By: Claudie Benjamin, Guest Writer
Jenna and her husband Seth (right) met on the road while both were in the music business. After they got married, they lived in the Charlotte area and began breeding Doodles. Once the couple settled in Charleston, they expanded the business.
Doodle breeding is a boutique niche in the dog world specializing in a number of hybrid dogs that have been bred for specific very positive characteristics. High on this list are friendliness, low or non-shedding, and hypoallergenic. While growing up, Jenna’s parents had bred labradors for their own enjoyment rather than as a business. Looking back, Jenna says that it may seem odd, but even as a young girl she was hoping some day to be a dog breeder.
Since Seth has allergies, focusing on Doodles was a natural choice. The couple specializes in Bernedoodles, Golden Doodles, Labradoodles, and Sheepadoodles in a variety of sizes.
The demand for these puppies is very great these days with the appeal for doggie companions increased more than ever during COVID restrictions. And, Christmas is always a great puppy-giving time. Potential puppy owner waiting lists are long, varying between 6-12 months.
Matching a puppy to a potential owner or owners is a serious time consuming activity. Jenna is committed to finding the very best fit in terms of temperament, lifestyle and determination on the part of the owner to provide love and care.
Buying a designer pup is expensive and comes in addition to standard dietary and healthcare costs. Having or making enough time to meet a puppy ‘s needs is a big time decision.
Puppy adoption from Jenna Lee starts with a detailed application in which a potential home environment is described and questions are asked related to the client’s commitment to pet care.
Specific questions that a potential puppy owner may not have considered are those about willingness to provide consistent training, use of specific food supplements and agreement to spay or neuter the pet at a certain age.
The written application is followed by a phone interview with a member of the JennaLee Doodle sales staff. During this process, the JennaLee team assists potential owners in determining the breed, size, coat and characteristics that would be best for their specific family.
Then, a deposit is placed and the wait begins for the perfect litter to arrive.
Setting them apart from many other breeders who allow depositors to select their puppies based on photos alone, the JennaLee team pairs each specific puppy with the specific family that they believe is the perfect match. Jenna explains, "This is all based on the detailed needs and preferences of each family as expressed in the phone interview and the personality they discover in each puppy after daily individual interaction time starting the third day after the puppies are born." Then, when the puppies are 7 weeks old, there is a "matchmaking day" when puppy and family matches are revealed during a Zoom session. “Usually, these go very well and the puppy goes on to their new home," Jenna says. "But, if the potential owner has reservations, we keep looking for the best match.”
New pet owners are frequently fazed by the immediate challenge of house training a puppy. For these clients, JennaLee Doodles provides the option for a customized in-house training service for clients for 4, 8 or 12 weeks.
The personalized service at JennaLee Designer Doodles is characterized by its approach to parent dogs. The owners do not have more than six dogs at their home, including a few that are retired from breeding. To ensure that each dog in the breeding program gets the love and attention they deserve, Jenna explains that most parent dogs live in what they call "guardian homes". These are essentially families who apply and are hand-selected to house one of their breeding dogs. They are important members of their breeding family.
Owners will notify breeders when a female dog that the breeders use for breeding is in season, and breeding arrangements will be made. The females live with their guardian families for the duration of their pregnancy and then return to the breeder for delivery of and raising the litter. The idea is to provide as much personalcare as possible, and guardian homes are a great way to accomplish that. Jenna believes it’s important that each dog has its own loving forever family and interactions with the breeder are a“visit.”
Trends in popular dogs in general and with Doodles vary although comparing these puppies is very difficult as they are all undeniably adorable, silly and fluffy. While color matters most to many people, Jenna explains that personality is what they look at most in determining "perfect" matches. This is also determined by the fact that there are many varieties among Bernedoodles, a mix of a Bernese Mountain Dog and a poodle, is the “hot“ breed of the moment. Jenna says, “The tricolor is the best known and most popular, but we also have parti (30 percent white and another color like black or brown. They look like fluffy cows. We also have red, black, sable and white.”