Thursday, December 20, 2007

Magic Man

I took Magic to Tucson last weekend for the IABCA Winter Seiger. It was a tiring trip, and cold, but well worth it.

The thing I like about the IABCA shows are the written critiques as well as the one on one time you get with each judge to go over the dog. In three shows you can complete an International title. I know of folks that have to keep going back to finish a dog, but I've been successful now twice in finishing dogs in consecutive shows.

My latest is International Champion WoTeH'sin Smoke and Mirrors - AKA "Magic".

Magic is a sweet little boy. He's a bit shy at first but he comes out of his shell quickly now. When I first started to show him earlier this year, he wouldn't walk. He'd put a few steps together but that's it. And each judge, patient as they were, told me they liked my dog but I had to get him to walk. And walk he eventually did - gathering four points in Traverse City last June. Since then he's been home, running the house, chasing the others around and being a dog. I expect to eventually finish him in AKC competition, but his sister Holly has to finish first. My checkbook can only handle so much. So in the mean time, Magic got his International championship and he'll run around some more until I decide to enter him in some shows here in the spring.

Pictured above is International Champion WoTeH'sin Smoke And Mirrors

My extended family

I've been blessed the past couple of weeks because I have received emails from a few past puppy buyers. The best part about these emails - besides the parts that say they adore their dogs and they are the best puppies one could have ever hoped for - the best part would be the pictures.

I was also at a dog show in Tucson this past weekend and I got to see a couple of past buyers who came to the show to see me and Magic. What a wonderful surprise! They raved about their puppy Zoey! We had a nice chat and I am so blessed that one of my kids is now their kid! Zoey is so loved! She is the light of her momma and daddy's life! And I feel so lucky to have my little one in their care - she is so loved and wanted!

Pictured above is Zoey Mallick of Oro Valley, AZ

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Do you know where your puppies are?

It isn't often that I get truly fired up - the kind of fired up where you want to get on the phone and call someone and ask them what are they thinking.

Today was one of those days.

I have to give credit where credit is due in cases where a breeder/owner/handler has been successful. But my definition of successful is guarded. How many litters did it take to accomplish your goal? Further to that - what, exactly, was or is your goal? And even further, when you sell a dog with breeding rights, what exactly are your terms? And why? What happens when that buyer can't care for the puppy YOU were responsible enough to bring in to the world in the first place?


I personally give thought to where each of my puppies is out there in the world. I remember every litter - every puppy. I know where they are. I think of them and their families often. I treasure the pictures, the notes, the phone calls. I love knowing that my little ones sleep in warm beds every night with full bellies with the families that care for and love them. If there is EVER a moment when one of those puppies' future is in a state of flux or doubt, there is no question about where they will go. They will come home. To me.

No matter what, I will always be responsible for every puppy I breed. If there should ever come a day when I can not do this, then I will not be producing any more puppies. Period.

I have been close to this point before. I made difficult decisions. I asked for help. And I moved forward. I realized at that point in my life that I had to rethink my motives. I had to rethink my numbers. I had to regroup. I had to slow down. I had to make changes in my life if I were going to continue being a hobby breeder.

I constantly review my plans and work towards a positive future. I have a disaster plan in place. I know it's necessary - I've been there.

What fires me up is when I see breeders out there that don't keep or maintain a policy that puts the dog first, no matter what. Especially when they are still actively breeding puppies. Especially when they are members of a national breed club. Especially when they are AKC judges.


Why do we do this? Why do we propagate life in the first place if we can't maintain control over what we have already produced? Don't we think about this before we breed the next litter? We should. We should think about each canine resident in our home and wonder how keeping another will effect the others. We should think about each puppy or young adult we have placed out there and remember that even though those dogs don't physically reside with us at this moment in time, they still reside within our realm of responsibility. And if you can't take in a puppy that carries your kennel name due to any reason the original buyer gives you, then shouldn't you rethink breeding your next litter of puppies???

Shouldn't you be where the buck stops?

When it comes to money, I personally know that there are more dollars flowing out of my bank account to take care of my dogs and this "habit" than what comes in from my puppy placements. I don't do this for money.

I often define to myself why I do this. I think it's healthy to remember the root reason or cause, mostly because if I find the need for this to be a profit center it has gone too far.

There are lots of folks out there that make dogs their livelihood. There's a fine line in my book when it comes to responsibility. The "sport" of dogs has taken on a life of it's own. The pet business is a multi-billion dollar industry. I know there are people out there that make their living in this business. Handlers handle, dogs win, money is exchanged. I use professionals when it makes sense, and even sometimes when it doesn't. But why do I want my next champion? So I can pump out more puppies? So I can say I have "x" number of champions? So I can show on my website that puppy A is champion sired? Or so I can be most confident that what I do produce, sparingly as it is, is of good quality? So I know that moving forward every Shih Tzu I am responsible for producing is healthy, conforms to standard and has a permanent home ready - be it my own. Personally, for me, it's the latter.

The dirty side of this business most folks say are the puppy mills and the pet stores. Is that really where the problem lies? I think not. I think part of the problem lies within the ethics, or lack there of, within our own community of those terming themselves as responsible under the guise of showing dogs. Just because you show dogs you aren't automatically a responsible breeder. The reverse argument rings loudly with all of the folks advertising in newspapers.

The true guide of responsibility would be the facts. And those facts each have an AKC number associated with them. And if you choose to call yourself responsible, your responsibility lies with each of those numbers, where they are and how you've dealt with each of those little lives.


No, I know evil lurks when I hear about dogs being euthanized daily because people breed for the wrong reasons. I hear about evil when I hear about the necessity of rescue or the auction of purebred dogs.


No, I see evil when I see the signs on the street for AKC puppies or read the websites with multiple litters available, each puppy designated by a letter or number. I see evil when I see in black and white people not caring about what they have produced.

No, I speak of evil every chance I get to educate the public of irresponsible breeding practices and red flags they should look for in their search for a new puppy.

I will tell you of evil - but you have to listen.

Be a champion of your breed and do something about it today. I did.

Shown above is Champion Booty Collier of Scottsdale, AZ with her babies Sampson & Delila Snyder of Yuma, AZ and my little Violet, WoTeH'sin Booty~n~Charm.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

It's official

As promised, here is Lucky's finishing picture. He looked quite handsome.

My thanks to Corinne Thellman for her handling skills and care of Lucky on the road to his final win.

Lucky is now cut down and loving life even more than he did while in coat, if that is possible. He always is full of energy and enjoys each day to it's fullest.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Lucky's first major

I'm trying to remember happy days.

Here is Lucky's picture from his first major recently in Springfield. That morning Corinne sent me a picture via cell, but here he is more in focus. :)

When his finishing picture comes in, I'll put it out here too.

More later.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Five Generations

This week has been so hard for me. Learning that my little Crystal is dying has tragically rocked my world. The hardest part is facing the choice of choosing to not put her through surgery and chemo and ultimately not knowing when her last breath will come. So instead of focusing on this, I am trying to make her final days happy and comfortable. I see her smile when she is outdoors - her favorite room of the house here. She lays on the patio overlooking the yard, just daring those birds to stop by so she can run and give chase. Seeing her this happy makes me smile. It seems she's got some good times left yet.

Today one of my co-workers came over with her daughter and they helped me take pictures of Crystal and her legacy - five generations. I am blessed with a part of her being passed down to each of these wonderful reminders of what a Shih Tzu should be. And it all started with Crystal.

Today reminded me of all that I have even though I feel great loss on the horizon.
Shown above is Crystal with her daughter Iris, her grand-son Magic, her great grand-daughter Violet and her great great grand-son Tuxedo.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Today I learned that my Crystal - truly my foundation bitch - has what is most likely a malignant mass in her abdomen. I have cried rivers of tears. My heart aches.

My goal is to keep her happy and painfree as long as I can. No heroics. I want her to know she is loved. And I want her to travel to the angels and the bridge peacefully.

This is the part about breeding dogs that really stinks. No matter how long they live, it is never long enough.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

American International CH WoTeH'sin If It Happens In Vegas

My second home bred champion finished this weekend with back to back majors in Springfield, IL! Lucky was handled by Corrine Thellman and went BW both days for his final 3 and 4 point majors. He'll be home soon sporting a new haircut!

Lucky is my fourth overall champion Shih Tzu and I couldn't be more proud. He is pictured above with me after his Group win in Tucson, AZ at the IABCA Desert Sieger last December.

Monday, October 15, 2007

I think I'm going to have myself a good cry right now.

I want to breed because I want another dog just like the one I have.

I can't afford to get my dog spayed/neutered.

It just isn't right to neuter a dog.

All of my neighbors said they would buy a dog if I bred my girl.

Backyard Breeders


Designer Dogs

Sunday, October 14, 2007


Surfing breeder sites on the internet usually is an unpleasant experience for me. It opens my eyes even further to the fact that the breed I love is being abusively bred by people that don't have a clue about the breed standard. Why on earth would someone enter into breeding dogs without a blueprint?

When I first thought about getting involved "in dogs" my first thought was to show dogs, not breed them. I thought it would be a wonderful way to learn about a breed I really found to be adorable. I guess I'm different. I had heard all of the arguments against showing - the money, the politics. But I moved forward anyway and finished my first champion with a little help for a short time. But I was on the lead for one of the majors and that oh so perfect finishing point - winning over handlers to boot. What a feeling!

Yes showing is expensive. But when you work smart you can do this and finish a dog for far less than paying a professional. I've done it both ways. And today I still go out there and show my own dogs. I use handlers too as my current job doesn't allow me the time off necessary to do it all by myself anymore. It does however afford me the luxury of using professionals thanks to my pay scale. And frankly, since I'm not out there week in and week out, sometimes the clout of a face on the lead helps win a major. But what I have truly found is that if a dog is meant to finish it will - regardless of who is on the lead.

This leads me to my next point of breeding for improvement. If a dog can't finish why breed it? I understand the arguments of both sides to this question, but frankly if you're not out there learning about the standard to make the judgement call - you shouldn't be breeding in the first place.

When I surf the net I see all kinds of people out there pumping out puppies that don't even look like Shih Tzu. I mean, you can go to any puppy site or just Google Shih Tzu breeders and start viewing exactly what I'm writing about. My stomach turns and my heart aches when I see galleries of puppies with price tags on them. What that tells me is that the person who put Fluffy and Muffy together did it with high hopes to make money. It's their cash crop if you will. There was no regard to the breed standard or giving back to the breed or improving what you have to move forward. They advertise tinies and imperials, rare colors and show quality puppies that don't even look like Shih Tzu. Pardon me while I vomit.

I've been accused of being a snob in the past and I suppose this argument will not result in anything otherwise. However, if you have chosen to be responsible for bringing life into the world, shouldn't it be with some conscience? Shouldn't you want to do this the best way possible? Shouldn't you know what a Shih Tzu is SUPPOSED to look like before you start? Shouldn't you do this without gimmicks? Shouldn't you care about the health, conformation and temperament of what you are breeding?

Some would ask how I "advertise" my puppies. Valid question. I do have ads out there on the internet. One would be on a site called "Puppies By Champions". I also have a little info on a site that I believe is called Top Showdogs where the dogs listed have to be champions. I also donated money to an all breed rescue in Arizona and in return they offered to list my "kennel" on their site. In hindsight maybe it wasn't the best idea to post my name up there, but it's there and it's on an obscure place on the net. Maybe I should have it taken down, but I figure if someone is looking for a good breeder and they find me on a rescue site, they will know I give back.

My other form of advertising is within breed publications to announce wins and champions.

I really don't have a need to advertise puppies or young adults I have available for placment. I've never had a problem selling my puppies. I breed one litter per year on an average. By the time I trade back for stud service if I've gone out and I take my pick puppy (because I breed to move forward), I might have one or two puppies left. I now have people coming to me on referral. I don't keep a waiting list normally. And I have no need to post puppy galleries to place my puppies in wonderful homes. I have also found great homes for some young adults and rescues. All without posting Puppy A, Puppy B and Puppy C - GAG.

I don't do this to make money. I have what is known as a JOB to support myself. If I have to stoop to the level of millers and backyard breeders to sell puppies I have available, shoot me. Because it will be time to get out at that point any way as I would have lost the true meaning of why I do this in the first place.

If you are a breeder and you are advertising your puppies, shouldn't you really be advertising why you are a breeder? Or simply putting your stuff out there and saying, hey these are the dogs I'm breeding. If you're doing it right, you will always be able to find good homes for your puppies.

Shown above are "Trouble" Rogers and my pick of the litter girl Holly at about three weeks old.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

How cute is this??

Here's Solo, just snoozin' away this morning with his blue dog. His momma dog isn't spending the nights with him much anymore. She sleeps on the bed next to his crate and hops in when he cries for her. He's eating solid food now and drinking from his water bottle at 5-1/2 weeks. Next weekend he'll get his first booster shot.

Time flies. He's growing up nicely!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Only 4 more single points to go!

Here is Holly's picture from her 5 point major win. She has grown into a beautiful girl! She should be a champion real soon!

Saturday, September 29, 2007


Way back when I believed that I could buy my way into a great breeding program, I hooked up with a few different Shih Tzu breeders. Two of them sold me dogs that never ended up in my breeding program. One sold me what became my first champion.

The breeders from whom I purchased dogs never used a written contract. And while the first dog I bought I finished and placed into my breeding program, it wasn't without issues. This is when I started to learn about honesty, disclosure and ethics.

Without getting specific about health issues so as not to point fingers (which is not my intent here), let me just say that my first champion came with plenty of issues that were not disclosed. Perhaps because these issues weren't known for the most part, perhaps not - I don't know and never will. One would have to actually health test to know what they had and what they were selling.

I did health test and I learned - A LOT. I had a lot to of issues to breed around in the beginning. And I ran into a lot of "I don't health test because I have healthy dogs." Bull. Don't let anyone tell you they have no health issues in their lines. Everyone does, some, probably most, won't acknowledge it. Shame on them. Find a breeder that knows what they have with results in writing that is willing to exchange ideas. Partner with them and work together to answer questions and plan breedings. You will both win.

I still health test. I will say that I don't always do every possible test like I did on my foundation stock, but I do what I've learned to be necessary based on what I have and what I know about what I have. I also shop around for certain tests to get them at competitive prices and hey, if an OFA or CERF clinic isn't running before my bitch comes into season - I consider her genetics and what I actually know to be fact in her lineage. And I breed accordingly. But eventually what needs to be tested here, gets tested. And frankly, the jury is still out on some testing that is available. And now, before I open up my wallet further, I want some concrete proof this new test will give me viable, accurate information. At that point I will spot test what I have based on pedigree information and move forward.

There was also the lesson that no one will sell you their best dog. It took me a long time to figure out that a breeder will usually only sell you second best. That was a hard lesson to learn. And I fault myself here because I got caught up in the "oh s/he is so cute!" syndrome. And further to this lesson I also learned how mean spirited and brutal some folks can be when you make a decision to cut a purchased dog from your breeding program. Even though you give a breeder right of first refusal with reasonable terms (because you don't have a written contract), you can get smeared in the process. Breeders, if you are going to sell a dog to someone to show, at least admit why you are selling the dog in the first place. Be honest about what you are selling. If from that point someone still wants to buy the dog in question, write your contract with the well being of the dog being paramount. And if you get the dog back, be an adult about it and do what is right FOR THE DOG. Honor your commitment to the breed.

But overall, the biggest lesson I learned through my first 5 years was that I didn't really do my homework as well as I had thought and I bought dogs that I really shouldn't have in the first place. And it cost me plenty - personally, financially and otherwise.

The best advice I could ever give someone that wants to breed quality dogs, no matter what the breed, would be to buy the best bitch you can. Show her and hopefully finish her, health test her and then breed her to the highest quality male you can find that compliments her from the standpoints of health, conformation and temperament. The icing on that cake would be if he were tightly line bred.

Don't buy a male! I firmly believe that men, and stud dogs, are like buses. If you miss one, another will be along shortly. There are plenty of males available if you know where to look - i.e. find a breeder that's showing their own dogs and winning and find something they have personally or have access to that blends with your stuff. How? Well, throughout this process you should study as many historical publications and pedigrees that you can get your hands on. Then you'll know what to look for.

By the way - throughout this process you will find your mentor.

My other piece of advice is to get it in writing. Eventually when you partner with someone you can typically do things on a handshake once you know that person and their core beliefs. But until you find someone with ethics and ideas that you find compatible, use a written contract.

Finally, if you are lucky enough to find a show quality bitch or dog (I know - I said not to buy a dog) with which to begin your breeding program, honor your word and your contract and if you can't, let the breeder know so arrangements can be made. Events have consequences, so if you can't keep up your end of the bargain, or choose not to, communication is the key. And if you're the breeder of that dog, work with that person and honor your contract or negotiate a reasonable return. It should be about the dog - not about you. If you make it about you or about the other party, your contract and/or your intent probably isn't about the dog anyway - shame on you.

Pictured above is Group Winning International Champion WoTeH'sin If It Happens In Vegas - AKA "Lucky".

Thursday, September 27, 2007

One special little Shih Tzu

I vividly remember one Saturday afternoon when I called my friend Sally. It was the day I received an issue of the Shih Tzu Reporter that featured CH Tojo Midnight Max on the cover; his picture underwritten with the word "Timeless."

I had been debating on a breeding with one of my girls and that issue of the Reporter made up my mind. I remember telling Sally that the worst that could happen is that the McGee's - Tom and Joan who bred and own Max - could say no to my humble request. After all, Max was and still is quite a dog.

Fast forward to June of 2005 when my Max son went Best Puppy in Show in Traverse City, MI. I could have burst from my pride! This was only surpassed when Cole finished his championship with his third major, being a single dog entry going Best of Winners at the Berrien KC show for a 4 point major. Along the way we were worried because Cole was so small - only 9 pounds - but boy could he move! He went through a stubborn period too where he just wouldn't show. I guess he just wanted us to remember who really was the boss! Sometimes those solid black Shih Tzu can be stubborn. But through it all he is now known as Champion S'Dandi WoTeH'sin After Midnite.

Cole lives in Michigan with my mentor and dear friend Sally Watkeys. Sally did such a great job with this little wonder dog - finishing my first home-bred champion in grand style! We co-own Cole to this day and he remains a special addition to both of our breeding programs. Cole puppies will be out there soon in the show ring and his second litter of hopefuls were just born this week. If his first litter is any indication, his progeny will make both Sally and I very proud.

Because of Cole I also have a special friendship with the McGees as well to this day. Tom and Joan are such wonderful folks. And Max is still running the yard and ruling the McGee roost in Modesto! I can never express my gratitude to these two special friends that allowed a nobody like me to breed one of my girls to a dog like Max! Max will always be one of the greats in our breed.

Shown above is Cole winning Best Puppy in show - a special little Shih Tzu on a very special day!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Our newest addition

We welcomed our newest addition on Tuesday, August 28. A special little boy was born to my girl Violet, sired by Magic.

Welcome Solo!

Holly's travels with Sally

Just a brag here about my little girl Holly. Her full name is WoTeH'sin Breakfast At Sniffanys.

Holly's show career started earlier this year with me on her lead in Palm Springs where she won the 6 - 9 month puppy bitch class at the Shih Tzu Fancier's of Southern CA specialty. She went on to win the breed at the Superstition KC show held in Scottsdale, AZ in March for her first point.

In May, I flew Holly out to my friend and mentor, Sally Watkeys of S'Dandi Shih Tzu in Michigan. Sally said if she liked Holly she would show her for me, since majors out here in AZ are virtually non-existant.

Well, Holly's first weekend out with Sally in Canfield, OH resulted in a single point under Paula Hartinger. Later that weekend Holly, won a three point major under Dr. John Shelton. Over Labor Day weekend, Holly won another single in Marquette, MI under Maxine Beam. On to the Michigan Toy Club specialty in Goodells, MI where Holly went BW under Lydia Coleman-Hutchinson for a five point major! I think Sally likes Holly . . .

God willing, Holly will be Sally's boy Rush's (American/Canadian CH S'Dandi's On Loan From God) sixth champion, making him ROM eligible. What a special champion she will be! I am so proud of her! She is her mother Iris' first champion.

Holly's brother Magic (WoTeH'sin Smoke And Mirrors) has four points and he's waiting here in the wings being spot shown. Look for him next year.

The picture is Holly after winning her first major!


Until I have the website back up and running, this will be the contact point of WoTeH'sin Shih Tzu. Here you will find all of our latest news and pictures.

Enjoy the journey!