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Lesa Barnett | Barnett’s Rambling Teddy Roosevelt Terriers

Lesa Barnett leading her Teddy Roosevelt Terrier in a dog show ring


Interview with Lesa Barnett, Breeder of Barnett’s Rambling Teddy Roosevelt Terriers


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

Lesa Barnett: I live in a small town in North Georgia where I grew up. This is where I actively hunted with my dad for many years. My entire life has been spent with animals, especially Bluetick Coonhounds and Mountain Fiest. My first show experience was the National Coonhound Hunt in South Carolina and bench showing. Once married, I got my own dogs; two Siberian Huskies, but I never showed them.

Then one day, a friend asked if we wanted a little Rat Terrier to play with our kids. We purchased a sweet Rat Terrier sight unseen as a family pet. Upon arrival, “Ginger” was not a typical Rat Terrier but a Type “B” Rat Terrier. (We had never heard of them.) We soon began hunting for another one. Our journey took us to Ashtabula, Ohio, to find our mentors, Teresa and Tom Otto, and the love of my life—my Teddies!

I have been a dog breeder for at least 30 years and have now had the Teddy Roosevelt Terriers for 25 years or more. Finding the Teddy Roosevelt Terriers changed my life forever. They are the best little dog you will ever own or love.


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

Lesa Barnett: My kennel name is Barnett’s Rambling Teddy Roosevelt Terriers. We currently keep around 15 dogs at various ages as pets, puppies growing out, and breeding/show stock.


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

My most noteworthy winners were:
  • Barnett’s Weebits Zorro (aka Zorro)
  • Barnett’s Forever And A Day (aka Everly)
  • Barnett’s Rambling Lethal Weapon (aka Mr. Riggs)


Which have been my most influential sires and dams?

Lesa Barnett: My most influential sires have been Barnett’s Weebits Zorro, Barnett’s Always Dreaming (aka Derby), and Barnett’s Rambling Legacy (aka Rikki).

My Most influential dams have been Barnett’s Ginger Girl (aka Ginger) from our foundation line, Weebits Party Time Gal At Rambling Terriers (aka Gidget) who produced my smaller lines, Weebits Fleur De Lune @ Rambling Terriers (aka Moon), Barnett’s Once In A Blue Moon (aka Mystery), Barnett’s Ginger Girls Legacy (aka Nikki), and Barnett’s Zorro’s Zeena (aka Zeena).


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

Lesa Barnett: Our Teddies enjoy a lifestyle inside our home with outside time to play, hunt squirrels, dig, chase, and do the things Teddies love to do. We live in the woods with lots of wildlife on a large creek, and with fenced-in play yards for daytime play and potty breaks. Babies are born in our home and do not go outside to play until they have reached certain milestones and have direct supervision. Puppies are whelped in a separate room of our home for close supervision of the pups and dam. We use Pat Hastings’ teachings on puppy development.


Am I working with your breed’s parent club to gain full AKC recognition for my breed?

Lesa Barnett: I have been actively showing in AKC since 2016 and more so since 2019 when we earned MISC status. I am the first Teddy Roosevelt Terrier AKC Breeder of Merit. I attend the AKC National show each year in Orlando to represent the breed. I am health testing and have earned 10 CM titles for my kennel with different dogs—and I’m working on numbers 11 and 12. Many of my dogs are working on CM 2/3 and even a CM 9 titles, which means we have seen several judges. I am doing judges education and getting our Teddies out there for everyone to see. It is amazing to hear a judge say, “Thank you for sharing this little breed with me, it is my first time seeing them. I love the wonderful consistency I see in your lines.”

Lesa Barnett
Lesa Barnett – Barnett’s Rambling Teddy Roosevelt Terriers


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

Lesa Barnett: I use Pat Hastings’ Puppy Culture and other valuable strategies to evaluate my pups from birth to 10 weeks. I do a great deal of socialization to help puppies develop into well-rounded dogs for everyone in every situation. Teddies are known for their versatility in different situations as long as their person is involved. When picking a show pup, structure comes first, and health screenings, temperament, and an overall good, well-rounded pup. For the Teddy that is bound for a show home, a 100 percent guarantee cannot be given as some physical traits which develop later can change a pup’s path. So, I find someone who will work with me and constantly re-evaluate the pups as they grow and mature to show potential, and develop a great working relationship for the breed.


Do I compete in Companion Events? Performance Events?

Lesa Barnett: I have competed in Barn Hunt, Fast CAT, and Dock Diving. I would like to participate in more in the future. I also have some Teddies doing Pet Therapy, Emotional Support, and Seizure Detection.


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

Lesa Barnett: A well-conditioned Teddy is at a weight where it can go to ground or hunt vermin. One drawback with our breed is that they easily get overweight. The Teddy must have a good balance from front to rear and have the speed, agility, and balance to go to ground. The Teddy should not be slender built, nor should it be overdone. They should have substantial bone for their size but not be course or refined; only in good working condition.

Lesa Barnett
Lesa Barnett – Barnett’s Rambling Teddy Roosevelt Terriers


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

Lesa Barnett: Teddy Roosevelt Terriers have the same health-related concerns as their cousin, the Rat Terrier. Some issues being tested for are Primary Lens Luxation, Degenerative Myelopathy, Hypothyroidism, Intervertebral Disk Disease, Patellas, and Cardiac. Also, some concerns are roach backs, fiddle fronts, easty westy feet, weak pasterns, bad bites, and allergies. Our breed also does not do well on a grain-free diet and needs high protein. They also do well on a raw diet.


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

Lesa Barnett: I feel more education is needed for the breeders who are currently breeding about how to build a better Teddy and what a preservation breeder means.


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

Lesa Barnett: Our Teddy Roosevelt Terriers are the best-kept secret for family dogs. They bond easily and seek attention, and they train easily with the right motivation, which is either food or your attention. This breed loves their people and desires to be always with them. The best person is someone who has time to spend with them, and they do well in packs or at least prefer a playmate. They are wonderful with children when raised with them or when the children are taught how to respect them.


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

Lesa Barnett: The biggest misconceptions are thinking we came from the Jack Russell or Parson Russell Terrier, which we have no connection to, and that with short legs we cannot be athletic. This is far from the truth—these dogs can fly!


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

Lesa Barnett: They should not move like a Rat Terrier. Teddy Roosevelt Terriers do NOT single-track like a Rat Terrier, but rather, they should double-track due to CDDY (Chondrodystrophy), the short leg gene. Teddys should still have reach and drive for going after prey and a nice, functional front assembly. Also, a slight rise over the loin is not a roach back.


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

Lesa Barnett: When choosing a Teddy for your breeding program, make sure they are fully health-tested and watch for fiddle fronts or easty westy feet that do not develop until after five months of age. Once the front goes off, it almost never comes back as it can in other breeds. Be aware of the limited genetics in our breed.


For a bit of fun, what’s the most amusing thing I’ve ever experienced with one of my dogs?

Lesa Barnett: When my son was six years old, he went to a show with me. We were staying at the motel where I left him in the room with my female dog “Reba” while I carried the male out to potty. My friends were sitting nearby, watching my son for me. Well, I came back to the room and Reba was gone.

I asked, “Where is Reba?” My son said, “Well mom, she wanted to go with you, so I let her go.” Of course, I freaked him out, handed my male to a friend, and asked everyone at the picnic table to help me find her since they had missed him letting her go. I frantically ran around the motel to the parking lot and there she stood, totally frozen because she could not find me! WHEW… funny now but scary at the time! My son had no clue that he had done anything wrong. He had “helped” Reba.



Are you looking for a Teddy Roosevelt 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 Teddy Roosevelt 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.


Teddy Roosevelt Terrier Breed Magazine

Showsight Magazine is the only publication to offer dedicated Digital Breed Magazines for ALL recognized AKC Breeds.

Read and learn more about the Teddy Roosevelt Terrier dog breed with articles and information in our Teddy Roosevelt Terrier Breed Magazine.


Teddy Roosevelt Terrier Breed Magazine - Showsight