Interview with Judie Posner, Breeder of Encore Cockers
Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a breeder?
Judie Posner: I live in a small town called Beech Island. It’s in South Carolina just south of Aiken and Northeast of Augusta, Georgia. I’ve had dogs since I was a teenager. April 6, 2023 will be the 50th anniversary of my first litter. Lord, time flies!
What is my kennel name? How many dogs do I currently keep?
Judie Posner: My kennel name is Encore Cockers. There are 10 dogs currently on the premises, not counting pups.
Which show dogs from the past have been my noteworthy winners?
Judie Posner: My most noteworthy winner is CH Gina’s Magnums Mark, BOV ASC 1992 and All-Breed BIS Winner (Trap Falls KC) under respected Cocker breeder Lamar Mathis.
Which have been my most influential sires and dams?
Judie Posner: The most influential have been CH Encore’s Draft Dodger, CH Encore’s Total Eclipse, and my non-titled girl, Encore’s Raised From The Ashes.
Can I talk a bit about my facilities? Where are my puppies whelped? How are they raised?
Judie Posner: As I’ve just relocated, I turned a workshop into my temporary kennel building. In April, we’ll break ground on our NEW indoor/outdoor facility, which will lead out of our home and include a grooming and bathing area with A/C, heat, and full-spectrum lighting installed to ensure proper sunlight even in inclement weather. The septic is already in place and I’m beyond excited!
Three feet from my bed in my master bedroom is where puppies are whelped—always have, ALWAYS WILL. In and around the structured chaos that is Encore, I try to incorporate pieces of Puppy Culture with things I’ve learned over the years.
What is my “process” for selecting Show Puppies? Performance Puppies? Field Puppies?
Judie Posner: I start stacking early and usually make a first cut at 6-8 weeks. I’ve found my line generally emulates an adult at 8 wks. I keep watching till 10 weeks, then I stop scrutinizing as the “uglies” set in. I also love the troublemakers (not to be confused with alphas or bullies) as they always have that “look at me” attitude which is so important in the ring.
For Performance Puppies: Boundless energy and exuberance.
For Field Puppies: I honesty have no personal experience with this, but if I wanted to pick one I’d consult with Patricia Giza as she has several Cockers that are Master Hunters.
Do I compete in Companion Events? Performance Events?
Judie Posner: I’ve done CGC and have considered Trick Dog. As for Performance Events, we are starting to train for a new venture this year… more info later.
Are Field Trials or parent club Hunt Tests important to me?
Judie Posner: Though quite beautiful, my breed is FIRST AND FOREMOST A FLUSHING SPANIEL. I personally have “no dog in that fight,” but I support and encourage it for my dear friend/handler Patricia Giza who does.
How would I define “conditioning” as it relates to my breed?
Judie Posner: Condition, to me, is the whole picture; body tone/muscle, coat appearance/texture, and MENTAL STABILITY. Also, it is to know and recognize when your dog has “had enough” and is tired, though this may fall under owner-handler conditioning.
Are there any health-related concerns in my breed? Any special nutritional needs?
Judie Posner: Where do I begin? Eyes: juvenile cataracts, PRA, glaucoma, dry eye; hereditary hip dysplasia; subluxating patellas; AIHA (auto immune hemolytic anemia); liver issues; epilepsy; unpredictable behavior/temperament; and the number one breed problem, which is breeders who DON’T DISCLOSE or talk about their health issues for fear of being judged by others. We can’t preserve if we don’t inform and enlighten each other. PEOPLE, IT TAKES A VILLAGE!
Since Cockers are a very coated breed, foods with too much protein will burn and split the coat.
Do I think my breed is supported by a sufficient number of preservation breeders?
Judie Posner: There are not as many as you’d hope. To me, a preservation breeder is one that protects the breed and its Standard, NOT THEIR EGO. Not every dog is the perfect match for every bitch. Just because you own it and it’s a ribbon winner doesn’t change that last statement.
Is my breed well suited to be a family dog? Who are the best candidates to own my breed?
Judie Posner: When bred, raised, and trained correctly, ABSOLUTELY! Almost anyone who is willing to make a commitment is a good candidate to own a Cocker. This is a people pleasing breed.
What is the biggest misconception about my breed? What is my breed’s best-kept secret?
Judie Posner: The biggest misconceptions are that they don’t need regular grooming and that they bite. The latter I find almost humorous. The best-kept secret is their loyalty, by far.
If I could share a comment or two with judges of my breed, what would I like to say to them?
- Don’t be afraid to withhold a ribbon if you don’t feel the specimen you’re judging is worthy of first place.
- If you think the dog/bitch is too big or too small, PLEASE PULL THE WICKET.
- The top-winning dog is NOT always the right choice. Please judge the dog on the day and on its own merits.
Do I have any words of wisdom to pass along to newer breeders?
Judie Posner: Never stop learning, listening, and researching. No one is an expert. It takes years and years to become a good breeder; not a litter or two or a winner or two.
For a bit of fun, what’s the most amusing thing I’ve ever experienced with a Sporting Dog?
Judie Posner: It never ceases to amaze me that as much as Cockers enjoy the grooming and looking perfect for the ring, when home, they’re like kids running wild. They love to get dirty, finding every drop of wet ground to play in, running and jumping in the leaves and bringing me every “treasure” they find out there.
Are you looking for a Cocker Spaniel 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 Cocker Spaniel 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.
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