Could there ever be too many puppies?
Why so many prolific dog breeders are drawn to the county
ARappahannock dog breeder hopes to carry on a tradition of award-winning pups a er a new litter of Border Terriers was born to one of her prize show dogs.
“This year she had six [puppies] and she did it in an hour and 35 [minutes], it was insane,” Charlotte Wagner said of her dog Agnes, who gave birth to her second litter several weeks ago. “It was like bam, bam, bam. No complications. It was
really easy. This was awesome.”
The father of the new puppies is Wagner’s dog Clyde, who at the 2021 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show took home an award of merit, coming in third place. The mother, Agnes, has won several novice titles and is training for future 100-meter dash races.
Beyond Wagner’s bunch, Rappahannock County
is no stranger to award-winning dogs.
A Rappahannock born and bred Scottish Deerhound won Best in Show at the 2021 National Dog Show for a second year in a row — making her the first dog ever to win the top prize for two consecutive years.
Claire, a Scottish Deerhound from Flint Hill handled by Angela Lloyd of Amissville, comes from a long line of prize dogs, including Claire’s grandmother, Hickory, who won Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Show in 2011 and her mother, Chelsea, who won Reserve Best in Show at the National Dog Show in 2015.
“I'm so happy, teary,” Cecelia Dove, Claire’s breeder who lives on a farm in Flint Hill, said in 2021 following the victory. “Because of her grandmother and her mother being such special girls and actually seven generations of our females that she comes down from —
It's especially touching and meaningful as a breeder to have one that's been as successful as she has. I'm still walking on air.” Dove was not able to be reached for comment for this report.
Helping to facilitate its dog culture, Rappahannock County does not have an ordinance that limits the number of dogs a person can have at a residence, unlike some nearby localities that limit households to just a few pups.
Chesterfield County limits the number of dogs per household to three, unless the owner obtains a special exception permit. There are similar laws in Arlington County and the City of Alexandria. Fairfax County places restrictions on the number of dogs people own based on the square footage of their home.
According to Virginia state law, a commercial breeder can only breed up to 50 dogs over the age of one year at a time, unless approved to do otherwise by the locality after a public hearing.
Rappahannock County has been described as being dog-friendly by residents, attracting breeders and hobbyists to the area. Wagner said for her, she’s been drawn to Rappahannock since her childhood, but found that the natural topography of the county is ideal for breeding Border Terriers, which were originally bred to follow hunters on horseback.
“I always think that being able to care for your dogs to the best of the needs of the breed is important,” Wagner said. “So like my dogs, they were designed to run along on horseback. So guess what, they get walked on horseback. We've got trails all over our mountain, so I just trail ride them to exercise them, or take the four wheeler. I think it definitely is the closest to their natural habitat that you can get for this breed.”
Wagner said she’s settling into her new dog training facility in Sperryville, which she acquired following community unrest over an Amissville property she has hoped to use for the business.