12 Questions to Ask
Celhaus German Shepherds
Personality Brains Beauty
4817 Big Horn Ave.
Sheridan, WY 82801
My Comments on
“Twelve Questions to Ask a Breeder”
from an article in Dog Fancy, April 1997
1. How long have you been involved with the breed? I was raised with a German Shepherd cross from babyhood. My first memories, about age 3, involve being fascinated by every German Shepherd I saw and loving their nobility and beauty. A very early memory includes a National Geographic article about dogs, highlighting the various breeds, and reading (or being read to) the description of German Shepherd character–the “look of Eagles, the fearlessness, the service to humankind. At that moment I decided I wanted to breed good German Shepherd Dogs.
My parents did not believing in buying purebred dogs but rather visited the Animal Shelter when each old dog died to pick a replacement. I got my first purebred, a sable male, the fall I went off to work my way through college. I tried to breed my Harrigan daughter in 1975, but she wanted no part of he whole thing, thinking she was human, so I spayed her and showed her to a UDT. It was 1978 before I had my first litter.
I belong to the German Shepherd Dog Club of America and am a long-time signer of their Breeder’s Code. I belong Central Wyoming Kennel Club, the closest club to me (150 miles) and to the Agility Club of Central Wyoming.
2. Do you work or show your dogs? What titles do your dogs have? My dogs are constantly in training for agility and compete frequently. You can see each dog’s titles on their page in my website.
Quinta, Berakah, Lively and Chaos are all Therapy Dogs (Therapy Dogs Incorporated). Bunny and Jubilee are retired due to their age. I visit a nursing home every other week – all I can work into my schedule since it means leaving work. I also am a Tester-Observer for TD Inc. and do screening for potential Therapy Dogs.
3. Why did you breed these two dogs? I approved Ashi & Jubilee as breeding prospects because of their marvelous temperament, sound structure, steady nerves and joy of life. This, of course, after they had passed all the health screenings recommended for German Shepherd Dogs: hips, elbows, heart, thyroid, DM (spinal myelopathy), EPI (exocrine pancreatic insufficiency), Von Willebrand’s, and eyes (CERF). Both Ashi & Jubilee are daughters of my very good producer, Glory. Jubilee is still alive at nearly 14. Caz and Zinna both had excellent temperaments, sound conformation, and steady nerves. Caz lived until 14. I placed Zinna in a home when I retired her and she is still doing great at 10. Jubilee and her daughter, Quinta, are now retired. Ashi died at 9 of a freak heart attack; Joyful died at age 7 of the same thing. Since both were OFA cardiac certified, it’s still a mystery why they had heart attacks. I am now breeding Quinta’s daughter/Jubilee’s granddaughter, Lively. Each dog has its own page on my website and much more detail can be found there. I kept a co-ownership of Lively’s sister, Shadow, and will get two litters from her. Each litter has its own webpage with all kinds of information, including why I bred those two parents.
4. Do you breed to AKC (or breed club) standards? I breed to the AKC-approved standard for the German Shepherd Dog, which is still very close to the international standard. The only reason I can’t breed to the German (international) standard is that I live too far away from a training club (over 300 miles one way) so am unable to acquire Schutzhund titles on my dogs. Unfortunately, American bloodlines have moved away from that standard due to years of fads concerning sidegait and rear angulation and the typical American idea that “bigger is better” which has led to a lot of oversized dogs. I continue to breed for the medium-sized, athletic, balanced and healthy dogs that are described in the breed standard.
5. How many litters do your dogs have each year? I seldom breed a female oftener than once a year. If I do, I rest her the following year. I generally have two litters a year. I don’t breed constantly because I put in a lot of work on the pups,–individual attention, socialization, and just plain enjoying them. The 9 weeks of pregnancy and 7 weeks of puppies are a very intense time for both my bitch and me. I want us both to enjoy them, and you don’t do that if you have those demands most of the time. Quality is much more important to me than quantity.
6. How old are the puppy’s parents? Shadow will be 3 in November; Chaos is 6.
7. Can I see the parents, grandparents and other relatives in-person or in photographs. Can you tell me about the dogs in this puppy’s pedigree? I especially urge people, if at all possible, to meet my dogs and see their outgoing, confident temperament. I give detail on the pedigree with each litter (see the page for that litter).
8. Do you screen for hip dysplasia, Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) and other hereditary defects? Yes, mine have all recommended screenings for GSD’s. This includes hips, elbows, heart, thyroid, degenerative myelopathy, eyes, and certified free of EPI (digestive disorder) as well as von Willebrand’s disease and hemophilia (bleeding disorders). Copies of all certificates for both parents are included in the puppy folder.
9. Do you offer a guarantee? Do you have first right of refusal? Yes, I offer a guarantee. I want the pup back if for any reason it does not measure up. I will replace it with another pup to our mutual satisfaction. I repeat, I want my pups to come back here if for any reason you cannot or will not keep them. I never ever want them given away or placed in an animal shelter. I also will periodically check on how they’re doing, so call if you ever have any problems or questions.
These pups are guaranteed to OFA for hips. Of course, you have a responsibility to control the environment part of their hip formation–keep them lean, especially as pups, since extra weight puts extra strain on developing joints. Don’t let them do lots of jumping or hard jumping such as for Frisbees, until they’re over a year old. The hip joint is cartilage until approximately 12 months of age. Cartilage is soft and thus will wear off easily under repeated impact to the joint, then when it turns to bone there is roughness there which sets up arthritic change and becomes dysplasia. Don’t over-exercise and stress those developing joints and ligaments, but keep your pup fit with sensible exercise so the joint is held tightly together as it forms.
10. What do I need to know to bring the puppy home (puppy’s age, vaccinations, puppy food)? I let my pups go after their Temperament Test, which is done when they reach 7 weeks, mainly because they have a developmental stage from 8 – 10 weeks where they’re a little more fearful and worried about new things. At 7 weeks they still feel they own the world and thus are bothered less by the stress of going alone to a new home. They also are ready to bond with their new owner very eagerly and thus can begin learning and socialization earlier.
Socialization, before their shots are complete at 16 weeks and they are totally protected from diseases, must be done carefully. They shouldn’t be taken to places where lots of dogs roam–like parks–or around dogs which roam. I don’t take my pups to training class or hiking around town with friends until they’re over 4 months. I’ll take my pups downtown to visit businesses which are dog-friendly. I will take them to friends’ yards, but only those friends who either have no dogs or who do not take their dogs lots of places where dogs run loose. Therefore the pups have less likelihood of encountering dangerous viruses which can be carried on feet, or urine, or saliva, etc.
We don’t know just when the bitch’s immunity fades and the pup’s own immune system becomes operative. When that happens, just one shot will give them protection. To cover all the bases, we give them a series of shots 4 weeks apart–at 8, 12 & 16 weeks. By 16 weeks we’re sure their immune system is up and going and they form their own antibodies to the shot’s contents. Don’t gamble by getting your pup around dangerous areas until the shots are complete.
The pups should also be wormed each time they get a shot. All pups pick up worms, from the mother, even if she always tests negative. As I understand, the worms encyst in her muscles, the pregnancy hormones activate them, and they pass through the umbilical cord to the babies. After the last shot at 16 weeks, I take a fecal sample in monthly to be checked until they’ve had several “clears”. Usually by the time they’re 6 months old pups have “outgrown” worms if they’ve been wormed regularly so as not to get infested.
The pups had their first shot and worming at 6 – 7 weeks, about 3 days before the temperament test. They also had a thorough vet exam. When you get your pup, you should have your vet do a health exam within 48 hours. This is for your own protection. If they get sick within 48 hours of leaving here, they contracted something here and it is my responsibility. After that, all health issues are your responsibility, except for those I guarantee against. A Vet Record is included in your puppy folder. Take that to give to your vet at the 48 hour check.
As I said earlier, the pups are on Kumpi dry food. I send a 35# sack of Kumpi Puppy with each puppy (except those that are flown to their new homes).
The AKC papers are usually here before the pups are ready to go and I help you fill them out as soon as the pup is paid for.
11. Do you have a contract? May I see the contract, AKC papers, parents’ certifications and pedigrees before I purchase (or put a deposit down on) a puppy? Yes, I have a written contract which we both sign, and of which we both receive a copy. It, the application, and the pedigree can be seen and/or downloaded from my website. I can also mail copies of the parents’ certifications and anything else upon request.
12. Can you provide references? A copy of a letter of recommendation my vet wrote when I applied to be a Tester-Observer for Therapy Dogs Inc. is included in the puppy folder and can be mailed upon request. You are welcome to visit with my vets at Moxey Schreiber Vet Hospital. They have been my vets for over 30 years. I can also give you names and phone numbers of people who have my puppies, the people I train with, etc.