Q: What is it that attracted you to the Keeshond breed?
A: I met my first one and she stole my heart. She was beautiful, loving, delightfully playful, clean and very intelligent. I've been hooked ever since.
Q: How did you get your first Keeshond? Was it for show or as a pet?
A: I was adopted by my first Keeshond after I babysat her for a month, helped groom her, her mother and her brother, and convinced the breeder that I could not live without her. She was show quality, and I had to promise to show her. The breeder said he would help, and he did, greatly.
Q: How did your show career start?
A: My Kee's breeder entered my bitch and her brother in a puppy match, near my home. Although I had practiced a little, with the breeder watching, when I stepped into the ring, I panicked. Pitsy & her brother were the only two kees entered and I took 2nd place. The next match, we got caught in a flood. The third match, three people and three dogs hovered in a subcompact mini station wagon while a tornado went by near us, and we got wet again. The fourth match, we were in freezing rain and sleet. My dog got a group 1 and I got pneumonia. but it was fun??!!
Q: What is your most memorable show experience?
A: The first time out with Pitsy, after she had her puppies, we were caught in a Midwest midsummer thunderstorm. Forgetting my show clothes at home, I went into a crowded special's ring in a playsuit. Pitsy, who loved the show ring, and showing off, was so thrilled to be "on stage" again, she demanded the judge's attention. We took breed that day over some of the current top dog and bitch specials in the country.
Q: How much does it cost to show a Keeshond?
A: Luck always plays a part in anything, but usually, the better dog you have and the better trained they are, the less money it costs to finish their championship. Costs vary, especially with distance driven to the shows and the doggy equipment purchased.
Q: What food do you feed your dogs and why?
A: I currently feed QC+, as it is all natural, human grade meat, no by products, no soy, no chemical preservatives.
Q: Do your dogs stay in outdoor kennels or your home?
A: I have five Mason runs in the garage, which is next to the family room. The Kees whose "house manners" are good, spend most of their time in the house and sleep with us. These dogs also eat together, without a problems. The others spend most of their time in the house with us, when we are home, but retire to the runs for meals and sleeping. If the weather is not "dog-friendly" they are all in the house, but we use crates for crowd control, especially is someone is in season. If the weather is pleasantly cool, everyone can spend the day in a run, while I'm at work, except for the very young, or the senior citizens.
Q: Do you allow people to come to see puppies?
A: Once the puppies have their eyes open, and mother is no longer super protective, invited visitors are welcome. Young puppies need socialization, and to be carefully, gently and lovingly handled by humans. New prospective owners are welcome to visit the pups at this time. I usually do not allow young children to hold puppies this young.
Q: When is it appropriate to allow people to see puppies?
A: Puppies should have their eyes open before they are handled and under bright lights. They really do not start doing "cute puppy things" and walk until they are at least 5 sometime 6 weeks old. Puppies are more resilient then, and are awake more to interact with visitors.
Q: When a bitch is whelping, do you deliver the puppies at home or a vet. office?
A: My bitches whelp at home, although there have been times when I wish I had a vet office in the house! (And that he was in!)
Q: What is your opinion on dew claw removal? Why?
A: I remove dew claws and feel that this is a wise thing to do, even if they were not to be shown. The dew claw often catches on materials, etc and tears, causing the dog to be injured. Also the dew claw has a nail, which grows long, as it does not wear down while walking. It can grow in a circle, right back into the skin, requiring medical intervention.
Q: What is your opinion on OFA, CERF, thyroid and luxating patella testing? Why?
A: Since it is a breeder's goal to improve the breed, that includes improving the overall health of the breed, besides it's appearance. Genetics is a "crap-shoot" but a responsible breeder tries to load the dice with the healthiest specimens of the breed available.
Q: What inoculations do you recommend for your puppies?
A: I start my puppies shots at 6 weeks; usually sending them to their homes with 2 sets of shots, (the 7 combination). A recent study published by a respected vet school has introduced varying opinions on canine vaccinations. I have an excellent vet hospital, with doctors who have varying backgrounds, experience and opinions. I turn to them for updated advice, share their opinions with my puppy buyers and recommend that they discuss this with their own canine health professionals. I have also found that the vets of the puppy buyers can be a valuable source of information. I would rather be safe than sorry. This is true of too little or too much of anything.
Q: What are your experiences with puppy mills and their lineage?
A: I have seen, first hand, in western IL a horrible Keeshond Puppy Mill. I also collect pedigrees and have for some time. Many of today's Puppy Mill dogs go back to some nice lines, where the owner changed to Back Yard Breeder or the dogs/puppies fell into the wrong hands. However, just because CH X is behind a puppy mill dog does not mean that is a good dog. Many intervening breedings could have created and continued genetic problems, which did not matter to the puppy mill breeders.