10 Questions for Breeders, Per BRC
1. How many breeds does the breeder work with? (If it's more than 1 or 2, that's a bad sign.)
We have never worked with more than 2 breeds at one time in the 15 years we've been working with toy breeds.
2. Where are the adults dogs kept? (If they're not kept in the house as family, just where ARE they kept? ...and in WHAT? A cage?)
Our dogs and puppies are kept in our house, or their "foster" family's house, at all times, as part of the family.
3. How much time do the puppies spend with people? (If the puppies are in the house, in the middle of all the family activity, they are generally socialized. If the puppies are kept in a separate "facility," that is a big caution sign, but not necessarily a stop sign. On the other hand, I've seen breeders keep their dogs in their house, but the dogs are in cages and just as forlorn as they can be.)
Our puppies start out in our bedroom, in an exercise pen where their dam can come and go as she pleases. At around 4 weeks of age they end up in our living room, again, in an exercise pen, where they get lots and lots of attention. Depending on their age, they may even have the run of several rooms, as long as they can still find the puppy potty pads. They socialize with our entire "pack" of humans and adult Cavaliers since they're all kept in our house, being family members. Our Cavaliers are never, ever caged.
4. What are the adults/parents fed? (Is it strictly kibble? WHAT kibble? We don't feel that breeding dogs can get optimum nutrition with kibble alone. However, only with optimum nutrition can the Cavaliers and their progeny realize their full potential.)
We feed a species appropriate diet daily. We don't get our raw meat from just anywhere since this is risky. We are currently using raw food with Dr. Harvey's supplemental mix to make sure they are fed a balanced diet. We also free-feed our puppies a supreme kibble. We also add an air-dried food that is 90% meat, and like a soft jerky, to our carnivore babies' diet. We don't forget the RMBs (Raw Meaty Bones) a couple of times a weeks for nice, shiny teeth. We hope that our puppies will get this type of food for their entire lives. For supplements, we are using natural products that we will soon make available to our puppy families. The old adage, "you are what you eat," is very true!
5. What are the puppies fed? (For puppies to reach their FULL potential, they need to be fed an OPTIMUM diet.)
Our puppies start out on all natural puppy formula and organic (non-GMO) baby cereal. We gradually mix in the food that the adults eat until they are eating the same diet as their parents.
6. Are the Cavaliers treated with pesticides and chemicals on a frequents basis?** (For example, monthly flea/tick treatments that use dangerous pesticides and/or monthly heart worm pesticides.)
We use all-natural products for parasite control. We've found that by spraying our yard with a garlic mixture called Mosquito Barrier, we can easily control the flea/tick population. Also, food grade diatomaceous earth is a great, all natural parasite prevention product.
7. What does the breeder have in the "medicine cabinet" for their dogs?** (If the breeder turns to all kinds of chemicals, this can be detrimental on the long-term health of the puppies and their parents.)
We use all natural, homeopathic products for our Cavaliers' health care whenever feasible. We like to detox our Cavaliers at every change of season. This can be costly, but we feel the long-term benefits are worth it.
8. What vaccination schedule does the breeder follow?** (Over vaccination is a significant health risk, in spite of what some vets push. Annual vaccinations and vaccinations for diseases the dogs will not be exposed to is excessive. There are many, many vets who agree with this.)
We use a standard puppy shot schedule, however, we go the extra mile by using the new "Ultra Duramune DAP." This vaccine uses only half as much volume as the standard vaccines use, which results in only half as much cellular debris and "junk" being injected into our puppies. It's very expensive, but our puppies' long-term health is worth it. Also, we don't vaccinate our adults after their puppy shots. It's a proven fact that distemper and parvo vaccines are effective for at least 5 to 7 years, and often longer.
9. Are the puppies low priced? (For the puppies and parents to be cared for properly, the puppies can't be too low priced. If the puppies are low priced, the breeder is taking the cheap way out and the Cavaliers are getting cheated out of optimum care.)
We are not the lowest priced breeders you can find, but considering all that we do for our dogs, taking no short cuts on their care, you are getting a lot of "bang for your buck." To say nothing of their holistic diet and health care, there is the testing of hearts, eyes, knees, and hips, in addition to testing for DECC and EFS. It would be difficult to find very many other breeders who do all of this.
10. What kind of health warranty does the breeder offer? (For example, we recently saw a health warranty that was only for a year and it only covered MVD and SM for Cavaliers. This is not an adequate health warranty.)
We give a 1 year, full genetic warranty, and a 5 year warranty for the 2 most serious maladies that Cavaliers, as a breed, may suffer from - MVD and SM (Mitral Valve Disease and Syringomyelia).
**What do we have against chemicals? While some chemicals do have their place, we're convinced that toxic chemicals can and sometimes do activate certain genetic information that is best left dormant. This is based on the the science of Epigenetics. This science proves that "nature vs. nurture" is no longer "the" question. The genetic information a living being carries is not the most crucial issue. What is crucial is whether or not this genetic information is activated. How the Cavaliers are fed and cared for are instrumental in the activation of certain genes or lack thereof. The more love and good nutrition the Cavaliers receive, the more the preferred genes will be activated. The more chemicals and stress a Cavalier receives, the more the undesirable genes will be activated. Yes, genetic health testing is important and always will be, but that's only half of the battle. What environment the Cavalier is in, as well as what goes in and on the Cavalier, is every bit as crucial.