AKC Breeder Spotlight: Julia Heidbrink of Buggytown Bird Dogs
Each month the American Kennel Club profiles breeders to hear how they got started, their breeding program, and their experience with AKC Marketplace. We recently spoke with Julia Heidbrink of Buggytown Bird Dogs. Julia started breeding German Shorthaired Pointers about 10 years ago and today she is an AKC Breeder of Merit who has produced some top working field dogs.
Tell us about your breeding program: We are located in Barnesville Georgia, a great little southern town, and we are just enough off the beaten path where our German Shorthaired Pointers can enjoy life with us! We are a small working kennel and participate in AKC Hunt Tests and Field Trials. We feel that our dogs must prove that they are good candidates to hunt before we consider breeding them.
What is the most important thing to know about your breed?
German Shorthaired Pointers have a lot of energy! They need to have a job. If you are into mountain biking, running, anything active, take the dog with you!
How has AKC Marketplace helped you find puppy buyers?
Oh my gosh! I get inquiries all the time. I try to put up a good page. I like being able to post lots of pictures showing that the puppies are all active, jumping, running, and having fun so people can see for themselves. The fact that it allows us to link to our website is also very helpful. It has brought in lots of buyers! I still advertise on gun dog sites, but the AKC Marketplace brings many more buyers.
My favorite question to ask puppy buyers:
What kind of lifestyle do they have? Do they have the room for a GSP? If they live in an apartment, then there is a longer a conversation. They don’t have to be a hunter, but must be active.
Top qualities you look for in potential owners:
Again, an active lifestyle. I love to see people with interest in titling and competing. Being a pet or family dog is fine, as long as they do a lot with their dog. GSPs cannot spend their days in a crate.
The best advice you’d give to novice breeders:
Don’t be discouraged by people telling you that you can’t do this unless you’ve been in it for 30 years. Learn! Take AKC courses. What do you want to do with the dogs? Have goals, not to just make more dogs. Find a good pro-breeder vet. I started an online group where young breeders can ask questions without being afraid of getting looked down on, and it’s still active.
Do your dogs participate in AKC sports?
Yes, field trials and hunt tests.
What is your favorite thing about being a breeder?
The people I’ve met and seeing what they’re doing with their dogs. I love raising my puppies but am always glad to see them go to their new homes when the time comes. I also enjoy hearing that my puppies have done good things. I just learned that one became a certified game tracker, at 4 months! No matter what they are doing, I love hearing back from buyers and seeing pictures of their puppies.
Do you have a favorite breeding story?
It has to be about my pretty Rose’s first litter, which produced Annie. At the time, Rose just had a Junior Hunter title so I wanted a field champion to breed her to. The dog I chose won the National Gun Dog Championship the year he was bred to Rose. Annie was fascinated with birds from babyhood. She became my first field champion, and she is the dog who got me motivated to become a breeder.
To meet Julia’s dogs and learn more about Buggytown Birddogs, click here.