Interview with Raven Klone, Breeder of Old Soul Kennel
Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a breeder?
Raven Klone: I reside in eastern Nebraska, between Lincoln and Omaha. I have had dogs my whole life, and my first dog of my own was a Bluetick Coonhound named “Sobe.” I have had Black and Tan Coonhounds for nine years now, with our first litter seven years ago.
What is my kennel name? How many dogs do I currently keep?
Raven Klone: My kennel name is Old Soul Kennel and I average about a dozen dogs; mainly Black and Tans, but we do have a Swissy, Bracco, Fauve, and Azawakh—because I simply love dogs and don’t want to miss out on experiencing other breeds!
Which show dogs from the past have been my noteworthy winners?
Raven Klone: GCH Southwind Woodrow BCAT CGCA CGCU FDC RN TKN (Woodrow) was my first Black and Tan, and my first show dog. His ring presence and sweet demeanor made him a fan favorite, and he enjoyed showing best with a cheering crowd. With very limited showing in 2019, he was invited to the NOHS Finals, placing Best of Breed, and to Westminster where he placed Best of Opposite.
Which have been my most influential sires and dams?
Raven Klone: I am just getting my bearings on breeding. I have had two litters so far, as well as assisting other breeders with two more.
GCHB Jazzman Earhart’s Journey to Old Soul CGCA DCAT FDC TKN (Amelia) has produced a litter with Woodrow that has just begun entering the show ring. The puppies honor both of their parents in type and temperament, and I am very excited to present them alongside their owners!
Can I talk a bit about my facilities? Where are my puppies whelped? How are they raised?
Raven Klone: I am a veterinarian by trade and fully believe that, for their best development, puppies should be incorporated into our lives. Thankfully, my family is supportive and helpful in puppy rearing!
Our puppies are raised in our home, alongside my children and ever-patient husband, and our own dogs. We own a small acreage, so we take pups outside routinely as soon as it is safe. Once pups are vaccinated, they also take day trips to my clinic. I enjoy learning about puppy rearing practices and incorporate as many as I can to ensure that the puppies I raise are well rounded, confident, and excellent companions.
What is my “process” for selecting Show Puppies? Performance Puppies?
Raven Klone: I select show puppies based on evaluations at eight weeks of age, but it is a cumulative process from birth until then. I evaluate head structure immediately after birth. I stack and photograph all my puppies once a week, from four weeks to eight weeks of age, and longer for those that stay. I like to share photos with my friends who understand structure, to avoid any blind spots I might develop while falling in love with every adorable coonhound baby.
All of my puppies are Volhard tested to compare to my own assessments of temperament and drive. Each puppy is taken on solo outings between six and eight weeks of age to observe their interactions and stability away from their littermates. If someone is interested in a puppy for work (search and rescue, service, or hunting), we discuss which characteristics they prefer and prioritize to select the best match for them. I also begin basic training, and even exposure for specific training, before the puppies are placed in their new homes.
Do I compete in Companion Events? Performance Events?
Raven Klone: I like to compete in anything the dogs find enjoyable or rewarding. There are different priorities for each individual dog, but all of my adults will complete their championships as well as a CGCA and a couple “back-end” titles before being bred. I find that this demonstrates workability and trainability, even if the titles are not “difficult” to achieve.
I currently have dogs training and competing in:
- Barn Hunt
- Scent Work
- Fast CAT
Amelia was the first Black and Tan to win the breed at the Fast CAT Invitational in 2021. In 2022, three littermates I bred were the top invitees, with CH Old Soul’s While My Guitar Gently Weeps CA DCAT (Pi) taking the breed, and currently sitting at Lifetime Fastest. We like to have fun!
Is “performance” part of my decision-making when it comes to breeding?
Raven Klone: Yes, in that I expect our dogs to demonstrate that they can work and show the characteristics of their breed.
I do not feel that coonhound nite hunts represent the type of drive and hunting my Black and Tans were bred for, so we do not seek out those titles or awards. I am not opposed to demonstrating their natural abilities, though, and I hope one day that the other coonhound events will be held often enough to partake!
How would I define “conditioning” as it relates to your breed?
Raven Klone: From our Breed Standard: “first and fundamentally a working dog” and “immediately impresses one with the ability to cover the ground with powerful, rhythmic strides.” A good Black and Tan should appear to be fit enough to work and cover ground with little effort. They should be well muscled and lean, suited to chasing game.
Are there any health-related concerns in my breed? Any special nutritional needs?
Raven Klone: As large hounds, joint health should be evaluated (hips and elbows). Eyes and hearts should also be screened. Unfortunately, as a breed, we are also seeing more allergies and GDV (bloat) than any of us wants.
Puppies should not be encouraged to grow too fast, so an appropriate large-breed food is best when young. Hounds with sensitive ears should consider novel protein diets (not grain-free!), as chronic ear issues are often caused by food sensitivities.
Do I think my breed is supported by a sufficient number of preservation breeders?
Raven Klone: No. We are a low entry breed (#149 of 200, I believe). It can be difficult to find suitable pairings that are not closely related. We have several excellent pillars in our breed, but we should be welcoming to new, dedicated breeders.
Is my breed well suited to be a family dog? Who are the best candidates to own my breed?
Raven Klone: Yes. Black and Tans make excellent companion dogs. They are expected to be tolerant of most situations (bred to work with other dogs and people in a non-aggressive manner). They do need early and continued training to prevent them from deciding that their ideas are better than yours! Black and Tans learn easily, even after one repetition, if something is very rewarding. (Don’t leave food on the counter!) They require more mental stimulation than true physical exercise, and will create entertainment if they aren’t getting enough. In general, they are not prone to barking, but when they do, it is LOUD.
Black and Tans are best-suited to people who can maintain a sense of humor, and those who can appreciate some “intelligent disobedience.” They are definitely trainable, but some people get outsmarted. A heavy hand is never the right solution, as some Black and Tans are soft in temperament. They love fully and appreciate the good things in life.
What is the biggest misconception about my breed? What is my breed’s best-kept secret?
Raven Klone: The biggest misconception is that most people assume they bay all day and all night. Those dogs are known as “trash barkers” (meaning, they make a fuss about nothing). We don’t like those dogs. I enjoy a hound baying at quarry, but I sure don’t want that foghorn going off all the time at home. To be honest, mine bark less than many dogs I see and spend time around. It just so happens that when they DO bay, it can be heard a long way off!
The best-kept secret is how amazing these dogs are as companions. Black and Tan Coonhounds thrive in loving homes. They are in tune to their people and notice when someone might need a lean-in hug. Black and Tans are clowns, and nothing makes them want to repeat a behavior more than when their people are laughing at them. They curl up into “coonie balls” when sleeping, and even the big boys can fit on less than one couch cushion.
If I could share a comment or two with judges of my breed, what would I like to say to them?
Remember: “immediately impresses one with the ability to cover the ground.” There should be nothing stiff, short, or clunky in their gait. A correctly moving dog will catch your eye.
And “never shy or vicious.” These should be brave, capable hounds. “Beauty, strength, courage” as from our Illustrated Standard.
And lastly, the Black and Tan’s heritage hails from the old Talbot Hounds and Foxhounds. They will be heavier, with more substance than the other coonhound breeds. The Black and Tan is a moderate dog in comparison to their foundation, bred to be a versatile, cold-nosed, trailing hound.
Do I have any words of wisdom to pass along to newer breeders?
Raven Klone: Learn to differentiate “correct” and “type” from “style.” Everyone is allowed their preferences within the Breed Standard. Celebrate yours and learn to appreciate the good qualities in dogs that are not your own. Know your breed’s Standard and its purpose. Breed type is steeped in function.
For a bit of fun, what’s the most amusing thing I’ve ever experienced with a Hound?
Raven Klone: We were practicing tracking. We had a fairly green dog with an easy, straight, short track laid in front of us. As we began, the track layer dropped behind us to help spot if we veered off course. Ten yards in, that hound looked over his shoulder, behind me, straight at the tracklayer, sighed with a mixed look of disgust and resolution, and finished his track with minimal enthusiasm. He KNEW that tracklayer was behind us, and thought me a fool for encouraging him forward anyway.
Also, there is nothing more amusing that flapping ears, eyelids, and lips obscuring all vision when a hound partakes in the simple joy of a rolled-down car window.
Are you looking for a Black and Tan Coonhound 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 Black and Tan Coonhound 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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