State your name, kennel name, and location.
NASHA COMANDA Elkhart, INDIANA, USA
How did you come to be involved in White Swiss Shepherd breed?
I had/have Siberian Huskies prior to my first White Swiss Shepherd. I purchased my first WSS after graduating from university with multiple degrees focused heavily on animal behavior and genetics...I found Wildwood Kennels, owned by Lauren Hollister Kliewer, in Washington State after heavily considering litters of various working line German Shepherds. I only happened to find the WSS litter of Lauren’s while researching about temperament testing and shepherds. I LOVED how she matched her new owners with their puppies based on various temperament tests and the interviews conducted with the owners and I had to learn more. Several months later, we welcomed our first Swiss Shepherd into our family, Sundance, who convinced me I never need to venture into another breed again. I have since imported and traveled all over the country (And the world!), my second WSS, Matryoshka from Russia who has just welcomed her first litter into the world this summer 2021.
What is your favorite thing about White Swiss Shepherds?
My favorite thing about this breed by far is the ability to form bonds with their owners. Both of my dogs and I formed instant connections with each other and their love for their family and close friends is just amazing. Even our imported girl who had not seen her breeder since 4 months old was elated to be reunited at a visit over a year later! My second favorite thing that I cannot leave out is the versatility of the breed. I think that it is so cool that these guys can be trained and have the ability to excel in just about any field you put them in. My personal dogs are active or have been active in agility, obedience/rally obedience, nosework, precision lure coursing, conformation shows, trick dog, and now Schutzhund. When I am instructing group classes, they participate as the “demo dogs” for our students too!
Aside from the dogs you own, who are some of your favorite representatives of the breed?
1. ATAKA Iz Beloy Brigady - first and only of the breed to become a TRIPLE FCI World Winner
2. Royal Sir Isaac’s IQ - One of the most influential stud dogs of all time and a dog loved by all.
3. MiG Iz Beloy Brigady - (full brother to my dog but still one of my heroes!)
4. White Star’s Victorious NERO - #1 white shepherd in UKC three consecutive years and a
dog who consistently demonstrates great structure, excellent temperament, and versatility.
5. Born To Win White Arizona - mother to MANY highly accomplished show and working
dogs, an accomplished show/working dog herself... but the best thing about her is her beautiful temperament. She is a dog who learned how to protect her owner with her teeth (for sport of course!) But is one who is able to turn a switch from working mode to family mode. She is currently retired in Russia and loved by a family with young children and many small animals. She can be both the brilliant “big bad wolf” working dog AND the beloved, gentle companion to a family. This is the epitome of the breed in my opinion.
What type of food do your dogs eat, and how do you keep them in shape?
My dogs eat a prey model raw diet and stay in shape with their training, swimming (we live on a lake!), hiking, and looooooots of play time!
What activities do you participate in with your dogs?
Conformation shows, rally obedience, obedience, agility, IGP club, nosework, precision lure coursing, and various trick dog fun :)
What grooming tools do you think are must-haves for White Swiss Shepherd owners? UNDERCOAT RAKE!!!!! (And like 3 backups haha)
What advice would you give up and coming breeders?
Do your research. I can’t stress that enough. Do NOT go for the first dog/cross you see because it is available now and you do not want to wait. Patience is huge. Be sure to be objective in your evaluation of your breeding stock and make your choices on what is best for our breed. Everyone should have a similar goal which is to make the best new generations of WSS possible. Also do not be afraid to ask a million questions. The old saying that “there are no dumb questions” is totally applicable! Finally, find an experienced mentor-they are priceless!!!
Who in the White Swiss Shepherd community do you look up to and why?
I look up to multiple people in this community however, one person in particular has made the most impact on my life with this breed. My close friend, and mentor, Maria Guryeva, owner of Iz Beloy Brigady (IZBB) in Moscow, Russia. She has inspired me to always go the extra mile (literally!) for my dogs and now with my breeding program. She has had so much success with her dogs but my main reasoning for looking up to her is that she has never been afraid to push for what is best for the dogs. She has built an amazing kennel with ties all over the world with some of the most beautiful dogs in the world (I am totally biased but I mean look them up....they’re all gorgeous!). My kennel name is inspired by our relationship with our dogs. “Nasha Comanda” means “our team” in Russian. My first cross ever consisted of two of her dogs, my import Matryoshka IZBB, and her stud, URA-GUN IZBB who she entrusted in my care in the states while they were bred. This gave me a unique opportunity to learn an incredible amount about the import/export processes during COVID as well as to get to know the foreign sire of my puppies first hand. I cannot thank Maria enough for this amazing experience and her trust in me to work with her beautiful dogs and lines.
What are your main goals for your kennel for the remainder of 2021?
My goal for the remainder of 2021 is to get all of our puppies placed in loving homes and to get their mama dog back in shape for some serious showing and training for trials! We are ready to get back into our busy lifestyle!
What does your ideal prospective puppy buyer look like?
An active family or person who wants a best friend to adventure with. If they don’t want a fluffy, goofy, white shadow...they are probably not a great fit for us! We would love to see our babies go to shows or do sports, but living a life full of love and fun adventures with their people is top priority for us at NASHA COMANDA.
Describe the future you would like to see for the White Swiss Shepherd breed in 10 years.
I hope to see less people registering their WSS with the AKC or any other registries as German Shepherd Dogs. I also hope to see less (ideally zero) crossing back to colored lines and more people focusing on the standard.
What sets your kennel apart from others in the breed?
My dogs are directly out of some of the most successful and well known dogs in our breed. That I am aware of, I am the only person in our country to go the lengths I have for a breeding to take place. I do not/will not breed my dogs for the sake of breeding or from demand for puppies and risk sacrificing quality. I plan to alway live by the advice giving to me by the judge/breeder/Biologist/dog enthusiast, Fred Lanting, who said, “ALWAYS strive for perfection.” I have also personally handled my dog internationally at some of the most prestigious shows that our breed can participate in (and she did great!). I feel that these details make my program very unique in our country.
What hobbies do you enjoy outside of the dog world?
Photography, graphic design, hiking........umm what is this “outside of the dog world?”