Interview with Herding Group Breeder Amie McLaughlin
Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a breeder?
Amie McLaughlin: I’ve been in dogs for 20 years. I started in 4-H, which led me to become interested in AKC shows. I have been breeding Norwegian Buhunds for six years.
What is my kennel name? How many dogs do I currently keep?
Amie McLaughlin: My kennel name is Cloudpointe. I generally keep around five adult dogs.
Which show dogs from the past have been my noteworthy winners?
Amie McLaughlin: My brood bitch, “Binna” (GCHP Jotunn Bella Binna CA BCAT CGC), who was bred by Vali Eberhardt of Jotunn Buhunds, is the top-winning Norwegian Buhund in AKC history. She was the first AKC Best in Show winner and remains the only multiple BIS winner in breed history. Her son, “Buzz,” is following in her footsteps!
Which have been my most influential sires and dams?
Amie McLaughlin: The same bitch mentioned above has produced ten champions, four GCH, three GCHB, and four Group Winners. My stud dog, “Skipper” (GCHB Arnscroft Be A Sailor’s Son Di), bred by Di Stirling in the UK, has produced over ten champions.
Can I talk a bit about my facilities? Where are my puppies whelped? How are they raised?
Amie McLaughlin: My puppies are whelped and raised in my home. I don’t breed more than 1-2 litters a year, and some years I don’t have any. My whelping box is in my bedroom, so I have immediate access to young pups at all times. As they grow, they are transitioned to bigger and bigger areas and are introduced to all different areas in and out of the house.
What is my “process” for selecting show puppies? At what age do I make my decisions?
Amie McLaughlin: I start stacking and evaluating pups at six weeks old. Pups change so much in just a few weeks, so final evaluations aren’t made until between 10 and 12 weeks. I look for structure and temperament to determine the best show puppies.
How do I prepare my pups for the show ring? Does my breed require any special preparation?
Amie McLaughlin: I start teaching them how to stack at 5-6 weeks old, and I put a light show lead on them at that age also. My breed is judged on the ramp sometimes, so my pups start to practice walking up the ramp as babies so as not to cause fear when they are ready to show.
Is my breed hand-stacked or free-stacked in the show ring? Why is it presented in this manner?
Amie McLaughlin: Most Buhunds love to present themselves. I love a nicely free-stacked Buhund. On occasion, hand-stacking is needed, but in general, they are free-stacked.
Are Performance and Companion titles important to me as a breeder? Are parent club titles?
Amie McLaughlin: I love to see my dogs earn performance and companion titles. This breed is so versatile and they love to please their people.
In my opinion, is my breed in good condition overall? Any trends that warrant concern?
Amie McLaughlin: Overall, I would say that they are in good condition. There are some issues with temperaments that I feel are being worked on well. Structure and breed type are fairly consistent as a whole.
Is my breed well-suited to be a family dog? Who are the best candidates to own my breed?
Amie McLaughlin: This breed thrives in a family situation. They love children and active families. A family with kids who are interested in having a fun dog to play with and train would be the best home for this breed.
Do I feel that my breed is supported by a sufficient number of preservation breeders?
Amie McLaughlin: I believe we have some of the best breeders in this breed. I think we are all very supportive of helping to better this beautiful breed.
For a bit of fun, what’s the most amusing thing I’ve ever experienced with a Herding Dog?
Amie McLaughlin: The funniest thing, I think, is my Buhunds raising my Chinese Cresteds to believe they are little herding dogs. My pure white Powderpuff Chinese Crested is fully convinced she is a Buhund and runs the yard with them!
Anything else I would like to share about myself? Any special message I have for all of us in the fancy?
Amie McLaughlin: We, as breeders, should support and encourage each other. Responsible breeding is the way to preserve our beautiful purebred dogs.