Interview with Linda Whisenhunt, Breeder of Arnault Great Pyrenees
Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a breeder?
Linda Whisenhunt: I currently reside in Spokane, Washington, with my Great Pyrenees, which I have been breeding and showing for 40 years.
What is my kennel name? How many dogs do I currently keep?
Linda Whisenhunt: My kennel name is Arnault Great Pyrenees.
Which show dogs from the past have been my noteworthy winners?
Linda Whisenhunt: I have done exceptionally well with “Jammies,” “Valor,” and “Jolie.”
Which have been my most influential sires and dams?
Linda Whisenhunt: Valor and “Shenanigans,” as well as Jolie, have produced some of my top-winning get.
Can I talk a bit about my facilities? Where are my puppies whelped? How are they raised?
Linda Whisenhunt: I keep and breed my dogs at home. My puppies are whelped in one of the bedrooms where they can be watched over and socialized before they move to the yard. Once in the yard, we spend much time with the babies and socialize them to my other dogs gradually.
What is my “process” for selecting Show Puppies? Performance Puppies?
Linda Whisenhunt: By spending so much time with them as they grow, I am able to watch them move and play, watch for their personalities to develop, and handle them to check on growth and conformation.
Do I compete in Performance Events? In Parent Club Tests & Trials?
Linda Whisenhunt: Not at this time, but I may in the future.
Is “performance” part of my decision-making when it comes to breeding?
Linda Whisenhunt: I look for personality and temperament to see which puppies would be best at doing the livestock guarding that they were bred to do. I have done much Obedience trialing with my past dogs that were Therapy Animals and my Service Animal.
How would I define “conditioning” as it relates to my breed?
Linda Whisenhunt: It is so important to keep your dogs conditioned by having them run and play with each other frequently. They are also fed excellent diets to keep the weight on them and to grow a beautiful coat.
Are there any health-related concerns in my breed? Any special nutritional needs?
Linda Whisenhunt: Some health concerns that have affected our breed have been osteosarcoma and gingival hyperplasia. There is research being done to find out if there is a genetic marker for these diseases so that we can identify carriers for future breedings.
Do I think my breed is supported by a sufficient number of preservation breeders?
Linda Whisenhunt: In our breed, there is a limited number of preservation breeders. But, there are many backyard breeders and puppy mills. As preservation breeders, we are educating, educating, educating!!!
Is my breed well suited to be a family dog? Who are the best candidates to own my breed?
Linda Whisenhunt: Our breed is a wonderful family dog with the right family. The breed is a very independent animal to be able to perform the job that it was created for, so it is important to have a knowledgeable owner to handle this breed. Again, education is crucial. Too many Great Pyrenees are ending up in rescues because they were not placed in the right home. Families need to research this breed well before acquiring a cute puppy that will grow up to be a large, independent dog.
What is the biggest misconception about my breed? What is my breed’s best-kept secret?
Linda Whisenhunt: The biggest misconception is that the cute little puppies will grow up to be very quiet and mellow adults, with no training. The best-kept secret is that they are so loyal and intelligent.
If I could share a comment or two with judges of my breed, what would I like to say to them?
Linda Whisenhunt: I would really like to remind the judges to look at the Great Pyrenees expression! Also, remember that a Great Pyrenees should move well but does not need to be flashy in the Conformation ring to do their jobs well.
Do I have any words of wisdom to pass along to newer breeders?
Linda Whisenhunt: Please make sure you do your research, and join the Great Pyrenees clubs to meet mentors and other breeders to learn from before you start breeding.
For a bit of fun, what’s the most amusing thing I’ve ever experienced with a Working Dog?
Linda Whisenhunt: Valor was such a ham when it came to Halloween. He loved to dress up in costumes and always looked so cute, no matter what I dressed him as (Spider, Taco, Pyr Musketeer, Sebastian from the Little Mermaid, and a Butterfly).