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Buying a puppy...
If you are interested in buying a puppy from us you undoubtedly have some questions in your mind about our American Water Spaniel (AWS) puppies and our breeding program. We hope that the following information will help you to decide if our kennel is one from which you wish to purchase a puppy.
Breeder of Merit
We have been involved in AKC events since 1989 and have successfully participated in hunt tests, obedience trials and dog shows. The number of our dogs that have earned AKC championship and performance titles far exceeds the minimal requirement of the AKC. We hold membership in multiple AKC clubs; both local and national. Our commitment to breeding healthy dogs has driven us to exceed the rudimentary number of health screens called for by the AWS Parent Club and we have called upon that club to expand the number of health screens used by breeders. Our sales agreement and follow-up program with our puppy buyers demonstrates our commitment to strive for 100% of our puppies being registered with the AKC.
Bred with Heart
As conscientious breeders of AWS we make every effort to assure that our breeding stock is clear of potential health disorders. In the summer of 2015 the AKC began the "Bred with H.E.A.R.T." program. The program gives AKC a new way to engage, encourage and recognize ALL breeders who meet specific health testing standards and who participate in continuing education. We immediately joined the program and are proud of our commitment to it. Here are just some of the requirements breeders must agree to in order to participate in this program:
We screen our stock for thyroid disorders, hip dysplasia, eye abnormalities, heart problems, degenerative myelopathy, and other potential health concerns. Some breeders choose to not register their test results with the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) but here at Little Brownies we have nothing to hide. It is our belief that all breeders should register the results of the health and genetic clearances they obtain on their breeding stock with the OFA. This better informs both puppy buyers, breeders, and the AWS community at large, of the state of health within the breed's gene pool. The OFA certification numbers for our breeding dogs are available on our website or directly through the OFA website. We back the health of our puppies with a written health guarantee that covers debilitating genetic health defects and many have said is probably the most extensive health guarantee of any AWS breeder.
Temperament is of special concern to us and we do our best to assure that we use only temperamentally sound stock. In addition, because we are now working with fourth and fifth generation dogs from our foundation stock we have a good idea of what to expect from the puppies that we produce. Staying in touch with puppy buyers and helping to train many of the pups that have been bought from us allows us to stay well informed about our ‘Little Brownies’ family.
Through constant observation, our knowledge of canine behavior, and years of experience, we identify the various personalities of our puppies and use that identification, along with information contained in a questionnaire, to help us match each pup to the individual puppy buyer. In addition, we go to great lengths to provide socialization for the pups while raising each litter. This includes exposure to a variety of people, sights, smells, and sounds. Those looking for a hunting dog might be interested in knowing that all the pups are introduced to birds and bird scent beginning at the age of 6 weeks. Weather permitting, we will even take the litter down to our pond for a dip in the water before they leave for their new homes.
For those females that come into season more than once a year, we do not breed every heat cycle. In fact, we often skip a couple of heat cycles between litters. This helps to maintain the health of our breeding females. Most of our females will only have three or four litters during their breeding life.
Boy or Girl
Which is best?It seems that most people inquire about getting a female puppy with the common misconception that the females have better temperaments, are easier to train, or will not be aggressive. We often get the question: What is the difference in temperament between a male and female American Water Spaniel? We don't feel that there is much of a difference in the temperament of the two sexes. As breeders we tend to keep more females than males, but of the males we have they have just as nice a temperament as the females and are sometimes even more loving. In fact most visitors to our home like our males better than the females. The males tend to be very outgoing and love to have fun! We have owned, hunted over and trained many AWS and neither sex has been consistently better in the field than the other. If you are looking for a companion and not a breeding prospect you may want to consider a male too.
While we have tried to give you a good overview of our breeding
philosophy you undoubtedly have more questions. Please feel free to call or
write with your questions and we will do our best to address them in a
timely manner. If we agree to sell you a puppy - we do not sell to
everyone who inquires - you will need to place a
deposit with us as a means of securing your spot on "the list."
Checks must be made out to Paul or Lynn Morrison for the agreed upon
Recently we have been getting inquiries from people looking for a reasonably priced puppy. Since most people that we agree to sell a puppy to do not have a concern with the price of our pups, our price appears to be reasonable. That said, here is our take on the idea of a reasonable price.
Breeders seem to price their pups in a variety of ways including; cheap, the same as other breeders, slightly below other breeders, with several conditions/restrictions attached, and on, and on.
It is likely that all breeders believe their price is reasonable and perhaps that the prices other breeders charge are not. We suppose that reasonableness in pricing is really in the eye of the buyer. If we were buying a pup from another breeder, we would not consider it reasonable to pay $1,000 for a puppy when the parents have not had any or had only one or two health clearances. Nor would we consider it a reasonable price if the seller provided no or a very limited written health guarantee. It would also be an unreasonable price if the pup was not examined by a vet and microchipped prior to purchase.
Things like this add to the value of a pup and if they are missing, well, the value is rather diminished. Do the parents have conformation or performance titles? Great, then a reasonable price is probably going to be higher. Do the parents have all of the necessary health clearances, titles of one sort or another, and does the breeder offer a written health guarantee and a fair sales agreement? Expect to pay more for pups from such parents and breeders willing to stand behind their pups. There is more that goes into the pricing of pups though than simply these aforementioned items. Raising pups right takes time, commitment, money, and much more. Most breeders will want to be compensated for some of this and rightfully so.
The price we charge for our pups is based on several things including:
When someone buys a dog from us they are not simply paying for an animal but paying for the knowledge and experience we have in the breed, the work we put into raising the pups, and the investments we make in our breeding dogs. Is that reasonable? We think so.