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!