The Family & Our GSD Breeding Program

The German Shepherd has always been a part of our family.
I love their intelligence, loyalty, stability, working ability, and beauty.  As a breeder, I've tried to always keep the integrity of the breed intact.  What makes a German Shepherd a German Shepherd isn't marked by the latest fads, but rather a consistency of the German standard for the breed, which we try to follow.

With this said, it takes our whole family to make our breeding program work.  My dad Bill is the chore person and handy man.  You'll also see one of the dogs tagging along with him while he works on the farm, checks crops, or takes grain to town.  My mom Susan whelps each litter and helps socialize them.  She monitors each female closely and does a great job with each litter.  My sister-in-law Jill is a puppy lover.  She helps with each litter as they explore the farm and new sights and sounds.  My niece Maggie and nephew Grayson are huge hits with the dogs.  So even though most of you talk with me, email, or meet me in person, it's really a family and friends effort to produce the best dogs possible.

Each litter is socialized with people and have hands-on contact every day.  We know each puppy because we've been with them every day.  At 7 1/2 weeks a puppy test is done to ensure the right puppy is placed with the right owner.  Some of our puppies are kept to help evaluate our program.  That's why you sometimes see young adults that are available.

We compete with our dogs and ask them to perform in all types of situations.  That's great when our dogs succeed on the Schutzhund field or in the show ring, but how are they responding to people who aren't professional trainers?  That's important to us, too.
Bill and Fritz (Half x Atti)  work on the combine during harvest.
Susan and Grissom (Rick x Biena) taking a break at a show
Grayson and Jake (Logan x Mea) hang out
Jill and Paris (Rick x Biena) enjoy playing in the field.
What should you expect from us as a breeder?
First of all, not everyone is right for every puppy, nor is everyone right for a puppy from us.  It's my job to ask questions of you to decide if you're ready for a puppy and if so, which litter and which puppy.  Sometimes after speaking with a prospective customer, I tell them someone else would be a better choice.  It's nothing personal, but a prospective customer may have expectations that do not match a certain litter or a certain puppy, so I am honest and tell them it isn't a match.  In addition, I will not sell a puppy to someone that is looking to turn a fast buck with their dog, or one that wants a mean dog, or someone that does not have the time for a dog.  Dogs are not robots.  They require time and love to make a good dog.  You can take a dog with a good pedigree and a sound temperament and ruin it with the wrong owner.  The opposite is also true.  We've heard heart breaking stories from good people who bought a dog from the wrong person - severe temperament issues and/or health issues. 

Our puppies are vet checked before they leave us and have been vaccinated and are on a regular de-worming schedule.  Because we are on a farm, worming is a constant for our dogs and puppies.  We enjoy a good relationship with local veterinarians to ensure our dogs are in the best health at all times.  Our puppies come with a hip and health guarantee.

As your puppy grows, we are here to answer questions to help you.  It's expected that each puppy owner stay in contact with us and send pictures.  We want to know how our dogs are doing.  I highly recommend that each owner do at least basic obedience with their dog.  Veterinarians hate an unruly dog, and your guests won't enjoy their visit if your adult dog is unmannerly.

I am not in the dogs to raise as many as I can, nor I am in it to make me wealthy.  If you're looking for a breeder that always has puppies available or is willing to bargain discount dogs to get them sold, we're not your kennel.  I don't breed over sized dogs, nor do I breed for the latest fad in the show world.  You'll find our dogs in lots of pictures, not just as statutes because they are dogs for real life, not just for made-up situations. 

I encourage all prospective owners to visit our dogs.  If you are unable to visit, please feel free to ask questions of me, as I'm going to ask them of you, too.  Here are some frequently asked questions.

Jennifer Holtgrew
Susan and Phoenix, her house dog and constant companion
Maggie and a puppy (Ole x Mea) snuggle
Maggie and Bara enjoy a beautiful fall day

Jennifer - I am active in the Sioux Valley Kennel Club.  I compete in AKC obedience and Rally and have been tracking the last couple of years.  Our dogs also compete in the German style conformation shows.

Aside from the dogs, I also ride Appaloosa horses.  Our family has been lucky enough to own a World Champion and a Reserve World Champion in team roping.  I competed in high school rodeo, making the national team twice.  In college,  my horses went with me, too.  During the summer, I compete with both my horses and dogs.  As always, the dogs take turns trail riding with me and tagging along to shows.

I teach high school English and am in my 14th year of teaching.  My teaching degree came from Iowa State University with a history minor.  I obtained a masters in Technology for Educational Training from the University of South Dakota am working on my second masters in Native American Studies from Nebraska Wesleyan.

Jennifer Holtgrew
27921 K42
Merrill, Iowa  51038

Click here to view our Frequently Asked Questions Page

A State of Iowa licensed facility - AW0009774-00

Canine Good Citizen Evaluator for the AKC

This page was last updated on: August 2, 2011
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Proud Member of the Sioux Valley Kennel Club
Jennifer and Yankee (Erri x Corida) finish a Rally Novice title.