Interview with Zoe Bolin, Breeder of Jazzman Black and Tans
Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a breeder?
Zoe Bolin: I live in Palmdale, California, a high desert community about 60 miles north of Los Angeles. I have lived with dogs my whole life, but was heavily involved with horses as a Junior and during my young adult years. I got my first show dog in 2006 and bred my first litter in 2010.
What is my kennel name? How many dogs do I currently keep?
I have recently formed a partnership with another breeder of Black and Tans, Foster’s Old Fashioned Black and Tans, located in Iowa. Chris and Ronnie Foster have dogs from some very old AKC lines, which allows us to outcross, helps us with genetic diversity, and lowers our coefficient of inbreeding. We have done some very exciting breedings and those pups are just now hitting the show ring.
I currently have seven Black and Tans and four Standard Manchester Terriers at home. I co-own several promising youngsters all over the country.
Which show dogs from the past have been my noteworthy winners?
Zoe Bolin: My first true special was GCHG Jazzman Comebacker (Baxter). He was from the second litter that I bred. He completed many firsts in my dog show career, accomplishing goals set and allowing me to continue to set higher goals. He was my first BBE champion, my first Hound Group placement, my first notable winner (Eukanuba 2014 Breed winner), and my first Hound Group winner.
In 2015, I was gifted a 12-month-old dog from another breeder-friend. GCHG Oak Hills Heart of Gold HOF (Booker) set the bar even higher. He was a multiple Group winner, an All-Breed BIS winner, the all-time leading NOHS Dog (Platinum NOHS), and an inductee in the American Black and Tan Coonhound Club Hall of Fame.
My top-winning dog is GCHS Jazzman Armoured Vehicle (Brinks). Brinks was a multiple Group winner, an All-Breed BIS winner, BIS at the 2022 Rocky Mountain Hound Club, and the No. 2 Lifetime NOHS Dog (Platinum NOHS). Brinks will be inducted in the ABTCC Hall of Fame at our 2023 National Specialty. Unfortunately, in September 2022, I lost him suddenly to bloat at just three years and four months old.
My current special is GCHB Jazzman Rockytop War Admiral (Atom). Atom finished by going WD/BOW at the ABTCC National Specialty in 2022. He is currently the No. 1 Black and Tan (Breed points).
Which have been my most influential sires and dams?
- CH Southchase’s Girl’s Night Out (Brooke) produced both Baxter and GCHS Jazzman Southern Pacific Big Boy (Train), a multiple Group winner and ABTCC HOF inductee. Brooke is an ABTCC Dam of Merit.
- CH Jazzman Miss B Haven (Haven), an ABTCC Dam of Merit, was sired by Booker. She produced Brinks and three other pups that are currently in the show ring.
- GCHS Jazzman Armoured Vehicle (Brinks) has just started his career as a sire. His first litter is not yet two years old and includes the 2022 AKC National Championship Breed winner and the 2022 ABTCC National Specialty Best of Winners.
Can I talk a bit about my facilities? Where are my puppies whelped? How are they raised?
Zoe Bolin: My house is on 2.5 acres in the unincorporated county section of Palmdale. It is zoned A2 (heavy agriculture) which allows me to have a kennel license for up to 20 dogs. I have indoor kennels in my climate-controlled garage, with access to one of three yards.
My puppies are whelped in a spare bedroom in the house. I spend at least the first two weeks sleeping in the puppy room. The puppies stay in the house until they’re about five weeks old. I leave the TV on during the day to provide noise and voices for the pups to hear. My kids are grown, so it’s just my husband and I in the house… way too quiet.
At around five weeks, the pups move out to the garage kennel and will go outside during the day if the weather is good. Once the pups are living in the kennel, they are introduced to crates, dog doors, and a potty area filled with shavings. Several of my current pups have been raised on the farm in Iowa. Those pups are whelped in a dedicated, climate-controlled whelping barn that’s equipped with closed-circuit cameras. The farm is large and has numerous areas where the pups are moved to as they grow. The show pups come to California somewhere between four and eight months of age.
What is my “process” for selecting show puppies? At what age do I make my decisions?
Zoe Bolin: The coonhound litters are evaluated at eight weeks. I also usually take some stacked photos at six and seven weeks. I start keeping notes as soon as the pups are born, and I generally have a good idea of what I’m going to do… sometimes right from the beginning. It’s important to be as methodical and unemotional as possible when evaluating pups. There’s always that one pup that captures your heart, but he may not be the pup that will benefit the breed.
How do I prepare my pups for the show ring? Does my breed require any special preparation?
Zoe Bolin: My “keeper” pups start going to dog shows with me as early as nine or 10 weeks old. At that age they stay in the set-up and don’t use the public potty area. My local kennel club offers a handling class during the warmer months and I try to take advantage of that.
Coonhounds can be reserved, so they require enough socialization to allow them to successfully handle a judge’s examination and to navigate around the ring, hopefully carrying their tail where it’s supposed to be.
I’ve had very good luck with the pups coming from the farm in Iowa. They have amazing temperaments; a throwback from the old AKC bloodlines.
Is “performance” part of my decision-making when it comes to breeding?
Zoe Bolin: The only time that I consider “performance events” is when I have a puppy buyer who is looking for something specific. I routinely refer buyers who are looking for hunting dogs to kennels that select for hunting instinct. I have bred an ABTCC Hall of Fame performance dog.
How would I define “conditioning” as it relates to my breed?
Zoe Bolin: Black and Tans that are fed properly and allowed the room for “free exercise” pretty much condition themselves.
Are there any health-related concerns in my breed? Any special nutritional needs?
Zoe Bolin: Black and Tan Coonhounds are generally considered to be a very healthy breed. As with most large breeds, hip dysplasia is always a concern. Most of today’s breeders are very conscientious about getting their breeding stock’s hips done. We see a very small percentage of heart disease, cancer, kidney disease, and thyroid disease. We see a larger percentage of bloat and allergies, but in the larger scheme of things, the Black and Tan is a generally healthy breed. There are no special nutritional needs that affect the whole breed. Individual needs vary.
Do I think my breed is supported by a sufficient number of preservation breeders?
Zoe Bolin: Just like many other breeds, we are losing many of our older, serious breeders. On a good note, we have several younger individuals who are new to our breed who are showing an interest in becoming serious breeders. My advice to our new breeders would be to study the history of the AKC Black and Tans and what sets them apart from the other coonhound breeds. Individual breeders may have individual styles, but type always remains the same.
Is my breed well suited to be a family dog? Who are the best candidates to own my breed?
Zoe Bolin: Yes, the Black and Tan makes an excellent family dog. Black and Tans are very versatile and adaptable. Choosing a pup with the right disposition for what a family wants to do with their dog is essential. Most Black and Tans want to do whatever you want to do. They’ll go for a hike or sit on the couch and watch TV, as long as they’re with their person.
What is the biggest misconception about my breed? What is my breed’s best-kept secret?
Zoe Bolin: Most people assume that Black and Tans are hard to live with. This couldn’t be further from the truth. They mistake the derpy look for a lack of intelligence; also not true. Black and Tans are very smart, but they’re not always particularly biddable.
If I could share a comment or two with judges of my breed, what would I like to say to them?
Zoe Bolin: In the last year, I’ve heard a lot of judges question the direction that our breed is heading. Their main concern seems to be bone, substance, and head type—the loss of all of these attributes.
The Black and Tan is the largest and heaviest of the coonhound breeds. Our Breed Standard allows for oversize and penalizes undersize. In order to keep size and substance, we need to pay special attention to that portion of the Standard. Also, please remember that structure and movement always supersede superficial cosmetic traits.
Do I have any words of wisdom to pass along to newer breeders?
For a bit of fun, what’s the most amusing thing I’ve ever experienced with a Hound?
Zoe Bolin: Any six-month-old Black and Tan puppy can make a handler look foolish.
Are you looking for a Black and Tan Coonhound 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 Black and Tan Coonhound 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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