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Michelle Chaney | Sagebrooke Yorkshire Terriers

Michelle Chaney

Interview with Michelle Chaney, Breeders of Sagebrooke Yorkshire Terriers

  1. Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Where do you live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a breeder? What is your kennel name?
  2.  What is your “process” for selecting show puppies? Performance puppies?
  3.  In your opinion, is your breed in good condition overall? Any trends that warrant concern?
  4. As a Preservation Breeder, can you share your thoughts on the sport today? How’s the judging these days? What do you think about the number of shows?
  5. In your opinion, is social media good for the sport? Is it harmful?
  6. What are the biggest challenges facing the dog show community as a whole today and how can these be addressed?
  7. What are some of the positive changes you’ve seen in the sport over the past decade?

Michelle Chaney

1. I live in Southeast Iowa with my husband on our 80-acre farm. We have a grooming and boarding business onsite. I have had Yorkshire Terriers since 1985, started breeding and showing them in 1988 under the kennel
name Sagebrooke.

2. I start watching puppies from the moment they start climbing out of their bed for the curious, confident ones. At 8, 12, and 16 weeks I evaluate their size, temperament, structure, and coats.

3. I believe the Yorkies being shown are in good condition overall. The quality has improved over the years due to the commitment of preservation breeders sharing their knowledge and bloodlines; also, participating in health testing their dogs.

4. It seems the majority of us who show dogs are senior citizens. We need to find ways to pique the interest of newcomers, especially younger generations, and welcome them by sharing our knowledge and encouraging them to participate so that this sport we enjoy will continue long after we are gone. Judging is and has always been very subjective, dependent on show location, the entry, the dogs’ performance and how the judge interprets the Breed Standard. It is nice to have options of places to show, but it also tends to cause lower entries if shows are close to each other on the same dates.

5. Social media has connected breeders and exhibitors from around the world, sharing their experiences from the whelping box to their wins in the ring. For the most part it is a good thing, generally supportive and to encourage one another. It can be harmful when rumors and negativity is spread.

6. Challenges are affordable venues, hotels that will accept dogs at a reasonable price, and recruiting new club members who are willing to volunteer. These can be addressed by communicating with the venue and hotels about the economic impact our events have on the community, applying for grants, and disciplining exhibitors who don’t clean up after themselves.

7. Some of the positive changes are the different levels of grand championship achievements, National Owner-Handled Series, BBE Puppy Class, and Group placements eligible for major points. Also, an array of performance events and competitions.