Interview with Donna Beadle, Breeder of Eclipse Kennels
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Where do you live? What is your breed? What is your kennel name? Do you have a website? How long have you been in dogs? How long have you been breeding dogs? Who are some of your best-known dogs?
Donna Beadle: I am Donna Beadle from Minnesota. I breed and show Berger Picards under Eclipse Kennels, Eclipsekennels.com. I’ve been showing and breeding for more than 20 years. I bred and owned one of the most famous and successful Berger Picards, Eclipse’s One N’ Only, who was the first AKC CH and GRCH, first Best in Show winner, and a No. 1 Breed and All-Breed Dog. Another well-known dog that we’ve bred is Eclipse Hive Talkin’ who won the 2020 Owner-Handled National Championship Finals at Royal Canin. We’ve bred and owned the No. 1 Picard ever since the breed’s entrance into AKC.
As a Breeder, can you share your thoughts on your breed today? Is breed type strong? Are there things to be concerned about? Are there any health-related issues? Have you worked with breeders overseas? Are pet homes typically available for your breed?
Donna Beadle: I feel health and diversity are very important in our breed. We are a newer breed to the US and AKC, and are finding out more and more about health issues. We also have a very limited gene pool. From a Conformation perspective, we need judges to better understand our Breed Standard and breed-defining traits, to become more consistent in judging. We have a lot of newer folks in our breed who also need to understand this. There are usually pet homes available, but this is definitely not a breed for the faint of heart. So, not every person interested is the right home.
As an Exhibitor, can you comment on recent entries in your breed? Are majors available in your area? Does your breed often participate in Companion and Performance events? How can newcomers in your breed be encouraged to join the sport of dogs?
Donna Beadle: As a rare breed, majors can be difficult, depending on where you show. We do try to build majors in the breed. Our breed is more challenging to train, but you will see them in performance events like Fast CAT, Barn Hunt, and Scent Work as well as herding. Newcomers need to find a mentor to help them navigate the dog world and the breed—as they are not easy. I mentor all of our owners and encourage them to be an ambassador for the breed.
What are the biggest challenges facing the dog show community as a whole and how can we address them? And finally, what are some of the positive changes you’ve seen in your breed and in the dog show community as a whole over the past decade?
Donna Beadle: The biggest challenges are the decline in entries, and the animal rights activists. We are all painted by one brush, although preservation breeders are much different than puppy mills. We need more advocates for breeders doing the right thing. We are our own worst enemy for declining show entries. We need to be more welcoming to new folks and become mentors.
Some positive changes I’ve seen are people who are willing to learn, and cluster shows that have made it more convenient to show.