Interview with a Toy Group Breeder Annette Lewis
Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a breeder?
Annette Lewis: I live in North Texas. I guess I’ve been in dogs all my life. My eldest brother showed our Kerry Blue Terriers as a teenager. Mom bred Miniature Poodles in the late 1960s-70s. I’ve been breeding Shih Tzu since 2010.
What is my kennel name? How many dogs do I currently keep?
Annette Lewis: My kennel name is Lotus and I currently keep 10 dogs.
Can I talk a bit about my facilities? Where are my puppies whelped? How are they raised?
Annette Lewis: Everything is in my home. I really like keeping my puppies and moms close. I also have a camera on each pen, so I can look in on them without disturbing the moms.
What is my “process” for selecting show puppies? At what age do I make my decisions?
Annette Lewis: I watch them at play, watching personalities develop, and looking at structure. By 12 weeks, I’ve decided on who I’m keeping.
How do I prepare my pups for the show ring? Does my breed require any special preparation?
Annette Lewis: I start young, about 10 weeks, getting them on the table and lead broke; making it a game and fun. I also go to training classes, so they get used to people going over them on the table.
Can I share my thoughts on how my breed is currently presented in the show ring?
Annette Lewis: I love how the breed is presented.
Are there any health-related concerns within my breed? Any special nutritional needs?
Annette Lewis: The only concern I have is dry eye as they age. As long as you’re feeding a good quality food, I find they remain healthy throughout their lives.
In my opinion, is my breed in good condition overall. Any trends that warrant concern?
Annette Lewis: I believe we are going in the right direction with good, responsible breeders. What concerns me are the people breeding down to get “pocket” dogs and the “designer” craze that’s going on.
Is my breed well-suited to be a family dog? Who are the best candidates to own my breed?
Annette Lewis: Shih Tzu are the BEST family dogs; young families with kids, older kids, empty nesters, and retired people. These guys travel so well and they just love all the attention they get!
Do I feel that my breed is supported by a sufficient number of preservation breeders?
Annette Lewis: Of course, I’d love to see more preservation breeders. There are too many breeding “Imperials” and breeding what they like rather than what is correct to the standard.
For a bit of fun, what’s the most amusing thing I’ve ever experienced with a Toy Dog?
Annette Lewis: PUPPIES! When they start learning to play with each other and explore their surroundings… endless hours of entertainment.