Breeder Spotlight:

NAME: Helen Dunning

KENNEL NAME: Hooligan Bostons and Staffords

BREED: Boston Terrier and Staffordshire bull terrier

CURRENT ROLES (Breeder, Exhibitor, Handler, Judge, Etc): Breeder, exhibitor. One day I plan to judge


What is your happiest/ proudest moment in dogs?

Winning an all breed best in show in Canada, specialty wins in Canada and the US with my first bred by champion bitch Boston.

Having a top ranked (top 5) breed and all breed Stafford in 2020 with only 15 days in the ring. She blew us out of the water winning 4 huge specialties this year.


What breed did you start with?

The first time I stepped in the ring was with a Staffordshire bull terrier that belonged to a friend.  I had no clue what i was getting in to. Soon after I got my first Boston show dog and the rest is history.


Favorite show/ circuit or judge to show to:

I have always loved Palm springs KC and the specialties the days leading up. Beautiful grounds,  weather, amazing dogs and quality judging.


One thing you can’t show without.

A good dog. Haha

Occasionally my lucky socks


Best advice you would give a new exhibitor.

Find a mentor! I am so grateful to my mentors that helped get me started and guide me the right direction. I have mentors in both my breeds as well mentors in other breeds. Knowledge is power. Never be afraid to ask questions.  When you have been in it long enough then become a mentor. Share that knowledge.


Best advice you’ve gotten regarding showing/ breeding.

Be kind and a good sport always. Never let your ego get out of hand. You will meet the same people on the way down that you did on your way up.

Also,our job is to produce sound dogs. Sound of body and mind. There are few show puppies in a litter and show careers are short. They need to be a healthy, well tempered pet first and foremost.


What is your favorite thing about your breed and one common mistake/pet peeve you wish people wouldn’t make?

Bostons: favorites – I love their personalities. They are a big dog in a small package.  Empathetic, Easy easy train and love.

Pet peeve – I would say that too many people don’t understand breed type. They spend too much time concerned about markings.  Coat, color and markings only account for 5% of the breed standard.

Staffords: favorite would be what happy little clowns they are. So fun and intelligent.

Pet peeve- I would say size. I see dogs that are way too big and overly bully in the ring. They should be a triathlete, muscled and strong, yet able and agile. Never overdone.


If you could have any other breed which would you choose?

I’ve shown a lot of different breeds for other people over the years and I love them but I’ll stick with my breeds.


Show suit- Slacks or Skirt?

Skirt suit when weather permits and my arthritis isnt horrible. It is a dog SHOW. One of the things I loved when I first started was the traditions and formality of it all.


One thing you would like to see more of in 2021:

Dog shows. Ones not being canceled.


*Interviews may be edited for clarity or length