Interview with Dr. Ilene M. Kaplan, Breeder of Kalil Cairn 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?
I have been involved in showing and breeding Cairn Terriers for a mere 20 years. I became involved with Cairns when I read that Cairns were big dogs in little bodies, and I can, respectfully and joyfully, support that statement. My journeys with Cairns have included Top 5, Top 10, prestigious Westminster awards, and membership in several Cairn regional, national, and international clubs.
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?
My kennel name is KALIL Cairn Terriers. My first Cairn, CH Kalil Cool Casey From Bull Run RATO CGCA TKN, Top 5 Breed and Top 3 All-Breed, lived to the ripe-old age of 17 (but, of course, not long enough). When he passed, folks told me that “he had a good life…” but my response was easily and readily given—“he gave me a good life.” “Casey’s” great-great-granddaughter is, at this writing, the No. 2 Cairn Bitch (August Statistics). I look back to the beginning and realize that I was fortunate to have had excellent mentors when I started; their knowledge and love of the breed was infectious, and so began my show career with Casey.
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?
After reaching my Conformation goals, we wanted to pursue other adventures together which included a diverse sprinkling of Performance events. I would say that one of the most important changes that I have seen over the years is the growing respect for, and increased participation in, Performance events with our Cairns. (And those of us with Cairns and other terriers know just how challenging this can be!)
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?
Among the best social and educational experiences that I’ve had is to learn about, and participate in, the diverse activities of several Cairn affiliate clubs. It has been my honor to work closely with several clubs, their Boards and their Specialties. I think I have learned the most in reaching out and talking to various members in different parts of the country. Perhaps a formal mechanism of communication among affiliate or regional breed clubs, to share how we deal with common interests, problems, and activities, is worth pursuing.
I’ve also found it invaluable to get perspectives not only from Cairn clubs but from Terrier Group clubs and All-Breed clubs. Again, the sharing of how we approach common interests, problems, and activities in non-competitive atmospheres offers tremendous growth opportunities.
As my appreciation for the dog world expands, I think we need to make greater efforts in the areas of public education and the awareness of what responsible breeding is all about. I have become increasingly concerned with the misinformation and myths associated with dogs and breeding programs that get circulated among the general public. Not only should we continue to make health testing more accessible (and support reduced rate health clinics), we should continue to emphasize and improve on the understanding that the public has about what we do.