You’ll find lots of photos and information on my web site. I try to share information that is useful to both pet owners, breeders and judges and, as time permits, I add more content to my site. There are some things that you won’t see on this site, however…
If you’re following this blog, you may be anticipating an announcement about an upcoming litter. What you don’t see on this site is the amount thought and research that goes into the decision to breed the next litter: to breed your next beagle…and mine. There are many factors taken into consideration: health, temperament, movement, breed type…and I gather as much information as I can before making the decision to breed a litter. When I am seriously considering a stud dog, a detailed survey is sent to the stud dog owner requesting information, photos and videos of the dog, the dogs in his pedigree and the dogs that he has produced. If at all possible, I will have already evaluated this dog in person. Careful consideration is given to how this gene pool will combine with the gene pool of the bitch that I plan to breed. There are no perfect dogs and with each breeding I identify two or three traits that I most want to improve and I look for the stud dog and pedigree that offers the best opportunity to achieve those goals. I go to Nationals each year (and other shows) not to compete, not to win….but to know what exists in our gene pool and to be able to make educated breeding decisions.
You don’t find health clearances posted on my web site: not because I don’t do health screening; not because I have something to hide. What you find is the statement: “Health clearances available upon request”. There are several reasons why I choose to do this but essentially the reason is that I want to promote a dialogue. If you are interested in the health of Talbot Hill Beagle, please ask. I take the health of my dogs seriously. I don’t want to live with dogs that have health issues, I don’t want my pet owners to live with dogs with health issues, and I don’t want breeders to see Talbot Hill in a pedigree and identify my kennel name with a health issue.
AKC Breeder of Merit
You don’t see the AKC Breeder of Merit banner on my web site. While I meet most of the requirements, there is one that I do not fulfill and therefore fall short of earning this recognition. AKC registration is necessary for breeding or participation in AKC events such as competition, obedience, agility, lure-coursing, field trials, etc…but, for the pet owner, I choose to leave the decision to register their new puppy with the owner.
You don’t see the CHIC logo on my web site either. Again, I take the health of my dogs very seriously and I applaud the efforts of all who work to improve the health of our breed. Health screening is expensive and a breeder can spend hundreds of dollars on health screening and genetic testing. To register those results in databases adds an additional fee per test and to earn the CHIC logo, an additional fee must be paid. When I test my dogs, I learn what I need to know to make sound breeding decisions, I receive certificates showing the results of the testing, and I am happy to share the results of that testing with anyone who asks.
A few years ago the AKC introduced the Grand Champion title. It was around the time that I was battling cancer and had to put breeding and showing on hold for a few years. To be honest, while I have a general idea how the title is earned, I couldn’t accurately explain it to you without referring to the AKC site. Essentially, after earning the initial Champion (CH.) title, the dog continues to be shown, defeating more dogs, earning more points. Showing is expensive; assume $30 per dog every day that a dog is shown. On top of that, an owner-handled dog will have travel expenses (gas, hotel, meals) and professionally handled dogs have handling fees. And then there’s advertising. And grooming products. And equipment. It all adds up….quickly! But…those titles, those wins, don’t change the dog. They don’t give a dog a longer muzzle, greater reach, more coat, a stronger topline, etc, and I will not make a point of pursuing a GCH for my dogs.
I’ve mentioned the cost of what I do several times now. Breeding dogs, done right and for the right reasons, is an expensive hobby, not a business. My battle with non-Hodgkins Lymphoma was devastating to me not just physically but personally and financially as well. In 2015 I was able to return to breeding but it is with very careful thought that I make each decision to breed or show my dogs. A good breeder simply hopes to break even and improve her bloodline with each generation and that is the thing that I enjoy most about what I do. Showing dogs gives a breeder a chance to exhibit the best of her breeding program and perhaps earn titles validating the quality of her dogs. For me, though, the person that I need to please is not a judge but me. There is no greater critic than myself…
…I grew up in 4H and FFA. I began judging animals when I was 11 years old and had great coaches who taught me that the reason that we exhibit animals is to evaluate breeding stock. I was a pre-vet major in college and graduated with a degree in Agriculture Education. I competed on the livestock judging team at Washington State University and there, too, the emphasis was on evaluating breeding stock and producing animals for the purpose for which they were intended. When I began breeding beagles, I brought that history with me and it is that perspective that guides the decisions that I make. For me, what I do is not about “show” or “competition”…it never has been and never will be. I am a steward of the breed that I love and Talbot Hill is a reflection of knowledge gained through thoughtful study, strong relationships with a broad perspective of mentors, travel and relationships built throughout the world, and appreciation of the breed in all of its aspects. I began the process of patiently rebuilding my bloodline in 2015 and it is with great hope and love for this breed that I look forward to the future.
If there is something that you don’t see on my site that you’d like to know more about, please ask.