Interview with Terrie Strom, Breeder of R Pyr Great Pyrenees
Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a breeder?
Terrie Strom: I live in Pismo Beach, California. I have been in dogs since 1997 and have been breeding Great Pyrenees exclusively since 2001.
What is my kennel name? How many dogs do I currently keep?
Terrie Strom: My kennel name is R Pyr and I currently keep eight to ten dogs.
Which show dogs from the past have been my noteworthy winners?
Terrie Strom: I have to say, “Goodie,” who did a lot of winning at six months of age. “Elvis” was my first BIS NOHS winner. “Tess” is noteworthy because she achieved her Grand Champion Silver, which is not easy for a bitch. She won several Bests of Breed over many males.
Which have been my most influential sires and dams?
Terrie Strom: “Goodie” CH Euzkalzale Oh My Goodness! is my foundation bitch. “Sugar” GCH R Pyr Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum! is my most influential dam. She has produced 11 AKC Champions, and many have gone on to produce AKC Champions, Group winners, Specialty winners, NOHS BIS, and Therapy Dogs, to mention a few.
Elvis is an influential sire, as he has produced eight AKC Champions and one more close to his AKC Championship. This ninth Champion will put Elvis in the Top Producers Hall of Fame. Both Goodie, Sugar, and Elvis have produced wonderful get and all have done very well in the show ring.
Can I talk a bit about my facilities? Where are my puppies whelped? How are they raised?
Terrie Strom: I am a small kennel on 2.5 acres on the Central Coast of California. My dogs are part of my everyday life. I do not have the standard kennels that most bigger kennels have. My dogs are outside most of the day in two different yards along with my three goats that keep the weeds down. This also gives my dogs a job to protect the goats from local predators.
I whelp my puppies in my bedroom, so I can keep a close eye on them day and night. When they reach about 4 to 5 weeks, I introduce them to the outdoors. This is a process, and eventually they stay outside 24/7. They get to experience lots of sights and smells which the outside has to offer, including interacting with all of the other dogs and goats. They have a big “playground” to explore. They are always with the older dogs for learning and protection. At night, they are securely tucked away in a covered 10×10 run with kennel decking and dog houses.
R Pyr Great Pyrenees
What is my “process” for selecting Show Puppies? Performance Puppies?
Terrie Strom: I do not look at the pups too hard until 8 weeks. Then I formally evaluate each one of them according to the AKC Breed Standard. A “show” puppy may be different than the puppy I want to move forward with in my breeding program. The “show” puppy has that presence about them. Hopefully, that puppy is the same one I want to keep in my breeding program. Let me explain: Maybe I want to work on certain features like pigment, ear size, size in general, or teeth, and the “show” puppy doesn’t offer that but yet he is a very nice puppy and is exceptional in his showmanship. There may be another puppy that has some other characteristics that would really help my breeding program, but just doesn’t have that pizazz. That pup may not do well in the ring, but could be a great asset for my breeding program.
Do I compete in Performance Events? In Parent Club Tests & Trials?
Terrie Strom: No, but I have tried Draft Dog at our Nationals and have done many Parent Club Tests and Trials.
Is “performance” part of my decision-making when it comes to breeding?
Terrie Strom: “Performance,” as in AKC events, is not part of my decision-making. However, I always consider my breed’s original job of livestock guarding when I make decisions about breeding. My breed is still used for its original purpose and I don’t want that to go by the wayside.
How would I define “conditioning” as it relates to my breed?
Terrie Strom: Conditioning can mean a lot of things. For me, it means exposure to different things on a ranch and in the urban world. I like a well-rounded dog. They make good guardians and pets. So, my show dogs are well-rounded, with positive experiences. As far as exercise conditioning, the dogs get plenty of exercise on the property.
Are there any health-related concerns in my breed? Any special nutritional needs?
Terrie Strom: As a whole, Great Pyrenees are a pretty healthy breed. As in all breeds, there are health-related concerns. Bone cancer is at the top of the list for me. We do have many tests available to help us breed better, healthier dogs. I keep my puppies on puppy food for two years while they are growing, then switch over to adult large breed. I don’t do supplements because I feel that the food has what my dogs need.
Do I think my breed is supported by a sufficient number of preservation breeders?
Terrie Strom: NO. I think the breeders who are participating at AKC shows are breeding to the AKC Standard, but I find that many other breeders out there are breeding livestock guardians but are not breeding to the AKC Standard. There are so many mixes of Great Pyrenees that are used for LGD, but this is NOT a Great Pyrenees. I am sure that these mixes do a fine job in guarding, but if they do not meet the Standard then they are not Great Pyrenees. Part of the Standard is breeding for temperament, but they are NOT Great Pyrenees if they don’t even look like one.
Is my breed well suited to be a family dog? Who are the best candidates to own my breed?
Terrie Strom: Yes, Great Pyrenees do make great family dogs. My ideal home for one of my puppies is that family ranch. The dog can be part of the family and have a job to do. They are great with kids and they are not a one-person dog. The family becomes part of the Pyr’s flock. The Pyr can come check on you to make sure things are good, get a pet, and then they are off doing their job.
What is the biggest misconception about my breed? What is my breed’s best-kept secret?
Terrie Strom: Just because they are a livestock guardian “breed” doesn’t mean each and every individual Pyr is a livestock guardian. Some that can be guardians still need training. They have basic instincts, but puppies need training! The best-kept secret is that they are like no other breed. They do not need you. You find you need them. Best Therapy Dog ever!
If I could share a comment or two with judges of my breed, what would I like to say to them?
Terrie Strom: Great Pyrenees are not an animated breed in the ring. Please judge by the Standard and not the flashiness. They must have “that” expression.
Do I have any words of wisdom to pass along to newer breeders?
Terrie Strom: Do your health testing. Don’t get caught up on one single part. Look at the whole dog.
For a bit of fun, what’s the most amusing thing I’ve ever experienced with a Working Dog?
Terrie Strom: I had a bitch that was doing something she wasn’t supposed to do in the front yard and she hurt herself. It was so funny because when I saw what she did, she was fine; however, when she knew I was looking and came out to check on her, she was limping. As soon as I turned my attention away, she stopped limping. When I looked again, she started limping again. Mind you, she was okay, but it just cracked me up.
Are you looking for a Great Pyrenees 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 a Great Pyrenees 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.
Great Pyrenees Dog Breed Magazine
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