Kimberly and Colin Fritzer are AKC Breeders of Merit and the owners of Windrock Greyhounds in Grand Junction, Colorado. They are originally from Wyoming and plan to return to their home state next year.
The Fritzers have been breeding Greyhounds since the early 1990s, having bred Afghan Hounds before that. Kimberly, who describes herself as “just an old farm kid,” is also a livestock judge with a very critical eye when it comes to animals. She has raised more than 350 champions and titled numerous dogs, including National Lure Coursing Championship winners.
AKC: How did you get started in breeding dogs?
Kimberly: We bought our first Greyhound, a red and white male, on a whim. Bubba, as he was known, wasn’t easy to work with, but he became number one in the country for a couple of years, with us as owner-handlers. BIS SBIS Ch. Shazam’s The Journey Begins won seven Best in Show titles! He was very lightly shown, since, as a UPS driver, I couldn’t be selective about where I went, because I had to be back to work. Once when showing him, he won over a BIS winner when he saw a little fluffy white dog misbehaving outside the ring, and struck a beautiful pose at just the right moment.
When we were ready to breed, we figured out what was needed to complement this dog, so we eventually got two foundation bitches who were bred to a son of Bubba, the all-time top AKC Greyhound champion sire.
What is the most important thing to know about Greyhounds?
This is not specific to Greyhounds, but the first thing that comes up is that dog ownership entails great responsibility, and any dog needs a lot of time. Greyhounds are good at lots of dog sports, like Barn Hunt and CAT, for example. They also make excellent house dogs due to how gentle and kind they are.
How has AKC Marketplace helped you find puppy buyers?
The AKC Marketplace works! We get the right kind of people there, and most of them have had some education about breeders. Most of our puppies go to companion homes.
What is your favorite question to ask of potential puppy buyers?
We have a three-page questionnaire that prospective owners must fill out. They must call and speak with us, as I do not respond to just emails. If the conversation goes well, I will send the questionnaire and sales contract. We offer a two-week money-back guarantee on our puppies, and we give lots of incentives to get people active with their dogs.
What are the main qualities you look for in potential owners?
I like empty nesters! They are financially stable and are at home most of the time. We also are partial towards active people who like to hike, walk, and do things with their dogs. Another good quality is people who have had retired racers that are familiar with Greyhound temperament, and now want a healthy, well-bred puppy.
What is the best advice you would give to novice breeders?
I wish there were more breeders, and I’m trying to mentor a couple of people. Buy the best bitch you can and be objective about your dog. Mentor under someone who is very candid about evaluating the dog. Decide what your interest is, whether is be Lure Coursing or conformation. You must accept the virtues your dog has. People will tell you what wonderful things their dogs have, but when asked what they would change, they give a blank stare. Keep in mind that Greyhounds can be very accident-prone.
Do your dogs participate in AKC sports?
Yes, Lure Coursing and conformation. I am very competitive in conformation. I am a 4–H leader and I have kids go to barn hunts and other things. Our dogs have done well in AKC Rally, Obedience, and Agility, and we have even produced some service dogs.
What do you like best about breeding dogs?
Puppies! Is there any better feeling than sitting in a chair with a puppy looking at you like you’re the most important thing in the world? I sleep with my babies from about 3 weeks old and start profiling them at around 6 weeks. We use a starter pistol to condition them and have 4–H kids give them bacon. I enjoy socializing puppies. The worst thing is when they finally leave, and I usually cry when they go off to new homes. I really like breeding and raising puppies and developing their gifts. It’s my job because people have put their trust in me to select the best puppy to be their future family member.
Do you have a favorite breeding story?
Not a particular one, but we had a dog called Naughty who was truly an amazing Greyhound that did incredible things. She won at lure coursing and was a dual champion, not to mention the stuff she did at home! There was a five-strand barb wire fence, and once, I caught her standing balanced on the top wire looking at an animal. She climbed to the top of a haystack to stare at any animal she saw. Her athletic ability was amazing. She’s been gone a long time, but locals still talk about her.
I don’t breed to win in the ring. I breed to the standard and what I think healthy, correct, long-lived dogs should be. I really want purebred dogs to be part of the American future.