Interview with Herding Group Breeder Anne Bowes
Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a breeder?
Anne Bowes: I live in Duxbury, Massachusetts. I have owned and exhibited Pembroke Welsh Corgis since 1968 and I’ve bred Pembroke Welsh Corgis for 50 years, from 1970-2020.
What is my kennel name? How many dogs do I currently keep?
Anne Bowes: My kennel name is Heronsway. I currently have five adult dogs that I am showing. When I was breeding, I had 5-10 dogs.
Which show dogs from the past have been my noteworthy winners?
Anne Bowes: BISS CH Heronsway Free Style UDT ROMX PT, BIS & MBISS CH Heronsway Free At Last, MBIS & BISS CH Valhalla Heronsway Crystal (National Specialty BOB), MBISS CH Heronsway Heartbeat, BIS & BISS CH Heronsway Front Runner, BISS CH Heronsway Two For The Show (National Specialty BOB), MBISS GCH Heronsway Send In The Clowns, and MBIS GCHB Heronsway Comedy Central.
Which have been your most influential sires and dams?
Anne Bowes: SIRES: CH Heronsway Free Style UDT ROMX PT, CH Irisan Benjimum Boy Of Rivona ROMX, CH Nebriowa Jovan ROMX, and CH Heronsway How Sweet It Is POMX.
DAMS: CH Heronsway Peggy Sue, CH Heronsway Island Girl ROM, Heronsway Affair To Remember ROM, CH Heronsway Cockatoo Ridge ROM, and CH Heronsway Aria ROM.
Can I talk a bit about my facilities? Where are my puppies whelped? How are they raised?
Anne Bowes: My kennel is a five-room wing attached to my house, consisting of a dog kitchen, office, grooming room, kennel room, and puppy room. Puppies are whelped in my bedroom’s private bathroom which is on the opposite side of my house from the kennel wing. The puppies stay in my bedroom until they are four weeks old and then they are moved to my puppy room. No visitors are allowed to see them until they are 5-6 weeks old. Crate training and obedience training start at eight weeks old. They go into their new homes at 10 weeks old.
What is my “process” for selecting show puppies? At what age do I make my decisions?
Anne Bowes: I temperament test all of my litters at 8 weeks of age. This process really helps me to sort out the puppies that would love life as a show dog and those puppies that would like to spend their life on a couch! I start making assessments at birth and then keep sorting until they are old enough to go to handling class and then to a dog show. When they win their first major, I know I have a “keeper!”
How do I prepare my pups for the show ring? Does my breed require any special preparation?
Anne Bowes: I comb my dogs every day, and fully groom them every week (including nails and teeth) from birth to death! Therefore, they are already in good condition when it comes to show time. Before every show they are bathed and blown dry.
Is my breed hand-stacked or free-stacked in the show ring? Why is it presented in this manner?
Anne Bowes: Pembroke Welsh Corgis are free-stacked in the show ring. The only time I hand-stack them is when they are on the table. Many Herding Dogs are shown “hands off” in the ring. I think it just accentuates their natural beauty and highlights their intelligence and their desire to please their owners. And it is what attracted me to the Pembroke over 50 years ago!
Are Performance and Companion titles important to me as a breeder? Are parent club titles?
Anne Bowes: Yes and Yes! While I do not compete in Performance events myself, I am proud that many of my puppies have gone into Performance homes and have done very well. I am very proud of my Parent Club titles, especially ROM and ROMX.
In my opinion, is my breed in good condition overall? Any trends that warrant concern?
Anne Bowes: I feel that Pembrokes are in excellent condition. The Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of America stresses breeding Pembrokes with excellent health and temperaments. As a result, Pembrokes have climbed in popularity since I purchased my first one in 1968. Then the breed was ranked 80th out of 100 breeds. Today it is ranked 11th out of 200 breeds! Obviously, when a breed becomes so popular, many people breed without regard for temperament and health. Potential owners of Pembroke Welsh Corgis must be careful to buy from breeders who are members of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of America, or one of its affiliate clubs, and who therefore breed to a very strict Code of Ethics.
Is my breed well-suited to be a family dog? Who are the best candidates to own my breed?
Anne Bowes: Pembrokes are outstanding family dogs—very affectionate, easy to train, and very devoted to their owners. I think Pembrokes do best in families where the youngest children are at least 5-6 years old.
Do I feel that my breed is supported by a sufficient number of preservation breeders?
Anne Bowes: Yes!
For a bit of fun, what’s the most amusing thing I’ve ever experienced with a Herding Dog?
Anne Bowes: I was showing my Pembroke in the Herding Group to Sam McDonald, a very experienced judge who has always admired Pembrokes and judged them very well. He also has a wonderful sense of humor! When he approached the table to judge my Pembroke, he looked at me first and asked, “What happened to her tail?” Because I have shown to Mr. McDonald in the past, I was ready for him and replied, “Oh no! I KNEW I forgot something at the hotel this morning!!” He and I both had a great laugh over this!
Anything else I would like to share about myself?
Anne Bowes: I am so fortunate to have spent over 54 years in the Sport of Dogs. This sport has literally given me the world, as I have been able to travel to many wonderful foreign countries to judge Pembrokes; countries I would never have had the ability to visit if it weren’t for Pembroke
Any special message I have for all of us in the fancy?
Anne Bowes: Being a dog breeder is a very special occupation because, if you do it right, you have the ability to sell love and change a person’s life. However, a dog breeder must always put temperament and health at the forefront of everything they do and every breeding decision they make. I always say, if a dog does not have outstanding health and temperament, it does not matter how beautiful he or she is. Health and temperament must always come first, as the vast majority of our litters go to families who want healthy and loving pets for themselves and their children.