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Famed Dog Author Shares Books with New AKC Breeder Education Effort

By Penny Leigh, AKC Registration & Development Staff

A version of this article originally appeared  in Volume 28, No. 3. September, 2015 issue of Perspectives, the AKC Delegates’ Newsletter

Bowser entered the Waller household as an adorable family pet and exited on his way to becoming a top-winning champion.

His show dog career was the sole result of the Wallers’ young daughter who recognized something special in the St. Bernard puppy.

“At the time, I was in an excellent 4H horse program and studying a lot about equine conformation so I was very familiar with balance, angulation and movement. Bowser seemed quite beautiful to me,” said Claudia Waller Orlandi PhD.

Claudia began reading everything she could find about St. Bernards and then asked her father if she could take Bowser to conformation handling classes.

Bowser was my introduction to the dog show world, and we learned that he was indeed an exceptional St Bernard.  I successfully competed with him in Junior Showmanship. When I went away to boarding school, we returned Bowser to his breeder (Betty Roberts – Shagg Bark Kennels) where he ended up becoming a top special shown by Bob Forsyth. My love of dogs and showing began with these wonderful and fortuitous experiences.” 

Her natural eye for structure and movement has served Orlandi well in the world of dogs. Her incredible career in purebred dogs includes breeding some of the top Basset Hounds in the country with her late husband, Dom Orlandi, under the Topsfield kennel prefix.

She has been honored as the AKC Breeder of the Year; she is a judge and former chairman of the Breeders/ Judges Education Committee for the Basset Hound Club of America.

But Orlandi’s greatest gift to the Fancy has been her generosity in sharing her talents, experience and knowledge. She has written two books on breeding and anatomy, ABC’s of Dog Breeding and Practical Canine Anatomy & Movement, and she often speaks on the topics at seminars and symposiums.

Most recently, she has joined forces with the American Kennel Club in an effort to educate breeders around the world. Orlandi’s books are available through a new program called AKC Bred with H.E.A.R.T, which stands for Health, Education, Accountability, Responsibility and Tradition.

All breeders can study the material in both books at no charge on the AKC Bred with H.E.A.R.T. website. They can opt to be tested on the materials and receive a course completion certificate upon passing the examinations.

Preparing breeders to produce the healthy, excellent examples of their breeds is the goal of Bred with H.E.A.R.T.

“Knowledge is power in all phases of our lives!” Orlandi said. “The more a breeder knows about the science of breeding healthy dogs the more they can control canine genetic diseases in their breeding programs.”

The AKC Bred with H.E.A.R.T. website will include other educational material to help breeders, including those just getting started. Courses include Breeding Basics and Care & Feeding of the Breeding Bitch.

The program strongly promotes responsible breeding through health testing. The site will include a list of all Parent Club recommendations for health testing for their given breeds.

AKC Delegate Canine Health Committee Chairwoman Susan LaCroix Hamil is a staunch supporter of BWH, so much so that she was one of the first breeders to enroll in the program.

“The public is very concerned about the health and longevity of their canine companions.  I want to emphasize that AKC is taking a leadership role in providing programs to educate dog owners and the dog owning public about best breeding practices,” said Hamil, who has bred some of the top Bloodhounds in the country.

“Those breeders who achieve AKC BWH certification demonstrate their commitment to producing healthy, well-socialized purebred puppies that become valued family companions living long, healthy lives,” Hamil said.

Breeders can choose to enroll and become an AKC Bred with H.E.A.R.T. breeder if they meet the requirements of having registered at least one litter with AKC within the past five years and being in good standing with AKC. They also must agree to the following:

  • Certify that applicable health screens are performed on breeding stock as recommended by the respective AKC Parent Club and be prepared to supply proof of such compliance upon request
  •  Comply with the AKC Care and Conditions Policy, including inspection(s) by the American Kennel Club or its duly authorized representative
  • Complete AKC-approved and/or AKC-provided continuing breeder education courses annually
  • Complete the online application process and pay an annual fee of $25 per breed

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.

The AKC rewards breeders who take the pledge with benefits including use of the Bred with H.E.A.R.T. logo on AKC dog registration applications; breed-specific web banners; litter registration discount coupons; and $35 in annual credit for online reports.

But the best benefit is the access to the priceless information on breeding, anatomy and genetics found in Orlandi’s books. The books break down the complex topics into easy-to-understand language with illustrations and photographs.

“Several years ago I had a conversation with the late great George Padgett, author of Control of Canine Genetic Diseases, in which we were discussing…the importance of keeping things simple in terms of breeder education, and he said, ‘Claudia, if breeders only knew that by applying a few important, easy-to-understand genetic principles they could have a lot more control over not only conformation but also diseases in their breeding programs.’  These simple, important genetic principles as well as key anatomy features for developing an eye for a dog are the points of departure in the ABC’s of Dog Breeding and Practical Canine Anatomy & Movement education programs,” she said. “By understanding and applying these straight forward scientific concepts, my hope is that breeders participating in the Bred with H.E.A.R.T education program will be able to more consistently produce healthy and happier dogs.”

Orlandi recently remarried a resident of Spain and now spends time in both Spain and the United States. In all her world travels and visits to foreign dog shows, Orlandi said she has not encountered a program that compares to AKC Bred with H.E.A.R.T.

“In my opinion, no other international kennel club brings to dog breeders what the AKC Bred with H.E.A.R.T program does in terms of education, accountability and guidance on breeding healthy dogs as well as complying with Parent Club recommendations, good kennel practices and state requirements.”

Breeders who pass the BWH certification can display the AKC Bred with H.E.A.R.T. logo on their websites, business cards, and kennel offices. They must continue to pursue annual certification through continuing education on breeding practices.

“Those breeders who achieve AKC BWH certification demonstrate their commitment to producing healthy, well-socialized purebred puppies that become valued family companions living long, healthy lives,” Hamil said.

For more information on AKC Bred with H.E.A.R.T., please visit http://education.akc.org/akcedu

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Posted by on Oct 20 2015. Filed under Current Articles, Featured. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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