610 – Canine Influenza Outbreak and How to Manage It with Dr. Marty Greer

Canine Influenza Outbreak and How to Manage It with Dr. Marty Greer

Dr. Marty Greer, DVM joins host Laura Reeves to discuss the current Canine Influenza outbreak, how to manage it and how it became an overnight sensation in the public.

“Well, partially it’s media, partially it’s misinformation, courtesy of the media,” Greer said. “And partially there was a lack of vaccine. The vaccine insufficient supply appears to have been corrected or is being corrected.

“So, things are better. In 2004 when this first happened, we didn’t have any vaccine and no dogs in any part of the world that we know had immunity to this. So Ron Schultz,the vaccine guru from University of Wisconsin, made a recommendation that all dogs should be vaccinated against this, that it should be considered a core vaccine because no dogs had natural immunity.

“It was like when Parvo happened in the late 70s and early 80s came out of nowhere, there was no immunity and bada bing bada boom we’ve got dogs that are desperately sick and dying.

“Influenza is a respiratory disease and it is classified in the CIRD, the canine infectious respiratory disease complex. So a lot of times that’s either called CIRD or it’s called kennel cough. There’s a whole bucket of stuff that falls in the kennel cough bucket and it’s not necessarily a diagnosis. It’s a description. It’s a collection of disorders, diseases, but it’s not necessarily a diagnosis.

“So we have had outbreaks of canine influenza (before). The first known outbreak was in 2004 in a colony of Greyhounds, I believe in Florida, and they think it was a mutation from the equine version of influenza.

“And that was H3N8. There’s now also an H3N2 that we have identified and can vaccinate against.

“Like all respiratory diseases, it causes a cough, but in this particular case, influenza can cause disease severe enough to cause hemorrhagic pneumonia and the death of patients. And there have been patients that have died in this last outbreak that occurred this fall (at the Golden Retriever national in Albany, Oregon).

“It had to get to the Golden Retriever National somehow. It’s not like the Golden Retriever group invented it, just drummed up a new virus, but it appears that it reared its ugly head there. There were a number of dogs that were there that then went back to all over the U.S.

“So, they were East Coast, Midwest, everywhere. And these dogs were coming back with respiratory disease and it was easy to just say, ‘Uh, it’s kennel cough, here’s some medication, you’ll be fine.’ But one of my associates was involved with some of the Golden Retrievers that were at that show and I was in surgery the day she walked in and said, ‘You know, we’ve got these dogs that are coming back from the Golden National with a pretty bad cough.’ And I don’t know why but the hair kind of stood up on the back of my neck and I said, ‘We need to get these dogs tested for what kind of virus or bacteria we have.’

“There was just something about, I don’t know if it was her tone of voice or the number of dogs that were involved. There’s something about that conversation that just said to me, ‘We have problems.’

“So, we swabbed the most recently started to cough dogs. We didn’t want a dog that had already been coughing for a week by the time we did the sample collection and submitted that to our local diagnostic lab at the same time that a number of other people were submitting samples.

“We weren’t the only ones by any stretch of the imagination that felt we need a diagnosis on this. So, at our diagnostic lab in Wisconsin, they came back with influenza A. At some of the other diagnostic labs, they came back with influenza H3N2, I believe. Not that it makes that much of a difference if it’s H3N2 or H3N8. It’s influenza anyway. So, there were multiple labs with multiple dogs that had all been at the same event.

“They were coming up with the same answer. And so, when I walked up to my front desk last week and on the computer screen in front of my receptionist, there was a message from the media that said, “Mystery disease.” I was like, ‘It’s really not this mysterious, folks.’

“And so, we need to start addressing it by getting more dogs vaccinated. So, it’s time for us to not call it a mystery disease. It’s time for us to make some decisions on whether this is a lifestyle vaccine or a core vaccine and get some of these dogs vaccinated that are at risk because this is a very serious illness.

“No question that if the dogs don’t have immunity, it’s a very serious illness. Like I said, it causes hemorrhagic pneumonia. Some of these dogs are dying. Even if they’ve been put on ventilators and all the really high-powered stuff that they’ve been doing, sometimes we’re still losing dogs to this. And it’s really a shame to lose dogs to a disease that we can vaccinate against.

“I don’t care if you’re doing agility or fly ball or competition with hunt test or field trials or confirmation. If you’re going to the dog park, if your dogs are going to the groomer, any dog that qualifies as based on lifestyle for bordatella vaccinations should also be receiving influenza vaccine.”

609 – Critiques, Communication and Common Sense in Dog Shows

Critiques, Communication and Common Sense in Dog Shows

Steve Dainard judging Spinoni back in the day, when Laura was still showing dogs.

Canadian Kennel Club judge Steve Dainard is back with host Laura Reeves for part two of a probing and thoughtful conversation about critiques, communication and common sense in dog shows.

“So we know that every rule and regulation that came in probably had a foundation in someone doing something wrong,” Dainard notes. “Judges need to keep their interactions in the ring, not be too conversational in nature. Well, then all of a sudden you’re going to get a whole population of judges who take us to the nth degree, and they’re even afraid to have any type of communication, apart from instructions to the exhibitor.

“So, I think there’s a fine line between having this full on getting caught up in the ring, but also having, an opportunity to be able to share meaningful dialogue. And I think that we can do that. I think that maybe we’re just not trained really well to do that. So maybe we need to have a discussion about what does that look like.

“I get it, writing written critiques or an oral critique or whatever can be scary for many people. People don’t like change, and whether it’s not because you don’t have the goods or you don’t know whatever, maybe that’s what the fear is based in. But I think culturally, you just hit the nail on the head, it’s not encouraged to have that dialogue, that communication, that interaction. And what it does, it creates silos within our sport. And this is not what we need. We need to be able to have a mechanism in place so that it’s okay to have a conversation.

“And that conversation doesn’t need to be precipitated by the fact that I’m pissed off because Laura didn’t put me up and I’m going to take a run at her after judging. And I got the rep coming with me because she crossed a line.

“Having a written critique foundation in your toolkit as the basis for how you’re trained to evaluate dogs creates a much easier conversation when that’s the way you’re programmed and how you’re picking your winners.

“I think that the fear of error is like, (exhibitors are) judging me, right? So I can see why people would be afraid of that until you get really good at it. And you have the conviction to be able to say, this is my process. I think it could be a little bit of an overwhelming concept, but the only way we rip that bandaid off is by diving in and starting to practice it.”

Listen to the full episode for insights on the role of judges in promoting responsible dog breeding and ownership and much more.

608 – Dog Judging Process and Ethics with CKC Judge Steve Dainard

Dog Judging Process and Ethics with CKC Judge Steve Dainard

Host Laura Reeves is joined by Canadian Kennel Club all-breeds judge Steve Dainard for part one of their conversation about the judging approval process, judging ethics and other hot button topics as we progress through “meat and potatoes” November!

“So how do we help judges move into a place of thinking more about structure and less about the ‘paint job’,” Laura asks.

“Some of the biggest challenge is, do (judges) have that breed specific knowledge,” Dainard replies. “And are we consistent in this application? Are we judging fairly and equitably and being consistent enough so that people that are watching, and in particular breeders, can follow and they can say, this person really knows my breed?

“CKC judges get scrutiny from other non-Canadian judges about how we get there too quickly. and that maybe you know in your country, it takes it takes longer to get there. So, let’s agree that maybe somewhere in the middle might be more ideal.

“Organizing bodies do the best they can, given the current environment, to come up with a fair and equitable process. They don’t always get it right and many times changes just are just so laborious, it takes so long and really, what is the right fit. So, I understand those challenges.

“So, I think we need to work within the constraints of what we’re handed with hopefully trying to make improvements along the way. Some of those challenges are making sure we have breed specific knowledge, that we’re not missing the hallmark characteristics of a breed and just going for a more of a generic exhibit.

“If you have to ask, ‘Is there a Rule against that’, what’s happening is your moral guideline. Your compass is probably kicking in. I think you’ve already answered your question. If you have to question yourself like that, whether there’s a rule or regulation specifically forbidding that is irrelevant. You’ve already answered your question. It should not happen.

“We were raised in the sport. We spent decades in the sport. We know a lot of people. So now because we’ve chosen to change hats to now become judges, all of those relationships and those hotels we shared and vehicles we traveled in those don’t go away.

“My interpretation is that when that’s said as the reason to justify a win, my gut goes to ‘Have you really evaluated everything. Did you fairly look at the dogs in competition.’ Many times, I don’t think you’re really did that. I think that the political excuse was the easy excuse for you to justify that in your mind and poo poo the credibility of the ethical issue around the judging process.”

607 – Keeping Foxhounds Alive Into the 21st Century

Keeping Foxhounds Alive Into the 21st Century

Brigette Bryson with one of her Foxhounds.

Brigette Bryson, second generation breeder of Foxhounds at Foxhunt Kennels in Australia, joins host Laura Reeves in a wide ranging conversation about English Foxhounds, preserving the history they represent and how she hopes to keep the breed alive into the 21st century.

There are three breeders of English Foxhounds listed on the US National Club website. In 2022, the breed dropped to last place in numbers of dogs registered with AKC. Although the breed lives on in the packs around the globe, their popularity has certainly faded from their heyday when hunting fox was both useful and fashionable in much of the world.

“I don’t know if that’s ever going to change dramatically,” Bryson said. “I have this conversation with people regularly. I don’t know that you can ever make them mainstream. Their history is so deep. And it’s entrenched in people’s brains that this is a hunting and a working breed that’s not gonna fit in my suburban backyard.

So I don’t know if you can ever change that. My goal is just to see them survive. That will happen in the packs. There’s many packs. You know, we’re not gonna have a figure of how many dogs exist in those packs, but they’re there. And I think that they will always be there through people like me that have maybe grown up in that pack and they’re obsessed with the breed, so they’ll keep it going.

“What I would like to see is if we could have a few breeders in each country breeding them, that would be a success for me. It’s enough to keep them alive and not let that piece of history die for me. I think I really enjoy the history of the breed. I love that almost every kennel club you visit around the world is gonna have a painting of Foxhounds hunting. I think it’s important to maintain it for that reason.

“I of course would love to see them become more popular with the general public. I just don’t know if that’s possible. The sizes of houses and properties and everything, it’s gonna be the same problem for all large breeds. It’s getting smaller.

“And realistically, as much as you can raise them to live in a smaller environment, it’s not ideal for them and people would have to put in a lot more effort to meeting their energy needs. My goal is just to get them out there with breeders around the world. That’s what I’m trying to achieve now.

“There’s not a single registered breeder that has had a litter in the UK that I can think of in the last 10 years. We have one active registered breeder in New Zealand who’s fantastic. And there’s a few really healthy packs over there that have some dogs from us as well.

“And in America, there’s a handful if they even keep breeding, but they start aging out too. And that’s what’s happening here. There was four main breeders that we had, myself and my parents before me worked in with. One of those hasn’t bred a litter for a decade. And the other two are at the point where they’re saying to me, I don’t know if I’ll have any more just because they’re getting a bit older.

“And (Foxhounds) are incredibly healthy. Now that’s another one that’s complex. Foxhounds have been largely inbred since the beginning of time. But with that, only the strong survived. There is no hereditary diseases in the breed.

“Part of that is that there hasn’t been human intervention. So, all the debates that people have about inbreeding, and I have this debate with people regularly, because they’ll say to me, you’re gonna have to outcross. And I say, well, you need to outcross because you’ve got problems you need to fix.

But if I don’t have any problems, why do I need to do that? A litter we had last year was from a six -year -old maiden bitch, 15 puppies. So, we’re not having those issues that other people have. They’re incredibly healthy. And people buying these dogs that they spend thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars trying to keep alive, I can sell you a Foxhound that will only have to go to the vet for its vaccinations.”

606 – Protecting Breeds Into the Future

Protecting Breeds Into the Future

Dr. Marty Greer, DVM joins host Laura Reeves to discuss AKC’s newest service for preservation breeders. Greer was actively involved in AKC’s development of the Purebred Preservation Bank, taking the idea from the Otterhound Club of America. We had the conversation with Joellen Gregory early on about the Otterhound’s semen bank, and AKC has taken this and developed it into something that’s available for all parent clubs.

“(PPB will allow) AKC to fund the long -term storage of semen that no longer has an owner that wants to manage it,” Greer said. “So, you don’t necessarily have to have passed away for this to happen. If you’re at the end of your breeding program and you’re sitting there with six beautiful dogs that have semen frozen, and you’re like, ‘Well, I don’t have anybody I’ve really mentored and my kids don’t want it, so where do I go with this?’

“That’s when you go to the AKC website, you pull up the information on there, you sign the document that allows AKC to take ownership. And once you hand it off, you no longer are in control of that part of the semen. You may send all of your dog’s semen, you may send part of that dog’s semen, you may send all the semen that you have to the AKC, and AKC will then pay for the long -term storage.

“Every breed club makes their own rules. Your parent club can put together their health committee, their genetics committee, a special committee for this. Your breed club will sit down and with some ideas from what other breed clubs have done, be able to say, ‘This is how we want the semen disseminated. Does the bitch have to have a CHIC number? Does she have to have these certain criteria? When is it appropriate to use? Has she had a litter before?’ All those kinds of things, your breed club can decide.

“But as you release the semen, you can’t say, ‘Well, I don’t like Susie Smith.” Susie Smith is never going to get to touch my semen ever, ever, as long as I live, over my dead body. Maybe it will be over your dead body because now it’s no longer yours.

“Fifty years from now and 100 years from now, that’s what we’re looking at. We’re not looking at what happens next Tuesday when a bitch has to be bred. We’re looking at 100 years from now. Is your dog still of value? You might say things like, ‘Well, styles of dogs change,’ and indeed they do. But sometimes those foundational dogs are structurally what you need. Sometimes those foundation dogs predate certain genetic disorders that have really worked their way deeply into the gene pool and could be very hard to breed your way out of.

“AKC’s role in this is to pay for the semen storage and to register the puppies. That’s it. AKC is not there to start saying, ‘Well, we want you to do this with this and we want you to do that with that. And you have to have faith that 100 years from now, this mission, this vision is going to be held true. But it’s not about Susie Smith. It’s not about you. It’s not about (any individual dog). It’s about the overall health of the breed and where we can go with some of the genetics.”





605 – LIVE Debate: Should Professional Handlers Be Allowed in BPUP?

LIVE Debate: Should Professional Handlers Be Allowed in BPUP?

Our final installation for Spicy October is a LIVE@5 debate between an owner handler and a professional handler regarding the hot topic of the rules around the BPUP, 4-6 months puppy competition.

Natalie Thurman, owner handler:

Natalie Thurman and Ares winning Owner Handled Group.

I do think that there are people who start out and it is intimidating to go up against the Laura’s and the Karyn’s of the world because you just make it look so easy and then we try to go do it and then it’s not as easy. Not even a little bit. I mean I know it’s why we have owner handled groups. But if you’re not getting to the owner handled group either BPUP could be a good place to feel safe as a non-experienced dog show human.

Karyn Cowdrey, professional handler:

I believe everyone should have the opportunity, including breeder owner handlers, to show in BPUP. Why? Because the fact of reality of our life today is there are fewer and fewer handling classes people can get to. As handlers, often we’re the ones teaching the handling class and we don’t get to work our dogs in the environment. As a handler, it is important to me that my puppies that I own, that I bred, that I decided to keep, get the best experience they can in the

Karyn Cowdrey, BlackFyre Handling Services.

start of life in the ring. I shouldn’t have to hand them off to a total stranger.

Laura Reeves, host and moderator:

The concept (of BPUP) is that the American Kennel Club wants to support the novice handlers and that the simple presence of someone more capable than they are, whether they be a professional or a breeder or what have you, is unnerving. And I don’t know that that’s a great solution. I think we all learn by being challenged, but I know it is something that is a thing.

AKC gets banged a lot for not being encouraging and inviting and we as the representatives of the AKC get banged for the same thing. I sincerely believe that for people who think it is a big deal, they should get to do that. They should get to have that moment.

Hope is what gets us and keeps us. And I guess that’s what I would pin Best Puppy to. Is that baby inkling of hope. That tiny tingle of hope that the very new person gets when they get their first puppy.

And they are so excited and they don’t know what the hell they’re doing. And their breeder’s probably shoving them in the ring. And they’re really encouraging them to do this. It’s hope. And I guess to me, when I judge it, when I see it, best puppy to me represents hope. It represents the hope that we as breeders have for those puppies that are in the ring. It represents the hope that those owners and handlers have for their new puppies. It’s hope.

BPUP represents the hope that those owners and handlers have for their new puppies. It’s hope.

The part of me that thinks that hope is important, thinks that owner handled being what is important and encouraging new people being what’s important, I see the argument to make it a quote -unquote safe space from professionals.

Join us for the full replay of this spicy hot topic.


604 – Creating Better Outcomes for ALL Dogs

Creating Better Outcomes for ALL Dogs

Host Laura Reeves is joined by the founders of For All DogsChris Fleming of Pinnacle Pet and Martha Boden of SPCA Tampa Bay. This unlikely partnership grew out of a mutual desire to create better outcomes for all dogs, including retired breeding dogs from commercial kennels and adoptable dogs in animal shelters.

As we wrap up “spicy October,” this conversation about a powerful alliance of opposing forces stands as a testament to the positive outcomes when we work together for the good of ALL dogs, instead of tearing one another down.

Fleming is a broker for commercial kennels who sell puppies through pet stores. Boden is the director SPCA Tampa Bay’s animal shelter. They describe their partnership and friendship as serendipitous. Their work is beyond groundbreaking.

Chris Fleming, CEO Pinnacle Pet

In 2008, Fleming began working with his suppliers to improve their facilities and programs. After meeting Dr. Candace Croney in 2014, he started encouraging these breeders to come into compliance with the Canine Care Certified program she created. Listeners may remember the episode linked HERE where Laura spoke with Dr. Croney about this program.

“So, the  benefits  from  the  Canine  Care,  it’s  data  that  has  been  just  really  kind  of  eye -opening  for  us,” Fleming said. “Looking  at  taking  notes,  breeders  do  everything  from  measuring  humidity  and  air  temperatures  every  day  to  stimulation  or  handling  the  pups  that  they  deal  with,  really  puts  in  a  more  hands -on  approach.

“What  we’re  seeing  is  better  socialized  animals.  We’re  seeing  healthier  moms.  We’re  seeing  when  you’re  focused  and  attentive  to  what  they’re  doing,  the  happier  mom  makes  a  happier  pup, you’re  having  lower  vet  bills  and  it  feels  weird  saying  this  now  because  it  feels  like  common  sense  but  now  it’s,  I  can  point  to  the  science  of  this.  So  lower  vet  bills,  happier  healthier  moms  and  puppies  and  being  mindful  of  an  appropriate  retirement  age.

“You  also  have  a  kennel  that  you’re  getting  moms  out  of  the  kennel  retired  at  an  earlier  age.  The  puppies  that  they’re  producing,  there’s  more  of  them.  It’s  better  litter  counts,  lower  veterinary  bills.  So  from  a  business  standpoint, it’s  lower  costs,  increased  profits.  And  so  from  an  animal  welfare  standpoint,  it’s  happier  dogs  and  kennel  owners  that  are  reporting  enjoying  the  time  in  their  kennel  more.

“That  leads  into  the  For  All  Dogs  program  and  it’s  a  pilot  program  for  us  because  we’ve  ran  a  few  of  the  retired  adults  from  canine  care  certified  kennels. But  this  For  All  Dogs  program  needs  to  offer  up  a  trusted  source  for  breeders  that  are  looking  for  either  canine  care  certification  or  at  least  achieve  those  standards  and  have  a  trusted  retirement  partner.”

As Fleming and Boden talked after a chance meeting at an animal welfare event, they began to have more in depth conversations about their two disparate worlds.

Martha Boden, CEO SPCA Tampa Bay

“I  started  to  get  a  feeling  for  what  a  puppy  distributor  did,” Boden said.  “And  then  as  we  were  having  these  conversations,  Chris  started  talking  to  me  about  Canine  Care  Certification  and  I  thought,  ‘Wait  a  second. This  is  not  something  that  my  world  has  been  talking  about  at  all.  Like  why  are  we  not  aware  of  this  amazing  thing  that’s  happening  at  one  of  the  best  veterinary  colleges  in  the  country?’

“And  I  realized  again  working  through  Chris  and  getting  a  chance  to  learn  that  it  was  still  kind  of  in  its  early  stages. And  so  I  thought,  okay,  well,  I  want  to  understand  more  about  it.  I  want  to  understand  more  about  these  standards. And  I  also  want  to  understand,  because  Chris  is  bringing  animals  into  my  community,  he  knows  something  because  he  provides  puppies  to  two  of  those  six  stores,  he  knows  something  about  the  world  I  live  in.  And  I  thought, if  there’s  an  opportunity  to  partner  with  somebody  who’s  this  closely  involved  with  animals  that  are  coming  into  my  community,  I  should  figure  out  what  it  is.

“So  Chris  brought,  I  think  his  entire  management  team  to  Florida.  And  we  talked  very  frankly  about,  would  there  be  an  opportunity  to  partner  and  how  it  needed  to  be  something  that  was  a  win  for  both  of  our  organizations, and  all  of  the  people  that  we  touch.  And  we  just  started  brainstorming  about  what  that  might  look  like.

“And  the  first  thing  that  came  out  of  my  COO’s  mouth  that  I  think  made  us  all  kind  of  stop  on  our  tracks  was  she  said, ‘You  keep  talking  about  a  good  breeder.  Well,  I’ve  never  seen  one,  because  I  don’t  get  called  in  when  a  breeder  is  doing  a  great  job.  My  team  gets  called  in  when  it’s  a  disaster.  So  forget  any  marketing  that  somebody  might  be  doing. I’ve  been  there,  I  have  walked  through,  you  know,  overwhelming  facilities  where,  you  know,  there’s  all  kinds  of  horrific  things  happening  all  around  us.  That  is  all  I  know. So  Chris  and  your  team, you’re  going  to  have  to  help  me  understand  what  a  good  breeder  is.’

“And  that  really  just  opened  the  floodgates.  So  we  basically  all  agreed,  all  right,  let’s  get  to  know  each  other.  Let’s  figure  out  who  we  are  and  what  language  we  use  and  how  we  might  be  able  to  work  together.

“And  so  we  went  into  it  with  a  very  open  mind,  but  not  a  whole  lot  of  preconceived  notions  notions  other  than  this  kind  of  idea  that,  hey,  wait  a  second,  the  Canine  Care  Certified  Standards  do  require  an  adoption  pathway  for  retiring  adults  and  gosh, one  thing  we’re  actually  pretty  good  at  is  placing  adult  dogs  with  individuals  that  want  to  move  them  into  their  home.  So  that  started  a  year -long  journey.”

Listen in for the rest of this heart warming story about a truly staggering partnership to improve the lives of ALL dogs. Please take a moment to complete the survey Boden mentioned HERE.

603 — Purebred or Mixed Breed: Silken Windhounds Bridge the Divide 

Purebred or Mixed Breed: Silken Windhounds Bridge the Divide

Silken Windhounds descend from lurchers (believed to be Whippet x Sheltie) and Borzoi.

Ashlynn Hill joins host Laura Reeves for a discussion of the Silken Windhound. These dogs appear to bridge the divide between preservation purebred dog breeders and the “fad” mixed breeds that make many preservation breeders tear out their hair.

A partial transcript of the conversation follows.

Pure Dog Talk is the voice of purebred dogs. We talk to the legends of the sport and give you the tips and tools to create an awesome life with your purebred dog. From showing to preservation breeding, from competitive obedience to field work, from agility to therapy dogs, and all the fun in between, your passion is our purpose.

– Welcome to Pure Dog Talk. I am your host, Laura Reeves, and we’re having these conversations. We had a conversation last week about the American bullies and kind of this concept that so few of the breeds that we know today were, as I say, burst from the head of Zeus, right? Most of our dogs that we know were created somewhere along the way. Some of them are more recent and there’s a conversation to be had about these created crosses, why they were created, what the goals are, what the history and the purpose of the crosses are, and how that progress is going into creating a whole new purebred dog.

So I have with me Ashlyn Hill, who is involved in Silken Windhounds. She says she came through the herding breeds to Silken Windhound pipeline, which I think is adorable.

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And so welcome Ashlyn. I’m really excited to have this conversation. We’ve reached episode 600 and we’re kicking into the new era with all these spicy conversations. So I’m really excited about doing that. I think there is an interesting and worthwhile conversation to be had.
Thank you so much for having me, Laura. And congratulations on your 600 episodes. I’m very thrilled to be here. This is pretty exciting.
So talk to us about silken windhounds specifically. What is the history of this particular cross? What was the purpose? You know, why was this developed?

Kristull Amalie – LHW (1984) from Francie Stoll’s A litter.

Yeah. So Silken Windhounds, we’re going back to the very beginning. We’re looking at around the 1980s.
Our breed founder is Francie Stoll. She had a pretty extensive history in Borsoy before she decided to take on this project of making a new breed. So in the early 1980s, she actually got the first dogs that she would use to produce Silkens from Walter Wheeler. Walter Wheeler was well known in the Whippet community for having his long -haired Whippets.

So Walter Wheeler claims that he had, you know, purebred long -haired Whippets. You know, whether that is really true, we don’t really know. We, as Silken People, we say that they were lurchers. We very strongly believe that there were some Sheltie hiding back there because in Silken, we have CEA and MDR1, herding breed, you know. So that’s what our suspicion is. We call them our lurchers.


So Francie got several of these long -haired Whippets from Walter Wheeler. Some of them were in Whelp, and she used those to start making her own thing. I mean, it wasn’t until about 1985 that she says her first litter of Silken Windhounds were born.

This was when she had added in some Borzoi and she finally created the vision of what she was looking for. And really what she was looking to produce with these lurchers and adding the Borzoi and the little bit of the whippet history is that she’s looking for a medium -sized, very elegant, very easy sighthound. You know, just looking to fill that niche for something a little bit smaller, but not quite Italian greyhound sized. So that was really what she was just looking to produce.

And the D litter, the Kristull D litter, is what she says was her first production of Silkens. She made it. This is what she’s looking for. And she took that and continued to breed on from there.

So this is fascinating to me. Is she doing inbreeding, linebreeding, and how is she accomplishing or how is the breed today accomplishing? What is this? 30 years later, the consistency that you expect to see from a purebred dog?

Yes, there was a lot of linebreeding. Mostly there were studs used several times. You know, we’re talking upwards of like 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 times. We’ve got dogs being used. So it was primarily a lot of linebreeding on line breeding in the beginning. But eventually, we were able to create enough diversity to we’re sending Silkens out to Europe. We’ve got Silkens in Canada. We’ve got other breeders participating. You know, once it kind of got bigger than Francie, that’s when, and this is, you know, only the late 90s. That’s when we’re starting to add more.

We’re creating the breed and we’re able to take this and really just continue to breed on to what Francie has produced. And I really think that very early on, they were breeding true. You know, you look at a very early picture of a silken windhound and I can look at that even as a project dog and say,
“That looks like a silken.”

Most Silken Windhound enthusiasts enjoy competing in various sports with their dogs.

And so what makes a silken windhound its breed? So the ones that I’ve seen, I’m kind of like, “Is that an ugly Borzoi? What are we doing?” Right? So talk to me about what makes them their specific breed. What is their breed type?

Yeah. So I think what makes a silken a silken is that size -wise they should be, and typically are, much smaller than a Borzoi. We’re talking about with the size slightly bigger than a Whippet, slightly smaller than a Borzoi. They have very long, easy to maintain coat. Personality -wise, they’re a little more human -oriented, a little more biddable, willing to work. We do have silken, there’s a range. So we have your more sight -hound typical silken where we’re talking like, not a lot of repetition, the training session should be short and sweet. And then we also have silken, and I’ve met several, I have a couple that are just like almost border collie -like, and they’re willing this to work, like just drill and drill and drill.

Interesting. So you see that herding bit coming through.

Yes. And it’s surprising, you know, how much that really seems to, even still, because Sheltie was only ever what was behind Walter Wheeler’s dogs. There has never been any direct cross with Sheltie to Whippet, to Whippet, to Borzoi, like that’s never been in the history of a silken windhound. So it’s just that little bit way back when, and it still really seems to ring true today.

A little bit goes a long way with those guys.

Yeah. Literally.

So you have a club, you have a parent club, yes?

Yes. We have the International Silken Windhound Society. This was founded in 1999. That is kind of where we started to lock everything in. So we’ve got the breed club that’s been produced. We’ve accepted a breed standard, and now we’re kind of really making things officially official.

And do you compete with your dogs in UKC, I think, yes?

Yes. Yep. So we gained UKC recognition or acceptance in 2011. That’s our primary venue for conformation. Some time in the last 10, 15 years.

Yeah. Okay. All right. That’s good. And is there a desire amongst your group of fanciers to compete at the AKC level? Is this something you expect to take forward and to FSS, miscellaneous, and work your way up?

Yes. Yes. Very much much so. I would say a very good chunk of exhibitors in the breed are hoping for AKC acceptance.

Listen in for the rest of this fascinating coversation….

602 – Responsibly Developing New Breeds… What Does That Look Like?

Responsibly Developing New Breeds… What Does That Look Like?

The facts are that all but a very, very limited handful of our breeds today have been created by mankind for some purpose. Companionship is a purpose. I would like to introduce you to the Toy Fox Terrier, for example. As society moves away from agrarian and hunter gatherer lives, companion breeds and even new companion breeds are more in demand than ever.

Society changes. And I think that when we talk about purebred dogs being living history, in some cases that history is still being made and there are different needs in today’s society than there were 100 or 200 years ago.


Join me for a conversation with Nikki Holcomb about the American Bully. Recognized by the United Kennel Club in 2013, Holcomb is leading the push to responsibly develop this companion breed with health testing, temperament testing, breeding goals, a breed standard and more.

“The American Bully is a companion breed,” Holcomb said. “A lot of people, when they see them, will immediately question that. They’re like, ‘Are you sure these are dogs in the companion group?’ Even when we’re at dog shows, we’re standing ringside and they’re like, ‘Are you sure at the right ring?’ And I’m like, ‘I’m absolutely positive.’ It’s surprising to people, I think, to see a big bulky dog beside a little bichon or a little toy poodle or whatnot, and they’re like, well, we just really don’t understand. And that’s valid.


“But I think that American Bullies fill a really important spot. There are people out there that want to have a bigger dog, a little bit bigger than medium size, that can do all of the really fun sports, but they really don’t want a working dog. Or maybe they don’t want the attitude of a terrier, or they don’t want to deal with the baying of a scent hound or the quirks that come with the sight hound. You know, whatever it may be. But they want to sport dog. Or they want a dog that can go on three-mile hikes with them or go swimming at the lake and they’re like, well, do I get a small dog or do I just go with some of the things I don’t enjoy as much and I think American Bullies do fill that space really well.

“They’re very easy to train. They’re incredibly handler oriented. They’re absolutely in love with their people, to the point where they’ve never met a stranger. Protective is definitely not on their list. A lot of people will see them. They’re like, oh, they’re guardians. They’re 100% not guardians. They’re not going to protect you. That burglar coming in the house is their best friend. They’re super outgoing, they’re fun loving and they love to try everything you know, anything you could do. They’re excited to do it.”

“The official listing of founding breeds for the American Bully are the American Staffordshire Terrier, the American Pitbull Terrier, Old English Bulldog and English bulldog.

Health testing for the American Bully. Infographic by Anissa Shotbolt.

“I think they really took traits from each of these breeds and really focused on making a dog that could be calm enough and low drive enough to be with a young family, with young kids, or even a first time pet owner. Removing a lot of the dog aggression to the point where we do not want to see any dog aggression in American Bullies at all. We don’t want to see prey drive. You should be able to have your American Bully with anything and everything. They should be gentle with children. They should be biddable, easy companions. There shouldn’t be anything that makes them difficult for first time pet owner. These are really important traits for this breed that I feel like the founding breeds maybe fell a little bit short on.”

601 – Add Years to Your Dog’s Life with One Simple Step

Add Years to Your Dog’s Life with One Simple Step

Dr. Marty Greer DVM joins host Laura Reeves to discuss how every pet owner can add years to their dog’s life with the simple step of avoiding obesity.

“It’s a difficult conversation,” Greer said. “It’s difficult for veterinarians to bring it up. It’s difficult for clients. So all the way around, it’s a challenging process and we have to be very careful, as veterinarians, that we don’t insult anybody because our role is not there to be body shaming their pet, but rather to be that advocate for their pet’s best health.

“We know that dogs that are ideal body condition live 2 years longer,” Greer noted. This is based on a laboratory study of littermate pairs. One group was free fed as much food as they wanted over their lifetimes. The other group was fed 25% less. The dogs fed less lived two years longer than their littermates.

“We’re not going to convince people that they’re going to stop giving their dog treats,” Greer added. “I mean, that’s just not a practical thing for us to talk people into because that is their love language. That is the way that they communicate with their pet in a lot of realms. It’s easy to continue to give that love language of food to your pet, but to do it in a way that has lower calories. So instead of feeding them extra, you can do some simple things by changing the treats that you give.”

Dr. Greer’s top tips for avoiding obesity in pets:

  • Weigh your pet routinely.
  • Use your hands to feel the pet’s body condition (HINT: Watch the YouTube video of this pod for Greer’s demo of how she explains proper weight for each pet!)
  • Trade out fruits and vegetables for dog biscuits.
  • Limit “people” food or reduce amount fed at meals to compensate.
  • Spayed and neutered pets need 25% fewer calories immediately.
  • Increase activity.
  • Plain Cheerios and ice cubes are fun treats for dogs. Get creative and make healthy eating fun for you and your dog.