Interview with Joan Wurst, Breeder of Everwind Beagles
Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a breeder?
Joan Wurst: I live in Northwestern Pennsylvania. I have been in dogs for 60-plus years, breeding off and on for over 60.
What is my kennel name? How many dogs do I currently keep?
Joan Wurst: Everwind is the kennel name, owned by myself and Jordan LaPlaca, my partner who lives in Connecticut. I currently keep nine Beagles.
Which show dogs from the past have been my noteworthy winners?
Joan Wurst: Noteworthy winners include:
- GCHG RBIS Everwind’s Let’s Tryst Again,
- her full sister GCHS Everwind’s Déjà Vu, Multiple BIS RBIS GCHG Everwind’s Living The Dream,
- and GCHB Everwind’s Dreams Do Come True.
Which have been my most influential sires and dams?
Joan Wurst: GCH Everwind’s A Tryst In The Park, GCHG RBIS Everwind’s Let’s Tryst Again, and Multiple BIS RBIS GCHG Everwind’s Living The Dream have been the most influential.
Can I talk a bit about my facilities? Where are my puppies whelped? How are they raised?
Joan Wurst: I don’t have a kennel building. All dogs are in the house in one way or another, most with doggie doors to 45 ft. x 140 ft. runs. Puppies are whelped in the house where I keep constant watch over them for at least the first two weeks. They are given lots of attention and are moved from the whelping box to the living area of the house where they are exposed to different sounds and sights. (Puppies are actually taken out in that area long before they leave the whelping box to spend time with people and then back to the whelping box.) They have almost constant interaction with people at that stage, and from that point until they join their forever families.
What is my “process” for selecting Show Puppies? Performance Puppies?
Joan Wurst: I have a team of experts who help in this area. Our handlers, Dan Buchwald (who has been breeding and showing for over forty years) and Lisa Blondina are themselves breeders. They are wonderful helpers and mentors, and I owe a lot of my success both in the show ring and in the whelping box to them. We watch the puppies grow and make educated guesses as to how we think they might turn out. We rely on comparing puppies from other litters that have shared similar qualities and have turned out well. We also rely on pedigrees and past breeding successes.
My selection process for Performance puppies is to constantly evaluate and note personality traits that develop as they mature. I choose the ones that show the same characteristics as others I’ve raised or watched mature, to determine if they are suitable for one thing more than another. For example, I find the ones with above average intelligence and energy to be great Agility prospects. I find the more laid-back temperament is suitable for certain couples, and the very outgoing are for active families with kids.
Do I compete in Companion Events? Performance Events?
Joan Wurst: I haven’t competed in Companion Events in years, due to time constraints. I have, however, put my hand to Agility and absolutely love it. Again, time restraints prevent me from pursing it at the moment, but I do have a titled bitch.
Is “performance” part of my decision-making when it comes to breeding?
Joan Wurst: Only to the extent that a sound mind and the right energy make for the best show dog as well. Also, a solid temperament makes for the best possible companion.
How would I define “conditioning” as it relates to my breed?
Joan Wurst: My dogs have an environment that provides enough room and stimulation to encourage the right amount of exercise to keep them in excellent condition. I find that dogs with the right temperaments, that make play a big part of their lives and have ample opportunity for it, have no need for forced exercise. It works for me.
Are there any health-related concerns in my breed? Any special nutritional needs?
Joan Wurst: Allergies can be an issue in some lines. Seizures are a concern as in many breeds and, as in all breeds, the cause is often unknown. Of course, there can be several causes other than genetics, but, in breeding, we try to avoid situations that might encourage these issues. We test for health conditions on all of our breeding stock, to have the best information possible to help us make the best possible decisions in planning litters. I have never felt this breed has any special nutritional needs. They seem to get along well with many of the top dog food products.
Do I think my breed is supported by a sufficient number of preservation breeders?
Joan Wurst: I do. When talking about breeding to the Breed Standard, we are blessed with many who are endeavoring to improve this breed by doing so. With the availability of relationships with good breeders, not only in this country but with breeders in other parts of the world, there are more and more top-quality Beagles being produced. With dedication and attention to the Breed Standard, I think it will continue to improve and thrive.
Is my breed well suited to be a family dog? Who are the best candidates to own my breed?
Joan Wurst: My breed, the Beagle, is more than well suited to be a family dog. They are loving, kind, and gentle. They will play inside or outside with you all day or be just as happy to curl up with you on the couch. Just being with you is their greatest desire. The best candidate would be anyone who is willing to see that the dog gets the proper exercise and companionship that is best for it. A fenced-in yard where it can play ball is just as desirable as a long hike in the woods.
What is the biggest misconception about my breed? What is my breed’s best-kept secret?
Joan Wurst: Personally, I believe the biggest misconception is stereotyping the breed as stubborn. They can be strong-willed, but I find the general population of Beagles wants to please and is very trainable. For example, my Agility dog was quite strong-willed. She could either get a perfect score in a trail run or… she could lose it all by taking a detour out of the tunnel to race up the ramp, which was her favorite obstacle. She was then ready to continue as directed. I think the best-kept secret is right along those lines. They don’t get enough credit for being willing and compliant most of the time.
If I could share a comment or two with judges of my breed, what would I like to say to them?
Joan Wurst: I would encourage them to take a stand and judge according to the Breed Standard and not get caught up in a current fad. Also, I don’t think artificial coloring should be rewarded. Some dogs may have a black saddle naturally; some may not. Each is totally acceptable by the Standard and should be judged on the conformation merits of the dog—not the color.
Do I have any words of wisdom to pass along to newer breeders?
Joan Wurst: Absolutely. First and foremost, get to know your breed. Know what will improve your breeding stock, and do your best to find and incorporate it into your breeding program. Study pedigrees and the offspring of the pedigrees. Don’t breed on a whim without doing due research to make sure the parents will be as compatible as possible. If something works, continue it. If not, keep trying to find what does. Spend the time, work, and money to breed the best you can.
For a bit of fun, what’s the most amusing thing I’ve ever experienced with a Hound?
Joan Wurst: This is too difficult. Another time, the Agility dog was being handled by someone else at a trial where I was sitting outside the ring behind the fence, watching. The dog paid attention to the handler until she was directed to jump a series of three jumps, which happened to be in a direct line with where I was sitting. She complied, made the three required jumps, and kept going straight, jumping the perimeter fence and into my lap. Cute…
Are you looking for a Beagle 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 Beagle 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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