Interview with Barbara Arney, Breeder of Belgian Laekenois
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Where do you live? What is your breed? What is your kennel name? Do you have a website? How long have you been in dogs? How long have you been breeding dogs? Who are some of your best-known dogs?
Barbara Arney: I have been showing dogs in general since about 1975. I started out with a pet-quality English Springer Spaniel that I trained in Obedience and also showed in Junior Handling. Over the years, I have owned and showed Boston Terriers, Flat-Coated Retrievers, and now, Belgian Laekenois. I live with my husband and many animals on 2.5 acres in Ortonville, Michigan, which is about 40 minutes north of Detroit.
As a Breeder, can you share your thoughts on your breed today? Is breed type strong? Are there things to be concerned about? Are there any health-related issues? Have you worked with breeders overseas? Are pet homes typically available for your breed?
Barbara Arney: I really don’t have an interest in breeding at this time.
As an Exhibitor, can you comment on recent entries in your breed? Are majors available in your area? Does your breed often participate in Companion and Performance events? How can newcomers in your breed be encouraged to join the sport of dogs?
Barbara Arney: Laekens are a very rare breed and it’s very hard to get a major entry. It takes a village to get a larger entry, usually at the Doswell shows in Virginia in November or the big Orlando show in December. Slowly there are more litters in this country, so hopefully, some new exhibitors will catch the showing bug! Many in the Laekenois breed do compete in Dock Diving, Scent Work, Agility, and Herding Trials. They can do it all!
Hopefully, in our breed, we can come together and heal some bad misfortunes that have happened in the past few years, to become stronger for the wonderful breed that is the Belgian Laekenois.
What are the biggest challenges facing the dog show community as a whole and how can we address them? And finally, what are some of the positive changes you’ve seen in your breed and in the dog show community as a whole over the past decade?
Barbara Arney: As a dog community, I feel there are too many shows in general and the years of the large-entry, prestigious shows are few and far between. The 4- and 5-day cluster shows seem to be the way it is now. Hopefully, in our breed, we can come together and heal some bad misfortunes that have happened in the past few years, to become stronger for the wonderful breed that is the Belgian Laekenois.