State your name, kennel name, and location.
Kiah Moross, Hula Moon Berger Blanc Suisse, Hawaii
How did you come to be involved in White Swiss Shepherd breed?
My dad always had German Shepherds. His first dog was a White GSD named Nalu, and despite not being around when he was alive, stories of Nalu made a life-long impression. My parents got me a White GSD from Australia when I was in intermediate school and from that point on, I was a White Shepherd enthusiast. Like many other WSS breeders, it was a natural progression from the White GSD or UKC White Shepherd to the internationally recognized WSS.
What is your favorite thing about White Swiss Shepherds?
They are highly intelligent and fiercely loyal. While not necessarily the easiest breed to
own, they are one of the most rewarding.
Aside from the dogs you own, who are some of your favorite representatives of the
There are so many incredible WSS out there, it’s hard to just pick a few. Beau Brit Od Bijelih Andela is the grand sire of my foundation male, and he is one of the most beautiful WSS I have seen. Tom Jones Ice Lilien is the sire of one of my foundation females and although quite different in type than Beau Brit, he is equally stunning. Nikita Vom Kofelort and Miss Ma Vie Akbo Parchovany are two outstanding bitches in conformation, and both bring working potential to the table. Clearly, I am biased to dogs in my pedigrees, but when selecting our foundation dogs we researched lines, breeders, show and sport titles, and genetics. It wasn’t about getting the first available puppy. We took a lot of time to find the dogs we loved and wanted to start our program with, so I guess it is natural to look to them as some of my favorite representatives of the breed. Stateside there are so many up-and-coming breeders and some beautiful WSS both imported and bred domestically. I am so excited to see what the future holds for the breed as it grows and flourishes in the USA.
What type of food do your dogs eat, and how do you keep them in shape?
We mostly feed Purina Pro Plan 30/20 and we supplement with raw meaty bones, green tripe, and offal. We switch up formulas and incorporate an alternative brand in every so many bags to prevent sensitivity and keep our dogs interested in their food. I was hesitant to switch to Purina since there are competitor brands with seemingly better ingredient quality, but what it ultimately came down to was macro and micronutrient profile. Purina Pro Plan is one of the most researched (actual trials) kibbles for breeding dogs, and I personally have seen an improvement in body condition and fertility since making the switch. Our dogs are portion fed twice daily. We also supplement with
Grizzly Salmon/Pollock oil, Cosequin DS for growing adolescents and older dogs, and green lipped mussel powder. For our active breeding females we’ve had a lot of success with the Breeder’s Edge supplements “Oxy Momma” and “In-Between for Her.” Our dogs are also exercised daily, whether it is walking, running, swimming, biking, or playing fetch at the park. We are members of multiple training clubs and make it a priority to stimulate our dogs both physically and mentally on a regular basis.
What activities do you participate in with your dogs?
We participate in IGP and we are members of a local AKC obedience club. Although we cannot compete with our dogs in AKC, we enjoy working with them and participating in mock trials. Unfortunately, there is no active UKC club in Hawaii, so we are limited in terms of conformation and sport opportunities. We hope to title our dogs in IGP since it is the only competitive venue we qualify for until the WSS achieves AKC breed recognition.
What grooming tools do you think are must-haves for White Swiss Shepherd owners?
FORCE DRYER, gentle cleansing shampoo for regular cleaning, bluing shampoo for immediate brightening, enzyme shampoo for stain removal, conditioner, grooming rake, slicker brush, buttercomb, otic enzyme ear cleaner, Dremel for nails, nail clipper, and did I mention FORCE DRYER?
What advice would you give up and coming breeders?
Patience is key and dog breeding is HARD. Before starting, ask yourself what your end goal is. Do you want to be a breeder who produces WSS or do you want to be a WSS owner who hopefully ends up with nice enough dogs to be a breeder? Do you want to produce family companions, show dogs, sport or working prospects, service dogs, or some combination of a few of these things? If you are a USA breeder, registration can be tricky. What registration body will you stick with? Will you dual register your dogs? What criteria will you have for dogs that you include in your program? There is no wrong answer to these questions, but it will save a lot of time and heartache if you know where you stand before you start. It may be the difference between the extra upfront financial investment of importing a health tested, proven producer with titles, or going for a less expensive young puppy from nice parents and solid lines. Starting a program is a huge time and money commitment and there are zero guarantees. Be realistic. Finding a mentor, club, and/or support system within the breed will be extremely helpful. It is important to have a stable and secure environment for your dogs, and the capital to properly care for them and complete the steps necessary to determine if your dog is even a good candidate for breeding. If your dog isn’t, will you keep him/her or will you rehome and start all over again? It is important to be fully prepared for the good and the bad, and to be responsible for and prioritize your dogs and the future of the breed, above your own ambitions. When you become a WSS breeder you are also making a commitment to your future puppy families to be a solid foundation and source of information and support whenever necessary. There will be good times and there will be tragedy. Are you strong enough to navigate the rollercoaster of emotions and responsibilities that come your way? There are so many factors to be seriously considered before starting a breeding program. That being said, good breeders that are willing and able to do right by their dogs and the breed are invaluable to all of us who love WSS.
Who in the White Swiss Shepherd community do you look up to and why?
I look up to all the WSS breeders across the world and what they have cumulatively accomplished for the breed. While most attribute the success and recognition of the WSS to European kennels and breeders, particularly the Swiss, I really admire and must give credit to the dedicated American White Shepherd breeders of years past, who pushed through resistance and preserved the genetics that are responsible for today’s WSS. In Europe the white gene was all but eradicated from GSD lines. American White GSDs were exported to Europe and became the foundation of today’s WSS. No outcrossing was done, just selective breeding. European breeders set the standard and had the vision, but the original preservationists in the USA provided the foundation dogs. Some of these American breeders are still around. Unfortunately, due politics and the rejection of the WSS by the AKC and GSDCA, they are rarely recognized and sometimes they are even ostracized by other WSS breeders and enthusiasts. The development of the WSS was a collaborative effort and it is still in progress. I look up to all those from the past, present, and future who are responsible for the beautiful White Swiss Shepherd breed that we all know and love today.
What are your main goals for your kennel for the remainder of 2021?
We have big plans for the rest of 2021! We plan to compete in our IGP club’s upcoming fall trial with the goal of taking home some titles. We will also be starting our next generation on foundation sports training which will hopefully give us insight on what we are producing. In addition to working with our current dogs, we are collaborating with other breeders and planning the future of our breeding program. It will be an exciting rest of the year for us, and we can’t wait to crush some of these goals before 2022!
What does your ideal prospective puppy buyer look like?
Our ideal prospective puppy buyer has done extensive research on WSSs and has had experience raising and training working breeds. They are polite, patient, and focused on making a connection with the right breeder and securing the right puppy. They do not just want a puppy NOW. The ideal puppy buyer is looking for a long-term companion and desires a mutually beneficial relationship with their future dog. They will have a stable home environment, be financially secure, and have enough time to dedicate to an additional family member, because that is what their puppy will be.
Describe the future you would like to see for the White Swiss Shepherd breed in 10 years.
I would ultimately like to see AKC breed recognition of the WSS. When that happens and the studbooks are open, I hope to see collaboration between breeders to get more good dogs in the registry. AKC recognition will be the final piece of the puzzle and hopefully resolve a lot of tension and confusion between breeders and clubs.
What sets your kennel apart from others in the breed?
It may not exactly set us apart, because I’m sure there are many other breeders that have the same priorities that we do, but we are pet owners first and foremost. We love our dogs and regardless of if they are breeders or not, they are family. We knew we wanted WSSs, and having quality specimens with good health results, balanced drives, and stable tempemernts has enabled us to share the breed with others in our community. That being said, it is important to demonstrate to and get verification from outside parties that pets are breeding quality and we seek out venues to compete with our dogs and/or get feedback whenever possible.
What hobbies do you enjoy outside of the dog world?
Most of our hobbies include our dogs… Hiking, ocean sports, and spending time with
friends and family!