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Jay Brace from The Schnauzer House answers our questions

Breeding Business is passionate about all sorts of domesticated pets. They have written dozens of articles across the web.
Published on
Wednesday 1 April 2015
Last updated on
Tuesday 9 May 2023
Interview with Jay from the Schnauzer House, responsible dog breeder!
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Jay Brace, from the Schnauzer House in Stockbury, United Kingdom, answered our questionnaire with pleasure and we are happy he did so. Jay and everybody who helps at the Schnauzer House, provide extraordinary conditions for the breeding of the Miniature Schnauzer.

And by extraordinary conditions, I mean a spacious, fully heated area in paddocks, surrounded by beautiful countryside. Jay knows what dog breeding is about and more importantly, Jay loves what breeding Schnauzer is about: loving and caring for these eternal companions.

Simply introduce yourself and your dog breeding business to our readers.

We’re the Schnauzer House. We are working with the UK Kennel Club as part of their Assured Breeder Scheme. The scheme is designed to improve breeding standards, dogs and puppies’ health, and to make the whole puppy buying process much easier and safer for those looking to find a pet.

How did you get involved in the dog breeding industry in the first place?

I’ve worked with animals for many years, I started working at boarding kennels 14 years ago while I was at studying animal care. I fell in love with it.

A few years later we raised enough money to buy the kennel. With the current financial recession, it became clear that we couldn’t depend on a pension for our retirement and I didn’t think I could run a kennel at that time in my life. So, I had to think about what I was going to do.

We worked with many dog rescue charities and had a pregnant Labrador bitch arrive at the kennel, a few weeks later, she started to whelp and after we had delivered all the puppies, she cuddled them all. She was proud of herself, it was then I knew what I wanted to do.

Jay and his beautiful dogs!
Family picture of Jay and his beautiful dogs!

Do you consider breeding as a hobby, a business, or both?

It’s a lifestyle business. When you start walking your dogs at 6 am and don’t finish until 11 pm every day of the year, including Christmas and birthdays, you have to love it.

But it also has to pay its way: put a roof over your head, food in and your dogs’ bellies, food on your own plate, etc.

Is it your only source of income or do you have another job?

We still have the boarding kennels and my partner has his own business, too.

How many people are working with you to run your business?

I run the breeding business by myself with regular help from my partner, but we also get a lot of free help from our kennel maids, especially when we have puppies.

What made you go for Miniature Schnauzers over any other breed?

That’s simple, they’re the best breed in the world and if anyone says otherwise: they are lying. Of course, I might be slightly biased.

What improvements do you want to bring in the breed?

In the United Kingdom, the Minis can suffer from hereditary eye disease and I would like to see all breeders working towards preventing this hereditary condition and hopefully, one day, removing it from the breed forever!

What are the biggest misjudgments other owners and breeders have about Mini’s?

There are two big misjudgments about the Mini Schnauzer.

First, due to their small size, people think it is a lap dog, and while the mini loves to have a cuddle or a belly rubber, the mini is a proper hardy breed and loves nothing more than to be running around in a field and playing. They seem to attract dirt like a magnet!

The second is grooming: Miniature Schnauzers should be hand-stripped which takes a lot of time but makes the coat coarser and keeps it clean for longer. However, clipping is becoming more common which not only needs to be done a lot more regularly but also makes them lose their color—giving the breed a much lighter grey instead of the pepper and salt color they should be.

The dogs from the Schnauzer House
The lovely Schnauzers from the Schnauzer House

How many dogs did you start with and how did you choose your founding stock?

We started with three sisters: Annie, Ethel, Gertie, and a boy from a different bloodline, Harry. We chose them because of their health and genetic pedigree. Both bloodlines had been tested for eye disease on several generations and got cleared. We also checked the Inbreeding Coefficient of each bloodline and calculated the coefficient of any puppy that we would breed from these matings.

Did you start with puppies or adults?

We started with puppies, which I think is the best way to start as you can pass on the knowledge and skills you learned to your puppy buyers.

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How do you differentiate your dogs and your business from the other Mini Schnauzer breeders?

We like to think we do thing very differently. We only breed twice from a bitch, that way they’re only with us for a short time and can spend the rest of their lives in a carefully selected forever home.

Each puppy buyer gets to visit their puppy every two weeks to build a bond with them, so the puppy isn’t just picked up one day and taken away by strangers. We feel this helps our puppies to settle quicker. All our boys are DNA tested and all our litters are screened for the eye CHC (congenital hereditary cataracts.)

We also provide comprehensive documentation in each of our puppy packs.

Do you do anything special, on a daily or weekly basis, to give extra care to your dogs?

We have four and a half acres for them to run around and we love to take them for regular trips to the seaside, towns, parks, and woods.

Did you need a lot of money to start your breeding adventure?

Yes, we spent a small fortune on building a purpose-built whelping room and kennel block that is fully air-conditioned, heated, super-insulated, and very easy to clean. It really has everything; in fact, we sometimes get jealous of how nice their place is.

How do you select your clients?

Everyone has to complete an application form. They then come for an interview where they meet all our mini’s, and if everything goes well, they get added to our waiting list.

How do you control your expenses while dog breeding?

We try, try, try! But truth be told, you can’t as it isn’t like stock on a shelf in a shop. Things pop up, problems happen, and we would never consider the budget over our dogs.

We sell quality leads, toys, crates, and vet beddings to go with our puppies as extras; it really helps with any overspend and unexpected expenses.

How many litters per year are you having on average?

It varies, as Mother Nature tends to be in charge of this matter, but we hope for around 6 or 7.

Puppy Schnauzers from Jay's last litter.
Puppy Schnauzers from Jay’s last litter.

What diet are your dogs following?

We use Arden Grange, a hypoallergenic dry food, which we supplement with vegetables like broccoli and carrots given as treats. We also feed them with sardines for their coat.

What would you tell those who say dog breeding should cease or become ultra-regulated as there are too many dogs in rescue/rehoming centers?

Well, first I would say: it is not breeders who get rid of dogs, in fact, those to blame are people relinquishing their dog owner’s responsibilities. We do a lot of work with dog rescue shelters and the reasons people are giving their pet for rehoming are not acceptable. It’s the throwaway mentality that needs to be addressed. You should not be able to give up a dog just because it no longer fits into your lifestyle. We have a clause in our puppy owner contacts stating that if the dog owner ever wishes to rehome the dog, it has to be brought back to us.

Secondly, yes, I would like to see more regulation in dog breeding, this could help force out puppy farms and mills.

Many shelters warn people about small and toy breeds as they say it increases the risk of medical conditions – what would you say to them?

This is the same as in all breeds. At the moment, smaller breeds are more popular so they also are more commonly found in puppy farms where poor breeding can cause medical conditions. Future owners need to find themselves a responsible breeder who puts health first. They should never buy from a puppy farm or any other way where you cannot meet the breeder!

How and where do you find most of your clients?

We have been really lucky, they seem to find us.

What are your efforts put into in order to build a great reputation?

Our dogs’ health and well-being: if they are happy, we are happy.

On the marketing side, having an online presence is so important! I would say, most of our applications come through our website, and the Internet has become the first place people turn to in order to find a puppy. We haven’t had to advertise because most of our website traffic comes through Google.

Are you more about promoting your affix or the dog breed itself?

We’re definitely about promoting the breed. For example, if our waiting list is full, we will help people find another breeder. This way, we can ensure they don’t end up buying from a puppy farm, which in the long run, helps the breed.

If you had to start afresh with another breed, which one would it be?

I don’t think I could pick another breed. To me, the Miniature Schnauzer is the best dog and if I picked a different breed I’d always be thinking “I wish I picked the Mini.”

What has been your most memorable sale?

A little black and silver puppy called Eric Pickleton and his owner, a lovely lady from London. The two were perfect for each other! He wouldn’t leave her alone and every time she visited, he would get so excited and try to jump out of the pen. So perfect to watch!

Do you remember your first sale?

Yes, Maz! Her owner overheard my mother at the bank saying I was going to breed Mini Schnauzers so she stopped my mum before she left. She got all our details and came to meet us. We just had collected Annie, Ethel, and Gertie, but she believed in us so much that she waited over a year until Ethel gave birth. Dexter and she still pop up from time to time, which is lovely.

Any advice you would give to newcomers in this industry?

Pick a breed you really love and start slow. It is really hard work, breeding is not for everyone.

Make sure you have plenty of savings in case something goes wrong and remember to enjoy it; no other job in the world earns you money while playing with dogs and puppies!

One comment on “Jay Brace from The Schnauzer House answers our questions”

  1. Gordon

    Could anyone please provide the contact details for Jay Brace, address, e mail and a telephone number would be most helpful as we would like to speak to him about the dog kennels he provides.

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