Interview with Herding Group Breeder Allyson Senek
Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a breeder?
Allyson Senek: I live on the back side of the Colorado National Monument in Glade Park, Colorado. I have had dogs all my life. I have been breeding Miniature American Shepherds (MAS) since 2014.
What is my kennel name? How many dogs do I currently keep?
Allyson Senek: My kennel name is Blue Elk MAS. I currently have 15 dogs in my breeding program.
Which show dogs from the past have been my noteworthy winners?
Allyson Senek: My most noteworthy from the PAST was GCHB Blue Elks Amazing Grace.
Which have been my most influential sires and dams?
Allyson Senek: Blue Elks Chosen One has produced two of the top-winning dogs in our breed today. GCH CH Away To Me Jasmine Bejeweled was another influential dam in my program, producing champions that went on to produce champions.
Can I talk a bit about my facilities? Where are my puppies whelped? How are they raised?
Allyson Senek: We have an up-to-date 2,800 square ft. kennel building, complete with grooming facilities. All of our litters are born and raised in our home. We have granddaughters who love to help socialize puppies.
What is my “process” for selecting show puppies? At what age do I make my decisions?
Allyson Senek: We watch puppies closely from the time they are born. At 8 weeks, we do evaluations. We watch puppies on the ground for movement as well as to evaluate for temperament and structure. Some puppies are ready to go at 8 weeks, some at 10 weeks, and some longer.
How do I prepare my pups for the show ring? Does my breed require any special preparation?
Allyson Senek: We train them on the table, on the floor, in a group with other dogs, in classes, and by themselves. We curve our training to fit the need to individual puppies.
Is my breed hand-stacked or free-stacked in the show ring? Why is it presented in this manner?
Allyson Senek: Our breed is hand-stacked on the table and free-stacked or hand-stacked on the floor. I prefer to free-stack on the floor.
Are Performance and Companion titles important to me as a breeder? Are parent club titles?
Allyson Senek: Yes, performance and companion titles are very important to me as a breeder. These are all-around dogs that can do many things. They want to please their people and work with their people. I value those titles as a breeder.
In my opinion, is my breed in good condition overall? Any trends that warrant concern?
Allyson Senek: Our breed is still a relatively new breed, so it is still not totally “set” like some of the older breeds. I believe, overall, it is much better than it used to be. The dogs are getting better and better. I think that sometimes people forget this is supposed to be a moderate breed and should not be overdone.
Is my breed well-suited to be a family dog? Who are the best candidates to own my breed?
Allyson Senek: This breed is a great family dog. My puppies are raised around my grandchildren and they love kids. As long as kids respect the dog, they make for the perfect home. A family that is active is the perfect home for one of my dogs. If they have a Junior who participates in conformation, it’s the ideal home in my opinion.
Do I feel that my breed is supported by a sufficient number of preservation breeders?
Allyson Senek: I feel there are a good number of preservation breeders in our breed who truly care where we are headed.
For a bit of fun, what’s the most amusing thing I’ve ever experienced with a Herding Dog?
Allyson Senek: My most amusing thing with my current dog, “Puzzle,” was at our last National where I took two of my granddaughters with me (ages 7 and 8). They wanted to show her in Peewee. This was Puzzle’s first National, and she had limited showing and had never shown with anyone but me. The girls begged and pleaded. I agreed, and that dog took those girls out there like they show with her every day. Heck, I actually think she showed better with them than with me!
Anything else I would like to share about myself? Any special message I have for all of us in the fancy?
Allyson Senek: I have met some amazing people (and have had some of the best times of my life) showing dogs. I would recommend this sport to anyone thinking of trying it.