Welcome! I am Katie Schmidt, Owner and Breeder of Winsome Cottage’s Australian Labradoodles. My husband, our five children, and I live on a 7-acre farm in the picturesque mountain-valley of Heber, Utah.
So, how did you get into breeding labradoodles?
I learned of Australian Labradoodles around 2004, while discussing pet allergies with a friend. She had suggested I look into this amazing dog called a Labradoodle! After a great deal of research and studying, I was still not quite able to convince my husband of our “NEED” for one of these sweet dogs. My husband had never been much of an animal person, even as a child- but this is quite the “conversion story!” After losing the beloved family pet of my youth, my mother brought home a Handsome Australian Labradoodle, and named him “Rafiki,” which means “Friend” in Swahili. My daughters immediately fell in love with Rafiki, and I was amazed at his sweet temperament, how easy it was for my mother to train and teach him, and how comfortable I felt having him around my small children. My twins could pull and tug on him, drag him around the house, snuggle him, (and sometimes just lay on him!) and he was just as loving and adoring of my girls as they were of him. He is an amazing dog! I was also quite relieved to find that one of my allergy-prone twins, Lilly, had no issues with Rafiki. Lilly’s beautiful red hair and fair, porcelain skin brought with it severe sensitivities to many plants, climate changes, water, and DEFINITELY animals! We saw many doctors during the first couple years of her life trying to heal and protect her tender skin. She LOVES animals, and this issue was often a source of tears and disappointment. Lilly would break out in red bumpy rashes after contact with dogs and other animals, but she could lay on Rafiki like a pillow and snuggle him like a Teddy Bear and have no skin issues whatsoever! What a relief this was to me! (I am very allergy sensitive to most animals as well, but found that the itchy nose and eyes I usually experienced around dogs was not an issue around this sweet guy!)
Later that year, my children and I found ourselves in the midst of some unexpected and very tragic circumstances. We left our home in New Hampshire to move back to Utah at this time. For a short period of time, my daughters and stayed at my parents’ home while my husband remained on the East Coast to tie up loose ends. During this time, Rafiki had a very calming and healing influence on my children, especially my oldest daughter, Ava. This was an incredibly difficult time for our family, and Ava had begun to experience a great deal of anxiety, night terrors, and terrible insecurity about being alone at night. One night she asked if Rafiki could sleep in her room… I saw no reason why not, and tucked she and the doggy in, expecting her to awaken with night terrors in an hour or two, as had become our nightly ritual. I woke up in the morning, realizing I had slept through the night without an episode from my daughter during the night…. When I went to her room that morning, she was snuggled fast asleep with Rafiki still at the foot of her bed. This began a new pattern of sleep for my sweet little girl, and over the next few months, her sleep gradually became normalized. I truly feel animals have an amazing ability to heal us in ways that we, alone, are unable to do. My daughter was able to find her own confidence, learn again to sleep through the night, and deal with some very painful life experiences at a young age. I know that being comforted by her “friend,” Rafiki, was a tremendous support in this process.
We soon decided we wanted to be surrounded by these incredible animals, and thus began Winsome Cottage Labradoodles. My husband makes me giggle now when he holds a 40 pound dogs like a little baby, or has a whole “pack” of doggies gathered around him on the rug while watching a game on TV, or chasing him around the yard while they play with a ball or fetch. He adores our dogs, and they anxiously wait to see who will be his running companion each morning. He comments now about how much he loves these dogs, and how he missed out for so many years… If only he had known how great having a dog could be. And I think he is absolutely right. I think animals do something to us on an unseen level, something FOR us…. they speak to a part of us and connect with us in a way other humans can not. That is something that may sound absolutely silly to someone who doesn’t “get it” or hasn’t yet FELT that connection with a dog, but to those of us that DO… well, you know exactly what I’m talking about. =)
How are they raised?
Our Australian Multigenerational Labradoodles are home raised by my husband and I, in our home, with a little help from our three sweet daughters, and our two rambunctious baby boys. All of our Labradoodle dogs and puppies must be kid friendly and well socialized- this is of utmost importance to us. Our puppies are lovingly tended to from day one with the hands-on care and individual attention needed to produce well rounded, happy, and healthy puppies. Along with the attention and time my husband and I spend with each dog and puppy- around the house, going for runs, or being my little shadows while I work in the yard and home- my children are also found every day with the dogs- at play and with lots of snuggling!
Our Australian Labradoodle puppies are born in our home, with our family, under constant supervision and care. All our dogs have plenty of space to run and play which ensures sound mental health. Our dogs live here with us in our home, or in guardian homes with close friends or family members. This ensures that each of our dogs will be showered with love and attention and affection. We breed our Labradodles for the enjoyment of the puppies and to further promote Australian Labradoodles that have excellent health, conformation, and the beauty and amazing temperament you have come to expect from the Australian Labradoodle. We strictly adhere to the Code of Ethics and Breed Standards set forth by the Australian Labradoodle Association of America (ALAA), International Australian Labradoodle Association (ILA), as well as the Premium Labradoodle Breeders List’s Code of Ethics and Breed standards.