Interview with Lois Grier, Breeder of Krisma Kerry Blue 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?
Lois Grier: I was raised on an Iowa dairy farm near where we live today. I grew up caring for and working with animals of all types, but, of course, my best friend was a Collie named “Buster.” Once my husband, Ted, and I were married, our first pet was an AKC registered “Pekingese” that looked exactly like a Tibetan Spaniel today. That still puzzles me! I taught high school for 10 years, then owned an interior design business for the next 22 years.
My search, in 2002, for a show dog led me to purchase a beautiful Kerry Blue Terrier from Terry Worful that became GCH Valtara’s Miss Krisma Revlin CD RN CGC Gold ROM. She was an absolute dream for a foundation bitch and was ranked in the Top 10 the first year I showed her as a special, with only six months of shows after her first litter of puppies. “Revlin” was the dam of 16 Champion offspring, making her the No. 3 Top-Producing Dam in the USKBTC’s history. I dare say, all of our 108 Krisma-bred Champions go back to Revlin. So many have been top-ranked Kerry Blue Terriers in the past 20 years in both Conformation and Performance; here are just a few:
Revlin’s son, “Lazer,” GCH Krisma’s Licensed To Thrill, and daughter, “Liviah,” GCHS Krisma’s Lotsa Lottie Da For Liviah Gold ROM from Revlin’s second litter in 2006, were both in the Top 10, with Liviah the No. 2 Female KBT in 2011. Liviah surpassed her mother for the No. 1 spot with 20 Champion offspring. One of Liviah’s most famous litters was the “X” litter of 2013. She gave birth to eight extraordinary puppies out of INT CH/CAN CH/AM GCG CH Kerion The Noble Spirt and son of CH Aran Ferbane out of the Louisbourgh bloodlines. Six became Champions, three were National Specialty winners, and four became Grand Champions.
One of the most special moments is when “X” littermates, “Xavier” and sister “Reagan,” were awarded BOB and BOS together at Westminster in 2016, both owner-handled! Xavier is MBISS MBIS MRBIS CAN GCH AM GCHG Krisma’s Xman First Class RATN, Best in Futurity 2014, Best in Maturity 2015, and USKBTC National Specialty BOB at Montgomery in 2015 and 2016, No. 1 Kerry in Breed and All-Breed in 2016 and 2017, and the first Challenge of Champions winner in 2017, completely owner-handled. Then Xavier was the No. 1 Dog of all breeds in Canada for all of 2018 when I couldn’t show due to two knee surgeries. He is still turning heads and gives us goose bumps to watch him display the “it factor” that he still has. Reagan is GCH Krisma’s Xanthe And The Kings Child, also owner-handled by Phil and Beth Leubbers.
Brother “Oliver” was shown in Canada by his owner, Cheryl Kabarchuk, to No. 1 KBT and No. 4 Terrier spots in 2017, along with winning the Canadian KBTCC National Specialty. He is MBIS MRBIS BISS CAN GCH MEX/AM CH Krisma’s X Marks The Spot RN. Oliver and Cheryl earned 110 Group placements, three BIS, and two RBIS. The two boys were tops in both the US and Canada. Cheryl is currently showing MBIS MRBIS CAN GCH BISS AM CH Blueve’s First Edition. “Fredi” is Xavier’s beautiful granddaughter. Cheryl and Fredi are on a winning streak with 10 BISs and eight RBIS this year. Xavier’s son, “Merit,” is CH Blueve’s Defining Elements Of Krisma and has already had a Terrier Group First by 12 months of age, and is catching everyone’s eye.
Sisters “Xcstasy,” “Xahala,” and “Zoey” all became Champions and Grand Champions. Xcstasy was the super girl of that litter, producing some of our best. She was the KBTCC National Specialty BOB winner in 2018 and loves performing in Barn Hunt with her brother Xavier. Xcstasy is BISS CAN CH AM GCHB Krisma’s Xiss Of Xcstasy RATN ROM and is still acting like a puppy in our home alongside her two daughters, “Irelynn” and “Verity.”
In 2022, we had “Quest” in the ring because he is such a happy boy and a pleasure to show. Our granddaughter, Averi, earned a Best in Show Junior with him, first time she showed him, along with multiple Terrier Group placements. He is MBISS CAN CH AM GCH Krisma’s Quest For Satisfaction. Quest has two Canadian BISS, including an All-Terrier win and KBTCC National, and three BISS in the US in the relatively few times he was shown. In August, my husband showed our other male special, “Omni,” in Canada where he picked up the KBTCC of Canada BISS win at the National. Both have many wonderful breed attributes but differ in style and personality.
“Krisma” also has some outstanding performance stars as well, including CH Krisma’s Les Mystique CD BN RI FDX AXJ MX MXB MXJ MJB SBN SWN SIE SCA SEA SEE DS DJA HDN FCAT2 CGC TKA. “Mystique” and her owners, Scott Tibbs and Cierra Tibbs, have earned multiple titles in six different areas of Agility, Scent Work, Obedience, Dock Diving, Fast CAT, and Trick Dog. In 2022, she was No. 3 KBT in AKC Agility. Mystique has earned the No. 1 KBT spot for the 2023 AKC Agility Invitational and will be competing in Orlando in December. She has earned six new titles this year so far, with a total of 38 lifetime titles at this point. They have earned Silver, Gold, and Emerald Versatility Awards from the USKBTC. We are so proud of all they have done together and wish them the best of luck!
Another outstanding top performance Krisma Kerry is “Darby,” owned and trained by Sharon and Trigg Grieshop. Darby has earned titles in Barn Hunt, Fast CAT, and Coursing Ability, and has completed all five Trick Dog titles. He is GCH Krisma Leprechaun Prince Darby SWN RATN FCAT3 CAX TKE. He has earned the USKBTC Silver Versatility Award, with more titles to come this year. Most exciting is that Darby was the No. 1 KBT in Fast CAT in 2022 and has an invitation for 2023 competition. Congrats to the owners who take the time to provide such grand opportunities for their companions. That’s another awesome brother-sister duo, as Darby and Mystique are also littermates. Kerries love a job to do!
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?
Lois Grier: I think the most important thing about Kerries, or any breed, is to do your research to find a specific breed that is right for your family. Kerry Blue Terriers are a hidden treasure, and those people who often inquire about a puppy or adult have already lived with one. They are not to be purchased on a whim as a trophy because of their good looks.
These are smart, strong-willed dogs that are loyal to family but need a leader and require training and a job that makes them very happy. I see a wide variety of styles in the Kerry ring, but it is important that you also research the breeder you purchase a KBT from. Yes, I have worked with breeders overseas who are raising and competing successfully with our Krisma lines. And yes, pet homes are available, but only after extensive interviewing to make sure it is the right match.
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?
Lois Grier: Living in Iowa, I have worked very hard to introduce and mentor new owners to compete in both Conformation and Performance events. We have to work together to bring enough Kerries to shows for points, but that makes for a close group of friends and it doesn’t matter who wins—we all do. Anyone coming into this breed needs to have a mentor to work with. Terriers have a different mindset than other dogs. If you are interested in Conformation, this is especially true because learning to condition, groom, and prepare a Kerry for competition takes work—but it is highly rewarding! I always encourage my new owners to join a club and find something to do with their Kerry. But finding a mentor, any good terrier mentor, can be helpful.
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?
Lois Grier: I would say the biggest challenge is keeping the dog show community alive for future generations as well as preserving those breeds with low numbers. We are losing many good exhibitors and judges for many reasons. It is expensive and it takes a lot of time. Clubs are having a harder time surviving and Juniors numbers don’t seem to be increasing.
My oldest granddaughter, Averi, started showing at age 8, joined Juniors at 9, and has earned multiple Best Junior awards with different dogs each time as well as several Terrier Group placements, but it is hard for her to find time to do many shows. Her younger sister, Eisley, just turned 9 in April and is preparing for her first Juniors show next weekend. Kids who don’t have a connection and someone to help them will have a hard time staying in the sport. That is our future.