences just increase from there after they get their shots.  We have no particular testing charts we go by.


10. How soon do you start training your prospect puppies for the show ring?  Any tips you’d like to share? 

All our puppies get the same treatment and training until they go to their new homes.  At about four weeks we start standing them up on a computer mouse pad on the floor for a few seconds and increase it little by little, then the mouse pad moves to the coffee table and then to the grooming table.  We love to tell them how pretty they are and whistling at them seems to make a big difference.  Seems that the natural show dogs just start progressing naturally on their own and all you have to say later is “let’s see how pretty you are“.  My favorite thing is putting them in front of the mirror and telling them, “Look how pretty you are, that is you in there!”  Then I whistle.  In my grooming room I have a big mirror on the wall and my grooming table in front of it so I always see the whole dog.  I have several vain little dogs that love to try to take a peek out of the corner of their eye at themselves in the mirror while I am grooming.  And three that insist on sitting facing the mirror after I am done to look at themselves. Of course we always tell them how pretty they look then. They seem to enjoy it more.


Road's End Renegade (12pts/1mjr) 

"Gader"

Ch. Apple Acres Expedition, ROMC, ROM x Road's End Kioko

 


11.
How do you condition your dog for the show ring? What grooming products do you use and would recommend?

Just the daily exercise they get here in the yards and our walks, occasionally they love to go biking with me, but if I take one, I have to take them all--that’s a lot of bike trips for me.  I have several different products I use for different dogs, but I guess two things come to mind that I really like and use on almost all of them.  One is Treseme Hair Sprays, it comes in so many different varieties, but my favorite is the one especially made for humid days!  Doesn’t get tacky, such a fine spray you hardly can tell it is there, but it holds.  The other and my all time favorite is Guts by Redken, it is a spray on mousse--it gets right to the roots of the ruff.

 

12. With all of the talk about diets and what works for our dogs, what do you feed your dogs, and do you use supplements? 

Our dogs have done very well on Purina One Adult and Puppy food which we mix with a little Pedigree canned food.  The only supplement we use regularly is Edge.  We now use  supplements for bitches being bred and in whelp called Oxy-mate and Oxy-momma. 

13. What is your opinion on the new vaccination protocols the past few years? 

We have chosen to stay with the yearly vaccinations mainly because we feel our dogs are continually exposed since we live in a rural area abundant with wildlife and the fact that our dogs are always out at shows, traveling on vacations with us.  We feel it is the easiest way to ensure that our dogs are always protected.

 

Ch. Road's End Obvious Conclusion

"Bear"

Taking Best of Breed at the Warren County Kennel Club
in June of 2006.
 



14.
You have handled your own dogs, and been quite successful, can you share that experience with us? Have you ever used a professional handler? And if so what would you look for in a handler?

All I can say here is that I feel I had a great handling instructor, Sue Geesler, who put the fear of  God in me by telling me if she ever saw me do anything stupid or dishonest in the ring while she was ringside, I would hear about it right then.  I have also learned to watch the professionals in the ring, especially those that win a lot, no matter what breed they were showing.  You can learn an awful lot this way, sometimes it may even be what you know you don’t want to do in the ring. It has been fun to watch myself evolve--it wasn’t so much fun watching those videos of myself in the beginning--but I know I still have a long way to go with a lot more to learn.  There have been several disappointments along the way, it hasn’t been easy and I can certainly understand why a lot of newcomers choose to quit after only a few years.  But mostly, it has been fun and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Twice I have used a handler, once in the beginning mostly because of my nerves and to see if that is how I wanted to go and the second time was when I sent Ch. Road’s End Obvious Conclusion  with Rusty Cromer of Merlyn Kennels to the 2006 Nationals in Virginia Beach when I couldn’t go. He is a special boy, not to mention a Moma’s boy and I knew I needed someone who would have the patience and understanding to deal with him. I was very pleased with the results.

 

15. How do you handle stud services in your kennel?  Do you breed naturally or AI? Do you use ovulation tests? What tests do you require in advance before breeding an outside bitch?

We do a stud fee with balance due when pups are born.  We do all our breedings by AI now.  If requested by the bitch owner we can have progesterone done, but normally our boys are very good at telling us when the girls are ready.  Tests required for breeding are eyes, hips, thyroid and brucellosis.


16. In your breeding program, which dog do you feel was most influential to your success? 

Ch. Road’s End Miss Fit MaggieIn only three litters to date she has produced three champions for us and has possibly two/three more in the wings.  Time will tell.



Ch Road's End Miss Fit Maggie - 3 champions

BISS Ch. Homewood Hurricane, ROM
x
Starhaven's Black Orchid
 



 

17. What faults would you say you can not tolerate?

Rusty Cromer always says, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.“  I always keep this in mind when faced with certain minor faults that are pet peeves .  But if I had to pick one thing that I would eliminate a really nice dog from my breeding program for and couldn’t tolerate, it would have to be Bad Temperaments.


18. If you could  bring a certain dog into your breeding program, who would it be and why?  Any certain lines that you would like to bring in?

Oh my gosh, there are several, but I will touch on a couple. Before I ever dreamt of even being in the sport of dogs, Betsy Guttman gave me a Pacesetter issue and it had a photo of Ch. Dundee Amos Moses in it and I immediately fell in love with that dog.  I loved his expression, his outline and he appeared to have an aire about him. 

Later I started seeing photos of his offspring and liked what I saw, one in particular was Ch. Dundee Hullston Jambalaya.  When I started breeding I knew somewhere down the road I would bring these lines into my program and today I have a couple of dogs with splashes of Amos Moses in their pedigrees.

I would like to bring more from the Macdega lines into my program.  I have long admired many of the Macdega dogs and the Coens for their accomplishments and dedication to the breed.  There are several dogs from the Macdega lines that I like, but Ch. Macdega Piano Man and Ch. Macdega Asterisk are among two of my favorite dogs from these lines.

 

 

Road's End By Private Treaty (ptd)

"Toby"

  Ch. Oakcrest Bach GI Joe
x
 Ch. Road's End Miss Fit Maggie

19. As a newer breeder, what do you find to be the most rewarding aspect of this sport? What do you enjoy most about it?

Mmm, I truly love the dogs and just being with them and don‘t mind the work that goes with it, the grooming, training, etc.  It was the same when I was doing horses.  It is rewarding exhibiting and winning with your dog from bred-by classes; also meeting good people who share the same interest and truly have the bests interest of the dog in mind.

    

Road's End kennels

20. How have you overcome the obstacles as a breeder? 

Oh Geesh, you know I keep thinking that if I get them all over with now, the road will be smoother ahead,  right?  All I can say here is, “Thank God I have some good friends, who are willing to give advice, share experiences and tell you to keep the faith, no matter when you call them.”  This is what has helped me.

21. What do you feel has been the one key to your success so far in your breeding program?

Probably determination, a good gut instinct and my friends tell me a good natural eye for a dog.

22. Who was your first true mentor? Who has influenced you the most? Whom do you admire? 

My first true mentor was Betsy Guttman, a very small hobby breeder who breeds in conjunction with Carl & Amy Langhorst of Starhaven Kennels.  I always love to “blame” Betsy for getting me into dogs, when the truth really is, I couldn’t be more grateful to Besty for the wonderful start/introduction into the world of dogs.  Sue Geesler of Campio Kennels has had a tremendous influence on me ever since we met in October 2000 and still manages to keep me on my toes via long distance.  She has not only influenced me the most, but taught me the most.  This also puts her at the top of the list for those I admire, along with Betty & Bob Abbott of Abbeyhill Collies, Rusty Cromer of Merlyn Kennels and Julie Desy of Ilemist.  These people have certainly earned my admiration and respect.  If I can manage even half of their dedication, knowledge, experience and outlook into the world of dogs, I will have it made. .

23. What future goals do you have for yourself and the breed?

My goal is to breed the perfect sheltie, which of course is totally unrealistic and unattainable.  But hopefully before all is said and done, I will have come as close as I can and I will have made a positive impact on the future of the breed.


Visit Chris on the web at http://www.roadsendshelties.com/

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