Interview with Working Group Breeder Cheryl Crompton
Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a breeder?
Cheryl Crompton: I live in the country, outside Mishawaka, Indiana. I have been breeding Standard Schnauzers for 40-plus years.
What is my kennel name? How many dogs do I currently keep?
Cheryl Crompton: I breed under the name of Stahlkrieger and I have a total of only six dogs at present. I am fortunate to have several dogs that I co-own, living with their owners.
Which show dogs from the past have been my noteworthy winners?
Cheryl Crompton: My dog, Int. World CH Stahlkrieger’s Magnum Force, went Best Junior in Show at the World Dog Show in Helsinki. He became a champion in 18 countries. He was shown by his Italian owner. I was extremely proud of him and all of his get that have gone on to win here and overseas.
Which have been my most influential sires and dams?
Cheryl Crompton: Int. World CH Stahlkrieger’s Johnny Cash and Int. World CH Magnum Force have produced many International and World Champions in many countries abroad as well as at home. Both continue to produce through their frozen semen.
One of my foundation bitches, CH Asgard Paige V Stahlkrieger, was a blend of outstanding lines and became a Hall of Fame Producer with limited breeding. I still see her wonderful traits in the litter I have presently.
Can I talk a bit about my facilities? Where are my puppies whelped? How are they raised?
Cheryl Crompton: My dogs are my companions and reside in my home. My puppies are raised in my office where I usually sleep next to them for about three weeks. They have lots of visitors after about three weeks, to socialize them. I am also with them continually and I hold them a lot so that they are used to being held. They lay in my lap on their back to get nails clipped so that they learn to trust people early on.
What is my “process” for selecting show puppies? At what age do I make my decisions?
Cheryl Crompton: Since I’m with my puppies continually, I observe their daily habits, such as who wags their tail first and who steps up to new situations such as toys, vacuum noises, etc. I am “grading” the litter daily from the time their eyes are open. Many times, by 4 to 6 weeks, I know who is show material. I picked both Magnum and Johnny before they were five weeks old.
How do I prepare my pups for the show ring? Does my breed require any special preparation?
Cheryl Crompton: I usually don’t have very much formal training for the conformation ring. I pick puppies that like to be center stage. Training usually consists of traveling with me, as all my dogs do, and being worked with at shows.
As far as preparation goes, most of it is done at home with rotating the harsh coat, trimming furnishings, and keeping them free of stains. At the show there is some preparation, but most is done between shows at home.
Is mine a cropped and/or docked breed? Can I share my thoughts on cropping and docking?
Cheryl Crompton: My breed is usually cropped and docked. At our national breed club, we just voted to allow full tails. Uncropped ears are allowed. This was done, in part, to allow overseas dogs to come to America and receive championships as well as add to our small gene pool. My thoughts on docking and cropping is very simple. I think, as a breeder or owner of the dogs, it should be your choice. I don’t think it should be regulated one way or another. Even though my dogs are very much part of my family, technically, I still own them. (They think it’s the other way around.) So, I should make that decision as should any other breeder/owner.
Are Performance and Companion titles important to me as a breeder? Are parent club titles?
Cheryl Crompton: Performance and Companion titles are very important in my breed. This breed is called, “The dog with the human brain,” and they need a job. What I mean is that they are much happier dogs with something constructive to do. If allowed, the National Specialty always hosts Performance Events such as Barn Hunt, Obedience, Herding, etc. This breed is a versatile, outgoing, and intelligent breed when bred correctly.
In my opinion, is my breed in good condition overall. Any trends that warrant concern?
Cheryl Crompton: The thing that concerns me the most in our beautiful breed is fronts. I’m seeing so many dogs out there with a so-called front built out of hair, not layback of shoulder, when, in fact, they are very straight in the front with no layback. That and coats are becoming too profuse and fluffy. The breed is a Working Dog that should have a harsh, wire coat that sheds rain and snow, not soft with tons of “fluff.”
Is my breed well-suited to be a family dog? Who are the best candidates to own my breed?
Cheryl Crompton: That’s a tricky question because it depends on the family. Standards are not usually for the first-time dog owner. As puppies, they are a toddler with teeth. They are intelligent, curious, perpetual motion at times, and they can get into things you think they can’t. On the plus side, you’ll never have a more loving, loyal, and comical family member. I send out to prospective owners a puppy adoption application which includes asking about doggy experience. There are no perfect candidates for a Standard Schnauzer. Each prospective owner is decided upon individually.
Do I feel that my breed is supported by a sufficient number of preservation breeders?
Cheryl Crompton: A huge yes! Our small breed has some of the most wonderful people in it; people who not only care about titles but also the forever homes their puppies live in.
The breeders in this breed try very hard to guard against volume breeders, who are after quantity not quality, or the Doodle breeders. Every breeder I personally know guarantees to take back their dogs if the owner cannot keep them, myself included.
For a bit of fun, what’s the most amusing thing I’ve ever experienced with a Working Dog?
Cheryl Crompton: As you know, I show and breed both pepper & salt and black Standard Schnauzers. Years ago, at a benched show, I had a lady who “knew everything about dogs” come up to me to show her friends what a “Scotty” looked like. I tried politely to let her know that this was not a Scotty, but a black Standard Schnauzer. She informed me that she knew a Scotty when she saw one. At that point, I said “okay” and let it drop. Later in the day at ringside, they were calling for Standard Schnauzer bitches in the ring. I walk in front of her and her friends and said, “Told you she was a Standard.” Her friends then started in on her about being wrong, and I just smiled. Sometimes it’s best not to argue and let karma intervene.