Interview with Christina Martinez, Breeder of Skippin CJ Ranch Rat Terriers
Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a breeder?
Christina Martinez: I live in Southern California. I have been in dogs for 35 years; Rat Terriers since 2002.
What is my kennel name? How many dogs do I currently keep?
Christina Martinez: My kennel name is Skippin CJ Ranch Rat Terriers. I currently keep 10 dogs.
Which breeders have provided the greatest influence on my decision to breed dogs?
Christina Martinez: I started breeding Rat Terriers to rid my ranch of vermin.
Can I talk a bit about my foundation dogs? How have they influenced my breeding program?
Christina Martinez: I brought in the Fire Mountain bloodlines specifically as my foundation to breeding. Their influence is still seen in my dogs many years later, to ensure the original traits and high-quality offerings.
What about my facilities? Where are my puppies whelped? How are they raised?
Christina Martinez: I live on five acres with two insulated barns, dog kennels, and dog runs. I pay a license fee to have my dogs and for kennel inspections. I have a special room in my home where puppies are whelped. They are raised indoors. I do have a puppy play yard outside, enclosed, with artificial grass for the feel. There’s a raised bed for jumping on and off, and for sleeping as they age so that they can be stimulated with toys, a jungle gym, a tunnel, and a small pool.
Do I have a “process” for selecting show puppies? At what age do I make my decisions?
Christina Martinez: Selecting puppies is a process from the time they are born. Who has the nicest backskull? The thickest of thighs in the first weeks? Then, what does the bite look like when it’s coming in? At about six weeks, I put my hands underneath and dangle them in the air to see if they are going to be fiddle fronted or cowhocked. I have wonderful co-breeders, and breeders who help to evaluate the puppies; mostly via FaceTime and through pictures. My final decision to pick show puppies comes at about eight weeks.
How do I choose the homes for my puppies? Is puppy placement important to me as a breeder?
Christina Martinez: I like for all of my puppy people to be involved, from newborn till they leave, by doing FaceTime. It’s a big help to find out the personalities of the people and their need for a Rat Terrier. Puppy placement is very important as it helps to keep the puppy in the new owner’s hands for life.
Can I share my thoughts on how my breed is currently presented in the show ring?
Christina Martinez: First and foremost, the Rat Terrier is to move off the shoulder, not the leg. This is one of the biggest misconceptions in the ring. They move briskly. Rat Terriers do not walk; they pick up speed as they move. They do not have a typical Terrier front; they are a 50/50 in the front, meaning 50 percent from ground to elbow and 50 percent from elbow to shoulder. These should be equal. The topline should waver when moving.
Are there any health-related concerns within my breed? Any special nutritional needs?
Christina Martinez: Health-related concerns include primary lens luxation and luxating patellas. Rat Terriers are generally a healthy breed overall.
In my opinion, is my breed in good condition overall? Any trends that warrant concern?
Christina Martinez: My dogs have plenty of space to run and play, and they are in great condition. Show dogs that are crated for so many hours a day will lose muscle tone. Their hair is dull, they are socially behind, and they can have boredom and behavioral issues.
Is my breed well-suited to be a family dog? Who are the best candidates to own my breed?
Christina Martinez: Rat Terriers are great family dogs as long as they get plenty of exercise and socialization. A family that likes to exercise and loves the outdoors are the best candidates to own the breed. Rat Terriers love their people.
Do I feel that my breed is supported by a sufficient number of preservation breeders?
Christina Martinez: I feel that the longtime breeders are still willing to help with the preservation of our breed. They are still out there. It is the new breeders who are losing the traits that we love by not following the breed standard. I have seen raw bone, hanging ears, broken toplines, rough coats, long coats, and extremely straight fronts and rears.
For a bit of fun, what’s the most amusing thing I’ve ever experienced with my breed?
Christina Martinez: I love to track on horseback with my dogs. I had a blast filming with my dogs and horses for Animal Planet. I was asked if they could film under my horse, to get the dogs in the filming of what they’re doing, and that had to be one of the funniest things ever.
Are you looking for a Rat Terrier puppy?
The best way to ensure a long and happy relationship with a purebred dog is to purchase one from a responsible breeder. Not sure where to begin finding a breeder? Contact the National Parent Club’s Breeder Referral person, which you can find on the AKC Breeder Referral Contacts page.
Want to help rescue and re-home a Rat Terrier dog?
Did you know nearly every recognized AKC purebred has a dedicated rescue group? Find your new best friend on the AKC Rescue Network Listing.
Rat Terrier Dog Breed Magazine
Read and learn more about the friendly Rat Terrier dog breed with articles and information in our Rat Terrier Dog Breed Magazine.
Rat Terrier Breed Magazine - Showsight