Interview with Hound Group Breeder Sheila Allen – Sheez-Beez Kennel Smooth Fox Terriers & Harriers
Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a breeder?
Sheila Allen: I currently live in Snohomish, Washington, but will be in Forest City, North Carolina, by July. I got my first purebred, a Pekingese, at age ten, but I really started in dogs in 1972 with German Shepherd Dogs; so officially, 50 years! I bred my first GSD litter in 1974.
What is my kennel name? How many dogs do I currently keep?
Sheila Allen: My kennel name is Sheez-Beez and I currently have 13 dogs residing here.
Which show dogs from the past have been my noteworthy winners?
Sheila Allen: In Hounds, my first notable winner was GCH Sakura Bluhils Way Too Easy. “Jazzy” was a National Specialty winner and my first Harrier!
Which have been my most influential sires and dams?
Sheila Allen: My old Harrier, “Quest,” has produced three champions and a National winner in his daughter, “Rose,” owned and bred by Margie Dykstra.
Can I talk a bit about my facilities? Where are my puppies whelped? How are they raised?
Sheila Allen: All of our puppies are whelped in the house and raised there. We use many enrichments as they develop, with favorites being tunnels, Cato Boards, Wobble Boards, and many different stimuli.
What is my “process” for selecting show puppies? At what age do I make my decisions?
Sheila Allen: I observe puppies as they grow, watching movement and temperaments as they develop. I start stacking, with photos, at 5 weeks when I generally have a rough idea, and then final evaluations take place at 8 weeks.
How do I prepare my pups for the show ring? Does my breed require any special preparation?
Sheila Allen: Teaching standing still, having teeth looked at regularly, and doing nails often helps puppies to become used to being handled. Trips to vet offices and other safe places to be examined by others also helps. Harriers are pretty much a wash & wear dog. Regular bathing and showing a totally clean Hound is a must, as we use NO products like chalk in our kennel.
Can I share my thoughts on how my breed is currently presented in the show ring?
Sheila Allen: Our breed appears to be in good hands, and several are currently being co-owned with handlers. The others being shown are doing very well in the Owner-Handled Groups.
Are there any health-related concerns within my breed? Any special nutritional needs?
Sheila Allen: Luckily, our Harriers are generally healthy. We do the normal hips, eyes, and DNA testing, but being a low-entry breed they are mostly only bred by true preservation breeders.
In my opinion, is my breed in good condition overall? Any trends that warrant concern?
Sheila Allen: Harriers are generally in good shape as a breed. I do see some loaded shoulders, rears are sometimes too straight, and toplines are not as level as one might like—but overall, what is in the ring is worthy!
Is my breed well-suited to be a family dog? Who are the best candidates to own my breed?
Sheila Allen: Harriers are remarkably biddable, sweet, kind, and loving. They are marvelous family dogs and are terrific with children. Being an independent, free-thinking breed, they need to be kept busy and have adequate exercise. And, of course, a fenced yard is needed as they are scenthounds.
Do I feel that my breed is supported by a sufficient number of preservation breeders?
Sheila Allen: Actually, the number of breeders has diminished. This is very sad and has further limited our gene pool. Imports from the UK and Australia have added some fresh blood, but here in the US more truly passionate breeders would be an asset to the breed as a whole.
For a bit of fun, what’s the most amusing thing I’ve ever experienced with a Hound?
Sheila Allen: Amusing was taking a young Mr. Quest to Canada and getting soaked to the skin while attempting to relieve himself. Scenthounds often take forever for this task—be prepared!