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Kellae Fischer | Seneca Standard Schnauzers

Kellae Fischer, Breeder of Seneca Kennel


Interview with Kellae Fischer, Breeder of Seneca Standard Schnauzers

Where do you live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a breeder?

Kellae Fischer: I live in Camp Verde Arizona. As a child, my family got our first Standard Schnauzer in 1972. I participated in Conformation shows and Junior Showmanship, but didn’t show as an adult until the early 2000s. At that time, I acquired my first Standard and went on to breed my first litter in 2005.


What is my kennel name? How many dogs do I currently keep?

Kellae Fischer: I breed under the kennel name Seneca. I currently have eight dogs, some of which are retired dogs. I’m currently growing out four young dogs in hopes to have my next great Conformation prospect.


Which show dogs from the past have been my noteworthy winners?

Kellae Fischer: Different dogs for different reasons. In Conformation, GCHG Seneca’s Audacious Amelia At Marki was SSCA Dog of The Year (Breed Points) in 2016. She is an outstanding example of the breed and has been an outstanding producer for me. In Performance venues, CH CT MACH7 PACH2 Seneca’s Lavender And Lace VCD3 GO VER RAE7 HSAs MXB3 MJB3 MXP5 MXPS MJP5 MJPS PAX2 MFB TQX MFP T2B CGCA has so many titles they’re hard to count. She was noteworthy for her working ability.


Which have been my most influential sires and dams?

Kellae Fischer: My GCH Seneca’s Lady Luck was a SSCA Hall of Fame producer. She was from my very first litter and never failed to produce quality in her litters. Additionally, I have a long line of OFA excellent hips that descend from her. My polish import, CH Jethro Artax’s Angels, corrected some conformation faults I was unable to correct using American sires while at the same time leaving what good I did have intact. All of my current dogs have “Jethro” behind them.


Can I talk a bit about your facilities? Where are my puppies whelped? How are they raised?

Kellae Fischer: I have a large dog room that most of the time is my grooming space. It was designed and built with the dogs in mind. When puppies are expected, it shifts to a whelping and puppy area. I am able to sleep with the litter without having other dogs disturb the dam. Puppies are raised utilizing Puppy Culture and we do ENS with them in their early weeks. Recently, I started using litter pans to minimize accidents in their pens. I was a skeptic, but now I’m a fan.


What is my “process” for selecting Show Puppies? Performance Puppies?

Kellae Fischer: Selecting a show puppy starts at birth. There are things you can see that won’t change much over the next 8 weeks. I’m constantly assessing the puppies while they are developing. If I have two front runners, I may keep both of them to make the best choice as they grow up. What I keep depends partially on what I was hoping to improve with a particular pairing. When doing a breeding, I determine three traits I’d like to improve on my bitch and select a sire that could potentially contribute improvement while at the same time not diminishing areas where the bitch is already strong.


Do I compete in Performance Events? In Parent Club Tests & Trials?

Kellae Fischer: Conformation is where my heart is. I occasionally train in Performance but rarely compete in it. I believe that breeding sound dogs gives others a foundation to develop Performance Dogs.


Is “performance” part of my decision-making when it comes to breeding?

Kellae Fischer: Standard Schnauzers are so versatile that literally most could excel in Performance. When planning a breeding, I’m looking to produce dogs that meet the Breed Standard, so I’m not considering Performance titles.


How would I define “conditioning” as it relates to my breed?

Kellae Fischer: This breed needs to have conditioning of the mind and body. Early development produces a dog with a mind that can handle stress and solve problems. Standard Schnauzers become bored easily, so mental stimulation keeps their brains exercised. They should be well muscled, so physical exercise is a must. I like my dogs to be able to exercise at different speeds rather than being on a trotter. Lastly, conditioning refers to grooming. While this breed isn’t extreme in grooming needs, coat work needs to be done weekly if one expects to show with any frequency.


Are there any health-related concerns in your breed? Any special nutritional needs?

Kellae Fischer: SSCA does a health survey every 8-10 years in order to identify any emerging health issues we may have. Our Code of Ethics requires hips and eyes to have an OFA number and that breeders complete a DNA test to determine the DCM (dilated cardiomyopathy) status. We are fortunate to have a DNA test for this, so we shouldn’t ever see an affected dog in the future. I’ve seen elbow dysplasia numbers climbing, so I think it’s important for breeders to x-ray elbows. Given that Standard Schnauzers are overall very healthy, the only requirement is a healthy diet that allows them to stay at a healthy weight.


Do I think my breed is supported by a sufficient number of preservation breeders?

Kellae Fischer: I think we have an adequate number of preservation breeders, but we could always use more. Everyone has noticed the graying of the sport, and our breed is no exception. We need breeders to replace us as we gracefully age out of breeding.


Is my breed well suited to be a family dog? Who are the best candidates to own my breed?

Kellae Fischer: Standard Schnauzers can be wonderful family dogs. Our first SS in 1972 was a great introduction to the breed, and fortunately for our family, I don’t think he was a typical Standard Schnauzer. They can be challenging puppies and have a long puppyhood. A person can’t expect to have a great dog if they don’t put in the time early on to establish good habits from the moment their puppy comes home. The best owner for these puppies is one who will be fair and consistent in establishing boundaries from the moment their puppy comes home. Crate training is a must.


A person can’t expect to have a great dog if they don’t put in the time early on to establish good habits from the moment their puppy comes home.


What is the biggest misconception about my breed? What is my breed’s best-kept secret?

Kellae Fischer: The biggest misconception is that they don’t shed. They absolutely do shed and the better (harsher) the coat, the more they shed. Not exactly a well-kept secret, but Standard Schnauzers are wickedly smart, maybe too smart for some owners.


If I could share a comment or two with judges of my breed, what would I like to say to them?

Kellae Fischer: Please measure our dogs. If you think it’s too big or too small, please measure to confirm what your eye is telling you.


Do I have any words of wisdom to pass along to newer breeders?

Kellae Fischer: Have a mentor. You will do well to listen to breeders who have been breeding for decades. If you don’t have a mentor, ask questions. Have your dog evaluated. Listen to what they have to say. Ultimately, you will make your own decisions, but there’s no substitute for experience.


For a bit of fun, what’s the most amusing thing I’ve ever experienced with a Working Dog?

Kellae Fischer: As I’ve said, Standard Schnauzers are wickedly smart. In bed one night, I heard one of my boys drinking from the toilet. No problem. Shut the lid. In the middle of the next night, I heard him drinking from the toilet again. He had figured out how to stick his head between the rim of the toilet and the seat. No problem. Shut the door. I’m glad he didn’t figure out how to open the door, though some do have that skill.