Interview with Barbara Dubois, Breeder behind the Calypso Kennel
Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a breeder?
Barbara Dubois: I live outside of Augusta, Georgia. I’ve been blessed to have had dogs as a part of my life since childhood. Only after a mission trip to Peru in 2009, where I fell in love with the Peruvian Inca Orchid, was I interested in becoming active in the dog world. I bred my first litter in 2019 after years of research and owning my breed.
What is my kennel name? How many dogs do I currently keep?
Barbara Dubois: My kennel name is Calypso Kennel and I currently have five Peruvian Inca Orchids at home with me, but co-own several across the US and internationally as well.
Which show dogs from the past have been my noteworthy winners?
Barbara Dubois: Cocoa Huatuntupaq has won Breed the last two years at Royal Canin and has multiple Best in Miscellaneous wins.
I’m still showing my coated girl, Calypso’s Gypsies in the Palace, and she is a fantastic, versatile dog. She has won Best in Open as well as Multiple Best in Miscellaneous.
Which have been my most influential sires and dams?
Barbara Dubois: My most influential dam was my foundation bitch, “Katira,” that I imported from Peru. Her litter produced three amazing show dogs, two of which are living abroad. One from that litter is a beloved companion, but the rest are all involved in shows and performance (or both) and have started some beautiful lines internationally. Katira has heart and would try anything I wanted to. As far as sires, I currently only own females but have partnered with breeders across the country and internationally to import semen.
Can I talk a bit about my facilities? Where are my puppies whelped? How are they raised?
Barbara Dubois: I am a small breeder, so all puppies are whelped and raised in the home with my family. I have used Puppy Culture successfully with my litters along with adding in other things like music therapy, stimulation mats, and more at the early developmental stages to help them later on in life.
Am I working with my breed’s parent club to gain full AKC recognition for my breed?
Barbara Dubois: I am not a current member of the breed’s parent club. I do talk to members of the club on occasion to offer my opinion and advice.
What is my “process” for selecting Show Puppies? Performance Puppies?
Barbara Dubois: I love attitude. Sassy puppies are my favorite. They start stacking practice early and I take lots of photos watching their progression. At around eight weeks, I do my final evaluations before deciding which is a show prospect. I also share photos with breed friends to gain their input as well. It’s always great to have a few sets of eyes on a pup.
Performance puppies have to “want” it or are eager to learn. They also want to have fun interacting with their owner.
Do I compete in Companion Events? Performance Events?
Barbara Dubois: We do compete in Performance/Companion events. This breed, overall, loves to “do all the things,” making them ideal candidates for folks who want a dog that is versatile yet has a good “off switch.” We love to go to the different coursing events. I love watching them run—its poetry in motion. Trick titles are so much fun for both myself and the dogs. They get so excited when they see how happy it makes me. We are starting Rally this year, as it has been a number of years since I have done it. And I’m also taking my new performance dog out to try Dock Diving.
How would I define “conditioning” as it relates to my breed?
Barbara Dubois: I think conditioning starts with a good diet and appropriate supplements for their stage in life. Daily exercise is really important to keep them in tip-top shape. With a predominantly hairless breed, there is no hiding anything. My dogs also get chiropractic adjustments because they do both Conformation and Performance events.
Are there any health-related concerns in my breed? Any special nutritional needs?
Barbara Dubois: As far as nutritional needs, I do like to supplement with either Origins or KeyPro. It gives the hairless dogs what they need for beautiful, soft skin starting from the inside out. Some dogs in our breed have a chicken/fowl allergy, so I tend to stay away from foods that contain those ingredients.
As far as health-related concerns, the obvious one with a hairless breed is skin cancer, and that is totally avoidable by a careful owner. Dry eye can also appear from time to time. Epilepsy and IMM have been documented in a small number of dogs as well.
Do I think my breed is supported by a sufficient number of preservation breeders?
Barbara Dubois: No, not at all. There are a number of breeders out there just trying to fill the niche hairless dog market without regard to health testing or researching pedigrees for preservation.
Is my breed well suited to be a family dog? Who are the best candidates to own my breed?
Barbara Dubois: Yes, absolutely! The best candidates for our breed will understand that this breed is not a good match for first-time dog owners. They need to be committed to early and frequent socialization, understanding they are aloof by nature. If you are looking for a dog that is outgoing, this is not the breed for you. Being a primitive sighthound, they have a strong prey drive and should have at least a 6-foot fenced yard for the Grande size. Peruvians are intelligent and need to have both their mind and bodies kept busy, so prospective owners should keep this in mind. They are sensitive souls who respond best to positive reinforcement and are very intuitive to their owners. They are incredibly loyal and loving to their families.
What is the biggest misconception about my breed? What is my breed’s best-kept secret?
Barbara Dubois: The biggest misconception is that we are always confused for the Xoloitzcuintli. People also believe that since it is a predominantly hairless breed, they are hypoallergenic. They think just because the dogs have minimal hair they must be okay to own if they have allergies.
Our breed’s best-kept secret is the coated variety, and that our breed comes in three sizes! So, it has been my mission to get a few coated dogs out there to showcase how amazing they are. Hairless dogs are usually not the kind of dog most owners would consider, so introducing them to a coated dog really opens their eyes to this breed.
If I could share a comment or two with judges of my breed, what would I like to say to them?
Barbara Dubois: When doing the exam, warm up your hands prior to touching the dogs, lol. And honestly, the exam shouldn’t take a long time—less is more. What you see is what you get… can’t hide anything on a hairless dog.
Don’t judge us as you would a Xolo. Think sighthound.
And thank you for taking the time to learn about the breed. Those of us who show really appreciate it when you tell us!
Do I have any words of wisdom to pass along to newer breeders?
Barbara Dubois: In the US, we are working with a limited gene pool. Do your homework and research pairings. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater and keep looking to the future. Never stop learning. And please get out there with your dogs. We have an amazing breed that needs to be seen.
For a bit of fun, what’s the most amusing thing I’ve ever experienced with one of my dogs?
Barbara Dubois: I love seeing how people react when I bring out my coated bitch and her hairless daughter. It absolutely blows their minds that it’s even the same breed and that they are related.