I am completely astounded by how SwissRidge Kennels has grown since its humble beginnings with just one dog in the heated barn behind my mom’s house in Beaverton, Ontario. At 15, when I produced my first litter, I started dreaming big – but not so big that I ever expected to see my pups leashed to celebrities in Hollywood magazines!
That’s happening now, but, of course, the glamour goes to the dogs. I’m still cleaning out dog pens, delivering litters of pups, doing vet runs, or driving my truck around filled with supplies.
I’ve been breeding dogs since 1997, but I formally established SwissRidge Kennels on a 20-acre property in Lindsay, Ontario, in 2004 once I graduated from college.
Here are some highlights from SwissRidge’s official first decade:
- I built my reputation through careful and conscientious breeding – health-testing each and every dog, and sharing the records publicly. I provide lifetime support to my clients, and my contract stipulates that any dog I breed is returned to me if for any reason an owner cannot keep it.
- I introduced my “matchmaking” program, in which I choose the right puppy for a client. This involves close observation of the puppy, temperament testing at 7 weeks using the Volhard puppy aptitude test, and careful scrutiny of detailed applications from clients. Although I breed for a calm temperament, subtle variations can make all the difference in fit with a client’s needs. Since introducing this process, client satisfaction has soared.
- I developed a new hybrid in 2003 called the Bernedoodle. I was the first breeder to intentionally match a Bernese Mountain Dog and Poodle and I coined the name Bernedoodle. Now their popularity is growing around the world.
- I developed a new hybrid in 2013 called the Golden Mountain Doodle. I was the first breeder to intentionally mix a Golden Retriever, Poodle, and Bernese Mountain Dog, and I coined the name Golden Mountain Doodle.
- SwissRidge has become the kennel of choice for Goldendoodles and Bernedoodles. My client list now includes famous artists, athletes, and movie stars.
- My breeding program was profiled very positively on Animal Planet’s Breeder of the Pack, and the episode continues to air monthly.
- I published a book, Bernedoodles: A Head to Tail Guide, in August 2013, which has well over 100 positive reviews.
- The SwissRidge Facebook group currently has about 11,500 highly engaged members, who kindly promote my dogs through word of mouth, and also help each other in ways I never imagined. This forum has become incredibly rewarding!
- I have never not sold one of my puppies.
- I have passed every annual kennel inspection with flying colors.
- I have made accessibility and communication major priorities, even as the kennel grows. While I now employ staff to help care for my dogs and support my business, I am hands-on in every respect – even if that means the late night cleaning shift, and especially if it means a puppy delivery!
- My special relationship with my clients means they can tell me what they want and need, and I try to adapt and accommodate where I can. When someone proposed crossing the Bernese and the Poodle, I gave it a try – with fantastic results! When people started asking for older puppies with some training, we launched the imprinting program. Listening to my clients has always served me well. As a result, I will expand our training, boarding, and other specialized services in the near future.
- I started a charity called SwissRidge Dogs for Kids, where I donate pups to children in need and raise money through various events and item sales to help train the dogs donated to these children.
- I hold an annual SwissRidge Doodle Romp, where my clients come from far and wide with their dogs to reunite.
- I developed a new hybrid in 2014 called the SwissRidge Doodle. This vision took years to achieve because it was done with great deliberation. I’m very happy with the results, but nothing is ever perfect in my eyes and I’m still working on perfecting this breed. I expect to have a premium SwissRidge hybrid that has all the traits my clients love in a gorgeous, healthy, allergy-friendly package.
- I built a brand-new, state-of-the-art 6,500 square foot breeding facility. The doors opened in December 2015.
I am looking forward to growing with my clients, and continuing to provide not only quality dogs, but also evolving services and the excellent customer experience people have come to expect.
Our new 52-acre property in Schomberg, Ontario, is the home of our state-of-the-art breeding facility. There are 2 ponds where the dogs can swim, and 5 kilometers of walking trails in a beautiful, secluded forest. Schomberg is an easy commute from the Greater Toronto Area.
We wrote the first book on Bernedoodles
This comprehensive, easy-to-read and entertaining book covers everything you need to know about this amazing hybrid. Since Bernedoodles can vary significantly in size, build, coloring, and even personality, prospective owners need advice from someone who knows the breed inside out. Who better than the breeder who created them?
Pawsh Magazine – “… insightful tips for finding the right breed and puppy for your family dynamic.”
Thinking of adopting a SwissRidge™ puppy?
Often people will want one of my dogs because they are irresistibly adorable. Please take the time to consider if this breed is the right choice for you and your family. Click the link above to answer some questions to help you see if our doodles are the best match for you.