AKC Breeder of Merit and Bred with H.E.A.R.T. breeder Beth Lilly, owner of Safari Schipperkes, fell in love with her first Schipperke, Smokey, more than 30 years ago. At first, she was “just your average pet owner.” But with encouragement from a friend, she became a dedicated fancier and in the past 23 years has produced 38 champions and had well over 100 health tests performed on them. Smokey passed away at 19 years of age, and Beth said she still misses him.
Schipperkes are her passion, said Beth, a resident of Aledo, Texas. She feels strongly about protecting and preserving the breed and is committed to all recommended health testing for Schipperkes. Results are registered with the OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals), and CHIC certificates are obtained. Beth also participates in OFA DNA banking for future research on her dogs.
A member of the Schipperke Club of America for 22 years, Beth has served wherever needed: Merchandise (for two Nationals), Policy and Procedure Manual, Recording Secretary, Regional Clubs Chair, Assistant Show Chairman, Trophies, Hospitality Bags and Merchandise (2003 Dallas National), and Trophy Donations (for three Nationals).
She is also a member of the Lone Star Schipperke Club, currently serving on the board, and has been a member of the Owner Handlers’ Association for 14 years. She has participated in rescue throughout the years by fostering, transporting and donating.
AKC: How did you get started in breeding dogs?
Beth: I met a woman who had just started showing her Schipperkes. She told me how fun it was and that I should give it a try. We attended many shows together and even our first National Specialty. We slowly acquired better quality dogs to show as we learned about the breed. She is now a lifelong friend.
AKC: What is the most important thing to know about the Schipperke?
Beth: They are an active, high energy breed. Schipperkes need a yard or at the very least long walks a couple of times a day. They are a double-coated breed, and they do shed! This breed is not appropriate for invisible fences. Their desire to explore is much stronger than the technology to contain them. They are devoted, protective and require early socialization.
AKC: How has AKC Marketplace helped you find puppy buyers?
Beth: AKC Marketplace has been a great tool to enhance my reach to quality homes/families, in addition to my own website.
AKC: What is your favorite question to ask of potential puppy buyers?
Beth: Is dog hair in your food a problem?
AKC: What are the main qualities you look for in potential owners?
- A full understanding of the breed.
- A lifestyle which accommodates the breed.
- The financial resources to care for the dog for life should it be involved in an accident or become ill.
- Their willingness to keep me in the loop and use me as a resource throughout the dog’s life.
By keeping in contact with my pet owners and microchipping any pups that I produce or own, I help to ensure they never end up in a rescue or shelter. I am responsible for the puppies I produce, for life. It is in the Safari contract that if you are ever in a position to give up your Schipperke, the dog must be returned to me. Schipperke puppies are the best, but they are not for everyone. I ask a lot of questions to make sure that a family is a good fit for the breed.
I strive to give puppies the best I can through love, excellent food, the best veterinary care and going above and beyond to make sure they are well treated and loved for a lifetime. I expect the same from any family entrusted with their care.
AKC: What is the best advice you would give to novice breeders?
Beth: Do your homework. Take advantage of the educational courses available in your area and online through AKC. Start with a nice dog. Learn to show and finish its championship. Find a mentor to teach you the basics of structure and the history behind the different lines. Study the history of the breed. Care enough to do it the right way. Do not skip health testing the parents before you plan your breeding. Make sure you are doing what it takes to preserve the future health and longevity of the breed.
AKC: Do your dogs participate in AKC sports?
Beth: I have bred several dogs over the years that have excelled in performance events such as obedience, agility, flyball and scent work. I have just started barn hunt with the dogs. It is a lot of fun to see them do what they were bred to do.
AKC: What do you like best about breeding dogs?
Beth: The friendship and fellowship with some of my fellow breeders. It is a lot of fun to get together at shows and hang out with the dogs. Of course, puppy breath cannot go unmentioned. Then there is the tremendous pride of helping the little creature come into the world and giving them the solid foundation necessary to become wonderful companions.
AKC: Do you have a favorite breeding story?
Beth: I was helping one of my bitches deliver her litter of puppies. The first one was taking a long time. When the puppy’s head made its premiere into the outside world, the sack was already removed. She latched onto my finger and started nursing! She was instantly my favorite. How could she not be?!
Visit the Safari Schipperkes AKC Marketplace Page to learn more about Beth’s puppies.