Interview with a Herding Group Breeder Mary Tripp
Where do I Live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a Breeder?
Mary Tripp: I live in Leander, Texas. I have been in dogs for 40-plus years as a breeder.
What is my kennel name? How many dogs do I currently keep?
Mary Tripp: My kennel name is Tripphill Kennels. I currently keep 11 dogs.
Which show dogs for the past have been my noteworthy winners?
Mary Tripp: A noteworthy winner is AOE 2x Sel (Int.) Ch. Crosstimbers Cargogh Clihu, OFA, RN, Award of Excellence.
Which have been my most influential sires and dams?
Mary Tripp: “Cargogh” has been the most influential.
Can I talk a bit about my facilities? Where are my puppies whelped? How are they raised?
Mary Tripp: Nestled in the heart of the Texas Hill Country, the kennel is an 875 sq. ft. heated and cooled building with both indoor and outdoor runs. Each dog has individual quarters, including the indoor/outdoor facilities as well as large exercise paddocks.
Puppies have a separate whelping room with access to outdoors when age appropriate. The bitch has complete privacy as well as bathroom privileges. As puppies grow, their area is extended, and by the time they are 6 weeks old they are basically house-trained. They are socialized daily, handled, talked to, and played with.
What is my “process” for selecting show puppies? At what age do I make my decisions?
Mary Tripp: We begin observing them as soon as they are born. Since GSDs are a “moving” breed, we spend many hours watching them gait naturally. They are taken on walks daily and taught to come when they are called, usually, “puppy.” We start making decisions at 10 weeks. Usually by 12 weeks, we have chosen the pick two or three, and move the rest to companion homes.
The GSD is uniquely presented, both standing and moving. How do I prepare my pups for the show ring?
Mary Tripp: The stance should be natural if the puppy is structured properly. It is enhanced by using bait to teach them to stand still and observe the handler. Gaiting on a leash starts at 8 weeks when they learn to pull and move out. At the same time, they are socialized at every opportunity.
Care to comment on the various coat colors of the breed? Any personal preferences?
Mary Tripp: There are several coat colors that are acceptable. My desire is for deep, rich pigment with little to no ticking. I do not have a preference for color.
What are my thoughts on the various “styles“ of GSD seen in the US and around the world?
Mary Tripp: There is only one standard and therefore should only be one style. The breed is meant to be multi-functional, all in the same mind and body!
Do I compete with your dogs in Companion and Performance events? Are Specialties important?
Mary Tripp: Yes, I compete in Companion and Performance events. Specialties are absolutely important. They are the opportunity to showcase the best in the breed.
In my opinion, is my breed in good condition overall? Any trends that warrant concern?
Mary Tripp: We have dogs with overall great traits. There could be improvement in temperament and type.
Do I feel that my breed is supported by a sufficient number of preservation breeders?
Mary Tripp: No, we are losing major preservation breeders almost weekly, with no one to replace them. The dedication it takes to raise and study dogs is a dying art.
Is the GSD well suited to be a family dog? Who are the best candidates to own my breed?
Mary Tripp: The GSD makes an excellent family dog for all ages. A good family for GSDs is active and loving, with a gentle nature. They must be willing to train and work with the dogs.