Interview with Herding Group Breeder Julie Despot
Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a breeder?
Julie Despot: I live in the Pacific Northwest in Olympia, Washington. I have been in dogs for 26 years and have been breeding for 12 years.
What is my kennel name? How many dogs do I currently keep?
Julie Despot: My kennel name, which I share with Karen Marquardt and Bobbi Broyles-Ryan, is Mtn. View Ranch Border Collies, usually shortened to MVR. We keep between 8-10 dogs between the three of us.
Which show dogs from the past have been my noteworthy winners?
Julie Despot: Our own dogs: “Spy,” because of what he has produced; “Coal” for his beautiful outline and movement; and “Sen” for her color and movement. These are my favorites of ours.
Which have been my most influential sires and dams?
Julie Despot: Spy has been our most influential sire. We love his pedigree, what he produces, and the temperaments that he produces.
What is my “process” for selecting show puppies? At what age do I make my decisions?
Julie Despot: When selecting show puppies, the first thing I look at is fronts. For me, Border Collies need a good front and a good eye. The shoulder and arm are so important for movement and good, low carriage. Usually, by eight weeks, we know which ones we are keeping.
How do I prepare my pups for the show ring? Does my breed require any special preparation?
Julie Despot: I usually prepare puppies and adult dogs for the ring by walking them around my neighborhood. On Karen’s ranch, the dogs do not get the city experience; cars, kids, walking past other dogs, etc. I usually train the down and back and go-around as two different elements.
Is my breed hand-stacked or free-stacked in the show ring? Why is it presented in this manner?
Julie Despot: The breed should be free-stacked, but that’s not feasible for every dog. What is represented by showing them free-stacked is showing off the famous biddability and trainability.
Are Performance and Companion titles important to me as a breeder? Are parent club titles?
Julie Despot: Karen and I would rather place and sell to companion/performance homes; an MVR Border Collie that we want you to be able to do everything with. For us, this is very important as breeders.
In my opinion, is my breed in good condition overall? Any trends that warrant concern?
Julie Despot: Stop. Trimming. Border Collies. In my opinion, when you alter a dog’s outline you are inhibiting the ability of the judge to pick out the outlines that move well.
I think the breed is in good condition overall. I do see a lot of judges awarding dogs moving with their head above their topline. Head should be in-line with the withers or lower!
Is my breed well-suited to be a family dog? Who are the best candidates to own my breed?
Julie Despot: Border Collies are wonderful family pets. Border Collies love to have their people around them and to keep an eye on them.
Do I feel that my breed is supported by a sufficient number of preservation breeders?
Julie Despot: We have preservation breeders… but we need more!
For a bit of fun, what’s the most amusing thing I’ve ever experienced with a Herding Dog?
Julie Despot: The most amusing thing I have ever experienced with a Herding Dog was when I was showing a Border Collie and he saw something in the grass. He froze in a crouch and his eye “turned on.” He got stuck for a moment and didn’t want to call off the grass. I am not sure what he saw, but he was “stuck.”
Anything else I would like to share about myself? Any special message I have for all of us in the fancy?
Julie Despot: The breed standard is your guide, not your personal opinion!