Interview with Jolanta Terrell, Breeder of FloridaSunshine Russian Toys
Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a breeder?
Jolanta Terrell: I live in North Palm Beach, Florida. My first Russian Toy girl I brought from Latvia in April of 2019. At that time, there were no Russian Toys available in the US, so I decided to start breeding and brought a dog from Russia in July. That same July I attended my first dog show in West Palm Beach. My first judge was Mr. Michael Canalizo. The next year, I had my first litter of two puppies. Both of them active in AKC. Later, I brought another girl from Russia and she is very successful in showing.
What is my kennel name? How many dogs do I currently keep?
Jolanta Terrell: My kennel name is FloridaSunshine. I keep four dogs, as I mentioned; a boy and two girls. The other boy that I kept is my Breed dog; finished his championship at eight months and his grand championship at 10 months.
Which show dogs from the past have been my noteworthy winners?
Jolanta Terrell: My best show dog is my boy from Russia, MBISS GCHS CH SOLNECHY KRUG HARRY POTTER CM3 CGC DCAT FITB. He is the first Russian Toy Grand Champion, Grand Champion Bronze, and Grand Champion Silver. He finished No. 1 Russian Toy in all AKC rankings. He has been awarded: 2022 Best of Breed AKC National Championship/Royal Canin, 2022 BOB Russian Toy Club of America Regional Specialty, 2022 & 2023 Select Dog at Westminster Kennel Club, 2022 BOB Kennel Club of Philadelphia, and 2023 BOB Russian Toy Club of America National Specialty.
And my girl from Russia, GCHS CH SNOU MIREKL DIN DIN, finished 2022 in the Top 20. She has earned: 2022 BOB Westminster Kennel Club, 2022 BOS Kennel Club of Philadelphia, 2022 BOS AKC National Championship/Royal Canin, and 2023 BOS Russian Toy Club of America National Specialty.
Can I talk a bit about my facilities? Where are my puppies whelped? How are they raised?
Jolanta Terrell: My puppies are whelped in my living room. I start training my puppies as soon as they start walking, getting them used to the training table and show leads. I introduce them to other dogs, people, kids, water, and everything else, socializing from early days.
What is my “process” for selecting Show Puppies? Performance Puppies?
Jolanta Terrell: I’ve noticed that Russian Toys develop later than 2-3 months. If someone wants to have show prospective dog, I would recommend they wait until the puppies are 5-6 months. Some of them are late bloomers.
How important are Breed Specialties to me? How important are Group Shows?
Jolanta Terrell: Breed Specialties are very important to me, because I’m an owner-handler. At Specialties, with all the dogs attending and competing, you can see the most beautiful and correct dogs in one place, and most important, are being showed by owners, not (professional) handlers.
What are my priorities when it comes to breeding? What are the drawbacks?
Jolanta Terrell: My priorities in breeding are the dogs’ health and excellent personalities. Before breeding, I test my dogs health, keeping with the Breed Standard. So far, I haven’t had any dogs with drawbacks. I’ve had six litters.
How would I define “conditioning” as it relates to my breed? How important is coat care?
Jolanta Terrell: I feed my dogs raw food, which I prepare myself. I worry about their tooth health and coat. I get a lot of compliments about my dogs’ care.
Are there any health-related concerns in my breed? Any special nutritional needs?
Jolanta Terrell: The most common problems with health are dental disease, separation anxiety, and orthopedic injury.
Do I think my breed is supported by a sufficient number of preservation breeders?
Jolanta Terrell: For the past two years, this breed has been getting very popular. People are very interested in this breed. At this time, with AKC, there are 26 registered breeders.
Is my breed well suited to be a family dog? Who are the best candidates to own my breed?
Jolanta Terrell: The Russian Toy is good for most anybody. I don’t recommend them for families with small children and elderly people. The best candidates for this breed are active families. The Russian Toy can be couch pet, but most likely, they like long walks and runs, and they very good in Agility and any other service.
Do I have any words of wisdom to pass along to newer breeders?
Jolanta Terrell: Recommendation to newer breeders: check the dogs’ health before breeding. Don’t breed with the first dog you meet. Do pedigree research and pick the best dog.
For a bit of fun, what’s the most amusing thing I’ve ever experienced with a Toy Dog?
Jolanta Terrell: My family likes visiting National Parks and my dogs enjoy running in the woods. One day, “Bentley” saw a deer and started chasing it. He thinks he is in charge of the forest. My dogs like water, so every day they play around the pool with a ball. They drop the ball into water and walk around the pool until they pick the ball from water… and they do it all over again. Sometimes we go with them paddle boarding too.