Yielding so many awards throughout the last decade, Jenny is a knowledgeable breeder of champion Pugs in Australia. Her kennel, Kabova Pugs, has been named the Australian Pug Show Kennel of the Year for 4 years in a row, as well as Australia’s Best Pug Breeder in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.
I know, that’s a lot.
As a leading platform for ethical breeders, we admire such dedication and attention to details, and always want to ask a few key questions to such quality breeders. We emailed Jenny Williams from Kabova Pugs and she accepted to answer our questions on how to breed pugs of the highest quality.
Jenny, you're a reputable Pug breeder who bred multiple Champions; what makes you love Pugs so much, and what brought you to dog breeding?
Pugs are an endearing little breed that you cannot help but love! They are clown-like, loads of fun, and each one has a different personality. I started with my first Pug in my late teens and, well one is just not enough! It was soon towed, then three and well now a few more. I adore Pugs and decided to breed in order to produce healthy, happy Pugs for both pets and show companions. Health is a major focus, and I enjoy watching them grow into the successful adults I hope they will be.
What are the main three focus points you study when evaluating a Pug puppy as a potential ring contender?
Firstly, the overall shape and balance. If they are too long they will never have a short back. If their front does not match their rear, it never will. They must stand on the ground with a lovely balance and confidence needed in a top winning dog. Second, the head size and shape – dark eyes, correct set small ears, good width of underjaw Third, the attitude – the icing on the cake to a sound, balanced, typey puppy.
What is your process to find suitable partners for breeding? How long does it take you on average?
I look at both the pedigree – who is in the background and what have they produced in the past – and the actual dog and their progeny to date. Of course, I know my girls and their lines and where their strengths and weakness lie, so I will choose a dog to complement them. Can have it planned even before the bitch is born if there is a certain line I would like to breed on. Other times I will see a dog overseas and decide to bring in frozen semen.
Are inbreeding, linebreeding, and back-breeding some breeding techniques you have used? What are your thoughts on them?
Inbreeding to a certain extent. You have to know your lines and what each dog brings to the pedigree. You will double up on the strengths but also on the weakness. If there is a weakness that is dominant such as bad feet or loose tails, you may be breeding that further into your lines and may get to the point where it is impossible to breed out.
Line-breeding is something I do a lot of. Once again you have to know the strengths and weaknesses of the line. Here we have a few different lines going which I like to play around with. I know what I will get from each one and keep stock from all to show depending on where and under whom I am showing.
What does an average day looks like in your kennels, from the time you wake up to the time you go to sleep?
Wake up at 6 am, let all the inside dogs out for a run in their fenced yard of an acre. Them, I change all the pens – lots of kennel cleaning here every day! Bring them back inside for breakfast after about an hour. Clean up the yard, feed the big dogs outside. This usually takes around 2.5 hours, more if I have puppies. Lunchtime they are let outside again for an hour. Between this time and the last night time run (another hour at around 5pm), I may do some training, reply to the mass of emails I receive every day and paperwork. Bedtime and lights off usually around 7 pm. Friday also includes bathing and packing for the weekend of shows so it is always a very busy day here.
What are the steps you take in each breeding and for each dog to prevent common medical conditions affecting Pugs?
Our dogs show all year round so breathing and being able to cope in the heat is very important to us. That being said, they are a flat-faced breed so common sense in the heat is a must. We have not bred for extremely large eyes for a very long time now. These can be injured easily. We prefer a more moderate-sized eye that still, in my opinion, fits the standard.
What are the top three mistakes you notice the most in today's Pug breeders?
Read more about Pug health on the website of the Pug Club of America.
Being kennel blind – just because you bred it does not mean its’ perfect! Sometimes you need to cut your losses and simply start again.
Not using outside studs. Breeders who simply use their own stock rather than a good producing stud dog in order to either save money or time.
Keeping and using a below-average dog because of the “lines” or because they own it or spent a lot of money on it. I have brought dogs in, looked at them and then pet-homed them without using them as I know they will not add to my breeding program… I hate to think of the tens of thousands I have spent on dogs that just didn’t turn out! However, in order to be the best you have to be realistic and sometimes brutal.
How can new breeders start showing – it’s hard to participate when you know you’ll lose, no?
I have sold many Pugs to new exhibitors that have been Best In Show winners. I try to sell my best and ensure only my best are in show homes. Naturally, puppies don’t always turn out as you hope but I try to place what I think are very good puppies in show homes.
That being said, many people that come to me as “new exhibitors” wanting to show do not actually plan on showing, rather they want a Pug on Main Registration so they can breed down the track and make money (well they think they are going to make a fortune out of breeding).
If you are serious about dog breeding and showing, put the effort in, come to dog shows, meet the exhibitors and find the style you like. If you show that you are putting the effort in then a breeder is more likely to sell you a quality puppy. I am always happy to have new exhibitors join the team, and I have Pugs doing well in all states of Australia.
What are your breeding plans and projects for the future?
Health of the breed is extremely important to me when it comes to dog breeding and breeding pugs. I have the next 10-15 years planned out with the help of a few very good breeder friends. Genetics and health testing is something I am always reading about and watching very closely. There are a few imports in the pipeline from both Europe and the USA and frozen semen from lovely sires I admire to add to our gene pool.
We are off to the USA Pug National in Dallas in September 2017 to catch up with friends and see what is happening in the States, and then the World Dog Show in 2018 to catch up with our good friends in Europe.