There is nothing that makes us happier than finding other members of online forums educating puppy shoppers. We spotted one such member (Catherine O'Connor) who posted this information that we wanted to share because it's valuable, accurate and important. Her posts are shared below (with permission, of course). They also mentions some very well known brokers in our area that people seem to recommend repeatedly just because they have "available puppies." Here are her posts:
SPOTTING PUPPY BROKERS
It’s easy to be fooled by some of these very sophisticated broker run puppy mill networks into thinking you’re making a responsible choice. Not only are some of these networks so large & have so many breeders producing for them it’s hard to tell who’s who name wise (and easy to shed complaints & bad reviews by just starting a new LLC.) but some of them present themselves as downright wholesome, religious, pro-family & absolutely anti-puppy mill. Don’t fall for these animal abusers tricks. Make sure to do your homework!
SPOTTING PUPPY SCAMS:
With the shortage of puppies from the pandemic & people growing more impatient by the day to find one, scammers have swarmed these kinds of groups to make easy money. The admins delete all day & do their best but it’s extremely overwhelming as these scammers switch up their identities so fast; its just impossible to keep them out of these groups. So It’s up to you do the vetting but If you take these 4 steps it weeds out almost all of them.
1. ALWAYS reverse image search every picture they send you or post. That eliminates almost all of them from the jump because they just use found pictures on the internet as their own. If you don’t know how just google it - there are a million different free pages that allow you to do it & show you how step by step.
2. ALWAYS speak on the phone.
3. ALWAYS get and then ACTUALLY check the Vet reference by first googling them to make sure they are an actual Vet & they did not give you a spoofed internet number & then call them yourselves.
4. Never wire them money. Use PayPal or something that both protects you as the consumer (and will refund you in the event of an issue) & verifies their identity before they can collect their money. *Always click the business option on PayPal not the friends & family. It’s worth the small fee PayPal charges to insure your investment.
Do these 4 things and be skeptical of any breeder that does not have a waiting list right now as almost every reputable one does! Best of luck everyone!🐾🍀
STOP THE SCAMS: PART 2
I’ve seen 3 posts across the Cavachon groups I’m in from people who got scammed today. So whether it’s someone pretending to be a breeder or someone pretending to have a dog to rehome, if you’re in the market for a puppy & you’re worried or new to this, here’s how to make sure that it doesn’t happen to you.
Someone sending you a few pictures of a cute puppy with a few Facebook messages & then asking you for a deposit is not even close to enough.
Check for signs of legitimacy. When was their Facebook page created. Look at their pictures on their profile, cover pic, profile pic, timeline pics -were they all uploaded the same day? Who liked/commented on their pics? Does it seem like normal kind of engagement from friends/family or do their comments & likes more closely resemble bots or foreign nationals?
For breeders- when was their Facebook business page created? how many likes do they have? Do they have their review section turned on? Do they have any? Check the community section, any posts? Are they advertising 6 different kinds of dogs? Red flag. Do they not outwardly say where they are located or discuss lineage? Red flags. No phone number or other contact info? Red flag. Most real breeders have websites, ask for theirs.
Still can’t tell? Take those cute puppy pics they sent you & do a reverse image search on google images to see if they’re real or if they’ve just lifted them from someplace/someone else. If nothing comes up ask if you can come visit to meet the puppy, see the parents etc. At the very least you want to do a live FaceTime video call with the person the profile is presenting to be (don’t accept any excuses as to why you’re now dealing with someone else or seeing a different dog or can’t see the dog you’d be getting) to see the puppy, or if not born yet, the parents & where they care for their dogs.
Ask lots of questions. If you’re met with any resistance or sales pressure- move on. https://bedogsmart.org/…/questions-to-ask-a-breeder-before…/
Ask for recommendations here for Breeders people have used & then start doing your homework. Google them for possible complaints, to find reviews etc. Whether it’s a breeder or someone rehoming a pet you need to not only get verifiable references - but you need to then actually check them too. From a breeder you want to talk (not text, not email but actually TALK) to satisfied customers AND their Vet & for anyone rehoming definitely a Vet reference.
Never send any money via Western Union or any other money wiring services. Avoid using Venmo or Zelle .Too much sensitive personal financial info at risk. If a deposit is required try to use PayPal if possible. Not only do you have payment protection you also don’t have to give out any credit card or address information. If that’s no good, the next safest bet is your credit card because of the charge back protection.
That’s all I can think of offhand, if anyone has anything else please chime in, & don’t forget everyone - there’s just not an abundance of puppies right now due to the COVID-19 rush - so if it’s really cheap or it looks too good to be true-it probably is! Trust your gut! Best of luck everyone!❤️
Many families prefer to adopt from a local shelter or rescue, but quite often it's impossible to find Cavaliers or low shedding small dogs because they are rarely surrendered. When that option has been exhausted, you have to start the search for a breeder.
Maybe you know exactly what type of dog you want down the the exact size, sex and color - or maybe you're just beginning your search and narrowing between similar breeds such as Cavachons and Cavapoos. While you are choosing your breed, it's equally important (if not more important) to decide what type of BREEDER you are looking for. Many people will say they want a "reputable breeder" or an "ethical breeder" without really knowing what that means or how to really figure out what type of breeder you've contacted. Hopefully you've also learned that price alone is not an indicator (we've seen lots of poorly bred dogs sold to unsuspecting buyers for the same price or more than well bred dogs). We hope this post will help you figure out what type of breeder you're looking for.
While we know there are exceptions to every rule, the majority of breeders fall squarely in to these three categories:
This blog post will cover why it's so important to purchase a puppy from a breeder who does DNA tests on their breeding stock and what to look for when provided a copy. We will cover in a future post why you might consider DNA testing your own dog, especially if you rescued, purchased from a puppy store or bought a puppy without researching the breeder.
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is prone to numerous health conditions, many of them both financially and personally devastating for their owners. Years ago, we didn't have DNA testing available to help us identify dogs that were at risk for passing on serious genetic defects. Today, that's not the case and therefore any reputable breeder will be able to discuss with you the role that DNA plays in their breeding program and provide you with testing results. Before discussing specific genetic conditions that impact this breed we want to cover the basics of understanding whether a dog is at genetically clear (healthy), a carrier (healthy but can pass on the disease to puppies) or affected (unhealthy and will pass on the disease).
CLEAR - This is the gold standard. This is a dog who is clear of any genetic defects. This means they are not personally at risk and do not carry any genes for genetic defect that can be passed on to their puppies.
CARRIER - A carrier is a dog who carries one (1) gene for a genetic defect. Because they only carry one gene for this defect it will not affect them (they will never develop the defect) but they can pass it on to their puppies. Some consumers mistakenly believe that carriers should not be bred but this is not case. Carriers can safely be bred but only to a dog who is clear for that defect. If we removed all carriers from our breeding pool we would encounter other problems with inbreeding. Two carriers should not be bred.
AFFECTED - A dog who is at risk (or affected) is a dog who carries 2 copies of the gene for a trait and therefore is at risk for the disease. Although not ideal, this dog can still be bred to a dog who is clear as they will produce a litter of carriers. That being said, you do not want to purchase a dog who is affected for a genetic condition as that dog will likely become symptomatic of that condition. If your breeder doesn't test genetically then you will have no way of knowing what you are getting.
This digram helps illustrate the breeding of clear, carriers and affected dogs.
Now that you have an understanding of clear, carrier and affected you need to know what genetic tests are important for this breed. At a minimum, a reputable breeder should be testing for the following:
CAVALIER KING CHARLES SPANIEL -
To see a sample Embark DNA report, please check out this post where we provide a report from one of our dogs.
A few final words for those looking for a hybrid puppy (Cavachon or Cavapoo). First, be very wary of the hybrid breeder who claims they don't need to DNA test their dogs because crossing two breeds will eliminate the genetic disorders. This is false. This breeder is either being deceptive or has just shown their ignorance. For example Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) which is a devastating neurological disorder that doesn't appear until a dog is older (and his/her puppies have already been sold). This disease is similar to ALS or Lou Gehrig's in humans. This disease also appears in both poodles and Cavaliers; therefore, a hybrid breeder who is not testing both parents for the common disease(s) is setting up puppy owners for heartbreak.
Secondly, this is where the difference between a F1 puppy and an F2 puppy is really important. With F1 puppies many of the diseases can be eliminated if they are not a common disease; however, with F2 puppies you bring the disease possibility back. This often confuses people so here is an example:
F1 Cavapoos - A purebred Cavalier Spaniel is crossed with a purebred Poodle. The Cavalier Spaniel is affected for DM. The Bichon is clear for DM. As you can see from the chart above, 100% of their offspring will be a carrier for DM. They will not have the disease but they will pass it on to their hybrid offspring.
F2 - An uneducated breeder has two F1 Cavapoos. Both were from a situation similar to the above and carry for DM but don't show signs of the disease. The breeder doesn't DNA test because they are breeding hybrids and were told it isn't necessary or is trying to increase profits by not testing. They breed these dogs together and again referring to the chart above more than 50% of their puppies will inherit and be affected by this disease. The new owner is clueless and feels confident in this breeder because they received a one-year health guarantee for a condition that will not appear for 7+ more years.
DNA testing alone does not make a reputable breeder. There are other breed specific heart, hip, eye and related tests that should be performed and provided. For more information on those tests, please see our posts on the OFA as a part of your puppy search.
If you would like to learn more about DNA testing your dog before breeding or to uncover any potential health risks, we highly recommend Embark as they handle all of our DNA testing and are a paid advertiser of our educational content. Please review this post that provides Embark discounts and a copy of an Embark report.
Covid. Time at home to train, loneliness, a desire to do something for the kids and general depression have lots of people looking for the same thing - a new puppy, man's best friend and companionship! The frantic search began the first week of March and has shown NO SIGNS of slowing down with tons of new posts on Facebook forums every day with a family looking for a new puppy. Sadly, many of them have just come up with this idea and don't realize they are weeks behind the masses in their search. Unfortunately, most reputable breeders (if not all) are wiped out of puppies. Several I know have even sold younger dogs they were intending to keep in their breeding program simply because they felt so bad for the families searching. Breeders I talk to and work with are getting bombarded by tons of inquiries every day, getting labeled as unresponsive because they can't keep up and yet have nothing left to offer except a position on a waitlist.
High demand, low supply and desperation results in a several things:
As I've said many times on this page, I don't expect you to take my word on any topic - do your homework. If you don't think puppy scams are happening all around you here are a few links from one coast to the other:
Better Business Bureau Report on Covid Puppy Scams
North Carolina Department of Justice Puppy Scam Alert
Three Oaks Farm Christmas Puppy Scam in Charleston
Concord News Article on Current Puppy Scams
Please protect yourself. Please check your local shelters as dogs will be surrendered every day due to job loss and related issues. Please find one to two breeders you trust and get on their waiting list - before you know it you WILL have that perfect puppy!
TThe OFA - or Orthopedic Foundation for Animals is a fantastic organization that can really help you in your puppy search. Whether you are searching for a healthy Cavalier King Charles Spaniel or a related hybrid, don't neglect to check the OFA for information on your puppies parents. Here's what you need to know:
OFA VERSUS AKC - WHO DOES WHAT? - There is a huge difference between the AKC and the OFA. The AKC is the American Kennel Club. This organization is responsible for keeping the registry of purebred dogs in the United States. The fact that a dog is registered with the AKC means nothing more than the fact that it was born of two purebred dogs who are also registered. While purebred parents is important (even in hybrids as the point is an intentional cross of two purebred dogs), it is not an indicator of health, solid DNA or anything else. In fact, there are many AKC registered dogs that are the result of overbreeding, are unhealthy and who don't meet the breed standard as recognized by the organization.
On the other hand, the OFA is now the repository for both DNA and medical testing of dogs. Although initially this only applied to orthopedic type testing (hips, patellas), they have expanded their mission “to improve the health and well-being of companion animals through a reduction in the incidence of genetic disease.”
HOW CAN I USE THE OFA IN MY PUPPY SEARCH? - In order to use the OFA to search your potential puppies genetic and medical history, you first need the full name or registry number for both parents. Anyone selling purebred Cavaliers will have this readily available. Those breeding F1 Cavachons and Cavapoos may also be able to provide you with this information. Registry numbers can also be pulled from AKC pedigrees, as can full names. If your Cavalier breeder refuses to provide you this information, this is a potential red flag. If a hybrid breeder doesn't have the information, it's worth a conversation to make sure they are DNA testing their breeding stock as well as having them screened for health issues such as hearts, hips, eyes and patellas.
Once you have the information, proceed to www.ofa.org and follow the instructions below:
We hope this post was helpful in explaining how the OFA can be a great resource for anyone looking to invest in a properly bred puppy. In future posts, we will break down both DNA and OFA testing results by Cavalier, Cavachon and Cavapoo as well. Please feel free to email us if you have any questions on the search for your perfect pet.
Many Facebook and related forums have restrictions on posting prices and therefore puppy shoppers often wonder what typical puppy pricing might be. Similarly, shoppers often post questions like “Why are these puppies so expensive” and receive responses from other shoppers either blaming breeders for price gouging or claiming to have gotten a perfectly healthy puppy for $500. While this post is not meant to establish a set price, it is intended to explain what you should look for in pricing and the dangers of a discounted dog.
Let’s start with an example of a purebred Cavalier puppy and what a quality breeder (please see the post on locating a respectable breeder) paid make that puppy available to you:
While I’m sure some people will be inclined to debate these expenses, I want to assure you that these are on the low end because they don’t include a lot of expenses that buyers don’t consider such as raising a dog for 2.5 years and then learning they are not capable of breeding, have a genetic condition which makes them ineligible to breed, raising a bitch who then refuses to nurture her first litter and therefore can’t be bred again, etc. It also places no value at all on the time, energy and love respectable breeders give their dogs.
Now, using our hypothetical and again assuming this is a respectable breeder, the female will not be overbred, bred too early or bred later in life. And, again remember our $14,550 number is only for the first 2.5 years of ownership so many of these costs will repeat. Let’s assume the female will be bred 3-4 times.
Litter #1 – 4 puppies. For this breeder to get close to “breaking even” she would have to get $3600+ per puppy and in doing so this does not account for the medical expenses of the puppies themselves. Instead, she sells these puppies for $2000 to pet only homes. She spends $80+ per puppy on initial vet visits, additional funds on food and countless hours monitoring puppies, screening prospective buyers and getting puppies to their new homes.
Breeder will now incur an additional round of expenses for post pregnancy care for the bitch, annual testing and annual ownership. As she owns the dogs another year and returns them for certifications, she invests another $3,140 in annual cost of ownership and increased medical testing.
Litter #2 – 5 puppies. The breeder gets lucky with additional puppies but one fails to thrive. She is forced to invest funds in this puppies health but despite all efforts the puppy does not make it. She again sells the remaining 4 puppies for $2000. She’s still in the whole $1690 plus the additional costs of the puppy that doesn’t make it. This again does not include the $80+ per puppy on initial vet visits, additional funds on food and countless hours monitoring puppies, screening prospective buyers and getting puppies to their new homes.
Repeat another year of ownership and another round of testing.
Litter #3 – 3 puppies. All are healthy. One is “show quality” (please see our post on what this means) and can bring a higher price. She’s able to sell one puppy for show at $3000 and decides to sell another puppy for full rights to recoup some of her expenses. She almost breaks even but she’s unsure if she should breed this dog again. The bitch has shown less interest in this set of puppies and has struggled nursing them. She decides to retire this bitch and keep the other female puppy as a future breeder. Lots of puppies in loving homes but no actual earnings. She offers her male out as a stud to another breeder to try and get some of her money back. That stud cannot be used for this new female as they are related, and quality breeders don’t inbreed their dogs!
Again, this is a hypothetical but one I’ve seen repeated many times. Sometimes a dog never breeds, sometimes you only get 1-2 good litters, sometimes you’re lucky and have a dog that loves being a mom and successfully has multiple litters which helps recoup lost money from the others. That being said, that point of this example is NOT that a puppy should cost $2000. The point of this example is the following:
Again, knowing what to pay for your puppy is inevitably entangled with the quality of breeder you are talking to. Every day, I see people looking for discount dogs, recommending breeders who regularly appear on the SPCA alert lists and ignoring red flags because they’ve fallen in love with a puppy. We hope this example helps you understand why we recommend you ask the right questions, be willing to sit on a waitlist and understand the dangers of a discount dog!
While the internet is an amazing tool, it's actually made the process of finding the perfect puppy incredibly challenging. A decade ago, most of us would open the local classifieds and search in the animal section for a puppy that interested us. Today, and virtually overnight, anyone can put up a website and look like a reputable breeder. The introduction of DNA tests, shipping with flight nannies and designer dogs makes picking a puppy often feel overwhelming. There are simply too many options. So, how do you make the right choice? Here are our suggestions:
Many people never think to ask a breeder why they breed dogs. The answer can be enlightening and help identify those breeding with purpose versus those breeding solely for profit. If you would like to know why we breed dogs, here is what we want you to know.
First and foremost please know that dog breeding is a hot topic - especially in our family where so many of us have served on our local SPCA Board giving both our time and money to help animals in our local shelters. We understand that many of our fellow board members and friends have views that range from "adopt don't shop" to "breeding is unethical." I was even recently told that I am single handedly killing shelter dogs by breeding other dogs. As much as we agree with the fact that shelter dogs deserve a happy home and another chance, we can't accept the blame for our shelters being overcrowded with unwanted animals, nor will we allow those who feel that way to deter us from our "why." Puppy mills, irresponsible owners and unethical breeders who do not require the return of their dog are to blame for the existence of animals in our local shelters. Reputable breeders did not create that problem - it's what sets us apart.
We fully support our shelters and we know that for the most part, shelter dogs can make incredible companions. Our family has had several shelter dogs throughout our lives and each one was well loved. However, not every home is suitable for a shelter dog. Some may need a smaller dog, some may need a dog less prone to cause allergies and some may simply not have the knowledge or energy to cope with a dog that has been surrendered for behavioral problems. Some people simply want to know their puppies parents, meet the breeder, know that everything has been done to reduce future behavioral issues with early socialization and so on.
We are not here to compete with shelters. We believe all dogs deserve love. The people who adopt our dogs have told us time and time again that they've been looking for years in shelters and rescue but have always come up empty handed. When we find a Cavalier or Cavalier hybrid in a shelter, we make sure it gets adopted (or we rescue it). Our clients are generally empty nesters who can't physically handle a larger shelter dog or unknown behavior issues, families who have known the love of a Cavalier and can't live without them in their lives, those with the need for a less allergenic breed or those who are first time dog owners and simply need the support and resources of a reputable breeder. These families represent our "why."
Our decision to breed as a family did not come easily and we were very specific in the gap we wanted to fill. After falling in love with a Cavachon we started searching endlessly for others in rescue, shelters and re-homing sites. Years and years went by (literally), and we could not get our hands on another Cavachon. In fact, at one point my sister tried to steal my Cavachon - she was that desperate for what she deemed "the best dog ever." However, we were lucky enough to eventually welcome an awesome Cavalier in to our household. We quickly realized that the Cavalier was in large part what made the Cavachon such an incredible breed. This is how it all began.
We decided to place breeding dogs within our own family (I'm the oldest of five and also have five children) and to breed both Cavaliers and Cavachons. Even within the breeding community, we took heat for this decision (if you ever want to see something more heated than a 2020 Presidential election, bring up "hybrid breeding" at a dog show and watch the fireworks begin). We worked to identify DNA clear dogs with great bloodlines and we've committed to never overbreeding a dog. As a result, we can guarantee your dog from known defects or we will return your money - it's that easy. Since that decision, we've grown to include loving Guardian Families within our program because again, we believe every dog deserves love. Our dogs are not kenneled, they are not used, they are not forced to breed if they are unhealthy, unwilling or simply don't like being a mom (we've yet to have a male refuse - just in case you were wondering).
In conclusion, we breed because we have a sincere desire to improve the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel - to do comprehensive DNA and health screenings to reduce the health problems that plague this breed from years of inbreeding. We are not out to create the perfect show dog, we strive to create the perfect pet. We breed because we know we are offering a dog that can't be found in our shelters. We breed because we know we can offer our families a puppy they deserve - one that is socialized, healthy and ready to become the perfect pet. We breed because we can afford to - we all have separate income sources unrelated to breeding so we don't need to cut corners, skip health screens or breed dogs who candidly should be retired. We breed because we love these dogs and are willing to take the heat of those who always have something negative to say in order to share our puppies with those who we know will love them as much as we do.
This is our why.
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