Taylor Schwartz, of Lakeville, Minnesota, partners with Belfox and Misty Hollow Smooth Fox Terriers to both breed and show. She got her start in the breed when she was asked to show a puppy. That puppy eventually came home with her, and “the rest is history,” Taylor said.
“I have been fortunate to partner with Terri Voss of Misty Hollow Smooth Fox Terriers who has been breeding smooths for 15 years and Luc Detry of Belfox Smooth Fox Terriers in Belgium, who has been breeding smooths for 30-plus years. None of this would be possible without these partnerships and my parents allowing me to continue involvement in breeding and showing while pursuing my degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.” As a biology major and pre-med student, Taylor has made health testing a top priority, obtaining the Fox Terrier CHIC requirements as well as OFA Hips and BAER testing on each dog used in the breeding program.
AKC: How did you get started in breeding dogs?
Taylor: I have shown in Junior Showmanship since I was 9 years old, growing up with dogs all my life. My dad had a Doberman who was shown while I was growing up, and we played “dog show” in the basement every night. From then on, I was hooked! I didn’t get into breeding until more recently, being able to work with partners Terri Voss, Luc Detry, Andrea Curran and Lindsay Siflinger.
What is the most important thing to know about Smooth Fox Terriers?
Taylor: The Smooth Fox Terrier is not the dog for everyone. They are versatile dogs whether in AKC Events or as family pets, but their terrier instinct and prey drive is strong. They do best in homes with complete containment, ideally a fenced yard. They are smart and quick-witted and require owners who are leaders of the household.
How has the AKC Marketplace helped you find puppy buyers?
Taylor: The AKC Marketplace has been a central source that allows us to connect with owners and share the next generations of our Fox Terriers with our families. Smooths have hung around the low hundreds in AKC popularity over the last few years, and it is important to provide publicity for a less common breed to those seeking them.
What is your favorite question to ask of potential puppy buyers?
Taylor: My favorite question to ask potential puppy buyers is “Why did you select the Smooth Fox Terrier?” It sounds cliché, but it really gives us an insight into what they are looking for and expecting when adding a new family member. It always warms the hearts to hear stories of those who have had the breed previously and couldn’t imagine living without one.
What are the main qualities you look for in potential owners?
Taylor: Our top priority when we look for potential owners is a stable foundation that is going to be a lifelong home, one that is fitting for this particular dog. This goes both ways; a perfect home isn’t necessarily “perfect” for each dog that leaves our breeding program. We spend countless hours with our homes, on the phone, via Facetime or in-person with our families in order to find the dog that will make that lifelong companion for them. There is no such thing as the perfect dog, just the perfect dog for each family. It is always an added bonus in those homes that are willing to participate in conformation and performance events such as obedience, rally, coursing, but the most important is they become another member of the family.
What is the best advice you would give to novice breeders?
Taylor: Find a mentor, be able to learn the breed hands-on. If resources allow, attend your national specialty. Each person is going to have his or her interpretation of the standard but always refer back to the breed standard as this is our benchmark. There will never be a perfect dog, but realize that in breeding dogs the ribbons don’t reflect onto the whelping box. Look past the popular sire or the big best-in-show winner to what is the most reflective of the virtues and faults of your pedigree and dog. Do research on the health testing required of the breed, starting with the OFA requirements and recommendations, and work with other breeders to gain their knowledge of past generations.
Do your dogs participate in AKC sports?
Taylor: Our main focus has been conformation, but several dogs from our breeding program excel in performance events such as Barn Hunt, coursing, and Canine Good Citizen testing. Most recently one of our families passed the Farm Dog certification test with their Smooth Fox Terrier, no small feat for a prey-driven breed!
What do you like best about breeding dogs?
Taylor: Our favorite part is the photos and stories from our companion families. These are what at the end of a long day remind us of why we keep doing this. To look at a dog and see the generations that came before is always my favorite part of showing and evaluating our dogs.
Do you have a favorite breeding story?
Taylor: After the tragedy of losing Multiple Best in Specialty Show Winning & Group Winning GCHB Decorum Touch the Clouds, I was fortunate enough to acquire one of his daughters, Millie, that was still here in the U.S. Her first breeding was unsuccessful, and at 6 years old, never having had a litter, we were concerned about whether she ever would. We were overjoyed when she delivered two healthy girls a day after the first anniversary of Rain’s loss and on my birthday. These two girls are certainly special to us and are waiting in the wings for when COVID-19 passes. I see their grandfather in them every day.