As a child and young adult, Laura Haas helped her family breed German Shepherd Dogs. But it wasn’t until an encounter later in life with a whole new breed that re-ignited Haas’s love of producing beautiful purebred dogs.
“In 2008 while at an AKC conformation show, I met a Black Russian Terrier for the first time,” Haas says. “I fell in love with the breed, and it renewed my enthusiasm in breeding. I purchased my first Black Russian Terrier (BRT) in 2011 and founded Braveheart Black Russian Terriers.”
Haas says she strives to be an excellent breeder, like her parents and the type of breeder she looked for when selecting her first BRT.
“I sought out BRT breeders who were knowledgeable, performed DNA testing on their litters, and produced healthy puppies that represent the standard for the breed.”
Haas is a member of the AKC Bred with H.E.A.R.T. (BWH) program, which promotes excellence in breeding through education and health testing. H.E.A.R.T stands for Health, Education, Accountability, Responsibility, and Tradition. This year, the program is celebrating five years of existence.
BWH Program Now Free
Modeled after the successful Breeder of Merit program, Bred with H.E.A.R.T. started in 2015 as a new way to engage, encourage and recognize all breeders who meet specific health testing standards and who participate in continuing education.
To celebrate the fifth anniversary of this program, enrollment is now free for breeders who apply and are approved.
“I learned about the Bred with H.E.A.R.T. program from the AKC website and was inspired to become a member,” Haas says. “The program recognizes the efforts of breeders like me: committed to gaining knowledge and producing healthy, happy, stable, and confident puppies.”
Other breeders have similar praise for the program:
- “We are so honored to be recognized as an AKC Bred with H.E.A.R.T. breeder and have made an on-going commitment to the health and well-being of our purebred Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dogs,” says Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breeder Heaven Sent Cavaliers. “We are committing to the program requirements of Health, Education, Accountability, Responsibility & Tradition.”
- “We have been recognized as an AKC Breeder with HEART because of our commitment to fully HEALTH certifying all breeding dogs, continuing EDUCATION including advances in canine health, ACCOUNTABILITY for the best care of our dogs, taking RESPONSIBILITY for all our puppies for their life, and supporting the TRADITION of breeding purebred dogs,” says Standard Poodle breeder Piccolo’s Poodles.
- “I am proud to say I am an ethical, conscientious, AKC recommended bred-with H.E.A.R.T. breeder,” says French Bulldog breeder Legendary French Bulldogs.
- “We are proud to be a part of this program, sponsored by the American Kennel Club, for a second consecutive year,” says Miniature Schnauzer breeder Gunny’s Schnauzer Squad.
Bred with H.E.A.R.T. Requirements
- Have registered at least one AKC litter within the past 5 years
- Be in good standing with the AKC
- Certify that applicable health screens are performed on breeding stock as recommended by the respective AKC Breed Parent Club and be prepared to supply proof of such compliance upon request
- Must agree to comply with the AKC Care and Conditions Policy, including inspection(s) by the American Kennel Club or its duly authorized representative
- Must agree to comply with all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations regarding the ownership and maintenance of dogs
- Must agree to complete AKC-approved and/or AKC-provided continuing breeder education courses annually
- Must complete the online application process (now free)
An important BWH component is inspection. Breeders agree to an on-site inspection by an AKC Field Inspector who takes a close look at the kennel operations to ensure the AKC Care & Conditions Policy is followed.
Bred with H.E.A.R.T. Benefits
- Use of the Bred with H.E.A.R.T. logo on AKC dog registration applications
- Breed-specific web banners
- Litter registration discount
- $35 in annual credit for online reports
- Favorable positioning within AKC Marketplace