Dec 192013

full moonI’m an old country girl, so the axiom “the watched pot never boils” is stuck in my head this morning when looking down at my new litter of six toy and miniature Australian Shepherd puppies (aka Miniature American Shepherds) born December 19, 2013.

I bred my black tri, Fancy, to my blue merle male, Swagger, back in October and the excitement has been building for the puppies to be born.  Even though I breed my girls once a year, having a litter of puppies has not become old hat for me.  I get nervous because I love my dogs and would never intend to jeopardize the health of my female for a litter of puppies.  When I’m nervous, I chatter, so I chatted online with friends the last three days as the time I had calculated for the whelping came.  Luckily, I have three really good friends that share my excitement and in some cases, remind me to breathe and relax a bit!!!

Fancy has a very predictable cycle and has had three litters of puppies in mid December from 2011-2013 within three days on the calendar of each other.  After taking her temperature early yesterday morning and it being 98.2, I knew birthing was eminent within 24 hours. However, when she started the normal shaking and quaking about 10 am and then no signs of puppies, I started to stress “a little” and gave my goto whelping vet a call.  She wasn’t concerned and said call her back if no puppies in 24 hours.  Okay.  Well, about 4 pm, Fancy’s water broke, or in dog terms, one water broke which usually indicates a puppy is in the birth canal and you should be seeing a nose or back end within 10 minutes.  Nothing.  She laid down and decided to take a nap while I paced and texted my friends.

So, what did I do, at 4:30 pm I called my vet again and she assured me that things were fine.  Just take a nap and relax.  My husband was making peanut butter balls for some of his friends for Christmas, so I ate a couple, thinking sugar was the perfect medicine.  Six pm passed and 7 was on the clock and no puppy.  Hmmm, the 10 minutes was long gone and I begin to wonder if a little ground hog baby that might have been in that sac of water was laying crossways in the birth canal holding up the train.  Yes, I called the vet again, after hours, and pleaded with her to meet me at the office just to be sure things were okay.  Dr. Ross at PeWee Valley Vet is awesome and I could see her smile on the other end of the line and she told me to meet her there in 15 minutes.

I packed up Fancy into a crate just in case, loaded my warming box for puppies, just in case, and took off.  After an ultrasound on that cool equipment that Dr. Ross has, she told me not to worry, relax, the water I saw was a bag without a puppy that bitches often have.  She said nature has a way of opening the birth canal for the real puppies with that bogus bag of water sometimes.  She also told me to expect puppies within the hour.

8 pm, 9 pm, 10 pm… puppies.  Fancy was panting and doing the weird stuff that girls do when they are trying to birth a baby, but no babies.   By then, I was like….come on Fancy, push those pups outta there.  Oh, and I gave her ice cream which I always do when she is whelping because it gives her some sugar for energy, some calcium to help her contractions and helps cool her down from all the panting.

Just before midnight, I woke Paul up from his slumber (haha) and told him to get downstairs because I was seeing a puppy bubble.  Wooohoooo!!!  A bubble with a puppy inside!!!!   And, headed out into the real world!!!

From that point on, Fancy delivered quite naturally and without any kind of issues, five little mini or toy Aussie puppies.  Three of them (all boys) were merles and one black tri girl and one black tri boy.  I remembered the 2012 surprise puppy, so I started to straighten up the gear but I didn’t totally put things away.  I gave my good girl a smooch to tell her thanks for her hard work and walked over to my couch which has its back to the whelping pen to send a couple of emails to tell my friends that all was well.

Five minutes at the max, I walked back over to the bed and saw blood on the pad.  Ah oh, I thought Fancy had done a number on somebody’s belly button since she is a licker and can get pretty wild with her cleaning duties.  I picked up a little black tri and saw it’s button was a little red so I pressed a Quik Stop pad on it.  It was kind of wet and I thought, oh Fancy, you lick too much so I rubbed the puppy a bit with a cloth and stuck her on a nipple to get some milk.  Remember, it is 3 am.

Then, I looked down and what??????  I’m counting six puppies and before there were only five!!!  Fancy, you tricked me again and gave us a surprise puppy.  How did you get that little girl birthed and cleaned up in the time it took me to type a short paragraph email?

So…the night ended about 3 am on December 19 with six gorgeous little puppy dogs.  Swagger is a daddy!!!  Izzy is a grandmother!!!  And, I’m happy to have another sweet litter on the ground on this Full Moon in December 2013.

Nov 302013

Fancy is getting heavier and moving slower each day. There is now no doubt that puppies are on the way, quite visible from the outside 🙂  It is about now (2-3 weeks out) that I start to be nervous about the whole whelping thing.  Luckily, my husband stands by and the two of us together keep tabs on progress.  Fancy tends to look to us to help although I’m sure her instinct would take over if we weren’t there.

Contrary to what a lot of folks think, it doesn’t always go smoothly for the mama dog without assistance.  We typically help free the puppies of the sac once they are out and make sure they are breathing well and also clamp and cut the umbilical before giving the puppy a good rubdown.  I don’t think it will ever be “old hat” for me and there is always something to go wrong.  In Fancy’s first litter, she nibbled Bentley’s umbilical cord too short and he had a bleed out which could have been life threatening had we not been close by to help.  Last time, she had two come down the chute at the same time…just room for one!!!  And, of course, little Tardy aka Kona that decided to wait an extra 4 hours to be born.  Yes, always something to get the adrenalin flowing.

Fancy is an awesome mom once the babies come.   Won’t be long now……..Swagger will be passing out bully sticks to all his buds!!


Nov 142013

Ultrasound for DogsFancy had her ultrasound this morning and Dr. Ross at PeWee Veterinary Hospital saw 5 and perhaps 6 little heartbeats…so puppies are in the oven 🙂  Good job, Swagger Man!!

Some breeders don’t take advantage of an ultrasound, but Dr. Ross has high tech equipment and reproductive veterinary medicine is her specialty so she is my go to vet for breeding and whelping help.  She has been right on the money with my other litters, and I really like knowing if my girl has been bred so I can give her extra special care (as if my dogs aren’t always pampered!!!).

I project the due date based on Fancy’s last litters as December 17-20. 2013.  Fancy and Swagger most likely will have puppies in the 13-15″ range, although there can be exceptions to the rule due to genetics in the dogs behind them.  I know that Fancy carries the gene for “red” which is recessive in Aussies and it will be interesting to see if Swagger also carries it.  No doubt, the probability for black tri and blue merle puppies is high.  Only time will tell…….that is part of the fun!!  Check back in for progress reports.

Join us on Facebook as well!

Nov 022013
Blue Merle Toy Aussie

Intl Ch Alangus Blue Swagger

Photo Apr 21, 12 07 56 PM

Intl Ch Cattle Call Fancy Don’t Let Me Down

We are on the countdown from 63 days for Fancy x Swagger puppies.  About midway, I will take her in for an ultrasound to determine how many there are.   Fingers are crossed for puppies around December 17.  I am currently accepting deposits on this litter. If I find Fancy was not bred this cycle, deposits will be refunded.

This will be Fancy’s third litter, Swagger’s first.  Both sire and dam have well known foundation Miniature Aussies in their pedigrees and multiple titled dogs. Even more importantly, Fancy has proven to stamp her puppies with her friendly temperament.  Pedigrees are on my webpage at Swagger and Fancy.

Videos of previous litters are on my Alangus Aussies YouTube Channel and puppy pictures from previous litters have been moved to Facebook.

Oct 072013

Front to back: Rosie, Swagger, Phoebe

One of the fun parts of having that occasional litter of puppies is to stay in contact with the new owners and watch them grow into adults.  Yesterday, Kelley and Mike stopped by on their way back to Nashville and let their little Phoebe have a visit with her brother Swagger and friend Rosie, as well as her doggy mom, Izzy.  They had a good run in the yard, even though the rain was pelting down, and then sat pretty for a treat!!

Phoebe is measured at 13.75″  and weighs  in about 17 pounds at 18 months old.  She is a gorgeous little Aussie with a sweet disposition and pretty bright colors like her brother.  I was happy to see how she has developed.

 Posted by at 5:31 pm
Nov 082012

An examination by a board certified veterinary ophthalmologist is one of the health exams that we use at Alangus Mini & Toy Aussies. Eye exams are much like the ones that we have as humans and start with a visual exam with a lighted magnifying instrument to look for lesions or anomalies on the surface of the eye.  After the eyes are dilated, the doctor can look for additional issues like cataracts that might be heritable to the next generation.

Once the exam is complete, the ophthalmologist completes a form to be submitted to CERF  (Canine Eye Registration Foundation)  to add the dog’s name to the database.  CERF was started by a group of breeders to encourage good husbandry by not passing along excessive risks of blindness in canine bloodlines. Additional information at

All of my adult dogs have been certified by CERF and Swagger and Rosie just “passed” their test which is one more check mark on their list of health clearances.

To read our Blog Archives on a variety of topics, visit and we welcome your comments and contributions to our discussion.

 Posted by at 9:56 pm
Apr 092012

This is the first time I’ve had a bitch have puppies by C-section so I thought I’d share my experience, actually a quite good one.

Izzy was scheduled for a C-section on Thursday morning, April 5 but when I took her to the vet, progesterone levels were still in the normal range so the decision was made to wait to see if her temperature would start to come down.  It was still around 100 degrees, slightly lower than normal, but not low enough to indicate that pre-labor had begun.  I continued to watch her during the day and take temps, but everything remained stable.

Since nesting is a huge indicator of puppies making their move for sunshine, I kept Izzy in her crate in our bedroom and filled it with some cloths for her to move around.  In my twilight sleep, I could hear her digging like crazy off and on all night, a good sign that something was starting.  When I called the vet on Friday morning, temps were still around 100 but I told her about the nesting overnight so in she went again for another progesterone check.  Still normal, so back home she went.  I was crazy busy with holiday/spring break pet visits with my pet sitting business during the rest of the day, so I didn’t take her temperature again until around 7 pm.  It had dropped like a rock, down to just above 98 degrees.  That would mean, puppies within 12 or so hours.  Well, of course, that would happen so I get to pay the surcharge for after hours surgery and everyone has to be called back in from their couch in front of the TV.  However, better at 8 pm than 3 am!

Two vets and a vet tech met me at the clinic just as planned around 8:15 pm.  They said they didn’t need my assistance with the puppies, so I made a couple of pet visit runs and was back in about an hour and a half.  All done.  When I went into the surgery area, Izzy was still a tad groggy, but it didn’t take but a few minutes for her to come around and look almost normal.  The anesthesia they used works very quickly, but also leaves the system just as fast. She was given an oxytocin shot and Metacam for pain.

Four of the prettiest little mini Aussies you’ve ever seen were warming and squeaking in the incubator.  Two females and two males, one black tri of each and one blue merle of each.  I use the phrase “puppies in the oven” all the time, but this time…it was quite true. Izzy continued to come to her senses and the tech and I put the puppies with her to let them nurse.  They all latched on and had a drink before we boxed them up to go home.

I talked at length with the tech on duty.  She is actually an AKC judge and known in our area because she breeds standard Aussies.  Since she is a retired labor and delivery nurse for skin babies, she came to the vet world with a more advanced set of skills.  Natural whelping gives a dam time to naturally manufacture the necessary hormones to give her the mothering instinct so sometimes a C-section is confusing to them.  They go to sleep, no babies.  They wake up…a handful of little wiggly creatures.

Since newborn puppies have no thermostats and cannot regulate their own temperature, it is imperative for their caretakers to keep them artificially warm.  The puppies were handed over for travel in a 10″x10″ box taped shut with the neck of a tall bottle of very warm water sticking out the top to keep them nice and toasty.  Izzy rode home in her crate lined with towels.  She did have some blood residue, but nothing like I expected.  They had cleaned her up very well, and she wasn’t leaking hardly at all.  Much less than after natural whelping.

I had very few after surgery instructions for Izzy other than to make sure she eats and drinks and takes a round of antibiotics.  No stairs or romping for a week or so.  All her stitches are internal, so nothing to remove.  Not even a follow up vet visit necessary unless she is symptomatic of being ill.

Sometimes the mama dog is so confused after a section, they can hurt their own babies so the tech gave me a small bag of placenta left from the delivery to rub on the puppies behinds if Izzy started to be “weird” about them.  That smell would help her realize they belonged to her and it wasn’t a bad dream after all.  We got home, and I put Izzy in her whelping area where she has been sleeping for the last couple of weeks to get her ready and put the puppies one by one in with her.  The tech told me to let her sniff their bottoms first before laying them down and then help them find a nipple to nurse.  No problem!  Izzy is such a good mama, her eyes immediately got that warm soft look and she licked them from head to toe as though checking out their every cell.  In fact, she licked so much, I got a little concerned that she would get their umbilicals bleeding.  Placenta wasn’t necessary so it went in the garbage..yuck!

It was midnight by then, and there’s just something about the whole process that is awe-inspiring and there was no way I was going to go to sleep.  I just sat by her box and told her what a good girl she was.  Now that said, letting your bitch have puppies isn’t for the faint of heart and takes a lot of work and is quite expensive if you do it the right way.   I’m not advocating that everyone go out and breed their dogs because it’s more than puppies, and we want to be sure we are good stewards of our breed of choice.

I continued to sleep a bit and watch for problems, but the night went well.  By the next morning, Izzy was out of her box for potty and to the casual observer, nothing seemed to have happened.  The puppies nursed non-stop for two days and by Sunday were plumped up like the little sponge seahorses  you soak in water.  Izzy continues to do well, is eating well and I’m encouraging her to drink lots, necessary for milk production.

Pictures and videos will be coming soon.  I cannot find my good camera and in the confusion of the evening, I think I left it in the surgery area.  Sure do hope so 🙁

 Posted by at 12:33 am
Apr 072012

It’s been a long couple of days but Izzy’s  temp finally took a major drop about 7 pm today, April 6, of course after vet office hours. After consulting with the vet, we decided it was time to unzip the zipper and get the babies out.

All seems well. Two girls and two boys. 


 Posted by at 7:09 am

Mother Nature Knows Best

 Alangus Aussies, Breeding Dogs, Mini Aussie Puppies  Comments Off on Mother Nature Knows Best
Apr 052012

I took Izzy for her scheduled C-section this morning at the appointed time, but……the vet says she’s not ready!  The puppies’ heartbeats are strong and they are happy as little bugs just hanging out for awhile longer in their cozy space.  I have to say I’m disappointed and this prolongs my nervousness about the procedure. Originally, I said they’d come via the Easter Bunny and that may still be true!

Izzy was bred on February 4-5 and 63 days from that first breeding would be tomorrow.  However, the countdown begins at ovulation, not breeding so it can vary either way.  This time the variation is definitely on the front end instead of the back end.

 Posted by at 4:06 pm
Mar 202012

Pregnant Aussie

It only takes 63 days from ovulation for the puppies to be born and I can hardly believe the time has almost rolled around for Izzy.  She should be whelping April 6-10. Last year when Izzy had puppies, she seemed to have morning sickness the entire time so I babied her with yummy canned puppy food. Well, we know the end result of all those calories, little fat ground hog puppies that did NOT want to be born. This time, she hasn’t been noticeably sick and I’ve just kept her on her kibble letting nature help her decide the proper amount.  No hand feeding!

There is another noticeable difference with this pregnancy. Izzy’s hormones must be raging because she is one grumpy bear with her best buddies. Lots of “looks” and “raised lips” to tell them she’s in “no mood”. Haha. Like all houses with multiple dogs, we have multiple Nylabones throughout. While we were watching TV last evening, she went through the house gathering them up and bringing them back to her favorite pillow. Nesting?  Or just being snarky? The other dogs, even little Rose, knew not to cross a pregnant mama’s path!

Around April 1, Izzy will go back to the repro vet for X-rays to give us some idea of placement and sizes.   Hoping for healthy babies and an easy whelp for Izzy. 

 Posted by at 9:15 pm
Mar 052012

Izzy went in for her ultrasound this morning, and there are 4 little beating hearts.  That’s a nice size litter for her and I’m very pleased.  I was pretty sure she was bred because she’s been off her eating a bit and especially clingy the last week or so.  Plus, her best fur friends have gotten on her nerves a bit 🙂

I’ve mentioned this before, but having the ultrasound done by a trained vet is very helpful.  It gives me perspective on Izzy’s pregnancy and when whelping time comes, I can be more certain when she is finished so I can give a sigh of relief. I don’t want to jeopardize my girls’ health.

We should have puppies April 8-10, 2012.

 Posted by at 5:32 pm
Feb 222012

TMR’s Mayes’ HelmieAlangus Queen Isabella

I bred my Murray’s Queen Isabella of Alangus to TMR Mayes’ Little Helmie of JustaLittle on February 4.  Izzy and Helmie are both toy Aussies but have minis in their bloodlines, so it will be interesting once again to see the hereditary magic.  I chose Helmie as the daddy dog because of his champion lines and the “look” of the dogs behind him.  In addition, he is a small dog at 10.5″ and hopefully his puppies will be a size that are easy for Izzy to whelp.

Izzy is my athletic dog.  She is a one of those unique, “in-tune” dogs that seems to know what you tell her before you say anything.  She just can read faces and body language and loves nothing better than her people.  Hard to describe a dog like that, but if you’ve ever had a “heart” dog, you know what I mean. She lives to frisbee and would be an awesome candidate for flyball, although I haven’t tried her in that sport.  I trained her in agility when she was younger, and must get her back on the field this summer because she has matured and become much more confident.

Izzy will have her ultrasound on February 27 and at that point, I will begin to take deposits on her puppies.  They will be here Easter weekend via the Easter bunny!

I have opted to keep Derby Rose from Fancy’s litter after much deliberation and swaying back and forth.  She is developing so nicely for conformation and her personality is just easy going and fun like her mom.  She’s quiet and goes with the flow, whatever situation I put her in.  At 9 weeks, we’re working really hard on her socialization to meet 100 people, so she’s riding with me on my daily pet sit rounds.  Her potty training is well under way and she’s giving me no puddles which means she’s a smart cookie.

Spring is in the air in Kentucky!

 Posted by at 5:20 pm
Feb 042012

Mini Aussie Puppy with Veterinarian

We had the vet check this morning and first shots on my litter of mini aussie puppies.  All good!!  I knew it would be, but I always like them to be checked from head to toe just to be sure.  With a litter of puppies, it is nice to use a mobile veterinarian that comes to my house, less stress on the puppies, less stress on me.  After, the exams Dr. Rubsche gave them some cookies so they will associate her with only happy thoughts 🙂

So….weather is mild here in Kentucky and we did our first potty run this afternoon.  Kinda hard with 5 little munchkins, but everyone ran the yard and pooped.  Yay!!! good start.  I have undergound fencing for my adult dogs, so I need to be an octopus to keep all the little ones contained.  Luckily, my male is a really good babysitter and he rounds them up if they head toward the boundary line as did Fancy, their mom.  Sooooo cute, those little balls of fluff running around!!  They had the look of wild abandon on their faces.  Priceless!

Since they are doing so well, I’ve changed them over to 3 meals a day rather than free feeding.  That way I can guesstimate their poop action and now get them out in time.  Sure makes for less cleanup and starting them on their potty training.  It seems I always do some free feeding at first until they are fully weaned, but now ready to start the training phase.

 Posted by at 1:03 am
Jan 212012

Diamond Puppy FoodWellness Puppy Food

My litter of miniature and toy Australian Shepherds are in the process of being weaned.  At about 3-4 weeks old, I started offering small breed puppy food to the puppies. Initially, I mixed the kibble with hot water and K9 Puppy Gold powder available online. I’ve found that the PG gives the food a smell that is irresistible to the babies and makes the transition much easier with no stomach upset.

After a few days of “soup”, I slowly decrease the water, continuing with the addition of PG. By 4-5 weeks old, my litter is eating heartily and my dam is visiting them less often. With five chunky monkey puppies, that’s a good thing. She’s done her job well and deserves to gradually move to the sidelines.  

There are many excellent puppy foods on the market, but I have chosen to use Diamond Puppy Food for Small Breeds and Wellness Puppy Food  for Small Breeds. I initially start with the Diamond because it is grain free and the kibble is tiny so there’s no danger of choking.  About five weeks when the pups have their teeth, I start adding the Wellness to the mix. The Wellness kibble is still small but larger than the Diamond.

You may be asking why I use two foods instead of only one. I have a couple of reasons, first it gives the new owners a choice of two different foods in case one of them is not available in their area. The biggest cause of sick puppies at a new home is a change in food. Secondly, I think slow change up on dog food occasionally with different protein sources helps the gut flora of an adult dog to be adaptable, much like they would be if they were scavengers. 

I’m very picky about dog food and have a link from my vet on my website about choosing a food for your dog.  However, I am not brand loyal as long as the food is rated at least 4* on and does not contain corn and wheat, high causes of allergies in our pets.  I do buy smaller bags of food for my adult dogs and rotate among brands like Timberwolf, Wellness, Merrick, Orijen, California Natural etc.  It has worked well for me and my dogs do not typically have issues with stomach upset.

 Posted by at 3:19 am
Jan 012012

A mama dog requires at least double the calories she would eat normally and if she has a large hungry litter will often eat 3x as many calories. I have taken that into account with my bitches by feeding them high quality food and also by adding a product called K9 Puppy Gold to her food for the extra calcium needed for a good supply of milk.

This product is a powder and can be mixed with hot water and poured over the food to make a stew or just mixed in dry.  My females love the flavor and gobble it up. I have found it keeps their coat shiny and helps them maintain their weight during the stress of nursing.

Once the puppies are changing over to puppy food, I also to mix Puppy Gold with their kibble and keep them on it as a supplement until they leave for their new homes. Fat and fluffy puppies are the result!! 

 Posted by at 5:58 pm

Glamour Shots of Puppy Litter Dec 2011

 Alangus Aussies, Breeding Dogs, Mini Aussie Puppies, Uncategorized  Comments Off on Glamour Shots of Puppy Litter Dec 2011
Dec 272011

This litter of mini or toy Aussie puppies is 8 days old on December 26, 2011.  It will only be another day or two until their eyes start to open and their ears lay down indicating they are starting to hear noises around them. As you can see, they are getting lots of good milk and growing like crazy.

Parents: Cattle Call Fancy Don’t Let Me Down of Alangus X RB’s Wee Randy da Rebel

Born: December 18, 2011

Male Mini/Toy Aussie 1 has a white triangle on the back of his neck and a half collar.  He is jet black tri with a white bib and tummy and dark reddish tan highlights.

Male Mini Aussie 1

Male Mini/Toy Aussie 2 has a half white nose and is jet black tri with long white stockings and lighter tan highlights like his mom.

Male Mini Aussie 2

Female Mini/Toy Aussie 1 has dark auburn color to her fur and I can’t tell yet if she’s a very dark red tri or black tri with a red undercoat.  If you compare her picture to the one above, you can see the color distinction.  She has a nice white blaze and white bib and her right stocking is above her elbow.


Female Mini/Toy Aussie 2 is jet black tri with a pretty shaped white blaze and left white long stocking.


Female Mini/Toy Aussie 3 is a lighter red tri.  At this point, she is reserved until we determine her eye color.  She may be staying with us.


 Posted by at 5:17 am

Mini Australian Puppies in the House!!

 Alangus Aussies, Breeding Dogs, Mini Aussie Puppies, Ultrasound Dogs  Comments Off on Mini Australian Puppies in the House!!
Dec 192011

And……..we have puppies in the house!  Fancy and Randy are proud parents of 5 little squiggly wiggly puppies with the last one born Sunday afternoon, December 18 about 5 pm.  The litter of five is one red tri girl, two black tri girls and two black tri boys.  So far their little bellies have pooched out overnight from mama’s milk and all seems well.  They’ll go in for a vet check mid-week.

And, the ultrasound was correct on the “beating heart” count at about mid-pregnancy.  That’s my first experience but it was definitely worth it.

It is so hard to stay away from them.  Nature makes us just want to sit and watch babies of all kinds, doesn’t it?

A Long Day at the Office and I Need A Hot Shower

A Long Day At the Office

 Posted by at 4:24 pm

Reputable Dog Breeders versus Puppy Mills

 Breeding Dogs, Puppy Mills, Uncategorized  Comments Off on Reputable Dog Breeders versus Puppy Mills
Dec 142011

Puppy mills are in the news every day and the headline in our local paper today is about a large number of animals being confiscated in our area.  I hate puppy mills and so do most others.  However, I read another article today on a national Internet news source and I take offense when reputable breeders are lumped into the “puppy mill” category if they have a website and it was implied if they breed dogs at all.

Obviously, I do have a website, as do many of my mini and toy Aussie breeder friends,  and obviously with only 3 dogs, one of which is neutered, I am not a puppy mill.  I show my dogs with lots of folks who love their breed, try to better their breed, and have a website to promote their dogs and are not puppy mills. Sometimes one kind of ignorance is almost as bad as another.

In my pet sitting business, I care for a large number of pets that are rescue dogs and I also care for a large number of pets that are purebred with papers.  Neither is better or worse and both can make wonderful companions.  People who are searching to acquire a pet have different criteria just as those of us who walk into a bookstore have different views and preferences in our reading material.  Some have no breed preference and are just looking for a cute little black dog or one with short hair or one that just has a “look” and are not particularly interested in knowing the personalities of the parents in-absentee.

On the other side of the coin, you would find me.  I want to know about the parents of the dog I’m sharing my home with for the next 15 years.  I want to talk with the breeder about the health issues I might encounter.  I want to know the approximate size the puppy will be as an adult.  I want to know if the breed will be a barker, a jumper or a couch potato based on it’s heritage.

Indeed, not every breeder’s website represents the truth about their breeding program.  It’s fairly easy for a breeder to fabricate a persona, but not so easy to pull it off if the buyer asks the right questions and does a little Internet homework.

  • Look for show photographs or Google the dog’s name if the breeder says the dogs have a title.
  •  Look at the dog’s pedigree.
  •  Ask to see the dog’s registration papers if you wish to register your puppy.
  •   Ask the name of the breeder’s veterinarian and call for a reference.  Ask how often they see the breeder in their vet office for routine care.
  •   Check out Yahoo Local or Angie’s List for comments.
  •  Ask about membership in breed organizations and check it out.
  •  Google the person’s name and state.
  •  And if you can, make a personal connection with the breeder by visiting their adult dogs.  That’s not always possible if you are making a purchase out of state, but just be careful and diligent.

Contrary to the belief of the general public and implications of the media, reputable hobby breeders do not net a large amount of money.   Health testing, feeding quality food, routine health care,  and showing and competition are expensive endeavors.  Reputable breeders typically charge higher prices than those pumping out puppies in the barn to cover those costs and to guarantee a healthy animal.  For most of us, we love our breed and breeding a few litters a year is just fun and we enjoy the extended relationships with the buyers of our puppies and watching the puppies mature to become loved companions.

Puppy mills should be stopped when the health and welfare of the animals are being sacrificed for profit. However, we have to be careful when being critical that we are not inclusive of all breeders.

 Posted by at 1:40 am