The eldest son of a working class family, Wayne Curry has been passionate about caring for animals from a very young age. As a child he would beg his mother for guinea pigs, hamsters, and pigeons. Wayne’s father had owned German Shepherds, and when Wayne was eight years old he became seriously interested in the breed. To feed his growing passion for German shepherds, Wayne and his father went searching for a dog for Wayne. Like many victims of boyhood “puppy love,” they visited local shelters and responded to several newspaper advertisements. Through this process they found “King” at a shelter and obtained “Willy,” a retired breeding female. Wayne began working with them and preparing them for shows. While Wayne was excited to compete with his dogs, he soon discovered that he did not find the show ring very rewarding, and as performance competitions were not common, he looked for other ways to compete with his dogs. Wayne found what he was looking for when he purchased a book on obedience training. “I can still remember the first time my dog sat on command without help,” Wayne said.
Setting the Standard
While he thoroughly enjoyed German Shepherds, Wayne was also open to learning about other breeds. He became interested in the Rottweiler breed while working in a fiberglass plant when he was a young man. Wayne ended up purchasing one from a co-worker. Once after working the night shift Wayne returned home at 1 a.m. to find his dog in the front yard chewing on a bone, while the back door had been kicked in. Wayne discovered that everything of value inside the home was gone. The police were called to investigate the scene but nothing was ever recovered. The invasion of his home was very disturbing and Wayne was determined to prevent it from happening again. It made sense to him that if his dog could be trained to be obedient, it could be trained to be protective as well. This event facilitated Wayne’s extensive research of other methods of dog training. After scouring the area for someone qualified to train protection dogs, he was finally referred to a local Schutzhund club where he learned the three disciplines of Schutzhund: tracking, obedience and protection.
During Wayne’s first visit to the club, the training director asked him if he wanted to experience being on the receiving end of protection work. Wayne suited up with the protective clothing and took a bite for the first time. Wayne found it to be a very exciting experience, which prompted him to start learning everything he could about the art of training protection dogs. Wayne discovered that he was especially talented in this field. He advanced to being the helper in two trials the first year he was in the sport.
From Trainer to Champion
While working as a machinist for the Boeing Company, Wayne honed his skills as a handler and trainer. The first dog he trained in Schutzhund received High-in-Trial. The second dog he trained was also awarded first place in trial and went on to become the National Champion with an excellent rating. It became apparent to Wayne that his real calling was training dogs. In 1987 Wayne left Boeing to become a full-time dog trainer. By 1994, he reached the pinnacle of Schutzhund Competition:
Since then, Wayne has trained and handled many different dogs in more than 100 competitions world-wide. The first German shepherd he handled became the Pacific Northwest Schutzhund Champion. Wayne has been awarded the highest scoring Schutzhund dog/handler team in the United States. Wayne became the highest scoring SchH3 team in the Pacific Northwest with 295 points with another of the dogs he trained. He has been awarded Regional and National Champion titles multiple times, always with excellent scores. Wayne was a WUSV World Champion Team Member three years in a row with the same dog. Additionally, Wayne was the highest scoring American dog/handler at the World Championship, has been the winner of the AKC Working Dog Sport Championship with an unbeatable score of 296, and has placed High in Trial with owner, bred, trained and handled award at the GSDCA Schutzhund Invitational. Wayne has also been awarded the highest Schutzhund dog/handler team in the United States and achieved the Good Sportsmanship award for the GSDCA-WDA Nationals. In addition to enjoying the competitions, Wayne also has conducted group obedience classes as well as individual lessons for all kinds of breeds and their owners.
A Passion for the Breed
It was disheartening for Wayne to learn that finding a German Shepherd capable of the three disciplines of Schutzhund – tracking, obedience and protection – has always been difficult to find in the United States. Indeed, most police departments, Schutzhund competitors and even the U.S. military use dogs imported from Europe. Wayne decided to take on the challenge of breeding German shepherds to match the strict working standard developed in Germany. He flew to Germany from Washington State to visit the most successful breeders and well-known trainers in the world for the first time in 1993. Since then, Wayne has maintained long-lasting relationships by attending the BSP (German Nationals) yearly as well as visiting trainers and breeders several times a year in Germany.
A Kennel is Born
When he began his breeding program, Wayne wanted a “brand name” to identify the Schutzhund capable dogs he was working so hard to develop. He chose the name Kraftwerk K9 to fulfill this role. The name is a combination of two words from the German dictionary. As “kraftig” means power and “werk” means work, the name Kraftwerk perfectly defines the fundamental principles of Wayne’s breeding program.
The property on which the Kraftwerk K9 kennels are located, was found by Wayne while he was on the way to a farmer’s field to practice tracking with his dog. It was a five-acre parcel of young Christmas trees and nothing else. After purchasing the property, Wayne found a used manufactured home and had it placed on the land. Wayne and his friend, a deputy sheriff, then built the first four kennels.
To get started, Wayne filled the four kennels with dogs from the animal rescue shelter and anyone else who needed their dog trained. The demand for well-trained dogs was very high. Subsequently four more kennels were built. Later another addition to house another 12 dogs in the main building was added along with a front office area. At this point Wayne wanted to create the ideal kennel for his dogs.
A Natural Environment
Through observation he had noticed that a concrete ring around the perimeter was the main area used by the dogs and the inside was used to relieve themselves. Utilizing his observations, Wayne designed four kennels around the Christmas trees in order to provide shade and privacy for every dog. These kennels were very successful so Wayne has continued to add kennels within the trees annually. The land surrounding the original property was acquired one five-acre section at a time. Training fields, houses for managers and trainers were added helping to create the twenty-five acre state of the art training and breeding facility that it is today.
Kraftwerk employs a staff of around twelve full-time people year round who are actively engaged and devoted to the dogs and puppies. The german shepherds from Kraftwerk K9 are sold to families, police K-9 departments, Schutzhund handlers and other working sport homes as well as high profile individuals with security concerns.
A Dream Realized
In 2009, Wayne became the only American breeder to have not just one, but TWO American-bred dogs compete at the BSP (German Nationals). Competing in Slovenia, Austria, and Italy, he has been a four-time WUSV World Champion Team Member, three years in a row with the same dog. A rare accomplishment as it is very difficult to maintain consistently high levels of performance year after year. It is a tremendous honor to qualify as one of the top five handler/dog teams representing America. Due to Wayne’s talents and determination, several dogs from Kraftwerk K9 have gone on to compete in Germany as well as in the United States.
Germany’s Der Speigel magazine comes to the United States and names Kraftwerk K9 as the best German Shepherd breeder in America!
The German Shepherd is the second-most popular dog breed in the United States. And Curry is the most successful German Shepherd breeder in the country.