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Image: Alex Stafford

Tony Brezel had a successful career in real estate and in national direct sales before launching a business that satisfies her true passion: breeding and training German shepherds. Not just any German shepherds, though; these are West German shepherds bred from a line of national champions, which she sells to dog lovers from all over the country, including to celebrities like Robert Wagner, Jill St. John and comedian Chelsea Handler.

 PUPPY LOVE 

“After I left real estate, I founded Starlight International [a dietary supplement distributor]. I was traveling to Europe quite a bit and wanted a German shepherd for added protection. I love the breed. In the mid-’90s, I brought over a beautiful female and male from Germany. I have a six-acre property east of town, so I started to have a litter from time to time, and [the business] grew. In 2000 I had the No. 1 German shepherd in North America, Burschy. Then my dog, Acka, became the No. 1 female. It opened a whole new world to me.” 

 PERFECT MATCH 

“I have my own stud dogs, and people from all over the country bring their females to me. My puppies go for $3,000 to $5,000. I still call this my hobby, but if you love what you do it’s not work, and if you make money at it, that’s just a bonus.”

 BEST BEHAVIOR 

“I do Schutzhund training for dog owners from all over Florida. The literal translation is ‘protection dog.’ This is extensive training. I do the foundation work with puppies, and I have an excellent trainer in South Carolina who comes down once a month, and then [the dogs and their owners] go to Germany to complete their training. There are three training components: tracking, where they have to show they have a strong nose; obedience, with a lot of focus; and the bite work—the protection work. This is not training them to be aggressive, it’s the opposite; it’s a courage test.”

 TOP DOG 

“German shepherds are so kind, so loving, so gentle. They want to be where you are; they’re great with children. Many of my dogs have become therapy, and search and rescue dogs.”

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