Interview with Jenn Cannon, Breeder of Ides of March Picards
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Where do you live? What is your breed? What is your kennel name? Do you have a website? How long have you been in dogs? How long have you been breeding dogs? Who are some of your best-known dogs?
Jenn Cannon: I live in central North Carolina, just outside of Greensboro. My primary breed is the Berger Picard, but I also own two Pyrenean Shepherds and a solo American Eskimo, which was my childhood breed. I have owned Picards since 2010 and have been breeding under my kennel name, Ides of March Picards, since 2017. My kennel is named in honor of my first Picard, “Eden,” who was born on March 15th. My website (which is woefully out of date) is idesofmarchpicards.com. I am much more active on my Facebook and Instagram kennel sites, https://www.facebook.com/IdesOfMarchBergerPicards and @IOMPicards, respectively. I have owned purebred dogs since childhood, but did not really become active in dog sports until my early 30s. My most successful dog in Conformation is GCHS Blue Anker Double D’s Imagine That @ Ides Of March PT CAX BCAT SWA TT RATO DN CGC TKN. As you can see by the multiple letters after her name, she is more than just a fancy show dog!
As a Breeder, can you share your thoughts on your breed today? Is breed type strong? Are there things to be concerned about? Are there any health-related issues? Have you worked with breeders overseas? Are pet homes typically available for your breed?
Jenn Cannon: I do think that, as a whole, breed type is stronger now than it was when I first got into the breed. Temperaments, in general, have also improved as well. I think we need to be vigilant as breeders, however, and continue to work on further improvement in both of these aspects. At our last “National d’Elevage,” an event held every four years in association with the National Specialty, the French judge who did the evaluations stated that he felt the dogs in the US were of overall better quality than those he was seeing in Europe.
Depending on the specific goals of a breeding, there are usually plenty of nice pet homes for Picards. My personal goal with my litters, however, is to produce dogs that are correct and pretty enough for the show ring but with the drive and desire to compete in multiple performance events. So, I tend to cater to a slightly different clientele than just your typical companion home. That said, though, I also have lovely pet homes that adore their best friend from my breeding program.
As an Exhibitor, can you comment on recent entries in your breed? Are majors available in your area? Does your breed often participate in Companion and Performance events? How can newcomers in your breed be encouraged to join the sport of dogs?
Jenn Cannon: Picards are truly versatile dogs, but they can require a bit more finesse in their training. I own and have bred dogs that compete at high levels in Agility, Dock Diving, Scent Work, Rally, Disc Dog, and other events. I find that patience, creativity, and an excellent sense of humor go a long way to enjoying companion and performance events with my Picards.
The best thing a newcomer to Picards can do is to purchase their puppy from someone who is willing to be an active mentor, who competes and trains in the activities the newcomer wishes to be involved in. It behooves breeders and other enthusiasts to encourage new owners to try various activities with their dogs, especially those owners who haven’t previously been involved in the dog community.
What are the biggest challenges facing the dog show community as a whole and how can we address them? And finally, what are some of the positive changes you’ve seen in your breed and in the dog show community as a whole over the past decade?
Jenn Cannon: In the last decade, I have seen more exhibitors of color participating, as well as more people who don’t fit the “stereotypical dog show exhibitor” mold in terms of race, gender/gender expression, personal style, etc. In my own breed, as I stated earlier, the temperaments have improved markedly since the early days of the breed in the US. More people with Picards are getting involved in various dog events, which, in my opinion, only makes owning them even more rewarding.