Mark and I have been incredibly busy since Christmas with a precious new litter of puppies who are now nearly six weeks old. We are excited and thrilled to watch them grow every day.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone! We hope all our friends are doing well.
As I receive more requests for puppies, I feel I must remind everyone of the importance of asking any breeder you contact for proof of their health testing. While there are perhaps many people who will have a puppy for you, I strongly advise everyone to ask for registration and proof of testing instead of taking their word for it. This will help you differentiate the backyard and less than reputable breeders from the reputable ones. You also should be willing to wait for a puppy as many of the reputable breeders will not have puppies readily available for you.
As for us, we've been busy enriching our dogs and adding titles to their names. Titles are one way to show that a dog has, for example, the traits of their breed. It is something you can also ask a potential breeder about as many of the reputable ones will be working towards titles. A Conformation (dog show) championship, for example, can indicate that the dog has met the criteria as outlined in the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Standard. Other titles can show their trainability, willingness to work and more. It really depends on the title as there are many available outside of Conformation, including Agility, Rally Obedience, Obedience, Lure Chasing, Barn Hunting, Trick Dog and more.
As for us? Two of our dogs also completed their next classes in agility with Zara completing Foundations and Cami completing Level 2 at the Newfoundland Athletic Dog Association. We are hopeful to trial Cami this summer in some fun trials or a CKC agility trial as this girl loves to work and have fun. With any luck she will compete along with her father, Hemingway as he works towards an agility title.
We also competed at the dog shows hosted by the Newfoundland All Breed Kennel Club in November. We are happy to say both Hemingway and Zara have finished their championships (pending CKC approval). To say we are proud of these two dogs is an understatement as we couldn't have asked for more from them that weekend than they gave us. We are excited for more shows in 2022 pending COVID-19.
While Covid has been putting a damper on getting out to dog shows (our usual hobby), we have been busy at home working towards our trick dog titles. While these are new titles for us, we're having lots of fun teaching everyone new tricks.
To date, Lexi, Cami and Hugo earned their Novice Trick Dog title and Hemingway has learned his Intermediate Trick Dog title. Hemingway will soon go for his Advanced and Hugo for his Intermediate.
We recommend these titles for anyone whose stuck at home with no classes happening given the situation with COVID 19. They can be done at home and videod for an evaluator. Can't get much easier than that!
Purebreds in general that come from reputable and ethical breeders do take a long time to produce and an equally long time to get especially in breeds that do not have especially large litters. You may feel like a year or two is a long time but it isn't, not really. While we all want a puppy when puppy fever hits, it doesn't mean that a hastily acquired puppy is the right choice. Especially with the onset of COVID 19, the demand for puppies has sky rocketed and many puppy mills and backyard breeders have taken the opportunity to produce dogs without much consideration for breed specific health testing, temperament, conformation or any other important decision. Many breeders I know, including myself, are receiving multiple requests a day.
An ethical breeder will take the time to study their pedigree, health test and weigh out their best options before breeding their female to any male. They have to wait for the female to be of breeding age and to have passed all their health clearances so that you can have the very best chance at having a healthy puppy.
So, what is the process, really? Especially at Cantata? In a nut shell? After finding the right female for a breeding program, we clear all health testing - that means waiting until over the age of two, passing all clearances, being conformationally sound enough to produce sound puppies, sound in temperament, and they have to be capable of whelping puppies. We also have to find the right male for our female because we always want to improve upon what we have so we can protect and preserve the breed. For some programs it might mean travel to another province, country or even importing in semen from elsewhere. This takes an incredible amount of time and patience.
Then you must then raise puppies, if they're conceived, and make sure they are healthy too before they go home. From time of breeding to puppies going home can be several months and that's assuming a breeder is contacted right at the start of a female's heat and that there is a puppy available at all. Keep in mind that others, aside from yourself, have no doubt been contacting that breeder. Then, according to a breeder's decision, they may skip a heat or breed again and all of that depends on the health of the female. Maybe a pregnancy doesn't happen. Always possible. A reputable breeder won't jeopardize the health of their female so it can take awhile.
Maybe the puppies born are not suitable for your home. That doesn't mean that you would make a terrible home for a puppy. It means that we want to set you and our puppies up for success and so if we don't feel the suitability is there, we want you to wait for the right one. The wait will always be worth it.
The reality is that reputable breeders who care about their dogs aren't having dozens of puppies all the time. It is an exhausting task and while we take great pride in our puppies, there is a lot of background work to get a litter on the ground, raised and ready for new families. While we would love to be able to provide a puppy to every excellent home that contacts us, it is a difficult task to accomplish especially when we know we have found a truly incredible home for a puppy. However, ultimately, our responsibility is to the puppy in our home that is relying on us to choose correctly and that, as I'm sure you can imagine, is a difficult task!
While many people want a dog that is friendly, outgoing and confident, it is important to understand that many puppies need proper socialization in order to achieve this over their lifetime. As a puppy owner you have to committ to helping your dog develop skills they will need over their course of their entire life.
I am often asked why we chose the Cavalier as our breed of choice. I grew up with Yorkshire Terriers, my family has had Poodles (Toy and Standard), mixed breeds and all kinds of other animals too. We met our first Cavalier King Charles at a block party. By then I had already decided I was getting a Yorkie-just like what I had grown up with but this sweetest Blenheim approached me and befriended me all night and I was hooked. I went home claiming to Mark that I wanted "whatever kind of dog that was."