All posts by sarah.sweetman@outlook.com

How can you tell an Ethical/Responsible breeder from a backyard breeder or puppy Mill?

I get asked this question all the time – aren’t breeders all the same? How can I tell the difference between an ethical breeder and a backyard breeder or a puppy mill?

Well, the answer is simple. No. They are not all the same.

And more than that, just because it is “pure bred” does not mean it was “well bred”.

For this blogpost, I want to define that an ethical/preservation breeder is someone who breeds to improve the breed as their primary focus. They are not in it for the money and having puppies is not their income source. A backyard breeder, for this blog post, is defined as someone who has a dog that has “papers” and wants to have a litter to have fun or the experience. They generally don’t do any health testing. They sometimes will purchase a male and female and just breed them together. A puppy mill, for this blog post, is a breeder who breeds solely to make money. They are not always the horrible images we see on TV (although there are extreme puppy mills that do treat their dogs like that), but mostly they cut as many corners and costs to maximize profits. The health and safety are not really a priority and so the dogs have limited routine vet checks and don’t usually have the recommended health tests. Some of these puppy mills have beautiful websites and photos and so as a buyer you have to really be vigilant to make sure that is not where you are buying your puppy from.

I also want to make something else clear – AKC is a pedigree registry. It is a place that records the history of your dog’s parentage so they can prove that it is (or isn’t) a pure bred dog. Each breed of dog has a written standard of what they should look like. It does not monitor how close they are to the standard and so it is up to you as a buyer to check that your breeder is adhering to what they need to, to keep to the standard.

Many ethical breeders will show their dogs in conformation shows. This is not just for prestige – although the ribbons and awards are certainly fun. Most of the time it is to make sure that the dogs they are producing are adhering to the standard. When you get together with other breeders, you can compare your breeding stock with other breeders and see if you are “on track”. You also get feedback from impartial judges. It helps many breeders try not to have “mommy goggles” as lets be honest – we all think our dogs are the most beautiful in the world.

What separates ethical/preservation breeders from backyard breeders or puppy mills is their commitment to the breed itself. By showing their dogs, a breeder shows their commitment to keeping their dogs to the standard. How can you tell if your breeder is committed? Ask your breeder what clubs they belong to. Ask them if they do any sports with their dogs such as tracking/scent work or barn hunting or obedience or even good canine citizen awards. Even if they don’t show their dogs (their is no reason not to) they should be committed to being part of the local clubs – this requires them to adhere to ethical standards of breeding, and accountability.

If a breeder talks about their dogs “champion bloodlines”, they are probably trying to trick you into thinking they show their dogs, or that they adhere to the standard in their breeding. However, this “champion” could be far back in their pedigree and pretty meaningless.

Health testing also sets ethical/preservation breeders apart from those just in it to make money. AKC has a list for each breed, of the health tests recommended by each parent club. The images below are the beagle and CKCS recommended health tests.

Ethical breeders will have these tests and have proof that they are done. There is a registry for health tests online called www.ofa.org – here you can look up any dog by it’s registered name and verify information given to you by the breeder.

However, I will note that it costs money to register the results online so many breeders do the tests but don’t put the results online, so make sure you ask if you don’t see them.

For Hearts, check that the check was done by a cardiologist, not just a vet practitioner. Breeders that are not taking their dogs to a cardiologist are not adhering to the standard and are cutting a very important step but pretending they aren’t.

Cavalier hearts should be checked every year. Many backyard breeders and puppy mills will do them once (if at all). So, check the dates and ask questions if they are not current.

This is an OFA eye check – this girl has extra eyelashes (distichiasis), but her eyes have no eye disease. It’s important to read results thoroughly and feel free to ask or google anything you aren’t sure about.

The final way to tell an ethical/preservation breeder from a backyard breeder or a puppy mill is by looking at if they are working towards making their breeding program and the breed better by their breedings, or if they are just pumping out puppies.

An ethical/preservation breeder will search out the best match for their dams (moms). Most of the time, it will not be in their back yard. They are not afraid to import semen from overseas, across the US or from their network of breeder friends. A backyard breeder or puppy mill want to save as much money as possible to maximize profits and so use the same stud and dam for every single litter. If they never use any other studs, it should be a red flag.

Every puppy will be cute. So, don’t base your decisions on a cute puppy. Ask questions and be prepared to walk away if you are not liking what you hear. You deserve to get a puppy that has had the best start in life.

How to tell if your beeder’s OFA heart certs are legit

Both Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and Beagles should have their hearts checks before breeding.

CKCS should go one step further and have theirs checked every single year, since our breed is plagued with a heart disease that can develop over time.

Hearts, while they can be checked by a general practitioner, *should* be checked by a cardiologist. Cardiologists train to hear the difference in the clicks and ticks that hearts make and what these noises make. They are trained to see things on echocardiograms to understand how the heart valves work and blood flows.

To know if your breeder is having their hearts checked properly, check their documentation. Have a look to see what is written. I will show you two examples.

This beagle was seen by a cardiologist as you can see on the bottom right.

This cavalier was seen by a regular vet (unfortunately).

As I mentioned earlier, heart clearances for cavaliers are only valid for 1 year. If your breeder is breeding dogs that haven’t got current clearances, you should ask them why not.

Not every breeder posts the results online – it can get expensive to do so. So, they can just show you the paperwork that would be submitted to www.ofa.org. Below are some examples for you to look at.

If you want to know more about what a heart murmur is, there is a little video about it here:

I want to say thank you to Su Ann from Lucidity’s cavaliers for the inspiration and a couple of the images for this article.

Nick is #2 15 inch beagle in the USA

We are SO excited to announce that the February statistics of the “Canine Chronical” shows that Nick is the #2 15 inch beagle in the USA (All Breed points) and #3 15 inch beagle in the USA (Breed points). He is also the #15 Hound in the USA.

He has had group wins and placements under judges such as Mr Raymond V. Filburn Jr, Mr Dana P. Cline, Mr James Mitchell, Mr Thomas Kirstein, Mr John P. Wade, Mrs. Linda Hurlebaus, Mr Allen L Odem and Ms. JoAnne Buehler.

We can’t wait to see what the march statistics show, and what the rest of the year has in store for us. This boy certainly makes us feel like all our Christmases have come at once.

Charlotte and Zakk’s cavalier pups are 2 weeks old

2 weeks flies by so quickly. As a breeder, I can breathe a little sigh of relief as it means I can start getting a little more sleep. I don’t have to wake up every hour or two through the night anymore to check on them. Not that I mind – but my bed is calling after 2 weeks of broken nights of rest.

The puppies are thriving, and by all accounts a little on the advanced side. Because cavalier puppies are born “early” (by dog standards), they tend to be like preemie human babies that can be a little developmentally delayed – they get there eventually but maybe a month or two behind their peers sometimes (or in puppy cases a few days or a week behind what i would expect a beagle pup to do).

However, these little guys, the two blenhiem pups decided day 10 was the day to start opening their eyes. This means that they are also starting to hear and they are moving around the whelping pen more. The two tri girls are not far behind and at 14 days both have slivers of eyes opening.

I can’t wait till we start seeing their little personalities emerging. For now we are just enjoying their little blobby snuggles. Enjoy the photos of them growing up.

*please note that they are not available at this time. *

Fergie

Kate

Archie

Victoria

Charlotte’s cavalier puppies are 1 week old.

Time flies when we are having fun and our Easter gift this year is that Charlotte’s puppies turned a week old. They are all thriving and active. They are nursing well and gaining weight like they should. Charlotte is healing well from her c-section and is a wonderful mother, taking great care of them. They are clean and bonny. What more could we ask for?

Without further ado, I know what you are here for – photos of the little dumplings. Enjoy.

*please remember that none are for sale at this time. *

Fergie. Now 9.88oz

Kate. Now 11.78oz

Archie. Now 10.05oz

Victoria. Now 10.55oz

Charlotte’s pups are 3 days old

Now that Charlotte’s babies are a few days old and starting to fill out a little, I took some time to photograph them with my phone tonight before doing their dewclaws. I usually use my “big girl” camera, but I couldnt be bothered – sorry. But they still look cute anyway I think.

*please note that none of these puppies are available at this time*

Enjoy <3

Fergie. (now 7.5oz)

Victoria (now 8.2oz)

Archie (now 7.6oz)

Kate (now 8.4oz)

Charlotte has her baby cavaliers

Charlotte’s due date was Friday the 26th. We had done the xrays on Wednesday the 24th and we knew there were 4 puppies on board. True to timing, she started panting and nesting Friday evening around 7pm.

I woke up every 1.5 hours through the night to check on her. I walked her, and pottied her but there wasn’t much action happening. This is normal. Stage 1 can be long (just like a human – they are opening the cervix to “10 cm”). Around 4am she cried a lot so I ended up sleeping beside her from that point, with my hand on her as she slept and panted and shifted.

Saturday was much the same – watching her, but not much happening. we went on lots of walks/potty breaks. That was, till about 4:30pm. During one of our potty breaks, her water sack came out and she proceeded to pop it. “Awesome”, I thought. “We will have a puppy soon.” But, as the afternoon wore on, Charlotte kept panting and then would do an occasional push, but nothing worth noting.

In the dog breeding world, you start to worry when your dog has been pushing consistently for an hour. She hadn’t been doing that, but after 3 hours of waiting, it just didn’t feel right. By this stage, Molly and Abbey arrived. Molly is Charlotte’s ‘other mom’ (Charlotte lives in a guardian home with one of my closest friends).

Around 8pm, we spotted a little bubble – YEAH – a puppy was on it’s way, but then we saw feet. UH OH – that’s not usually a good sign. Feet without a sack means a dry birth, which is harder for momma to push out, and a bubble usually means there is another baby competing for space. We did the “wheelbarrow” technique to try to reposition the babies and called our vet. He said since there was a puppy so close, we should grab a towel and try to gently pull the puppy out. We tried to do this, however, Charlotte kept sucking it back inside making it near impossible to grab. I made the call to Dr Anders to do a c-section – he agreed.

At this stage, I will say a HUGE thank you to Dr Anders Thoreson from Klahaya Animal Hospital for being on call – I know this is not normal and it is SO appreciated.

As irony would have is, just as we pulled in the the Klahaya carpark, Charlotte gave birth to that birth puppy on Molly’s arm. In the breeding world we call that “bumpy road protocol” 🙂 haha.

Inside we talked about it – between the lack of pushing and the long labor, we decided to go ahead with the c-section and get the babies out. Better to have healthy babies alive than wait too long and have them die.

I was in the surgical room (far back from the clean area) to “catch” puppies and then i ran them out to Brianna, Molly and Abbey so they could rub them down. All 4 are healthy and strong – at first a little tired from surgery but it didnt take long to get them nursing.

We got 3 girls and a boy. 2 tri girls and 1 blen girl and 1 blen boy. 🙂 Born just before 10pm on Saturday the 27th. Mama and babies were able to come home an hour later and so I got up all through the night to check on their progress.

We are so thankful for these precious little lives and look forward to them growing up.

Since Charlotte is named after Princess Charlotte, it seemed only fitting we did a “Royal” litter in her honor.

Blen girl was born at 6.17oz. We are nicknaming her “Fergie”

Blen boy was born 6.49oz. We are nicknaming him “Archie”

Tri girl 1 (with the larger blaze) was born at 6.53oz. We are nicknaming her “Victoria”

Tri girl 2 (with the smaller blaze) was born 6.67oz and we named “Kate” since she looks so much like her mom.

**please note that none of these puppies are available at this time**

Welcome to Kazuri, Puddin’

So, I have been a huge fan of a kennel in Australia called Karakush for a long time owned by Leigh and Helen Gibson. The consistency in their breeding program, and quality of their dogs is something to aspire to. I used one of their boys “Langrigg The Cake Boss” for my last breeding to Madison and was not disappointed.

A short time ago, a good friend of mine, Chelsea from Van Mar Beagles contacted me. She had been given the opportunity to import and own Puddin’ (Aus CH Karakush The Proof Is In The Puddin’). She is a beautiful adult beagle that Chelsea could have a litter from and therefore bring some of that bloodline into her own kennel. Well, she called to ask if I would be interested in owning her with her. It was a no brainer for me – of course I said YES! I am SO thankful to Chelsea for her generosity for allowing me to co-own Puddin’ and I know she will add something wonderful to both of our programs. Puddin’ is a 1/2 sister to Charity, whom we co-own together, so it seems like a wonderful extension of that for both of us.

Puddin’ arrived via plane. A huge thank you to Gemma and the staff at Pet Carriers International for coordinating a smooth and uneventful trip! Chelsea and her daughter picked Pud up from the airport and they enjoyed a night at a hotel and some time at the beach before heading home. Pud was un-phased by her long trip proving her wonderful temperament. She walked out of her crate, tail wagging and even though she had not spent much time with little kids was happy to make Chelsea’s daughter her new BFF.

I also want to take the time to sincerely thank Leigh and Helen for giving us the opportunity of adding one of their lovely girls to my breeding program. I’ve been a big fan of the Karakush dogs for a long time. I feel like Puddin’ will compliment what I have going on and really accelerate the plans I have moving forward.

As Chelsea said, “I am reminded that is truly takes a village to create a successful breeding program. I am so grateful to all the breeders behind all my dogs and the fact they are so generous to share a piece of their success with me. They have become cherished friends and I will never forget their generosity and willingness to allow a fellow breeder produce good dogs.”. I believe those sentiments wholeheartedly. <3

Puddin’ at 8 weeks
Puddin’ at 12 weeks
Puddin’ at 1.5 years
Puddin’ at 1.5 years
Chelsea’s daughter helping get Puddin’ out of customs and onto US soil
Puddin’s first kiss
Puddin’ enjoying the beach before driving home to Chelsea’s

Nick is our New Grand Champion

Nick continues to show us he is a gift wrapped in a little tri package!

This weekend Mike and Karen attended the Ochlocknee River Kennel Club of Florida & Greater Panama City Fanciers Association in Tallahassee Florida.

Nick (CH Kazuri’s All I Want For Christmas) blew us away by gaining all of the other requirements he needed to get his GRAND CH (Akc pending) – winning five 5 point majors to finish in 2 weekends as a move up special. 💖

On Friday he went Best of Opposite to Paul Hines and Carol Herr’s lovely girl Noel under judge Mr Allen L Odem. This was an honor as Noel went on to win Reserve Best In Show!

On Saturday we went Best of Breed under judge Mr Dana P. Cline.

On Sunday we went Best of Breed under Dr. Steve Keating. He then went on to win a Hound Group 2 under judge Mr Allen L Odem.

I am so thankful to these judges for finding our boy in a large entry of lovely beagles. I am always thankful to Mike and Karen for their care and handling of our Nick.

We are expecting cavalier puppies

We are so happy to announce that the first Kazuri litter for 2021 will be (all going well) cavaliers. We expect them to be born late March/early April.

Miss Charlotte is in whelp to German import Est/Lat/Germ CH Angel’s Pride Zakkary.

This is a tri x blenheim breeding and we could get puppies in either color from this litter.

*please note that we have an existing waitlist and so these puppies will all be spoken for*

Charlotte
Zakk