Q: Do Cardigans get along well with children and other pets?
A: Cardigans are highly adaptable. Puppies love children, but toddlers and young children must be taught to let the puppy have "private time" as well as play time. Adult Cardigans who are not raised with kids (i.e., rescue/adoption situations) should be introduced more slowly. Cardigans are a herding breed, and such breeds may attempt to "herd" small or active children. Adults and children should be prepared for this. They do very well with other animals, including cats and large-breed dogs. Cardigans are giants in small bodies, and nothing intimidates them. (According to several Cardi owners, this includes bears!)
Q: Because of their long backs, are Cardigans prone to disk problems like Dachshunds?
A: Surprisingly, no. Dachshunds have a short ribcage and long loin (less skeletal support), and thus are prone to spinal injury. Cardigans have a long ribcage and short loin, which provides more support. However, disk herniation and degeneration is possible in any breed. Some Cardigans, particularly very active ones, have experienced this, but it isn't a "breed problem" per se.
Q: Do you own both parents, and can I see them?
A: In some cases I will breed my bitches to my dogs, and prospective homes are welcome to meet them both. But the goal of a mating is to produce the best puppies possible, based on the genetic and physical attributes of the parents, and, depending on the bitch, this is often accomplished by breeding to stud dogs owned by other breeders. Should this be the case, I will furnish a photo and pedigree of the sire. Meanwhile, people may come meet the expectant mother and all of my other dogs if they like.
Q: What do you feed your dogs/puppies?
A: My adult dogs are on a premium-brand kibble, fed twice a day. They also receive a daily dose of Dynamite Showdown canine vitamin, and occasionally I will mix in canned food, yogurt, or vegetables for variety. For treats they get dog biscuits; I do not give them people food, which is the primary culprit in obesity. Pregnant bitches are fed a mix of adult/puppy kibble, plus such supplements as cottage cheese and yogurt for naturally-derived calcium, and a vitamin specifically recommended for expectant bitches.
During weaning, puppies are fed a gruel of baby rice cereal, yogurt, and filtered water every few hours. Gradually blender-mashed, soaked kibble is added, and the cereal is deleted. By the time they leave, puppies will be eating soaked kibble three times a day, occasionally with cottage cheese mixed in. I recommend they continue on the same diet for the first week in their new home, and then may be changed to a different brand gradually. Too fast a change in food may cause diarrhea.
I do not advocate feeding Cardigans puppy food only beyond the age of four months. From 4-6 months, they should be fed a mix of puppy and adult kibble. After six months, they should be on an adult-only food. Despite their short stature, Cardigans have large and fast-growing bones, and the high protein found in puppy food, when fed for too long, may cause them to grow too fast and develop growth-plate problems. Calcium supplements in pill or powder form are also not recommended for the same reason. Calcium supplementation should come only from yogurt and cottage cheese–and with fat, not non-fat.
Q: How soon can your puppies leave?
A: I prefer to keep my puppies until 10 to 12 weeks of age. This allows me time to evaluate the litter for overall health, temperament, and personality, and to decide which are show prospects and which are pets. In some circumstances I will let a puppy go at 8-9 weeks.
Q: How many shots have they had when they leave?
A: Depending on their ages at time of delivery, the puppies will have had two or three shots. A shot/worming record will be furnished. I require a Puppy Wellness Exam visit to the vet of your choice within 72 hours of pick-up, so you will have confidence in the overall health of your new puppy. Your vet will provide a schedule for the remaining shots needed, including a rabies inoculation.
Q: Do you have a purchase contract?
A: Yes, so that purchase and care terms are clear from the outset. For example, pet-quality pups are sold on a Limited Registration, spay/neuter contract that requires submission of proof of sterilization before the AKC registration application will be released. Limited Registration allows the spayed/neutered pet to be shown in all AKC performance events, if desired.
Q: What happens in the event I have to give up the dog?
A: Occasionally dogs must be given up for a variety of unexpected reasons. Per signed contract, I will take the dog back for "rehoming." I will refund the entire purchase price before one year of age, and half the purchase price after one year of age. NO QUESTIONS ASKED.
Q: Will you sell puppies as gifts?
A: Though it's a wonderful idea, many people truly don't want to be surprised by an unexpected puppy. I prefer the recipient to be aware of the puppy's imminent arrival. (You can always gift-wrap a collar and leash, then arrange for delivery/pick-up later.) I will not let holiday-season puppies go until after New Year's; the holidays are too noisy and confusing for a baby, the humans are often too busy to give the puppy the attention it deserves, and the pup will do best after the "worst" of the season has passed. (I spent Christmas Eve 1999 helping a bitch whelp 7 puppies. While it was a grand gift for me, it did interfere with everything else! So I feel it's best that buyers wait until things have calmed down.)
Q: May I buy two from the same litter?
A: Though not all breeders will agree, I do not advise this. Sibling rivalries begin at a very young age and carry over into adulthood. Thus I would suggest purchasing from two different litters, if possible, or from two different breeders.
Q: If there's already a dog in residence, do you recommend the puppy be a specific sex?
A: In my experience, cross-gender pairings are best because of the natural biological wiring in the two sexes. While it's true two females, or two neutered males, can be the best of friends, this isn't always the case. It's an old wive's tale that males won't fight with females, or females with other females. Depending on the temperaments and causes involved, any dog may fight with any other dog, but there seem to be fewer problems of this nature with cross-gender or dominant/submissive pairings.
Q: Will you ship puppies?
A: While I prefer an in-person delivery by car, I have shipped puppies before and will do so if logistics require it. Puppies are highly adaptable and do very well on airplanes, generally much better than adult dogs. However, airlines have specific rules regarding time of year and temperature; for instance, live cargo embargoes during certain summer months, and no shipping permitted when temps are above 85 degrees. The nearest dog-friendly airlines are at the Phoenix airport, so between April and October it's impossible for me to ship live cargo.
Q: Are your puppies housebroken when they leave?
A: Nice try!--but no. However, Cardi puppies are very quick learners because they want so much to please, so with consistent training they usually come to understand the rules fairly quickly. It is much easier to housebreak a puppy if there's an older, housebroken dog already in residence.
Q: What happens if I decide I want to show my puppy?
A: In general, pet-quality puppies remain pet-quality puppies, and some may have disqualifying or lesser faults that would make it impossible or difficult to attain a championship. However, some puppies improve as they mature, and occasionally a borderline puppy sold as a "pet" ends up show quality. Should this happen and you want to give conformation a try, I as breeder can change the Limited Registration to Full Registration–but only if the puppy hasn't been spayed or neutered! If you are local I can teach you how to show your puppy, or will show it for you at no additional costs beyond entry fees. There are also handling classes where you may learn how to show your own dog, or professional handlers who can be hired to show the dog for you. (Though show-quality puppies cost more at purchase, there will be no price increase should a puppy sold as a pet later be deemed show quality and the registration changed for showing.)
Q: If I decide to show my puppy to a championship, do I have to breed it?
A: The goal of every show breeder is to breed and sell puppies who can succeed in the show ring, and later sire/whelp superior offspring. However, depending on the arrangement at time of purchase, I will not insist that every show prospect who finishes its championship be used at stud or bred. In most cases, the "pick" puppies are kept, or are sold into show homes that wish to breed them. The good but not superior puppies may be shown to their championships if the owners desire, and then spayed or neutered afterward. Note: I have a different contract for show prospects and those sold as pets who have their registration changed for showing.
Q: I don't want to show my dog, but can I breed it anyway?
A: Pet-quality puppies are sold only on a spay/neuter contract. Too many dogs, even purebred dogs, end up in shelters; and unfortunately there are unscrupulous people who want fertile dogs and bitches for puppy mills.
Q: Are Cardigan Welsh Corgis the very best breed in the entire world?
A: But of course!! 8-]