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Wendy Bockman | Irish Red and White Setters

Wendy Bockman

Interview with Wendy Bockman, Breeder of Truly Red & White Irish Red and White Setters

  1. Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Where do you live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a breeder? What is your kennel name?
  2. What is your “process” for selecting show puppies? Performance puppies?
  3. In your opinion, is your breed in good condition overall? Any trends that warrant concern?
  4. As a Preservation Breeder, can you share your thoughts on the sport today? How’s the judging these days? What do you think about the number of shows?
  5. In your opinion, is social media good for the sport? Is it harmful?
  6. What are the biggest challenges facing the dog show community as a whole today and how can these be addressed?
  7. What are some of the positive changes you’ve seen in the sport over the past decade?

1. Our kennel name is Truly Red & Whites. We are a family that includes myself, Wendy Bockman, my husband, Ed, and my two adult daughters, Rachel and Lindsay. We make breeding decisions, show entries, and Field Trial entry decisions together as a team. We are located in Eastern Pennsylvania and we have been breeding and competing with our Irish Red and White Setters since 2009.

2. We evaluate our litters for conformation, temperament, and interest in birds as they develop and make our final choices at eight weeks. The pups that are going to other homes start leaving at 10 weeks. The pups we keep for ourselves must have the best conformation AND the drive and bird interest to compete in both shows and Field Trials/Hunt Tests.

3. Irish Red and White Setters are, overall, a healthy breed and we’ve seen great improvements in overall structure and temperaments over the last decade. We are at the stage now where the breed has had its first dual champion (bred by us, but the owner did the field championship, we helped by handling in the show ring) and we are now working to hopefully have more dual champions in the breed, not just us but other breeders over
several states.

4. With our breed being low in numbers we have to travel to find competition, so that is a challenge itself. Judging overall is good, but we have had instances where judges made too much emphasis on color and markings, which isn’t what should be the priority when judging this breed. Having shows every weekend does seem to cause too much repeating of judges on the judging panels. It would be nice to have some different judges.

5. We do see a lot of negativity spread through social media. Fortunately, it’s not an issue we’ve seen in our breed.

6. We need to find a way to bring more people into the show/breeding community. Without new people, we will have problems keeping breeds going. Personally, we work as hard as possible to encourage those new to the sport and do everything we can to support them. My husband is excellent at introducing women to the field side of our dogs and teaching them about hunting and doing Hunt Tests/Field Trials. It would be great to have more clinics for people to learn about all of the different dog sports.

7. One thing that social media has done that is positive is a number of Facebook groups geared towards the education of newbies in all of the different dog sports.