Interview with Legend Bichons

From the Fall 2015 Issue of The Bichon Frise Reporter

Breeder Forum With Erayna Beckman

BFR: How did you become interested in  Bichons, and how long have you been in the breed?

EB: I started in Bichons 35 years ago as   a pet owner. I was raising two young, extremely allergic children at the time. Although the doctor had warned against having a dog in the household, the children and I longed for a puppy . . . and the rest is history!

BFR: Have you ever shown any other breeds? Or currently do so?

EB: Yes. I`ve shown two of another breed. A black Toy Poodle named "Gert", aka CH Hob Nob Herdy Gerdy and a white Toy Poodle named "Be Be", aka CH Hob Nob Be Be.

BFR: How did you come up with your kennel name?

EB: I have always liked the theme of  fairy tales, knights, and castles. Legend  was the right fit.

BFR: Who were your early mentors? What advice did they give  you?

EB: Myrtle Klensch (Salutaire) was my  first mentor. Myrtle was well known for her Manchester Terriers but also bred Bichons. The best advice she ever gave me   was to keep Trinket out of my  first litter. Sherry Swartz (Sterling) was also an early men­tor. She taught me a lot about   type and structure and made me   realize I WAS NOT a groomer.

BFR: Where did you get your  foundation dogs?

EB: I got my foundation bitch from  Myrtle Klensch. Her name was   Salutaire La Blanc Cricket.

BFR: Why did you choose those particu­lar dogs?

EB: To be honest, Myrtle chose that par­ticular puppy for me.

BFR: What were your earliest key breed­ings?

EB: My first breeding of Cricket pro­duced three champions. That was an  exciting way to begin.

BFR: Who were the first progeny that  you felt were the type you wanted  your kennel to stand for?

EB: Trinket, the puppy Myrtle told me to  keep out of my first litter was my first show dog. She set the bar very high.

BFR: Who was your first Champion? EB: AM/CH CH Cricket`s Trinket Of Erayna ROMX was my first champion. She was BOS at Westminster in 1995. She also did extremely well in the whelping box.

BFR: How many other Champions have you owned/bred?

EB: I have 52 champions.

BFR:  Do you sell to others or do you breed for your own needs?

EB:  I am a small kennel and mainly breed for myself. However, I have placed puppies in some wonderful homes where they are cherished members of the family.

BFR: At what age do you consider a puppy a show quality, and sell them as such?

EB:   Since we are dealing with Mother Nature and things are always subject to change we evaluate for “show potential” for eight weeks. The final decision to put the dog in the ring is made by six months.

BFR: What are your thoughts on training puppies to get them ready for the ring?

EB: Socialize! Socialize! Socialize!  I believe in socializing from a very early age.

BFR: Can a Bichon be both a house dog and show dog? 

EB: Absolutely! They are show dogs for such a short period of their lives. The rest of the time they live as pets. 

BFR: Do you have a preference between dogs and bitches? 

EB: No, I love them all! However it is difficult to keep an intact male.

BFR: How many times would you breed a bitch in her lifetime?

EB: Three to four depending on how they are during, gestation, whelping, and lactating. The health and well-being of the bitch is my primary focus.

BFR: Do you have dogs at public stud and if so what are your requirements for the bitches?

EB: Currently no but possibly in the near future. Public stud is a pretty broad term. I am more selective. I would require CHIC health screening. I would also require a contract and that the owner of the bitch require a contract on puppies sold, both show and pet. I feel responsible not only for the puppies my bitches produce but for any puppies out of my line.

BFR: What do you feed and do you supplement at any time?

EB: I feed commercial raw. I have been greatly influenced by Juliette de Bairacli Levy`s book "The Complete Herbal Handbook for the Dog and Cat".

BFR: Of all the dogs you have owned, which are your personal favorites and why?

EB: All of my dogs have individual personalities and I love them as individuals. Many have touched my heart over the years, one in particular is "Katrina", Legend`s You`ve Got The Floor ROM, will never leave my house. She didn`t like the show ring but loved being a mother. She is now spayed and watches television with me.

BFR: Do you use handler or show the dogs yourself?

EB: the ring???? I use a handler. Hands down.

BFR: What do you think is the biggest mistake owner-handlers make?