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Kristi Storum lives in Louisburg, NC with her Bichons Frise and a Standard Poodle. She is at the beginning of her breeding career, though she has been involved in dogs for nearly 15 years. She is a nationally certified professional groomer who participates in competitive grooming.

AKC: How did you get started in breeding dogs?

Kristi: My interest in showing started through grooming. I wanted to get a well-bred dog that I could groom to the best of my ability rather than have to groom to hide faults in the dog’s conformation. I got started in showing when a mentor breeder offered me a show quality puppy. That puppy became my foundation bitch, the dam of my first two litters.


AKC: What is the most important thing to know about the Bichon Frise?

Kristi: They are cleverer than most people think. I think some people don’t expect much of them, but mine have excelled in agility, CAT, FastCAT, Barn Hunt, conformation, and more.


AKC: What is your favorite question to ask of potential puppy buyers?

Kristi: What are you looking for in the dog you want? Not every puppy is good for every situation. I like to make sure that the buyers who want to do sports get a dog suited for them, or a less driven one goes to someone seeking a quieter companion.


AKC: What are the main qualities you look for in potential owners?

Kristi: What kind of prior dog experience they have. Not necessarily a ton, but that they understand what kind of grooming is involved. It’s okay if they intend to keep the hair short, I just don’t want the dogs to end up in a cycle of matting and shaving down. Hair isn’t everything, but owners need know what their lifestyle can handle.


AKC: What is the best advice you would give to novice breeders?

Kristi: Don’t take constructive criticism personally or as harshly intended. I have had many knowledgeable people give me feedback and almost instantly they apologize to me. Take it in and listen. You don’t want to be kennel blind. Mentors have been helpful, even though I might not agree with everything offered. Ultimately breed for what you are looking for. Other handlers and breeders, too; I have found the world of Bichons Frise to be friendly. One handler complimented my dog, but pointed out that an area of my grooming made her look dumpy. I made adjustments based on his his advice, and my dog won the next time!


AKC: Do your dogs participate in AKC sports?

Kristi: Yes, they do! We enjoy Agility, Barn Hunt, FastCAT, CAT, Farm Dog, ATT, CGC, Scent Work, Obedience & Rally, and conformation.


AKC: What do you like best about breeding dogs?

Kristi: Starting them off on a path to success. I like making sure from the very beginning that they get used to loud noises, see new things. I love watching them understand what is happening in the world. It’s wonderful to see them succeed because they have been exposed to so many things.


AKC: Do you have a favorite breeding story?

Kristi: The first puppy born in my first litter, a male, managed to push hard enough to reach a nipple and start nursing before he was even fully delivered. The first puppy in my second litter, another male, was so desperate to be born on our bed that he was delivered before his mother could get to the whelping box!