Interview with a Toy Group Breeder Cherie McDaniel
I am a retired RN and worked my last 20 years in the ER. I have been involved with dogs almost my entire life. I bred Yorkshire Terriers under the name Cheriette and changed it to Cheristar when I started breeding Miniature Pinschers. I strive to breed better than each sire and dam I have and according to the AKC Standard. I showed American Saddlebred horses in Saddleseat Equitation and I excelled in my tri-state area in my teen years. I also was involved in hunter-jumper competition. I have had many top-ranked dogs, but my moment of glory was winning BIS OH and then BIS All-Breed with my dogs that I owned, bred, and handled. And no matter how many times I go in the ring, I still have the jitters. My dog is usually prepared, and I do my best to deal with the healthy anxiety.
Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a breeder?
Cherie McDaniel: I live in Little River, South Carolina, just north of Myrtle Beach. I am second generation “in dogs” as my mother was involved in breeding and showing many breeds. So, I have been involved with dogs for most of my life. I have been breeding and showing for 45 years, 25 years with Miniature Pinschers. I had Old English Sheepdogs and Yorkshire Terriers.
What is my kennel name? How many dogs do I currently keep?
Cherie McDaniel: CHERISTAR is my kennel name. I have some beloved chmpion geriatrics, some champion middle-aged, and a few starlets waiting for the ring. I love the Portuguese Podengo Pequenos and have two girls that are inseparable. I have a Rottweiler who is my loyal companion and guardian of the homestead. And soon, we will be joined by a Boerboel puppy. Of course, I love all dogs—small or large.
Which show dogs from the past have been my noteworthy winners?
Cherie McDaniel: A noted sire I bred is CH Cheristar’s OOHS And AAHS! And special girls are CH Cheristar’s Captivation, MBISS GCHS CH Cheristar’s I Am Cybill Shepherd BCAT, and BIS MBISS GCHS Rehpin’s I Am Charmed For Cheristar.
Which have been my most influential sires and dams?
Cherie McDaniel: My influential sires are CH Cheristar’s OOHS And AAHS and GCH CH Cheristar’s Master Mason, and the dams are CH Cheristar’s Macie’s On Parade! and CH Cheristar’s Sheer Joy.
Can I talk a bit about my facilities? Where are my puppies whelped? How are they raised?
Cherie McDaniel: I have a large kennel building which is 6-8 ft. elevated off the ground. I have ramps leading to four different grass paddock areas. They are all double-fenced and I have some electric wire 6 inches high in one large area. The large breeds have the run of 3.5 acres, which is all fenced. I strongly believe in lots of exercise and fresh air for all the dogs. The puppies are always whelped at my bedside and stay there until 4-5 weeks. Then I move them to my kitchen where there’s more activity and noise. Daily, each pup is handled and stacked and all are played with as a group. I have Min Pin parties.
What is my “process” for selecting show puppies? At what age do I make your decisions?
Cherie McDaniel: Daily, I am constantly evaluating and assessing each puppy. I watch their interactions with the others, their movement, their presence, and their balance and overall conformation. I can select my show prospects from these observations between 8-12 weeks.
How do I prepare my pups for the show ring? Does my breed require any special preparation?
Cherie McDaniel: In preparation for the ring, I practice with them on lead and on stacking blocks, and I offer lots of positive reinforcement with voice and small treats. As with most breeds, socialization and exposing the pups to new environments and strangers is a must. My goal is to present a bomb-proof dog, and this is better obtained by exposure to a myriad of environmental stimuli. Of course, this breed has cropped ears, which are usually done at 9-10 weeks of age. So this does interrupt socialization, but they’re also receiving much more 1:1 attention with me.
Can I share my thoughts on how my breed is currently presented in the show ring?
Cherie McDaniel: The Min Pin should exude fearlessness, confidence, and a self-possessed manner in spite of its size. They should stack on the floor for the judge to be able to assess their conformation and balance. Although they are not known to be a table breed, I train mine to stand for the exam on the table in order so the judge can better evaluate them.
Are there any health-related concerns within my breed? Any special nutritional needs?
Cherie McDaniel: Plenty of exercise, fresh air and sunshine, and good nutrition go a long way guaranteeing healthy dogs. Our breed does have health problems, such as DDD, Legg Perthes, and Patella problems. I strongly believe in health-testing for all my breeding stock, which will help to promote healthy dogs. All breeding stock should be CHIC certified.
In my opinion, is your breed in good condition overall. Any trends that warrant concern?
Cherie McDaniel: Our breed is in good condition in relation to what the AKC Standard defines. I would recommend more health-testing for active breeders. However, quality breeders are dwindling and our numbers are diminishing.
Is my breed well-suited to be a family dog? Who are the best candidates to own my breed?
Cherie McDaniel: The Min Pin makes a great family dog. They are loyal, affectionate, and active. They enjoy companionship, active sports, traveling, and exploring. They are very adaptable to city living or country living. More active owners are preferred for the younger Min Pin, as they do have lots of energy. As the breed ages, they will prefer their time on the couch but will remain loyal to their family and continue to be alert watch dogs.
Do I feel that my breed is supported by a sufficient number of preservation breeders?
Cherie McDaniel: No, as mentioned above, our breed is dwindling in numbers as some breeders have moved on to another breed or just stopped breeding. We do need more preservation breeders to promote this great breed.
For a bit of fun, what’s the most amusing thing I’ve ever experienced with a Toy Dog?
Cherie McDaniel: Years ago, I took a novice bitch into the Group ring. She had never seen any other Toy Breed previously, especially not any with coats. During the initial line-up, she turned to look behind her and saw the Pekingese—in full coat! Showing her was almost disastrous, as she was so worried about that “coat.”