Interview with Dr. Gerry Meisels, Breeder of White Oaks Kennel – West Highland White Terriers
Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a breeder?
Dr. Gerry Meisels: I live just outside Tampa, Florida. I have been in dogs for 62 years, breeding for 61.
What is my kennel name? How many dogs do I currently keep?
Dr. Gerry Meisels: White Oaks is the kennel name. I currently keep eight West Highland White Terriers.
Which breeders have provided the greatest influence on my decision to breed dogs?
Dr. Gerry Meisels: The greatest influence came from Barbara (Worcester) Keenan of Wishing Well Kennels.
Can I talk a bit about my foundation dogs? How have they influenced my breeding program?
Dr. Gerry Meisels: White Oaks Kennel’s foundation bitch was a daughter of Ch. Elrinbrook Simon, the Westie who won Westminster in 1962. We bred her to Ch. Symmetra Snip, the Westie who had won BIS at Montgomery County. They set a standard and we bred to maintain that standard and even improve on it.
What about my facilities? Where are my puppies whelped? How are they raised?
Dr. Gerry Meisels: We have two rooms where the dogs live, and a set of 16 chain-linked, covered and screened runs; 2-1/2 ft. x 18 ft. with sloped concrete floors. Puppies are whelped in a third room across the hall from the dogs. They’re raised with much love and attention, at first in a 3 ft. x 3 ft. whelping box, then in the room, and eventually, also in our family room/kitchen.
Do I have a “process” for selecting show puppies? At what age do I make my decisions?
Dr. Gerry Meisels: All three of us go over the puppies many times. We look at how they walk and play with each other, which tells us about their personalities. The age when we make our decisions varies; most of the time at 4 to 6 months.
How do I choose the homes for my puppies? Is puppy placement important to me as a breeder?
Dr. Gerry Meisels: We usually have buyers waiting. We look at how they will care for and love the Westie. Puppy placement is extremely important.
Can I share my thoughts on how my breed is currently presented in the show ring?
Dr. Gerry Meisels: Generally, the breed is currently presented with good balance and grooming, and competent handling.
Are there any health-related concerns within my breed? Any special nutritional needs?
Dr. Gerry Meisels: We have had no health issues. Health-related concerns depend on the individual puppy. About one in ten needs special attention and food.
In my opinion, is my breed in good condition overall? Any trends that warrant concern?
Dr. Gerry Meisels: A large majority are fine, though a few have color problems.
Is my breed well-suited to be a family dog? Who are the best candidates to own my breed?
Dr. Gerry Meisels: The breed is well-suited as a family dog only if the family is respectful of the Westie and accepts the Westie as a member of the family. The best candidates are people who really love dogs in general and recognize that they are individuals and independent.
Do I feel that my breed is supported by a sufficient number of preservation breeders?
Dr. Gerry Meisels: Yes, of those we know, through the preservation of type and Westie character.
For a bit of fun, what’s the most amusing thing I’ve ever experienced with my breed?
Dr. Gerry Meisels: West Highland White Terriers are very loving and become attached to people. One of our fondest memories is of a bitch who slept in our bedroom with us and who passed away there at an advanced age.
Are you looking for a West Highland White Terrier puppy?
The best way to ensure a long and happy relationship with a purebred dog is to purchase one from a responsible breeder. Not sure where to begin finding a breeder? Contact the National Parent Club’s Breeder Referral person, which you can find on the AKC Breeder Referral Contacts page.
Want to help rescue and re-home a West Highland White Terrier dog?
Did you know nearly every recognized AKC purebred has a dedicated rescue group? Find your new best friend on the AKC Rescue Network Listing.
West Highland White Terrier Dog Breed Magazine
Read and learn more about the loyal West Highland White Terrier dog breed with articles and information in our West Highland White Terrier Dog Breed Magazine.
West Highland White Terrier Breed Magazine - Showsight