Interview with a Herding Group Breeder Gerald Roach
Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a breeder?
Gerald Roach: I live in Southern Illinois. I started with my first German Shepherd Dog 41 years ago. I had my first litter 40 years ago.
What is my kennel name? How many dogs do I currently keep?
Gerald Roach: My kennel name is Geran’s. I am a small kennel, keeping around 10 dogs.
Which show dogs from the past have been my noteworthy winners?
Gerald Roach: “Maklin,” CH Geran’s Christmas Miracle, and “Zak,” CH Geran’s All I Want for Christmas, were two brothers who quickly come to mind, and Zak’s granddaughter, “Hope,” Group-Winning GCH Geran’s Hope Floats.
Which have been my most influential sires and dams?
Gerald Roach: CH Geran’s Always On My Mind ROM was the dam of 10 Champions, and her grandson, GCH Geran’s Afleet Alex ROM, are the most influential sire and dam. Both have stamped the type that is so well-known in my breeding program today.
Can I talk a bit about my facilities? Where are my puppies whelped? How are they raised?
Gerald Roach: My facility is on 10 acres. I have several large runs as well as paddock areas and a track that allows me to roadwork the dogs being shown, and a 50 ft. x 50 ft. ring to train in. All of my litters are whelped and raised in my home, underfoot.
What is my “process” for selecting show puppies? At what age do I make my decisions?
Gerald Roach: I like looking at my puppies at birth. From there, I watch them till 10 to 12 weeks when I make my final cut.
The GSD is uniquely presented, both standing and moving. How do I prepare my pups for the show ring?
Gerald Roach: The GSD is a little more detailed in showing, so I start hand-stacking my puppies between three and four weeks, and around five weeks I start lead-training them. I like baiting the dogs for the show ring, so I start baiting as soon as I start hand-setting. It makes it easier to transition to free-stacking.
Care to comment on the various coat colors of the breed? Any personal preferences?
Gerald Roach: We have several colors such as blacks, bi-colors, sables, and standard saddleback black & tans and black & reds. I prefer the standard saddleback, but have owned all the above colors.
What are my thoughts on the various “styles” of GSD seen in the US and around the world?
Gerald Roach: I think, like our American show line dogs, there are different types of Shepherds that fit whichever venue they are working in. I do wish the types were more consistent, like in the 1960s and ‘70s. The breed has changed type over the years, worldwide.
Do I compete with my dogs in Companion and Performance events? Are Specialties important?
Gerald Roach: I do some Fast CAT and Lure Coursing, but my focus is on Conformation. I do think Specialties are as important as all-breeds. Both hold a great value for our breed.
In my opinion, is my breed in good condition overall? Any trends that warrant concern?
Gerald Roach: I think, overall, the breed is in good condition. I don’t currently see a trend that concerns me.
Is the GSD well-suited to be a family dog? Who are the best candidates to own my breed?
Gerald Roach: The GSD is an amazing family dog, and the versatility of the breed allows it to fit well with so many different situations.
Do I feel that my breed is supported by a sufficient number of preservation breeders?
Gerald Roach: We do have several preservation breeders. However, I think we could use more. The GSD breed is an amazing breed and deserves a high amount of dedication.
For a bit of fun, what’s the most amusing thing I’ve ever experienced with a GSD?
Gerald Roach: There have been so many, it would be hard to pick one. I would have to say that living every day with a GSD is amusing; they are intelligent and their antics are very amusing.