Interview with Sporting Group Breeder Dawn Mieth
Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a breeder?
Our family lives in Central City, Nebraska. We have had dogs all of our lives. We started breeding in 2008.
What is my kennel name? How many dogs do I currently keep?
Our kennel name is Mocha Labradors. We believe that our dogs are, first and foremost, our beloved family pets. Then, they are our show dogs, and if they pass all health tests, they move into our breeding program. We currently have 10 Labrador Retrievers. They consist of retired and currently shown dogs, and puppies being raised for the next generation.
Which show dogs from the past have been my noteworthy winners?
GCH MochaLabs Easter Blessing has been our top-winning bitch. She excelled in the show ring and at The Potomac, the largest Labrador show in the world, where she made all the cuts in Best of Breed ring to the end. GCH MochaLabs Wreck It Ralph has been our top-winning sire. He also excelled in the show ring. Ralph became the #1 National Owner-Handled Labrador Retriever of 2021!
Which have been my most influential sires and dams?
Our most influential sires would be CH Inselheim Up To Citadel, as he is the sire to four of our home-bred champions. Also, he has produced several therapy dogs in our breeding program, including our first seeing eye dog with Leader Dogs for the Blind. GCH Quailchase Bearcreek Jolly Joe is the sire to our top-winning bitch, GCH MochaLabs Easter Blessing. And GCH Glacieridge Tabatha’s Granite has also added a lot to our breeding program, including several therapy dogs. Our most influential dam would be our foundation bitch, GCH Labradale Traveling Pants MochaLabs. She is our foundation bitch that we purchased from Hidden Pond Kennels. She has produced six home-bred champions from three different sires.
Can I talk about my facilities? Where are my puppies whelped? How are they raised?
Our home is located in central Nebraska. We live on seven acres where our dogs love to run. We have inside and outside runs that consist of 5×5 indoor runs that have kuranda beds, and heating and air conditioning. Our outside runs are 5×20 and are attached to a 80 ft. x 100 ft. grassy dog yard. The dogs run free all day till it’s time to go to bed. Currently, four of the 10 Labs live in the house with us. Our puppies are born and raised in our bedroom where we sleep next to them for the first two weeks. Our whole family takes turns on puppy duty. Between four and five weeks, they are moved onto our back porch where they are potty trained and crate trained. As weather permits, we go outside several times a day to play freely and have fun on the farm. We have several neighbor kids who love to come and play with our puppies.
What is my “process” for selecting show puppies?
At what age do I make my decision? From birth, we have some puppies that just stick out! We watch them closer starting at five weeks. As they play outside, we watch for temperament and movement. At six weeks old, we start to stack them on our grooming table. We will look at them again at seven weeks. At eight weeks of age, we set up a puppy evaluation party at our Grand Island Kennel Club where our President and AKC Judge, Doug Jensen, demonstrates correct conformation of our breed to all who want to attend.
How do I prepare my pups for the show ring?
Our puppies get to be just that—puppies. At around six months of age, we start conformation classes at our Grand Island Kennel Club where Doug is our teacher. I also start to walk them and get them to focus on me during our walks, with “watch” and “stand” commands, then I reward with a cookie.
Are Performance and Companion titles important to me as a breeder?
From form to function, the Labrador Retriever should be able to hunt, be a service/therapy dog, and be that loyal family companion. Titles in all aspects are good for all breeds that are in our breeding program.
In my opinion, is my breed in good condition overall? Any trends that warrant concern?
Overall, I feel our breed is in good condition. Any trends that have been there have been addressed in the last few years.
Do I feel that my breed has a promising future as a family companion?
As the #1 AKC registered breed, the Labrador Retriever is the most popular dog breed. They are noted as the most lovable, loyal dog.
Do I have any thoughts I’d like to share about the sport of dogs in general?
As a Labrador Retriever breeder, the sport of dogs has been amazing for me and my family. Being at the dog shows is like a family away from family. We are there to support each other and to do what’s best for our breed; to learn and grow as a breeder.
For a bit of fun, what’s the most amusing experience I’ve ever experienced with a Sporting Dog?
At our very first dog show in Topeka, Kansas, our family was staying at the lake nearby. I was taking our two girls of six months of age for a walk, and little did I know that they would take me for a run! They spotted ducks on the bank of the lake and off we went. They drug me down the hill and almost into the lake where I finally fell on my butt—and held on for dear life just to stop them. Lesson learned that day! Only walk one at a time and stay far away from ducks while showing.