Interview with Julie Gritten, Breeder of Julerr Cesky Terriers
Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a breeder?
Julie Gritten: I live in the beautiful Paradise Valley of Montana and have a small hobby farm. I have been involved with dogs for a lifetime, and I am old! Growing up in Middle America, I helped my mother breed and raise her Border Collies, but it wasn’t until later in my adult life that I began breeding, first with Scottish Terriers. When I retired from teaching after 30 years, I began in earnest breeding Cesky Terriers after falling in love with them at the Montgomery County Kennel Club Show. Their reserved character and ability to work as a pack intrigued me greatly.
What is my kennel name? How many dogs do I currently keep?
Julie Gritten: The kennel name that I chose came from a combination of my first name and that of my son’s. I wanted something unique for my pack of dogs. We are not a large production kennel, so we have few breeding dogs, concentrating instead on preserving type, structural soundness, and correct temperaments to be a super hunter in the field as originally intended by the creator, Frantisek Horak, and to be an amiable companion in the home. A Cesky should be able to hunt all day in the forest and fields and then come home to relax on the couch with his family, being a biddable companion for all.
Which breeders have provided the greatest influence on my decision to breed dogs?
Julie Gritten: The breeders of the Czech Republic have been my greatest champions and have been extremely helpful in the development of my breeding program. As their National Breed, they have taken me and my breeding program under their wing and have always offered to assist me in the development and preservation of our purpose-bred, and correct-in-type, Cesky Terrier. I could have never had the successes with my dogs without them sharing their knowledge and experience with me.
Can I talk a bit about my foundation dogs? How have they influenced my breeding program?
Julie Gritten: My foundation dogs have helped me in the development of the purpose-bred Cesky that can and does hunt in the field, yet comes home to be with family. The character and structure working together make for a wonderful companion. I chose dogs that were lovable, yet highly focused on the tasks at hand, able to work in a pack, structurally correct to be able to sustain hours in the field without breaking down or getting injured, and pretty to look at!
I chose my first stud dog from a working kennel in Slovakia and brought him to America; really nice to look at and of intense natural instincts. He has sired many of my working dogs here in America. I’m not certain who said it first (I think Laura Reeves of Pure Dog Talk), but there is no reason that we should have to hunt with an ugly dog. Not an exact quote, but the understanding is clear.
What about my facilities? Where are my puppies whelped? How are they raised?
Julie Gritten: I do not have a huge facility, even though I’m living in a rural environment and in the middle of nowhere. Even though I take my breeding program very seriously, the dogs are first companions and working partners, as we believe this helps to develop the natural instincts of our Terriers and creates wonderful companions. They all occupy our beds and the couch, and they are open to our home, as they work well in a pack as intended. I have been blessed with an awesome husband who created a fabulous grooming room for me to work on the dogs too.
The only time the dogs are off-limits to our bedroom is when we have puppies, which are whelped in our bedroom and occupy that space until they and mom are ready to move out into the living room to meet and greet the entire family and the new world they have been brought into. Poor, sweet hubby moves out into another bedroom during this time, as I never sleep while I have wee puppies and I’m up-and-down all night, sleeping beside the whelping box. Our puppies are handled daily and stimulated from the very beginning of their first breath. We use the Puppy Culture techniques to develop soundness of character, and we encourage our puppy people to continue stimulation with activities once they go to their new families. Cesky Terriers do best in the home environment that is also filled with sensory stimulation and activity.
Do I have a “process” for selecting show puppies? At what age do I make my decisions?
Julie Gritten: Many times, potential people ask for a show puppy, and my answer is always that I will choose a “show prospect” but I cannot give a definitive “yes, this is a show puppy.” I evaluate at 8 weeks of age and make decisions for puppy people based on each individual’s temperament and structure. At this very early age, I can identify the correct topline, which is the hallmark of the breed, and bone structure. For a purpose-bred Cesky, it is important to have strong and correct bone structure to withstand the rigors of activities such as hunting and agility.
How do I choose the homes for my puppies? Is puppy placement important to me as a breeder?
Julie Gritten: Placing puppies is of extreme importance to me. This is a breed that is very loyal and loving to its family and cherishes being with them, so families that are active with their lifestyles and willing to take their Cesky with them are always the best. Ceskys are not their happiest when they are the only dog in the home and left alone for extended periods of time. They are truly pack-loving dogs and love the companionship of other dogs.
I am not a high-volume breeder, so many times people must wait 1-2 years for just the right puppy for their home. We spend hours of talking time and getting to know each other over this time period in order to make certain that it will be the correct fit for both puppy and family. I am adamant about being able to choose the right puppy to match each family.
Can I share my thoughts on how my breed is currently presented in the show ring?
Julie Gritten: The Cesky Terrier is all over the board right now in America as it is presented in the ring. This is very confusing for both judges and exhibitors. There is no consistency in producing type and showing correct type. We have created a Parent Club and Board-approved Judges Illustrated Presentation and Guide to the Cesky Terrier, which we hope will help in the understanding and knowledge of what the Cesky Terrier is and isn’t. The Judges Presentation, with the assistance and collaboration of Dr. Vandra Huber, has been uploaded on the Parent Club’s website, the American Cesky Terrier Fanciers Association, and is publicly available for all to view and download.
Are there any health-related concerns within my breed? Any special nutritional needs?
Julie Gritten: The breed is a relatively healthy one, although instances of Scottie Cramp, Epilepsy, and DM have been observed in some Ceskys. It is of upmost importance to us at Julerr that we use Embark for our breeding dogs, and we encourage owners of our puppies to use it as well so that we may identify any concerns in our offspring. Our dogs are also CHIC registered in the open database of the OFA for others to review.
In my opinion, is my breed in good condition overall? Any trends that warrant concern?
Julie Gritten: The trend to breed only using the COI of dogs is of great concern to me as a breeder. Many of our Ceskys worldwide are no longer looking like a Cesky and what was intended in the vision of the creator, Mr. Horak. It is important to those of us who are preservation breeders to continue in the pursuit of the purpose-bred Cesky by taking into consideration all aspects of the dog—phenotype, genotype, character, and of extreme importance, health. We need many more preservation breeders across the globe to help in the continuation of the Cesky Terrier as it was created. I would also like to see more breeders and exhibitors participate in activities that demonstrate the versatility of the breed.
Is my breed well-suited to be a family dog? Who are the best candidates to own my breed?
Julie Gritten: To us at Julerr Cesky Terriers, sound character, structural soundness that’s correct to work, health, and a Cesky that’s lovely to look at, all matter. It’s not an instant or easy task, but we keep adamant in our goals to produce these qualities in each litter we produce.
Are you looking for a Cesky Terrier 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 Cesky Terrier 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.
Cesky Terrier Dog Breed Magazine
Read and learn more about the clever Cesky Terrier dog breed with articles and information in our Cesky Terrier Dog Breed Magazine.
Cesky Terrier Breed Magazine - Showsight