Breeder Interview with Ingrid Linerud-Strom
Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a breeder? Ingrid Linerud-Strom: I live in North Idaho in a small town a few miles from Coeur d’ Alene called Athol. I have been showing and breeding Akitas for 40 years. What is my kennel name? How many dogs do I currently keep? Ingrid Linerud-Strom: My kennel name is Crown Royal Akitas. Right now I have four dogs and usually keep no more than six. Which show dogs from the past have been my noteworthy winners? Ingrid Linerud-Strom: Am. Can. CH Crown Royals Get Off My Cloud, ROMPX, “Jagger,” was my biggest winner in the show ring. He won 30 All-Breed Bests in Show and 10 Specialty Bests in Show, including the National in 1998. He was breeder/owner-handled his whole career by me, and still holds the record for top breeder/owner-handled Akita. CH Crown Royals starting a Revolution, ROM was also a National Specialty Best of Breed winner and a multiple Group-winning dog. He also won back-to-back Top 20s at our National Specialty in 2009 & 2010. Am. Can. CH Crown Royals Akai O Kashi CD, ROMPX was the top-winning Akita Bitch in 1984 and 1986, and won Best of Opposite Sex at the ‘86 National Specialty. I have had many more dogs in the Top 10 over my years of breeding. At last count, I have produced over 100 AKC Champions. Which have been my most influential sires and dams? Ingrid Linerud-Strom: I have bred and/or owned 17 Register of Merit producers. My most consistent male would probably be CH Crown Royals See ‘N Stars, ROMPX. He is in the pedigree of many top-producing kennels in the US. A dog I bought back in the early 1990s was an incredible producer. His name was Noji’s The Count Crown Royal, ROMPX. I wish we were collecting frozen semen back then! He consistently produced incredible Akita puppies. I firmly believe that the strength of anyone’s kennel is in the quality of your bitches. I have been blessed in having several top-producing bitches. Am. Can. CH Crown Royals Akia O Kashi CD, ROMPX produced 11 champions and is one of my foundation bitches. CH Crown Royals Merit Of Cashmere, ROMPX produced 10 Champions, and CH Noji Ivy Of Crown Royal produced 11 champions. All of these girls are behind many top lines today. Can I talk a bit about my facilities? Where are my puppies whelped? How are they raised? Ingrid Linerud-Strom: I live on 10 acres of land. My kennel building has six inside/outside runs. I have three grassed dog yards, about an acre each. Our land is covered in trees, so tons of shade. The kennels and play yards are six-foot chain link fencing. I also have a whelping/grooming room in my home where I bathe and whelp puppies. My puppies are always raised in the home, with tons of socialization. I have different music playing and as many visitors as possible. My puppies begin eating meals at around 3 weeks old. I feed quality food and supplement with Vitamin C and a probiotic. What is my “process” for selecting Show Puppies? Performance Puppies? Ingrid Linerud-Strom: I do my puppy evaluations the 8 weeks. I use Pat and Bob Hastings’ evaluation sheets. I also evaluate temperament from the time they are born. Do I compete in Performance Events? In Parent Club Tests & Trials? Ingrid Linerud-Strom: I have obtained CD on my Akita, CH Crown Royals Akai O Kashi CD. I obtained her title in three shows with scores of 190, 191 & 194! I have also had several Akitas get their CGCs. Is “performance” part of my decision-making when it comes to breeding? Ingrid Linerud-Strom: Yes. Even though I show mainly in Conformation, you must have a confident dog that loves to show. Temperament is very important in our breed and it is very important that we breed only stable dogs. Akitas are a dominant breed and must be raised correctly. How would I define “conditioning” as it relates to my breed? Ingrid Linerud-Strom: Conditioning starts with diet. Never try to save money on bad dog food. My dogs get plenty of exercise daily. They are crate-trained as young puppies, but only go in crates when getting shown or going for a car ride. If you are considering campaigning a dog, much more conditioning is needed. I road work my specials daily for about two miles. Are there any health-related concerns in my breed? Any special nutritional needs? Ingrid Linerud-Strom: I have used OFA for all my dogs since the 1980s. Akitas can have hip issues and eye issues. Gastric torsion is also a problem in our breed, so my dogs get one Gas-X daily with their meals. Do I think my breed is supported by a sufficient number of preservation breeders? Ingrid Linerud-Strom: We have some preservation breeders, but can always use more! Is my breed well suited to be a family dog? Who are the best candidates to own my breed? Ingrid Linerud-Strom: Akitas are the most loyal dog. They are also very stubborn and need a firm owner who lets them know their boundaries early in life. They make incredible, loving companions if raised correctly. My kids were raised with the Akita, and now my grandkids too. What is the biggest misconception about my breed? What is my breed’s best-kept secret? Ingrid Linerud-Strom: The biggest misconception is that they do not shed! I cannot tell you how many people I have talked to who think they do not shed! I tell them that when they are in coat they do not shed, but when they blow coat it’s hair everywhere for weeks. Their best-kept secret is how vocal they can be. Not barking, but they talk to you. If I could share a comment or two with judges of my breed, what would I like to say to them? Ingrid Linerud-Strom: When you step into the Akita ring, find the dog with TYPE, and then reward soundness! So many judges are putting up dogs with no type: tall, upright ears, rangy bodies, flat feet, and light, round eyes. Type is what makes an Akita an Akita. A great handler once told me, “You can find a sound dog at the shelter.” Type is what makes your Akita who he is. This does not mean breed unsound dogs, but type is so important! Do I have any words of wisdom to pass along to newer breeders? Ingrid Linerud-Strom: I got my first Akita after attending a dog show and seeing several different breeders’ Akitas. This was back in 1979! I found the breeder who bred beautiful Akitas, but it took me almost two years of waiting to get my puppy from them. So, research your breeders and then do not be afraid to wait for that special puppy.
For a bit of fun, what’s the most amusing thing I’ve ever experienced with a Working Dog? Ingrid Linerud-Strom: This question has me thinking. The best story I have to tell is when Sally Compton, “Jagger’s” co-owner, and I went to Paintsville, Kentucky, for a show. Jagger was always taken to a place to be let out to potty before we got to the show. We let him out, and he ran over a little hill and came back with coal sludge all over him! Sally and I are from the Pacific Northwest, so we knew nothing about coal sludge. (But it does not just wash out!) Needless to say, Jagger went into the Breed ring wet! That day, after we won the breed, we got him cleaned up and he went on to win a Best in Show that day! Never a dull moment showing dog. Dogs have been my passion my entire life.