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Echo Views Interview with the Dalmatian Club of Canada

Echo View Dalmatians is nestled in the rolling hills north of Leslieville, Alberta, Canada. The Ranch is  known as "Spotted Gait Ranch" and here the Dalmatians and Wander West Miniature Horses have lots of room to run and play.

As far back as Bonnie can remember, there has always been a dog in her life, from Terriers, Boxers, Labs, Collies and mixed breeds, but in 1989 her search for a Dalmatian launched us into the world of show dogs. 'Echo' our foundation bitch taught us about the breed and we continue to learn from the legacy she left behind.....

We are firm believers that the dogs are first and foremost our friends and companions so all of our Dalmatians are house dogs having their own couch in the T.V. room. They also have their own bedroom with their own crates. (Blankets included!)

Our puppies are raised in our home, and as they grow older their territory expands to include the whole house including stairs. Once they reach five weeks of age, and weather permitting, they have their own indoor-outdoor kennel during the day, and at night time they find their way back to their home indoors where they join the family until bedtime. The puppies have a crate as a bed, thus beginning their crate training.

All breeding stock is Baer tested, hips OFA' certified, vet checked before they are considered for breeding. The puppies produced  have their dew claws removed, are vaccinated, microchipped, Baer tested, vet checked and guaranteed for both health and temperament and we offer continue support to all puppy buyers for the life of the puppy.

When it comes to the show ring each dog is owner-handled by either John or Bonnie as it is a hobby we both enjoy. We do not send our dogs with handlers for we feel that the personal attention is lost. Dog shows are fun, and we try to keep the fun there whether we win or lose.

We are members of CKC and The Dalmatian Club of Canada. We also shelter the occasional Rescue Dalmatian, providing vet care, training and stabilizing their mental state before altering and placing each one into loving homes.

We compete in conformation,  and use to dabble in obedience, agility, tracking and pheasant hunting. Most of all the Dals enjoy camping or hunting gophers and mice while playing with their human companions on the ranch.

An Interview with the Dalmatian Club of Canada

1. When did you first start breeding Dals under the Echo View name?

Though Dals were in our minds since 1989, Echo View wasn’t registered with the Canadian Kennel Club until 1994.
2. Who was you first Dal?

Our first Dalmatian was ‘Echo’-- Ch. Dalradors Dal-Appy Bonsai Echo purchased from Gina Stoski in 1991. Bonnie was looking for an active, intelligent, healthy breed that didn’t require hours of grooming.  Although Echo was not the perfect Dalmatian she was very intelligent, healthy and had an excellent temperament.  She went on to obtain her Conformation championship teaching us along the way to never give up. We now look back and realize that having a ‘not so perfect Dal’ to start with is the best way to learn the ropes. So many newcomers to this sport expect to win each time they’re in the ring, and that just does not happen.  Although Echo never competed in the Obedience ring, for years she made an excellent demo dog at Bonnie’s obedience classes.

 3. What do you strive for in your breeding program?

We only breed when we wish to add a new addition to our ‘pack’. At present (2004) we have 8 Dals, and all live together in our home in harmony. We do not believe in separating the males and have had up to 3 intact males co-exist together.  Health and temperament is of utmost importance in our litters. We as breeders are very aware that most puppies are placed into pet homes, many of the homes have children. Adhering to the breed standard is a must and not falling into the trap of breeding for what judges are placing at that point in time is always on our mind when planning our next litter.

4. Were there any special Dals along the way? What made them special?

Each and every Dal we’ve ever had has been special to us for one reason or another. Echo will always be Bonnie’s favourite being the first Dal in our lives. John has a soft spot in his heart for Whisper, an Echo Granddaughter and Amber; Whisper’s daughter is kind and gentle, although not a flashy Dal is very well put together is another favourite.
We are very excited about our upcoming stars, Jazz, ‘Echoviews Tasselled Bridle’ Echo’s great, great, great great granddaughter and Coach, Troika’n ‘Echoviews Free Rein’ another 3X’s great grandson with a splash of Carriagelane blood.

5. What is the biggest challenge facing Dal breeders today?

We believe the biggest challenge breeders will always be faced with is educating the public about pet ownership. There are still too many buyers purchasing puppies from back yard breeders and pet stores.....impulse buying. Owning and operating a training, boarding and grooming facility we come across many cases of owners not realizing the high maintenance some breeds are. Training problems are also a huge issue. Too many pets are surrendered to local pounds because breeders do not educate their buyers in the care and training of their new companion.  The World Wide Web is a big help with education but there is still much a breeder can do.                                    
Over the years we are pleased to see the quality of Dalmatians improve. The incidence of deafness seems to be decreasing with the practice of using only bilateral hearing Dals in breeding programs. We hope to see the trend continue. We feel today’s breeders are producing quality Dals.  Structure, health and temperament has improved and is very evident as we watch the rings, including conformation, agility, obedience, road trials, tracking......all the canine activities that the Dals are competing in.  We have made many good friends since getting involved in the breed. The Dalmatian Club of Canada is very active and well run. We commend all the volunteers who give up countless hours of their personal time for this wonderful breed. Thank you all for caring.
Here’s hoping to see you at the shows!                                                                                                                                    

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John & Bonnie Hetherington
RR 1, Site 2, Box 8
Rocky Mountain House, AB
Res: 403 729.2227
Fax: 403 729.2246