Interview with Hound Group Breeder Tammy Hirstein Stinton – Fusion Kennels
Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a breeder?
Fusion Kennels – Tammy Hirstein Stinton: Currently, I live in Leesburg, Florida. My parents bred and showed Miniature Schnauzers before I was born. I started showing around the age of 10, so I have been showing about 49 years. My first litter that I bred was Borzoi in 2001, and in 2014, Ibizan Hounds. Up until that point, I purchased my dogs from other breeders.
What is my kennel name? How many dogs do I currently keep?
Fusion Kennels – Tammy Hirstein Stinton: In the past, I used the kennel name “Forbes,” but now I am using the name “Fusion” as my kennel prefix. I have five Ibizan Hounds and three Miniature Schnauzers at this time.
Which show dogs from the past have been my noteworthy winners?
Fusion Kennels – Tammy Hirstein Stinton: Wire-haired Ibizan Hound DC Gryphon’s Pogo Podenco LCM4 was a Top Producer and a Multiple Group and Best in Field winner. He is the only Ibizan to win Best in Field at the ASFA International Invitational. In 2021, CH Fusion Legacy Fire On Ice won Best of Breed at the IHCUS at two years old. “Cinder’s” mother, CH Fusion’s Batgirl, won Best Brood Bitch, Best Veteran, and an Award of Merit. “Batgirl” also won Best of Breed at the 2018 Royal Canin World Dog Show.
Which have been my most influential sires and dams?
Fusion Kennels – Tammy Hirstein Stinton: Ibizan Hounds – Sire: DC Gryphon’s Pogo Podenco LCM4, and his daughter, Dam: DC T’Marras Once Upon A Time V Fusion.
Can I talk a bit about my facilities? Where are my puppies whelped? How are they raised?
Fusion Kennels – Tammy Hirstein Stinton: I have a kennel attached to my house that has indoor/outdoor runs which lead to a big yard for exercise. The kennel is heated and air-conditioned, with a bath tub. My puppies are whelped in my bedroom and then moved into a library room that is by our living room where all the people hang out. At approximately 5-6 weeks old, I take the puppies to many locations on our property for playtime and new experiences. Mostly, I practice a lot of Puppy Culture methods when exposing my puppies to the world.
What is my “process” for selecting show puppies? At what age do I make my decisions?
Fusion Kennels – Tammy Hirstein Stinton: I observe the puppies critically from the day they are born, and select at around 8 to 10 weeks.
How do I prepare my pups for the show ring? Does my breed require any special preparation?
Fusion Kennels – Tammy Hirstein Stinton: Most Ibizan Hound puppies have a lot of energy with no “off” switch. As soon as I feel the puppies are confident within themselves, I begin training. I find it important to expose them to the dog show scene as early as possible. I regularly attend conformation training classes and practice “dog shows” at my house.
Can I share my thoughts on how my breed is currently presented in the show ring?
Fusion Kennels – Tammy Hirstein Stinton: Ibizan Hounds need to show a lot of expression in the show ring. It is important that they use their ears and carry themselves with confidence. The wire-haired Ibizan Hound has become more popular and we are seeing a lot more in the ring. The AKC Breed Standard calls for no trimming, and they should be shown au naturale. Some wires have a lot of coat and, even when groomed, can look as if they just came out of the clothes dryer. It is important when judging not to judge the amount or placement of the hair, only the texture.
Are there any health-related concerns within my breed? Any special nutritional needs?
Fusion Kennels – Tammy Hirstein Stinton: Overall, I find the Ibizan Hound to be healthy when compared to others breeds. Seizures, deafness, bloat, allergies, hip dysplasia, and certain eye disorders are known health issues that reputable breeders try to avoid. Young puppies are BAER (hearing) and OFA ECR (eye) tested at around 10 weeks old.
In my opinion, is my breed in good condition overall? Any trends that warrant concern?
Fusion Kennels – Tammy Hirstein Stinton: The breed is in good condition overall, though I feel it important to note that the Breed Standard states that the Ibizan is lithe and racy, a Hound of moderation. With the exception of large ears, he should not appear extreme or exaggerated. The angulation is moderate, with the hindquarters being set under the body.
Is my breed well-suited to be a family dog? Who are the best candidates to own my breed?
Fusion Kennels – Tammy Hirstein Stinton: Although Ibizan Hounds are very intelligent, it is important to remember that they are a “primitive” hunting breed and are not for everyone. Most breeders require a fenced-in yard with a tall fence. The best candidates to own an Ibizan are those who can provide a lot of exercise for the dog. They are family-orientated, but can be shy to strangers.
Do I feel that my breed is supported by a sufficient number of preservation breeders?
Fusion Kennels – Tammy Hirstein Stinton: Yes, I do.
For a bit of fun, what’s the most amusing thing I’ve ever experienced with a Hound?
Fusion Kennels – Tammy Hirstein Stinton: Although I can think of many, winning Best of Breed at the IHCUS National in 2021 was an amusing experience. The sire was through frozen semen, which happened to be the same sire as my first Ibizan Hound, DC Gryphon’s Pogo Podenco. We brought home many ribbons from that show.