Jim Sawyers was born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee graduating from Nashville Public Schools in 1966. He went on to earn his BS degree in education from Austin Peay University in 1970. In 1990 he added a special education certification to his teaching license. Jim worked as a teacher in Metro Nashville Public Schools from 1972 until his retirement in 2005. During his tenure as a teacher, he taught physical education and special education, and also served as a middle school football coach.
Jim has been a dogman since he was a young boy. At the age of thirteen he began working for Darby Davis, breeder and owner of Darbet Kennels in Nashville. Through Mr. Davis, Jim was introduced to the intricacies of the boarding business and the world of dog shows. At sixteen he began to show various breeds for other people, as well as showing his own dogs. Throughout high school and college Jim continued to learn and work on his interest in canines. Upon the retirement of Mr. Davis, Jim took over his kennel business. By twenty-one he had begun a life-long career in the dog business.
Jim’s endeavors naturally evolved into behavior training and management. In 1969 he opened K-9 Patrol, Inc., for the purpose of training protection dogs for individuals and providing security dogs for businesses. This included security for 100 Oaks Mall in Nashville when it first opened. In the 1970’s Jim was recruited by the new sheriff, Fate Thomas, to train canines for the Davidson County Sheriff’s Department. At this time, the percentage of escapes from the city prison ranked number two on a per capita basis in the United States. Jim’s dogs proved to be extremely effective and reduced the number of escapes to zero. Two years later, at the request of Tennessee’s governor, Jim began training multiple dogs for the Tennessee Department of Corrections for use at the state prison in Nashville. He also trained dogs for the demanding Schutzhund test, which judges tracking, obedience and protection to determine breed suitability in working dogs.
Breeding dogs since the 1980s, Jim has worked with numerous breeds including Corgis, Boxers, Pointers, German Shepherds and Dobermans. In 2000 Jim fell in love with the British Labrador Retriever. Now his concentration is on the promotion of the British Lab as a superior hunting companion, service dog or family pet. Over the years he has imported dogs from Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Germany, England and Scotland for his own breeding programs or for individuals and for police work.
With a natural talent and keen understanding of the canine mind, Jim became a successful professional handler. He has traveled all over the United States showing dogs for multiple clients. Well known as a highly respected contender, he presented many “Group Winners” and “Best in Show” dogs in regional and specialty shows as well as the famous Westminster Dog Show in New York City. In addition he has conducted classes for individuals and groups on the fine points of competing in the show ring.
In 1998 Jim retired from professional handling to focus on the training programs at Five Oaks. To complement the British Lab and other gundogs, Jim teaches yard work and retriever training along with participating in field trials and hunting trips. For companion dogs he has developed the “Good Dog Happy Dog Lifetime Curriculum” which addresses every stage of a dog’s life from puppyhood to senior living. He believes in “training dogs . . . educating families.” In 2015 he established a non-profit, Five Oaks Therapy Dogs. In addition to breeding quality dogs that are affordable for disabled people, Jim provides training for the special needs of these individuals.