Molly and Michael Nye, of M&M Bloodhounds, live just outside of Charlotte, N.C. Bloodhound fanciers for close to 20 years, they are members of the American Bloodhound Club, regional Bloodhound clubs, and local all-breed and obedience clubs. They are AKC Breeders of Merit, American Bloodhound Club Breeders of Merit, and they both hold offices and positions in these breed clubs. They’ve chaired a wildly successful national specialty, multiple regional specialties, multiple Meet the Breeds booths, and many annual mantrailing trials. Michael created the Vested in Bloodhounds program through the Southeastern Bloodhound Club, which provides donated bulletproof vests to working Bloodhounds, and both are American Bloodhound Club mantrailing judges. We chatted with Molly to hear how the couple became breeders, and what they look for in puppy buyers.
AKC: How did you get started in breeding dogs?
Molly: We got into the breed with our first two Bloodhounds, purchased as companions from a well-respected breeder in the Midwest. Campbell and Willie were littermates and the start of our Bloodhound adventure. As we lived with these two wonderful friends, we fell in love with the breed more and more. My interest was piqued, along with that of my supportive husband, and we began mentoring under Campbell and Willie’s breeder. From there, after many years of learning from multiple gracious mentors, understanding the concepts of breeding, and doing co-breedings with them, we decided to have our own litter. The rest is history, as they say. All our dogs today are related to Campbell and Willie.
AKC: What is the most important thing to know about Bloodhounds?
Molly: There are several things to think about when considering the Bloodhound. One of the most important things that I try to point out to folks is that the media often portrays the breed incorrectly. So often you see them on television as a lazy porch dog that lies around all day, lifting his head when someone drives by or when a cat walks by or whatever. This could not be further from the truth, as far as an accurate portrayal of the breed. If you’ve ever seen the 1983 flick “A Christmas Story,” you may remember the scene of the Bumpus Bloodhounds stealing the Parker family’s Christmas turkey . . . that’s more like living with a Bloodhound! You must think of these guys as a nose with a dog attached. They’re bred to be a working scent hound. They are independent thinkers, meant to be out ahead of their handler, making decisions on which way the missing person that they are following went. They’re not an “aim to please” breed and can be very difficult to live with if the new owners do not realize what they’re signing up for before bringing a Bloodhound into their life.
AKC: How has AKC Marketplace helped you find puppy buyers?
Molly: AKC Marketplace has helped with exposure to potential puppy buyers who know to seek a reputable and ethical breeder, but may not realize how to go about doing it. Even if we do not have puppies available or a litter planned, we can help that potential home with information on the breed and point them in the direction of another ethical breeder with puppy plans. Therefore, it works twofold for us and for the ethical breeders at large within our breed.
AKC: What is your favorite question to ask potential puppy buyers?
Molly: I’m not sure that we have one favorite question to ask an inquirer regarding our puppies. The questionnaire available on our website has many questions for potential puppy homes that give us a chance to get to know them better before a further interview and, subsequently, agreeing to place one of our beloved babies there.
AKC: What are the main qualities you look for in potential owners?
Molly: It is our main expectation that our puppies live as well, or better, than our own dogs do in our home. The main priority for us is that our puppies become family members in their new homes. In seeking this out, we like to be sure that this potential home is well versed ahead of time in the “goods and bads” of the breed and realizes what they’re getting into when welcoming this breed into their homes and hearts. Anything else — like mantrailing, tracking, therapy work, obedience, conformation — that’s all icing on the cake, if that potential owner has interest in any of those avenues. Truly, though, what it boils down to is that the puppy will be loved and cherished for its lifetime.
AKC: What is the best advice you would give to novice breeders?
Molly: The best advice I can give to a novice breeder is to take the time to find a well-established mentor in the breed who wants to teach you the good and bad points of their own breeding program and in the breed overall. No dogs are perfect, and there is room for improvement in all breeds. Please do not jump into breeding, as we should not breed to produce puppies, but rather to try our best to improve on the breed in the following generations we produce. Novice breeders cannot do that until they are shown, guided, and taught by someone with great experience.
So many novice breeders, in all breeds, jump in and want success yesterday, without doing their due diligence. It can be off-putting to an established and successful ethical breeder to see this, and it diminishes their desire to help. Find all the avenues you can for learning proper structure and how form versus function truly does work. When correct basic structure is learned and understood well, combined with the understanding of proper breed type, along with temperament and health clearances, a novice breeder will realize that not all dogs are meant to be bred to produce future generations.
Lastly, when a person feels she knows all that there is to know and doesn’t seem open to learning new things, it’s time to hang up her hat and be done. We should all be open, no matter how long we’ve been doing something, to learning and progressing forward in a breed we all love.
AKC: Do your dogs compete in AKC sports?
Molly: Yes, our dogs compete in most aspects of AKC sports. Both Michael and I work our dogs in harness and love to see them do what they’re bred to do. We are both American Bloodhound Club mantrailing judges. The AKC now recognizes mantrailing titles for the Bloodhound. We also show our dogs in conformation and have been blessed with many successful wins in this area. I’ve also tried out AKC Rally and Beginner Novice obedience. Many of our puppies have gone on to homes where they’ve gained titles in mantrailing and tracking, conformation, rally and regular obedience, Canine Good Citizen, therapy dog certification, etc.
AKC: What do you like best about breeding dogs?
Molly: Our favorite thing about breeding dogs is seeing our own dogs live on in their progeny. There is nothing more rewarding than producing a litter of puppies and seeing familiar faces from years gone by of dogs we loved and adored. The family line — always having a dog related to Campbell and Willie — keeps our hearts full.
AKC: Do you have a favorite breeding story?
Molly: There are too many things that would keep me from picking just one story. Breeding can be very difficult emotionally at times — a roller-coaster of many highs and many lows. However, in the end, it is very rewarding. One of the favorite stories, which happens over and over again, is when we reunite (at a show, event, or wherever) with a puppy we’ve placed and his owner brings him over to see us.
We’ll stand still and watch what the dog does. If there are others standing around with us, the dog will be friendly to everyone, but you can see his wheels turning, as there is a familiar smell there, and he can’t place it just yet. And then, it happens. He realizes that familiar smell is us! There has never been a time that a puppy we’ve placed doesn’t remember us. It can be years and years since we’ve seen them, and they still know. They usually go bonkers, and the owner will tell us that reaction is very unusual, and they’ve only ever seen it with us. They never forget us — just like we never forget them. It makes every tough, emotional time with breeding worth it.
Learn more about M&M Bloodhounds on their website.