Based in NorthWest Missouri, our Kerry Blue Terrier kennel has earned it’s stripes over the years with several Champions & Grand Champion Winners, Best in Show, and Best in Show Specialty Winners.

Go over to our Shows page to get a look at our awards!

Jinece writes: “I live on a farmstead right off of East Sheep Creek in Kidder, Missouri which is just north of Kansas City.  I have been exhibiting and breeding Kerry Blue Terriers for 5 years. Raising puppies has influenced everything on my farm; I bought sheep to raise my own organic raw food, and I have British Guernsey goats to provide goat milk for the puppies. Being a breeder has influenced every aspect of my life.

Although I am relatively new to this breed, I have had litters of hunting hounds in my past.  I researched Kerry Blues for over 15 years to make sure that when the time was right and I retired from the military, I would step into the breed with the best bloodlines and the mentor support that would take me to the top with the least struggles.   

The hardest part of being a breeder owner handler is managing the schedule and finding balance between breeding and puppies, showing and family–Don’t forget having a job on top of that. It can be hard leaving your family on weekends and holidays to go to a dog show.  Having the family support to do so is crucial in this business.  I am fortunate to have family that love animals almost as much as I do and can help me hold down the farm when I am away at dog shows. 

The most rewarding part of being a breeder owner handler comes from sharing my love of the breed with others. I have met some of the best people in the world with new puppy owners; some have become my second family.  They are as excited about their new family member as they would be with a new child in the family. I love to see the pictures the families send back to me and see the pups grow up and be productive members of their families.  That’s a big reward.   

I have a special bond with the male dog I am currently campaigning, Azule. He is the BOMB.  I know his likes and dislikes and his fussiness. I know his “we got this mom” moments, and it gives me goose bumps when he is in the ring and he is on it.  He demands the “look at me”.  I can’t imagine doing this without him, but I am not sure what next year will hold for him.   

 My advice for newcomers? Buy into a mentoring program with the best dogs you can afford and a mentor that comes with the breed you purchased. The years of advice I gained from my mentor are priceless—from knowing about the breed’s pedigree, what works, doesn’t work, to entering show—it is all about a good mentor.  Breaking into the breeder owner handler world is not about just buying a dog, but your buying into the knowledge and experience another breeder has already learned and accomplished. Have them mentor and help you with your breed.  Breeding and showing dogs is very complex and many of the good breeders spent a lifetime to get where they are.  

I could not have had the accomplishments of a lifetime without having my mentor at my side—going to the shows together and sharing the drive, the real-life stories of flat tires in the middle of nowhere, but also the knowledge of “pedigree parties” or the “puppy evaluations” that she has shared with me.  MANY years of breeding before me brought me to this moment, so my advice is to listen and learn from those willing to share a bloodline by helping them show their dogs in exchange. The more dogs you show, the better your showing skills get. 

I came from the world of showing horses, and still dabble in it from time-to-time. It’s been enlightening to see how many of us have come from the equine show background that progresses to dog showing as we get wiser with age.   

Like any sport, showing comes with politics and prejudice and that has been a huge wall to overcome.  Learning which judges to show which dogs to and where to show has been a learning curve.  Breeding and showing your own dogs is super rewarding to watch them get titles and progress and be the all that they can be. However, as a breeder owner handler the defeat is really personal and heartfelt.   

I am in this for the long haul.  I love my dogs, and I love to show my dogs. My goal is to be as good of a mentor for the next generation of Kerry lovers.”

I am a Breeder:

I carefully choose the dogs I will breed based on health, temperament, conformation and working ability.  I put titles on them to prove they are worthy to produce the next generation I will go forward with.  I take them to be tested for the diseases and disorders their breed might encounter, as many tests as are available and reasonable to do before I breed them.  I pore over magazines, web sites, event results and the OFA listings to find the very best (IMO) mate for them.  I oversee the breedings, monitor their pregnancies and personally assist them to bring each and every puppy into this big scary world.  I cry over the ones who don’t arrive safely.  I can do all of this because I have spent decades learning everything I can about their breed, their bloodlines, their health and the art and science of reproduction and whelping.  I spare no expense providing them with the best I can give them in the way of food, environment and veterinary care for the eight weeks they will stay with me.  I spend every minute that I can caring for them and socializing them.  Cleaning up after them is a full time job, while I also hold down a full time job to be able to afford their expenses.  I carefully screen the people who wish to take one of them from my home to live in theirs.  I google, research and re-research each person who fills out one of my puppy applications.  I require those final lucky people who will become a part of my dog family to sign a three page contract, and promise them my support for the life of their new puppy.  I shed happy/sad tears as they drive away.  And I shed them again when I see them later in life, and when they pass on.

I am an Owner:

I raise my dogs in a loving home. MY loving home. I care for them, I feed them, I clean up after them, I teach them what they need to know to be good at whatever we will do together. When they are not feeling well, I nurse them, I worry over them. I spend each day with them until their last day. Then I cry my eyes out when I hold them as they slip away, and again and again in the days, months and years after when I think of them.

I am a Handler:

After much deliberation, I choose the puppy that will not drive away, that will stay with me. I never stop trying to learn to be a better handler. I train them, I condition them, I love them. I handle them in whatever venue we will participate in, and there will be several. My dogs will not be one dimensional. I will be there for the first and every handling class, the first and every match show, the first and every actual competition. After each competition my dog will come home with me to OUR house, where we live together. Their successes will be my successes and mine will be theirs.

I am a Breeder, Owner, Handler. I am not just a name on the certificate. I do not claim anyone else’s accolades. I do it all personally. I am a dying breed. And I am vastly proud of what I am.

Written by Cathy Iacopelli, Claddagh Kennels, Reg.

Leave a Reply