Interview with Guy & Thelma Mauldin | Kismet Shetland Sheepdogs – AKC 2021 Breeder of the Year Herding Group Honoree.
1. The Shetland Sheepdog is a breed that is adored by so many dog lovers. What is it about the breed that has sustained your interest for so long?
Our first purchase as newlyweds was a Sheltie. They are such an intelligent, loveable, and loyal breed.
2. Breeding dogs requires the vision of an artist, the curiosity of a scientist, and the commitment of a philosopher. As breeders, do you view yourselves as artists, scientists or philosophers? Maybe you’re a combination of all three?
Our standard is very comprehensive. We believe in creating a strong gene pool based on outstanding individuals.
3. In dogs, selection is key. How do you select your sire and dam combinations? How do you select which puppies will walk alongside you in the show ring?
We always cross fault with every breeding. Our preferred crosses are half-brother x half-sister and grandfather x granddaughter. Selection is always of paramount importance. Our litters are whelped in the house and the puppies are handled several times a day. As they get older, we look for the puppies nearest to our ideal—heads, balance, outline, structure, temperament, and trainability.
4. The Breed Standard is the preservation breeder’s most essential tool. What are your thoughts on the importance of breeding to the standard and presenting the breed in the ring accordingly?
We have always tried to adhere to our breed standard, never following fads or breeding to the “winner of the week.” Our standard does have a point schedule: For head and expression – 20 points; body, hindquarters, forequarters, and gait – 55 points; general appearance, symmetry, temperament, and coat – 25 points.
5. Today’s breeders have found themselves on the defensive from public criticism and from legislative proposals that would restrict breeding practices. In your opinion, what can preservation breeders do to counter the anti-purebred rhetoric that has taken hold in this country?
In Texas, we do have an organization that monitors all proposed dog regulations. We, along with most dog clubs, contribute to funding and responding to any calls for action by this organization or the American Kennel Club. We do think that promoting dogs by belonging to specialty clubs as well as all-breed clubs is extremely important, as is mentoring newcomers to the breed. Equally important is sharing our knowledge with people who are hoping to judge our breed.
Guy & Thelma Mauldin | Kismet Shetland Sheepdogs – AKC 2021 Breeder of the Year Herding Group Honoree – Featured image from https://www.kismetshelties.com/