Gia we know that beside working for one of the largest and successful law firm and of few political campaign, you are one of the best breeders in the world of an incredible dog breed called Weimaraner or Braque de Weimar. For how long have you been doing this and how did you discover this passion?
Weimaraners have been a part of my life practically since I was born as my grandfather was one of the first owners of Weimaraners in my country. When I left abroad for my studies, my passion had to go aside littlebit as I was extremely busy with my study and than with my work. When my children grew up little and my work position became so stable that I could work from home, I decided to “come back” to the Weimaraners. I found new direction and old-new passion by discovering a long-haired variety of Weimaraner, which is very rare when compared with the short-haired variety, so I have both. I’m trying to follow in the footsteps of my grandfather and continue to create and develop his legacy. For me it is important a reputable breeding and the elimination of health problems and genetic defects. For this reason, I also disagree with the view that in the herd he’s trying just two free generation. Breeders should be more concerned with the origin and not affiliated relatives. Excuses like “I’m not going for mating further than 100 km” would not be accepted at all. If the breeder is not ready to go even abroad, he should not be a breeder. Stud individuals who are carriers of a serious genetic defects, such as cryptorchidism or severe dysplasia of the hip joints, even if they themselves do not suffer, they shouldn’t breed, they shouldn’t be stud, and even in breeds that are very rare.
What does it take to be a good breeder of Weimaraner? And why did you choose this breed in particular?
To be a really good breeder takes time to know the breed. Weimaraner is not a companion dog, even it could be. Weimaraner needs lot of activities. It doesn’t need to be hunting all time, but Weimaraner is extremely intelligent dog, which needs not only physical activity, but also to work with the brain. I would never sell a puppy to someone who tells me “we have a big garden”. I that case I would prefer that the puppy will live in the apartment and the new owner will take him for walk for couple of hours.
It sounds like breeding to achieve a good breed is not easy. How much time it requires this activity in your daily life?
Well, I would say it requires all day long including thinking of your dog J. Basicly you need enough time to prepare the food, to clean up, to make sure the dog has enough of water, to do trainings, to play, to give to the dog your love, take care of the dog in common. It is of course up to how many dogs do you have, what’s your job and so on. I’m lucky to have such a kind of job which I can do mostly from home office, so I can be with the dogs and they are just happy to lie around and be with me or I take sometimes someone with me „to work“. Than most of my work I can do during the night, when they are sleeping. Of course it is sometimes extremly diffycult to manage, but I can handle it and I have to say that I have a wonderful family, so we can share the duties, which is great and all of us just love all our dog
How do you select the people that want to adopt a puppy? What do you require them?
First of all I need to know why do they want a dog, why Weimaraner and why from me. The important thing is to be sure that the new owners are picking the right dog for themselves, to be sure that the person/new owner is trustworthy and does not want a Christmas gift that will end up in a shelter a year later. The dog must really suite to their needs and expectations regarding them lifestyle and compatibility with a Weimaraner. Because owning a dog and especially Weimaraner is not just a privilege – it’s also a huge responsibility to bear over time. Daily care and attention, monthly check ups and punctual emergencies, it is not always easy. It is also important to know, who is in charge of all the duties inherent to welcoming a pet in a household. Responsibilities can be shared but it should be clear from day 1 so when any situation arises, people will deal with it promptly and efficiently. Than the new owner must have the time to meet the demanding needs of the puppy/dog for feeding, training and exercises. Weimaraner requires more exercise than others, and within a litter, some puppies will need more training than others. The potential owner must be able to handle the workload that comes bundled with any puppy. Feeding a dog is not about scooping kibble out of a bag, it is making sure the food is enjoyed by your dog. Training is not just about potty training, it is offering your companion the best socialisation possible. Exercise can be playing fetch, but Weimaraner needs a lot more than a sprint to fulfil their daily exercise requirements. If there are any children, than I need to know, how old are they and how would they be instructed in the care of the dog. Children love dogs and most dogs love children but extra caution is needed when there is a baby or a child in the house. The children should be told to behave around the dog and the potential owners need to deal with hypothetical situations (even the worst ones) such as the dog becoming aggressive towards the child. The new owner should understand as well that the Weimaraner (eespecially long-haired variety) requires grooming time by time and an attentive eye on their health and fitness level. It takes time, effort and at times a lot of money to keep the puppy and dog healthy. We are talking here about the Man’s bestfriend, not a selfish loner. The new dog’s home has to give him/her enough attention, love and quality time on a daily basis. A dog without its master is a sad dog so if the new owner works all day, he/she must endeavour to get the puppy used to this routine from day 1. A dog will react badly if the first weeks are spent with their master non-stop, and suddenly, the master disappears 10 hours a day. We all have to work and it is ok, but we must be sure that the puppy and dog gets enough time keep it fulfilled. Quality time is not synonym with presence time. Being in the same house is very different to actively playing with the dog and paying attention to its reactions and needs. Rain, heat waves, snow, ice, work, dinner with friends, cinema, date… these are only few reasons why one would not want to go out to walk and play with his dog, but guess what, one has to go out and do it with pleasure. It may not be exciting every day but sacrifices must be made and the dog has to be walked and stimulated, regardless of its owner’s imperatives and mood swings. Last but not least, perhaps the most underestimated difficulty when buying a new dog is the expenses it represents on a daily, weekly and yearly basis. From veterinary costs and dog insurances, quality dog food, boarding the dog when away to licensing fees, a pet owner will have to get money out of his pocket and it can sometimes go up very quickly if the owner really care for its companion.
What are the difficulties you face with the pet owners?
Sometimes is very difficult to explain to the people that Weimaraner is not a good toy for them small children. Any dog should also not be just a fashion accessory. Some people don’t even realize what a hunting dog or any other dog needs. But many people who never had any dog and than they buy a hunting dog, give him really maximum possible and though they have no experience, they learn everything. It’s really very individual.
Is it true that adopting a puppy takes as much responsibility as adopting a child?
I can be said like this, but I think with the puppy (and dog) the responsibility is much higher. Of course you have to take good care about adopted child, but one day, if it was a baby, will grove up and will be able to tell about the pain, sadness, problems. To understand your dog takes really long time and when it is a serious health problem, the dog will not tell you where the pain is coming from.
What should the dog owners take in consideration before owning a Weimaraner?
A Weimaraner owner should have a good understanding of dogs in common and of the Weimaraner as well, have enough time and energy to spent with the dog, have someone who will také care of the dog when the owner is ill or has to leave for some time. It needs a lot of work to be a Weimaraner owner, but well worth the effort. Weimaraner is not a toy. To be a good dog owner, there are some simple things that to do for the dog including regular check-ups, dog baths, providing plenty of fun toys, teaching etc. Being a good dog owner takes time and patience, but the dog will be thankfull you with love and affection.
Do you think the regulations are strong enough when there are cases of maltreatment from the dog owners?
Unfortunately, the regulations are not strong sufficiently, and specially in my country the authorities are in the cases of the mistreatment of dogs very lax. Where there is a need to act basically immediately, they are claiming that they do not have time and when is reported the alleged abuse, by a well-known, serious and non-problematic breeder who provides to his dogs the highest standard of care, they come immediately with the statement “we have to check everything”. Exactly the same approach is in the cases of the people who so called „multiply“ the puppies because of high incomes and they do it always with the „fashion breed“, which are also unfortunately the domain of my country. In this stuff very successfully fights the organization Animal Eye.
This raises the impression that the controls are only there, where it is certain that the authorities do not find any misconduct to the general public was under the impression that the problems with the abuse of dogs simply do not exist.
The majority of such notifications, however, comes in the context of competitive fighting, when unsuccessful and disreputable breeders want to eliminate those who take the breeding of dogs really seriously and responsibly.
What are the penalties in those cases and who is monitoring the behavior of the dog owners ?
Unfortunatelly the penalties in most countries exist only „on the paper“. This is why is very important to fight against such a violation and inform public about the problems.
Did you have any case that you had to take measurements?
Once one lady brought me a Weimaraner puppygirl, which was four months old and has not even five kilos. She stayed in our house until she was one year old. When she left for a new family, she was almost 70 cm tall and has 41 kilos. She was not fat. She looked as a Weimaraner boy with lot of muscles. It was a pitty for her that she was not registered and could not go to dogshows and trials. She would be extremly good for that. We found her very nice owner who treats her as a princesse and spent lot of time with her and takes her as a friend and family member. The good think is also that I can be sure, there will be not unregistered puppies from her as the new owner is really serious person.
What is the importance of dog shows for a breed?
You can see the differences in dogs, you can see, which dog is really good and which not. The competition is very important. You can also see who is there to show his/her dog and who do it because „wants to be seen himself/herself“. The best dog is never the dog which you meet on each dog show in one country. The best dog is never the dog, of which you see the new post on social networks saying „nothing like for example the posts saying „heya, I woke up“ and in few minutes „heya, I’m in the garden“. If the owner of such dog does a huge campaign especially on social networks, then you should „hear warning“ in your head, because there is for sure something wrong. So the shows are important, but you have to check also other aspects about the dog as his backround, genetics equipment and so on.
Did your dogs win prices in dog show competitions?
Yes, my dogs are very successful on the dog shows and have champion titles. This is why I can offer to the new owners high level puppies. For example one of my dog is a champion of five countries from which he has two championships from two countries as the only Weimaraner in Czech Republic and he is also international champion.
Is the level of the competition high in this shows?
This is up to the country where the dog show is. I prefer to travel even to fare distance countries to get the challenge, to see new and different concurrence. Unfortunately some owners when they get the champion title, they go always to same show, same places, going just around their homes and because they are in so called „champion class“, they are taking the chances to the young dogs to get the titles too even they do not need it. Than you have a dog owners who will do really anything to get the title, even if they know their dog is not perfect. They are ready to go to hunderd show to get one title. This is really crazy. This is not a hobby anymore, but fanatism.
What about the competition between breeders?
The competition between breeders is extremely high and of course each breeder thinks that only his dogs are the best. They forget that first of all it is a passion and sport or hobby, but it shouldn’t be a life target. Unfortunatelly some of the breeders are people which have problems with themselves, don’t trust in themselves enough, are not successful in their lifes and carriers so try to put all those complexes into the dog breeding, which is very bad. They lie about other breeders, gossiping with each other and speak badly about the dogs of other breeders to achieve the easy sales of their own puppies. Mostly they do it through social networks. To be a good breeder requires a really strong nerves, strong character and perspective.
Can You give us also some example?
“(laughin’)”… Yes, I could give you a lot of examples, but that we would spent here very long time … “(laughin’)”
I give you one…. One of my Weimaraners is the most successful dog in my country and has lot of championships. He is also the only Weimaraner holding a title Champion of Luxembourg and Champion od Danemark in my country. He is also the face of dog food made especially for Weimaraners. When he beat on the club show another dog, the owner of that dog with some friends was such a angry that started to slander very loud and even “explained” to the judge how to judge. It is very sad and I feel very sorry for that lady. This day my dog was just a better. Another day could be a different result. This is not a question of life and death, who’s dog is winning or not. The most important should be to spent nice time in companion of your dog and enjoy it.
What are the relationships between breeders? Are among them friends? It happens sometimes that one will cheat, or deceive another?
Myself, I have many friends-breeders around the world about which I can say that they are real friends. Of course, there are situations when someone you trust and he deceives and lies to You. But it’s happening everywhere, not only among breeders.
Do You have any example?
Once one person wanted to “borrow” my kennel to breed one litter of puppies of his bitch under the name of my kennel. Unfortunately I had to withdraw, even when I knew the bitch. That person only cared about financial gain without having any costs or responsibility. I couldn’t connect the name of my kennel with the dishonest, non-respectable and not serious behaviour.
Weimaraner is above all a Hunting breed. Do you train them also for hunting?
Hunting training is very important for Weimaraners and in some countries including mine is necessary to pass a hunting test as well to become a registered stud dog. In the meanwhile I can’t say that the hunting is the condition for any new owner. The most important thing is to employ his mind and head. Therefore it is not important whether is a Weimaraner used to active hunting or for example in agility, canicross, rescue, canistherapy etc. In any kind of training it is most important that the obedience should be in place before you even start to think about hunting or any other training. With obedience you should start very soon after you bring home your puppy, and it successfully adapts. The first training and the first commands you have to learn your puppy through play, as a child, and be very very patient. Weimaraner is very intelligent and perceptive and soon will understand all. I do train my dogs and for example one of them I’m training also one of them for rescue.
This means that it is a working dog, does the dog owner have to hunt in order to adopt a Weimaraner?
As I said above. The hunting training is important, but not the most important. I prefer that the new owner takes very good care of the puppy and future dog than to sell puppies strictly to hunters. I know hunters to who I would never sell a puppy as they do not treat the dogs well. I’m against physical punishment in any form. Weimaraner needs a consistent owner with a strong character, which, however, will not resort to violence.
Finally, Gia what are the principles you apply in this passion of yours?
A person shouldn’t breed dogs if they are interested in financial gain, ‘warm and fuzzies’, or simply because it seems more convenient than not. You shouldn’t breed dogs if you don’t know everything there is to know about dogs. You shouldn’t breed dogs if you’re not prepared to lose your bitch. You shouldn’t breed dogs because you have a bitch with a uterus. The breeder should be extremly responsible person prepared to give to his/her dogs all of himself/herself, all his/her life. Some breeders (even registered) have litters each year on the same bitch since she is two years old until she is eight years old, which means sometimes 6-7 litters per life, which is horrible and for me it is maltreatment.
Thank you 🙂