Interview with Non-Sporting Group Breeder Alexia Rodriguez
Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a breeder?
Alexia Rodriguez: I currently living in Boonville, California, which is southern Mendocino County. I have been in dogs for 30-something years. (I like saying that more than my age, lol!) Of my current breeds, I have been judging for about 15 years.
What is my kennel name? How many dogs do I currently keep?
Alexia Rodriguez: My kennel name is Potrero Performance Dogs. I currently have around 15 permanent residents.
Which show dogs from the past have been my noteworthy winners?
Alexia Rodriguez: In Löwchen, I have many champion- and performance-titled dogs, but I’m super proud of CH Potrero Late To The Party NA NAJ XF FCAT4 CGC TKN, aka “Tardi.”
Which have been my most influential sires and dams?
Alexia Rodriguez: My foundation bitch, “Beatrice,” has been the heart of my Löwchen program. Her mothering nature is something that I see as being so valuable to the breed. Even now at 10 years old and spayed, Beatrice still cleans the babies when the dams are out for a potty. She still nurtures the young ones and will even allow them to “nurse.” It’s absolutely amazing to watch. She set my structure in my Löwchen and she set the amazing and confident temperaments I produce. Beatrice is CH Tapestry’s The Beat Goes at Potrero.
Can I talk a bit about my facilities? Where are my puppies whelped? How are they raised?
Alexia Rodriguez: All of my “lions” live in my home. Puppies are whelped in the bedroom or in a spare room. I’m a big proponent of using the Puppy Culture method of puppy raising.
What is my “process” for selecting show puppies? At what age do I make my decisions?
Alexia Rodriguez: With Löwchen, the breed does tend to grow relatively consistent from a young age. The only thing we can’t tell at 12 weeks is what type of coat texture the pup will have. I watch the puppies. I train them and make mental notes along the way. I don’t think I have an exact process. I make my final decisions at 11 weeks.
How do I prepare my pups for the show ring? Does my breed require any special preparation?
Alexia Rodriguez: TRAINING! Age-appropriate socialization and teaching life skills as well as basic obedience. I’m a dog trainer, so I like all my dogs well-behaved and knowing the basics. As for special preparation, there is coat care and conditioning, of course.
Can I share my thoughts on how your breed is currently presented in the show ring?
Alexia Rodriguez: I believe the Löwchen is presented well, overall.
Are there any health-related concerns within my breed?
Alexia Rodriguez: We always worry and test for patellas and for eye issues.
In my opinion, is my breed in good condition overall. Any trends that warrant concern?
Alexia Rodriguez: I think the Löwchen breed is actually doing great! The quality at the last few Nationals has been very good, if not excellent. You could’ve made a case for almost any dog entered to have a win.
Is my breed well-suited to be a family dog? Who are the best candidates to own my breed?
Alexia Rodriguez: Löwchen are perfect “unicorns” of small dogs. They are happy to sit in your lap, go on walks, do therapy, compete in sports, and be everyone’s best friend.
Do I feel that my breed is supported by a sufficient number of preservation breeders?
Alexia Rodriguez: I feel that we could always use more. We have a small group, but we have to keep growing. I feel we are growing—but we need more.
For a bit of fun, what’s the most amusing thing I’ve ever experienced with a Non-Sporting Dog?
Alexia Rodriguez: My Löwchen always have fun antics in and out of the show ring. Too many to mention!