Interview with Tracey A. Kallas, Breeder of K2 Rat Terriers
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?
Having been in dogs most of my life, from Grandpa’s Heinz 57 doting on me as a toddler, my father’s Goldens always up for an adventure as a kid, and my mother’s terriers becoming my running buddies as a teen, I’ve been owned by, lived with, and have loved a Dobe, several Aussies, and a Kangal. I tend to gravitate to the terrier temperament, loving the intelligence, the tenacity, and the intensity as well as the sense of humor that is inherently terrier and personifies the Rat Terrier.
K2 Rat Terriers (https://ImageEvent.com/k2ratterriers) is located in Colorado. I’ve been breeding Rat Terriers for 30 years, educating, showing, and judging, and we currently have Rat Terriers in at least eight different countries on four different continents. I’ve bred and handled over 40 AKC Champions and 16 Grand Champions, with 4 Bronze, 2 Gold, 1 Silver, and the 3rd Platinum level GRCH in AKC history: GCHP CH HDK K2’S SHOCKWAVE @ BELLRIDGE BCAT. I’ve served on the breed club Boards and been a member of the UKC parent club and an all-breed judge for 12 years, and the AKC parent club and the first Rat Terrier breeder-judge as well as the AKC Judges Education Coordinator for the breed for the last four years.
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?
Over the last 30 years, I’ve seen the evolution of many types and trends within the breed. While there is still a great variety of styles between breeders, today’s Rat Terrier has traits that are easily recognizable. Directly from the AKC Breed Standard: “A multipurpose companion dog that is capable of hunting rodents and vermin above and below ground, and to course small game.” Since form follows function, you can expect to see different traits dependent on location and tasks prioritized by each breeding program. However, in general, you should expect a balance between front and rear, smooth flowing structural lines that promote effortless, efficient movement, and a fit athlete with an effort made to avoid anything toy-ish or overdone. By choice, we are still far from a cookie cutter-type breed.
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?
Things to remember when you see Rat Terrier: They are slightly longer than tall, not square. They should be moderate in all aspects. After a year of age, ears should match. Topline is level. If the topline is not level, it is no more than the sum of the inherited parts underneath it, so figure out which of those parts is “off” to cause the imbalance and offer that advice when asked. A sleek coat is free from kink or curl. Any “wave,” no matter how slight, should be barely perceptible or it is a DQ. We have a rear that should be as structurally sound as our front; don’t ignore bad rears.
We are the terrier with an “off switch.” Ear and tail carriage can reflect this as well as being good indicators of respect and mood. They should be in hard-working condition, with palpable, smooth muscle. They should not be sparred. Being bred to be a literal jack-of-all-trades, they excel in most activities that involve fun with their owners. Even people who just want a cool companion can easily shape and mold these versatile little creatures to run for the sheer joy of it, sniff out a mouse, or do more tricks than can be counted. The sky’s the limit!