Breeder

Background

I am an enthusiast of the breed since my teenage years. As a breeder I am cautious and interested in facts. Even if the technicalities of dog breeding are more my thing, our “dog life” as a whole is enough work for two people: Azuricoyotes Hollandse Herders is a common project of a thirty-something Finnish-Danish couple.

  • Actively with the breed since 2001 – after owning both short- and longhaired dogs from different bloodlines I have a realistic image of the traits of different types of Dutch Shepherds. All types are good and precious in their own way!

  • Dog sports ever since my first Dutch Shepherd, at the moment I have one active sports dog at home. For me, the most important role of training is to acquire information of the innate qualities of each individual, and influence the formation of behaviors through them.

  • I’m familiar with bloodlines all over the world and I’m interested in Dutch Shepherds of all countries. My first visit to see the breed in its country of origin was already in 2006.

  • I have a good knowledge of genetics, population management and breeding, first through an active interest and a hobby, and later through higher education.

  • Breeding counselor in the Dutch Shepherd club of Finland 2015-2020.

  • I am committed to honesty and openness by sharing information about the breed and the results of my own breeding as truthfully and realistically as possible.

  • My work has been progressive: we were the first in the world to do an inter-variety cross between a longhair and a working line shorthair, as well as to use a KNPV line longhair in breeding. In Finland, the first puppies from a working line longhair (= LH out of SH) and the first longhairs out of shorthair parents were born in our house as well.

  • We don’t own a big kennel, and we want out puppy owners to view dog ownership as we do: our dogs are family members first, training buddies second, and breeding dogs only third.

  • As a breeder I am a flexible, responsible and committed to helping my puppy owners in matters related to health or educating and training their puppy for the full life span of the dog.

Core principles

Ultimately, my goal is a dog that I myself think fits the description of a good Dutch Shepherd – a dog that I myself want to live and train with. A good Dutch Shepherd for me is a motivated, social, durable and agile dog, a dog with well-developed drives and excellent trainability. A dog that is able to be trained to succeed in nearly any sport, but simultaneously is stable enough to be environmentally safe and undemanding at home without the need of excessive training. Especially skills in safe social interaction and the ability to calm down at home are very important traits for me.

The quality of a breed population is constantly changing, and the type molded by fashion or genetic drift isn’t necessarily always what the breed “should be”. For me it is very important to be able to see past the club politics at any given point in time and respect the origin of the Dutch herding dog as a hardy, adaptable breed with a heart of a real working dog. I’m not reaching for extreme traits, but for a dog that is mentally strong, balanced and suitable for sport, and on top of that able to live a full healthy life as a faithful companion of their family.

Because genetic diversity is pretty much the most important thing for population health, all my litters have a clear mixed background (e.g. through inter-variety crosses and open stud books). Even if increased diversity will not magically produce only dogs with perfect health and character, it not only reduces countless health risks, but opens doors for more effective selection and keeps the options for the future of the breed much brighter going forward as well. A part of upholding the future of the breed past my time as a breeder is avoiding popular sires and otherwise overused families, and the attempt to create equally good fresh pedigree structures for the future.

When it comes to outward appearance, something I’m always keeping in mind is that an active dog needs a healthy structure to feel well both inside and out. Structures disadvantageous to a constantly moving working dog are most seen in bloodlines where workability isn’t guiding selection anymore: show winner and healthy structure aren’t automatically the same thing.

Breeding

A puppy from us

We breed Dutch Shepherds according to a long-term plan aiming for the welfare of the population as a whole. Our puppies come in the following package:

  • From widely health-tested parents: my breeding dogs are examined for HD, ED, SP, LTV, DNA-panel and eyes + repeat examinations in case the dog is already older.

  • Puppies born in a regular home in the middle of normal life, learning social skills from our other dogs starting from a few weeks of age. Our methods of raising our puppies are based in science and support future health and development of social skills.

  • Genotype, not phenotype selection; our combinations are chosen based on not only the individual qualities of the parents, but the qualities of their pedigrees as well.

  • Supporting longevity and allowing the collection of comprehensive family data by avoiding rapid generation changes and frequent breeding of the same dogs.

  • Our puppies always represent family lines that improve the genetic diversity in the breed, and their total inbreeding coefficient will always stay below the breed average.

  • The actual qualities and character trait of the dog will always matter more to us than titles, but we do aim to use as many working titled dogs as possible.

  • Because every puppy from us is a result of hard work done for the future of the breed, the owners are expected to health test their dogs, and allow the breeder to publish any individual faults that can be meaningful for selection.

Azuricoyotes family tree