Here is an article that appeared in the Press Sentinel on Sunday 10-16-05
Copeland’s Kennel Producing Champion Coonhounds
By Hank Orberq STAFF WRITER
It’s a given that Uga, the University of Georgia’s beloved mascot, is the most famous dog in the Peach State. After all, that white English bulldog, or rather one of his ancestors, Uga IV graced the cover of Sports Illustrated some years ago.
While there’s no debate that Uga is the top dog in the state, Wayne County’s Ronnie Copeland, son Kyle and Ryan Beasley can certainly make a strong case that their redbone coonhound-Redhot Clyde-is No. 2. And if Clyde continues his top-caliber performances in the final two United Kennel Club-sanctioned Purina Race Hunt events, both set for December, he’s likely to remain the No. 1 redbone coonhound in the nation.
“Our next meet is set for the first weekend in December in the Georgia state championships in Gray, and the final meet, the Battle of Breeds, is scheduled for the following weekend in Ada, Okla.,” said Kyle.
Ronnie reported that Clyde, now 3, ranks sixth overall among coonhounds in the Purina competition first among redbones. In addition to redbones, other coonhound breeds include Plott, English, black-and-tan, Bluetick and treeing walker.
Clyde also qualified for the prestigious UKC’s World Coonhound Championship in Portland, Ind., last month. Clyde made it into the world field by finishing eighth in the zone competition in Eufaula, Ala. Only the top 100 dogs in the nation qualify for this competition.
Said Ronnie, “We’re getting compliments from other hunters who coonhunt against Clyde on what a nice hound and tree dog he is. Most people who hunt Clyde are booking pups already.”
While Ronnie is justifiably proud of Clyde’s achievements, he is quick to lavish credit on his training staff.
“My son, Kyle, and Ryan do an outstanding job as well as Ashley Smith. They’re all hard workers and love to show the coondogs,” he added.
“We believe we have a first-class training facility and it covers 50 acres. With creeks, mud flats, cypress and small timber to shake out that coon, we tell our customers that our dogs will be hunted in the best of all coon worlds at our facility. The dogs are hunted six days and nights a week, both in thin and thick woods. Everyone who has come here has really been impressed and happy with their dogs’ performances,” Kyle said.
Dogs of another coat
Aside from his son and daughter-in-law, Ronnie’s parents, Shannon and Virginia, also are involved in raising dogs.
As a marked contrast, Ronnie’s mom operates her business-Copeland’s Cuddly Canines-on the family’s property on Hyma Poppell Loop.
Unlike her son’s line of champion coonhounds, Virginia’s dogs will rarely be found standing tall in the beds of South Georgia pickup trucks.
You see, she raises such lap-dog breeds as Shih Tzu’s, rat terriers, Chihuahuas, Yorkshire terriers, beagles, dachshunds, toy poodles, pugs and puggles (a cross between a beagle and a pug).
“We may be the only place in the South that breeds and sells puggles,” said Virginia. She got into the kennel business in March 2001 with “three or four” pairs of Shih Tzu’s and Yorkshires and now has 65 breeding dogs.
“I retired from Georgia Natural Gas 10 years ago, and at the beginning, this was just a hobby of mine. All of our dogs here receive a lot of loving and they’re well cared for. I want to emphasize that we aren’t a puppy mill. After one of our dogs has a litter of puppies, we don’t breed them again for at least 12 months,” she said.
“Our kennel is a hands-on operation. We believe in handling and playing with our puppies daily, and we are not a puppy factory like most kennels. This is how we help them to develop their sweet and unique personalities. It helps them to bond with humans and enjoy being around them. Temperament is one of the most important qualities of a pet. Our vets [Dr. Clint L. Hall Jr. and Dr. David W Barwick of Wolfe Animal Hospital) recommend us as a reputable breeder.
“Every puppy born here is considered our responsibility, and we do our best to be sure each one is safe, healthy and placed in a loving home. We don’t allow them outside of our nursery until their new family arrives to take them home.”
With those credentials, it comes as no surprise that the Copeland family attracts customers from as far away as St. Simons Island, Florida, New York and Canada.”We find our customers through ads we run in the Savannah Morning News, referrals from vets and our Web site,” Virginia pointed out.
“Also, our motto tells folks a lot about us. It’s ‘A Puppy and Jesus Can Lick Anything!'”