Monday, December 26, 2011

I Don’t Want A Show Dog; I Just Want A Pet.

I wish I could take credit for the following article, but I can not.  I saw the link to this website on Facebook that was posted by Stephanie Schultes, a Chihuahua breeder and fellow member of the AZ Toy Dog Fanciers.  The blog where I found this was:  Blacksheep Cardigan Welsh Corgis.  My thanks to the author for putting this so succinctly.  I hear this all the time:  I don't want a show dog - I just want a pet.  My first response is usually - "Well I wouldn't sell you a show dog because I have no idea who you are."  But further to that - this should be required reading for all puppy buyers.

I Don’t Want A Show Dog; I Just Want A Pet.

This is one of the most pervasive sentiments that puppy buyers, especially families, express when they're looking for a dog. What they really mean, of course, is that they don't want a show BREEDER – don't want to pay the high price they think show breeders charge, don't want to go through the often-invasive interview process, and think that they're getting a better deal or a real bargain because they can get a Lab for $300 or a Shepherd for $150.

I want you to change your mind. I want you to not only realize the benefits of buying a show-bred dog, I want you to INSIST on a show-bred dog. And I want you to realize that the cheap dog is really the one that's the rip-off. And then I want you to go be obnoxious and, when your workmate says she's getting a puppy because her neighbor, who raises them, will give her one for free, or when your brother-in-law announces that they're buying a goldendoodle for the kids, I want you to launch yourself into their solar plexus and steal their wallets and their car keys.

Here's why:

If I ask you why you want a Maltese, or a Lab, or a Leonberger, or a Cardigan, I would bet you're not going to talk about how much you like their color. You're going to tell me things about personality, ability (to perform a specific task), relationships with other animals or humans, size, coat, temperament, and so on. You'll describe playing ball, or how affectionate you've heard that they are, or how well they get along with kids.

The things you will be looking for aren't the things that describe just "dog"; they'll be the things that make this particular breed unique and unlike other breeds.

That's where people have made the right initial decision – they've taken the time and made the effort to understand that there are differences between breeds and that they should get one that at least comes close to matching their picture of what they want a dog to be.

Their next step, tragically, is that they go out and find a dog of that breed for as little money and with as much ease as possible.

You need to realize that when you do this, you're going to the used car dealership, WATCHING them pry the "Audi" plate off a new car, observing them as they use Bondo to stick it on a '98 Corolla, and then writing them a check and feeling smug that you got an Audi for so little.

It is no bargain.

Those things that distinguish the breed you want from the generic world of "dog" are only there because somebody worked really hard to get them there. And as soon as that work ceases, the dog, no matter how purebred, begins to revert to the generic. That doesn't mean you won't get a good dog – the magic and the blessing of dogs is that they are so hard to mess up, in their good souls and minds, that even the most hideously bred one can still be a great dog – but it will not be a good Shepherd, or good Puli, or a good Cardigan. You will not get the specialized abilities, tendencies, or talents of the breed.

If you don't NEED those special abilities or the predictability of a particular breed, you should not be buying a dog at all. You should go rescue one. That way you're saving a life and not putting money in pockets where it does not belong.

If you want a purebred and you know that a rescue is not going to fit the bill, the absolute WORST thing you can do is assume that a name equals anything. They really are nothing more than name plates on cars. What matters is whether the engineering and design and service department back up the name plate, so you have some expectation that you're walking away with more than a label.

Keeping a group of dogs looking and acting like their breed is hard, HARD work. If you do not get the impression that the breeder you're considering is working that hard, is that dedicated to the breed, is struggling to produce dogs that are more than a breed name, you are getting no bargain; you are only getting ripped off.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Eight Weeks Old

Violet x Magic puppies - as stacked up as I could get them to be - at 8 weeks old:

Little Girl

Big Girl

Little Boy

Big Boy

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Why Does Everyone Want A Cheap Girl Puppy? Or - My Rant On Why Boys Are Best And You Get What You Pay For.

Violet & Magic's litter is nearly 7 weeks old!  They are growing so fast!  Next weekend they will get their first shot.  Each puppy is amazing.  All of them are beautiful.  This is going to be a tough decision for me - I'm not sure yet which puppy or puppies to keep for myself.  I have had a lot of calls for puppies but I have only chosen one solid home for one of my babies.  Why?  Because that person did their homework.  That person knew that a quality dog was worth the investment.  And she was at the right place at the right time to get the only girl that I knew would be available out of this litter for a pet home.  And you know what - she still doesn't know which of the two girls she will be getting yet.  But either way she won't be disappointed.

I don't play the waiting list game with the next litter just around the corner.  I don't have the puppy galleria that most "breeders" have on the internet.  I am not like most "breeders". 

I do this for me - I don't breed puppies for money making purposes.  Believe me - each litter is taken at a financial loss.  I am looking for my next show prospect and the next generation of my breeding program.  I get first pick - ALWAYS.  Not everyone understands this.  But that's what makes me different from most every breeder here in the valley of the sun.

I do this to move forward with a lineage of dogs that are healthy and sound.  Not to line my pockets with money to pay my bills (I have a real job for that).  And because I want the best for myself, that means too that my puppy buyers get the cream of the crop of puppies.  To me it's about the future, about making sure the dogs I breed are healthy and sound for their lifespan - to be champions - to produce champions - because those champions will be everything a Shih Tzu should be.  They will look like a Shih Tzu and act like a Shih Tzu.  I do my very best at screening for health issues as well.  To make sure that sound, typey package can live a long and healthy life - for ME.  And the gravy of that to the pet buyer should be obvious.  Today, as my only solid puppy buyer was visiting the litter, she even commented how all of the puppies in this litter would be hard to choose from.  They are all that nice.  And she was right.  And that makes me proud.  I have worked hard to produce the very best I can - and it shows in the puppies I breed.

One weekend of showing dogs costs close to as much as the selling price of one of my puppies.  FYI - to go on the road to show - gas money, hotel, pet sitter for the kids still at home - for a four day show weekend, that totals to about $700.  The show circuit in AZ is limited so travel is necessary to complete a title on a Shih Tzu here.  The reason a breeder should show their dogs is to get a fair evaluation of their breeding stock.  That's the purpose of showing dogs.  When someone tells you they don't show because it's just a beauty contest or it's political or that it's a waste of time and money - well they are simply giving you excuses - they are more interested in their own bottom line than whether or not you get a sound, healthy puppy.

The costs to breed a litter - to health screen my bitch, to bring in the right dog or health screen my own boy, wellness care for a pregnant bitch, proper nutrition, x-rays to determine how many puppies are actually in there, have the puppies vet checked and dew claws removed and have their shots given by my vet, well that total cost is almost as much as the selling price of one of my puppies.  I don't have ten or twelve girls that I breed continuously to any of a number of boys I may have, nor do I fore go appropriate veterinary care, so that I can have a steady stream of $350 puppies available to anyone that calls or emails me.  If that's what you're looking for - you've contacted the wrong breeder.

Ninety percent of the calls I get are for girl puppies.  Why is that?  Boys make fabulous pets.  Here's a newsflash for you - boys are easier to housebreak than the girls!  Boys will only be lifting their leg or humping your leg or their toys if you a) don't have them neutered young enough and/or b) you allow obnoxious behavior of your pets.  The fact is, boys make better companions than the girls.  Boys are sweet and just want to be loved.  And like I told one lady that contacted me recently - if you want a girl puppy from me you either have to be in the right place at the right time or be willing to wait a LONG time.  There are no guarantees that a girl puppy will ever be available out of this house as a pet.  Why?  Because the best girls don't go to pet homes, they stay here.  Because I only breed usually one litter per year, to prepare for future generations I have to keep the girls unless there is an obvious fault - like mismarking of coat or lack of pigmentation, or an obvious structural fault (which has rarely been the case in this house).  Typically there are more boys than girls born - for whatever reason - that's just the way the numbers fall.  But everyone wants girls.  For all of the wrong reasons IMO, but to each their own.

So if you are reading this and you want a girl puppy out of this current litter - sorry - they are taken.  And if you're looking for a $350 puppy, I don't have any available. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

After Lunch Bath Time

Violet is a wonderful momma dog to her babies.  She is definitely in her zone.  The puppies are becoming more animated and they are starting to do some serious toddling around.  They are more aware now of everything around them and they are starting to interact with each other too.  This week toys will be introduced for playtime.  The other dogs in the house continue to show more interest in the nest, especially Samantha and Kiki.  Kiki constantly is standing up to be nose to nose with the pups and they are now starting to toddle over to that side of the crate to visit with Kiki.  The next couple of weeks will be fun!

Nap Time!

Ok - I've had enough for lunch!  It's time for my nap!

Show News

Kiki continues to do well in the show ring.  Last weekend after winning the breed, she placed third in the group at the AZ Toy Dog Fanciers puppy match.  This weekend she won the breed on Friday at the Canada del Oro Kennel Club show in Tucson.  Here she is resting after her win.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Babies Have Arrived!

Born 10/18 to Violet and Magic - four beautiful babies!  Three black & white and a surprise gold & white!  Two girls and two boys!  Here they are lined up for their first breakfast together!

Mom and babies are doing well!  For a live web cam feed go here.  The passcode to view will be in my twitter feed located below on the right sidebar.  The passcode will change daily.  The webcam will not be on 24/7, so check back if the feed is not available.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Kiki Takes Best Of Breed

Last weekend we travelled to Show Low, AZ to show at the AZ White Mountain Kennel Club Show.  I had never been to Show Low, only having been as far as Heber in 2010.  The drive from Phoenix is a very pretty drive north up to Show Low which is at a 6,000 foot elevation.  All was nice and sunny until we hit Payson, and then the rain started.  Not a good sign.  It rained most of the remaining drive into Show Low.

After checking in to the hotel there was a slight break in the rain, so we headed to the show site.  We met up with Carol and Gail Page, who were setting up their grooming area/tent.  They were kind enough to let me share their space, saving me the grief of bringing my own tent to set up.  By this time it was nearly dark but we decided to play in the rings a bit.  I was concerned because Kiki wasn't so thrilled to be on grass and in general she looked like she just wanted to go home.  So after a trip around the ring, and a short time on the table, we left and went for dinner.  Awesome margaritas!  :)  After dinner, it was back to the room and it was time for Kiki's bath.  THAT was fun!  And finally at midnight it felt good to lay down and rest.

Saturday the weather was perfect!  In the 70's and sunny.  We got to the show site at about 8:45am.  I had my coffee in hand and some wonderful boy scouts helped me get my gear to my set up.  Carol and Gail followed shortly thereafter and I got busy finishing the grooming I started at 5am on Kiki.  

I was still concerned that Kiki would hate her first real show experience, but made the best of the time with her.  I made it a priority to keep her happy and I treated her to some of my leftover grilled chicken from dinner - an incentive to keep her tail wagging!  When we stepped into the ring, I squeaked her toy and her tail went up over her back and away she went, taking the breed win!  I was, and still am, thrilled that she did so well!  The grooming didn't stress her (or me for that matter) and she had fun in the ring!  Yeah!

We had to wait some time to get a picture taken so here are a couple of candid shots.

Admit it - I'm adorable!

When is that photographer guy gonna be ready??

This was the first show I had done is a while so my grooming skills need some brushing up!  No pun intended!  But what is more important than a perfect topknot is that your puppy has fun in the ring!

My thanks to Dr. Lee Anthony Reasin for Kiki's first point.  As always sir, it was a pleasure to show to you!

Unfortunately on Sunday the rain returned, and I was already feeling a cold coming on, so I picked up my gear from the show site, getting drenched in the process, and we made it home by noon.  And even though we cut our weekend short, we had a good time.

First point down, fourteen more to go! 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Champion Samantha

It's been a while since I posted about Samantha's travels with Greg Larson.  Pictures have finally arrived and my schedule has finally given me a day to catch up!

After winning her first weekend out with Greg in late March, Sam consistently won or took reserve at almost every show.  Here she is winning her first major with Greg in North Dakota early in June.  She went on to win her second major two weeks later in Minnesota and her final point the next week in Illinois I believe.  Not sure of all the dates - I can barely remember what day it is today!

Anyway here she is with Greg and judge Paula Hartinger.  Thank you Paula for this nice win!

Many thanks to all of the judges that put Sam up, to Greg Larson for his lovely presentation and to Tiger Allen for flying Sam to and from Minneapolis.  She'll finally be home this week!

Samantha will not be bred until 2012.  I'm still looking at my options there.  Whoever the lucky boy will be - you can rest assured he will be special!  ;)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

HELP! Two dogs in need!

These adorable Daschund brothers need a foster or furever home.  Gil and Bert are 5 years old and need to be placed in a home by Monday, May 23rd.  They are currently located in Phoenix, AZ.  They were fostered by a family who had an emergency and could not keep them and then went to a temporary foster who needs them re-homed by Monday because of too many pets in her household.  Can you or anyone you may know open their heart and their home to these sweet boys?  Please email me if you are interested in more information or if you have access to an open rescue/foster situation.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Samantha's Third Point

Samantha is out being shown by Greg Larson.  This was her first point with Greg going Best of Winners.  The judge that day does not like hairspray - so here she is au'natural!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

It's A Girl!

I am happy to announce that Violet had her ONE puppy on Thursday morning at 4:30am - a black and white girl!  Momma and baby are doing quite well.  Their check-up at the vet today went great!

CH Xeralane's Johnny Angel  x  WoTeH'sin Booty-N-Charm

For anyone wondering - this little girl is staying right here for now!  :)