Interview with a Toy Group Breeder Kathy Knoles
Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a breeder?
Kathy Knoles: I live in Springfield, Illinois. I’m a fourth generation fancier and I have been breeding Chinese Cresteds for over 25 years.
What is my kennel name? How many dogs do I currently keep?
Kathy Knoles: Our kennel name is Edelweiss, which has been in my family since 1894. I try to keep my herd under 20.
Which show dogs from the past have been my noteworthy winners?
Kathy Knoles: Noteworthy winners include Back Seat Betty, of course, Cruiser, and Bravo.
Which have been my most influential sires and dams?
Kathy Knoles: I have three dogs that have done great things for my breeding program: GCHS Viva Gimme One More Chantz at Creekside (Jackson); CH Edelweiss Walk this Way (Steve); and CH Edelweiss Willi Wonka. GCHS Edelweiss 1.21 Jiggawatts, “Jiggy,” has produced some beautiful puppies, as has Sashay N’co, years ago.
Can I talk a bit about my facilities? Where are my puppies whelped? How are they raised?
Kathy Knoles: I have a 20 ft. x 30 ft. addition on the back of my house that is my dog area. My puppies are whelped in a 2×3 area, then moved into the house at about six weeks. They are then underfoot most of the time except when we are gone or in bed. My dogs all take turns being housedogs.
What is my “process” for selecting show puppies? At what age do I make my decisions?
Kathy Knoles: I usually know from about four weeks who are the contenders, but make my final choices at eight weeks. I watch them interact with each other and the adults, then they generally go to my boarding kennel for some socializing.
How do I prepare my pups for the show ring? Does my breed require any special preparation?
Kathy Knoles: They usually start going to shows with us at about 3-4 months. Chinese Cresteds have become very hairy and need shaving before shows. I am actively working on breeding less body hair.
Can I share my thoughts on how my breed is currently presented in the show ring?
Kathy Knoles: I absolutely hate that everyone thinks they need to race them around the ring. They are a Toy Dog. A fast walk is plenty.
Are there any health-related concerns within my breed? Any special nutritional needs?
Kathy Knoles: Currently, we are experiencing IVDD in the breed. We do have a genetic test, but it’s “iffy.”
In my opinion, is my breed in good condition overall. Any trends that warrant concern?
Kathy Knoles: The breed has a severe problem with fronts. They should move with reach. If they are not built correctly, they cannot.
Is my breed well-suited to be a family dog? Who are the best candidates to own my breed?
Kathy Knoles: They are a fabulous family dog. They love kids, if raised with them, and they love dog sports such as Fast CAT and Agility.
Do I feel that my breed is supported by a sufficient number of preservation breeders?
Kathy Knoles: We have a few preservation breeders. We definitely need some new people with a “fire in their belly” for them. We have lost many longtime breeders.
For a bit of fun, what’s the most amusing thing I’ve ever experienced with a Toy Dog?
Kathy Knoles: I’m not sure I would call it amusing, but “Pete” always tries to pee on me before or in the ring.