Interview with Lori Whorff, Breeder of Camellia English Setters
Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a breeder?
Lori Whorff: I live in East Texas. I’ve been around dogs and horses all my life; and I first fell in love with English Setters around 1986 when I went to a dog show in Vallejo, California. As soon as they entered the ring, I lost my heart forever. I got my first English Setter in 2001… I took 10 years to study the breed and pedigrees, and then bred my first litter in 2011.
What is my kennel name? How many dogs do I currently keep?
Lori Whorff: My kennel name is Camellia… taken from the city where I was born, Sacramento. Usually I have 6-8 dogs.
Which show dogs from the past have been my noteworthy winners?
Lori Whorff: My best show dog ever that was bred by me is GCHG Camellia Love Is Here To Stay, bred, owned, and handled by me. My English Setter that has it all and had a good show career is GCH Camellia Wild at Heart.
Which have been my most influential sires and dams?
Lori Whorff: In 2016, I bred my foundation bitch, GCH Latin Lover Night and Day (imp. Italy), to GCHS Esquire Fourwind’s Travel’N Man. I imported “Bettina” because her pedigree had some old American lines that were crossed with some notable European lines. I was attracted to these lines because they produced dogs with excellent front assemblies and I felt that that was what I wanted to improve in my breed. She was an amazing foundation for me as she was put together well; as were her six littermates. “Travis” was a young sire I chose because I thought that he would complement Bettina.
Three of the get from this litter have gone on to contribute much to the breed:
- CH Camellia Take the Scenic Route;
- CH Camellia Wheels Up To Triple Creek;
- CH Camellia Covenant Ticket to Ride.
All have produced very well.
Can I talk a bit about my facilities? Where are my puppies whelped? How are they raised?
Lori Whorff: I have a large backyard with two dog paddocks where my dogs spend much time running and stalking birds and squirrels. I have a large dog room with indoor dog runs where dogs can relax during bad weather or when I’m not home. I also have a kennel building, but my dogs don’t stay in it… mostly it’s used for storing equipment. My husband and I have a huge sectional so that we can accommodate the dogs while watching TV.
The dogs live in our home and play outside whenever they want as long as someone is home. I have a large kitchen with a breakfast nook that I’ve turned into my office. Off the kitchen is a big laundry room that doubles as my whelping room. It’s got room for my box, plus a cot for me. It has a counter with drawers for towels and my supplies, and a sink. It’s perfect. The puppies are raised in that location off the kitchen and they are always around people from day one. We utilize the Puppy Culture socialization protocols as well.
What is my “process” for selecting Show Puppies? Performance Puppies? Field Puppies?
Lori Whorff: I choose puppies for their potential as show prospects, but I also look for instinct early on. From the moment they are born, I watch them. Sure, I stack my puppies and look for type, balance, etc., but mostly I like to watch them and see how they carry themselves and how they interact with other dogs and people, and how they respond to new situations. Temperament and personality are very important.
Do I compete in Companion Events? Performance Events?
Lori Whorff: I love showing my own dogs in Conformation. I’m very proud to be a breeder/owner/handler. This fall, I plan on participating in some field events also. I’ve wanted to do that for a long time and now I’ll have the opportunity.
Are Field Trials or parent club Hunt Tests important to me?
Lori Whorff: We are blessed that the English Setter Club of America hosts and supports Field Events.
How would I define “conditioning” as it relates to my breed?
Lori Whorff: For my breed, I believe the best conditioning is access to running free. When working on foot timing for the show ring, I like to have my dog trot next to me several times a week. That way we get really comfortable running next to each other and can develop into a team.
Are there any health-related concerns in my breed? Any special nutritional needs?
Lori Whorff: As with any Sporting Breed, there are concerns about hip and elbow dysplasia. A combination of breeding away from these issues and of raising puppies and dogs in an environment conducive to heathy bones and joints is ideal. The genes responsible for the unique Belton pattern that an English Setter has and the genes responsible for pigmentation of the inner ear are linked together. Because of this, hearing issues are a concern in our breed. Fortunately, puppies can be tested using the BAER test before they leave for their new homes. I take my pups to the vet school at LSU for their BAER testing.
Do I think my breed is supported by a sufficient number of preservation breeders?
Lori Whorff: I do wish we had more preservation breeders in our breed. English Setters are a breed with low AKC registration numbers every year, and I wish that we could find more people who have a passion for the breed and an interest in becoming a caretaker of the breed as a preservation breeder.
Is my breed well suited to be a family dog? Who are the best candidates to own my breed?
Lori Whorff: The English Setter is an ideal family dog! They love children and are very gentle with them. They have sweet temperaments and cherish being a family member. I think active families and active people make the best homes for this breed as they do need regular exercise. Also, families or individuals should be willing to do a bit of grooming as this breed carries a significant coat.
What is the biggest misconception about my breed? What is my breed’s best-kept secret?
Lori Whorff: The biggest misconception about English Setters is that they are dumb. Well, they are not dumb at all—they are goofy, but not dumb. The best thing about an English Setter is that he loves his people. He will do anything that you want to do with him. As long as he is with his people, he is happy.
If I could share a comment or two with judges of my breed, what would I like to say to them?
Lori Whorff: For judges judging our breed, I would like for them to remember that this is a moderate breed in size, but not in angle. Front and rear should be well angled as described in the Breed Standard, and they should be balanced front to rear. Also, the gait of the English Setter should be efficient, not fast. It’s okay for the head to be slightly lowered as the dog uses his forelegs to reach out; they shouldn’t move strung up.
Do I have any words of wisdom to pass along to newer breeders?
Lori Whorff: Words of wisdom for new breeders: spend time studying the breed, studying dogs, and studying pedigrees. Take a genetics class and learn about line breedings. Really, there is so much to say here but I think the most important thing is to talk to breeders who have been around in your breed for a long time. They have seen so much and know so much about different lines. They are a wealth of information! And finally, never stop learning. There is always more to learn.
For a bit of fun, what’s the most amusing thing I’ve ever experienced with a Sporting Dog?
Lori Whorff: One of my favorite things about Sporting Dogs is when they are in the ring at an outdoor show and they see a bird, or some other buzzy or flying thing, and it must be stalked and pointed. That never gets old!
Are you looking for an English Setter 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 an English Setter 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.
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