Interview with Terrie Houck, Breeder of Destineez Miniature Schnauzer
Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a breeder?
Terrie Houck: I live in Mount Holly, North Carolina (just outside of Charlotte). I have 30 years in dogs and 30 years as a breeder.
What is my kennel name? How many dogs do I currently keep?
Terrie Houck: My kennel name is Destineez Miniature Schnauzer and I currently keep about 7 of my own dogs and 3-5 client dogs.
Which breeders have provided the greatest influence on my decision to breed dogs?
Terrie Houck: My greatest influences have been Norma Carver of Nor-Fran Miniature Schnauzers, Kurt Garmaker of Repitition Miniature Schnauzers, and Catherine McMillan of Minuteman Miniature Schnauzers.
Can I talk a bit about my foundation dogs?
Terrie Houck: I purchased a bitch from a local breeder in Charlotte, North Carolina. I did not purchase “Destin” as a show dog, nor did I have any intention of breeding her, but then I stumbled upon a dog show and met my first mentor, Norma Carver. She evaluated Destin for me, and concluded that she could have been shown. She encouraged me to breed her to one of her champion males, and my very first show dog came from that breeding. Her name was Ch. Destineez By Invitation Only, “Stomi.” She produced five champions for me.
A few years later, I purchased a bitch from Kurt Garmaker, her name was Repitition’s Race To Destineez, “Picabo.” She produced three champions for me, including Ch. Desitneez Running Brave, “Robbie,” that produced 32 champions. Then there was Ch. Destineez Smoooth Jazz, “Billie,” that produced 16 champions, tied for the most produced by a single bitch.
What about my facilities? Where are my puppies whelped? How are they raised?
Terrie Houck: I live on three acres and have a house with a full finished walkout basement. In my basement I have a large common area where the dogs can be house dogs, a grooming room, and a whelping/puppy room. Puppies are whelped in my house, as I do not have a separate kennel facility. They get a lot attention from day one. They have a room to run and play in. I try to provide them with obstacles that will challenge them; I teach them to go up and down a full staircase. They spend time in our living room interacting with us so they are well adjusted when they leave.
Do I have a “process” for selecting show puppies? At what age do I make my decisions?
Terrie Houck: I evaluate them on the table using the standard as my guide. Then I watch the on the ground alone, and with their littermates. I make my decision at around 8 weeks.
How do I choose the homes for my puppies? Is puppy placement important to me as a breeder?
Terrie Houck: I communicate with them several times, and then I have them come to the house and interact with the puppies. I want to see how they treat them, especially if they have children. I ask for a substantial deposit, and they know the price even before the come to the house. Puppy placement is of utmost importance. I need feel reassured that the puppies will get the best possible care available. They also know that I am just a phone call away.
Can I share my thoughts on how my breed is currently presented in the show ring?
Terrie Houck: Grooming wise, I love how our breed is presented. It is a lot of work, about 45 minutes per dog, prior to ring time. However, there are some who have chosen to clipper the head and chest, and those areas should be stripped. I don’t appreciate it when I see these short cuts. In my opinion, a Miniature Schnauzer should be a “do-it-yourself” show dog. They should be alert, tail and ears up, focused, with their feet all in the right places. A dog or bitch that is a good representation of the breed, that is groomed beautifully, and loves to show, gives me chills.
Are there any health-related concerns within my breed? Any special nutritional needs?
Terrie Houck: Like most purebred dogs, we do have health issues. We have four DNA tests for various health issues, that has certainly helped with reducing some of the problems. With a predisposition for pancreatitis, watching the fat content in foods is a good idea.
In my opinion, is my breed in good condition overall? Any trends that warrant concern?
Terrie Houck: In show lines I find the Miniature Schnauzer to be a healthy breed. Obviously conformation-wise all breeds have their issues, and each breeder probably has their idea on how our breed could be improved. But, overall, I think our breed is in good condition. The one thing I am concerned about is how long some of our heads are getting. We are not supposed to resemble a Wire Fox Terrier. A Miniature Schnauzer is a moderate breed. Nothing should be exaggerated in a Miniature Schnauzer, and that includes the head.
Is my breed well-suited to be a family dog? Who are the best candidates to own your breed?
Terrie Houck: A Miniature Schnauzer that is raised with kids, makes a great family dog. While they are small, they are robust and hearty. They love being wherever their family is and is as active as they are. They are smart and obedient. I grew up with this breed, and can absolutely say without a doubt, they are an awesome family pet.
A Miniature Schnauzer is very adaptable to any lifestyle. They don’t require a great amount of exercise, but certainly the enjoy an active family. The excel in obedience and agility, as well as many other events. But they also enjoy sitting on your lap watching television, so they are great for seniors.
Do I feel that my breed is supported by a sufficient number of preservation breeders?
Terrie Houck: While we are constantly challenged by puppy mills and backyard breeders, mixing breeds with Miniature Schnauzers and passing them off as purebred, the American Miniature Schnauzer Club has a very active membership who are breeding beautiful puppies. Fortunately, the Miniature Schnauzer is not considered a rare breed.
For a bit of fun, what’s the most amusing thing I’ve ever experienced with my breed?
Terrie Houck: Ch. Destineez Lucky Number, “Reno,” learned how to open crates, after watching me do it for about 10 years. She was my house dog, so she never was in a crate. Well, I came home from work, before I realized how competent she had become at it, and all of my dogs were running free around the basement! Luckily, no one was in season, and since my basement is dog-proof, no harm was done. After that, I had to put safely hooks on each crate.
Are you looking for a Miniature Schnauzer 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 Miniature Schnauzer 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.
Miniature Schnauzer Dog Breed Magazine
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