View Full Version : My neighbor may be a "backyard breeder"...sigh....

15th September 2005, 05:41 PM
I'm very irritated at the moment about this situation, so I apologize in advance for my venom... :twisted:

Three times now I have run into a neighbor who has a cute little Blenheim female named Molly. Molly is cute but not what I would consider top-notch breeding quality. She has very buggy eyes and she has a bad habit of chewing the long hair off her ears and tail. I wonder what kind of food and entertainment she's getting...

Anyway...the owner says she wants to breed her and is looking for a stud. I told her Chester is neutered. We then talked about Chester and I told her which breeder he came from. Molly's owners then said "we looked at that breeder but she wanted too much $$ for her puppies, so we ended up getting Molly from another breeder out West and even with the airfair included, Molly cost less than your Chester did." I bit my tongue and said nothing for fear of being harsh...

I saw Molly again this past weekend and the owners yet again mentioned that they are looking to breed her. They talked AGAIN about how much they saved by buying Molly from the out-West breeder. I am very concerned that these people are incompetent idiots and should not be breeding Molly, but what can I do? What can anyone do? The next time I see these folks I'm going to ask them if they have had her tested for MVD and all the other health issues. If they say no or have never heard of the various health issues I will be very tempted to be brutally honest and tell them they should not be breeding her and to leave the breeding to the pros.

Don't get me wrong...Molly is a very sweet girl and a wonderful pet. I have no idea how they care for her or what food they feed her, but the fact that she's chewing her ear and tail hair off seems to be to be some sign that she has a skin issue or she's just plain bored and doesn't have enough to do. I am just not impressed with her owners at this point and it breaks my heart to think that they are breeding her just to make back the money they spent on her.

Am I being a b**ch about this whole deal or is my anger and frustration justified? Do any of you have any suggestions for how I can go about talking with these people?

15th September 2005, 06:32 PM
Well, I would explain that many of the breeders who offer lower cost dogs actually do not breed themselves but import cheap puppy farm puppies from Wales or Ireland. Eeven if they say they bred them this is usually not true, or else, they are actually breeding the puppy farm dogs to sell on and what they have is the offspring of one of these dogs, which are of very poor quality and are often not even full cavaliers. They are of such poor constitution generally that about 25% typically die on transity from Wales/Ireland to the US. You can print out for them, my puppy farm story that ran in the Irish Times here, which specifically mentions cavaliers.


My puppy farm section of this site has the stories of some puppy farm cavaliers -- the hideous conditions in which they are held, and how they are bred and bred and bred from, which is why such puppies tend to be just ever so slightly cheaper than puppies from good breeders.

I would then explain the serious health problems in the breed and ask them if they are familiar with MVD and SM, and the fact that with SM, treatment can cost up to $10,000 and it is believed that over 50% of cavaliers at least have this, with each generation producing more severely affected puppies. They can read up on the condition here:


I would ask, what will they do if a puppy buyer returns to them with an affected puppy? At the very least under many state laws they would be required to refund the cost in full and potentially they could be sued for the costs of treatment as well.

Also they should be aware of the MVD breeding protocol as well as the SM breeding protocol. Indicate that most dogs bred with no regard to the MVD protocol (including their own dog) have a very high risk of dying by age 7 on average of severe congestive heart failure and this has been a known breed problem for 20 years. They really need to know the parents of their dog are both murmur free at age 5 and they shouldn;t even consider breeding their dog before age 2.5. Also they should test for hip dysplasia, patellas, eye problems and get a cardiologist's report even before they consider breeding her. And no reputable breeder would even consider offering a stud for a dog without those clearances. They will be unlikley to register the puppies with any but the 'fake' registries, not the AKC and certainly not the CKCSC.

Hopefully some of this will scare them off.

Backyard breeders like this -- especially in light of the serious health issues of this breed -- are what will cause the breed to slowly collapse. :cry:

15th September 2005, 07:00 PM
Thanks for your input. I have no idea when I will see them again but I have a feeling they will be unable to find a stud any time soon. They've been looking for over 10 months now and obviously havn't had any luck. Let's hope they give up and just keep her as a sweet, sweet pet.

Molly is a real love bug and I only want what is best for her and the breed.

Bruce H
15th September 2005, 07:04 PM
Wow, I wish my wife was in town, she would have all the questions to ask the neighbor. The comments about cost really raised a red flag for me. Every now and then she will get a call from someone looking for stud service that has no idea what they're getting into. Let's see if I can help at least a little bit with some basic questions.

1. Is the dog on limitted registration (means they can't breed her)? Most all pups are sold this way by reputable breeders, except to other breeders. Of course, there's always the bogus registries :x
2. Is the girl old enough to breed? Do they know the recommended age for breeding?
3. Have they bred dogs before? What are the problems associated with breeding?
4. Has both the girl and stud been tested for heart, hips, eyes and have the papers to prove it? How about diseases transmitted by the breeding?
5. Do they know how to change the diet when they find out the girl is pregnant? Are they ready for ultrasound and/or x-rays to determine IF she's pregnant and with how many?
6. Do they know how to tell when the girl is close to giving birth?
7. Are they ready to stay up all nite or home all day with the girl when she is in welp?
8. Is there someone to stay home after the puppies are born to keep an eye on things? Do they know how to tell if a puppy is starting to have trouble?
9. Is there an emergency vet nearby just in case?
10. Are they ready for all the cleaning up after puppies?
11. Are they ready for the vet costs if something goes wrong with eaither the bitch or the puppies?
12. Etc., etc., etc.

If it were me I would be very straight-forward with them. There's a LOT more to breeding than just throwing a couple dogs together. There are a lot of pitfalls with breeding when you know what you're doing, a lot more if you don't.

When my wife and I started breeding, we had a very experienced local breeder take us under her wing. And we bought tons of books on breeding, both general and specific to Cavaliers. Even with all the help we had, words cannot describe how terrified we were on our first few litters; now we are down to being just really, really nervous at each litter. It's my opinion that a person who is not scared about the ENTIRE process doesn't understand what they're getting into and should not be breeding.

MysticKnight Cavaliers

15th September 2005, 07:18 PM

The comments about cost really raised a red flag for me.
That raised red flags with me immediately too. That told me right away they are clueless about the breed.

Your list of questions is wonderful. I'm hoping that if I keep going back to the local park on Sundays I will see Molly and her owners and be able to sit down and talk with them and go through your list of questions. Our local park is a haven for dog owners PLUS there's live jazz there every Sunday for a couple of hours so it's a ton of fun to hang out there.

If I do see Molly and her folks again I'm going to be very nice and approach the whole situation from the angle that I want to help them. Hopefully they will feel they can trust me and I will be able to find out more about Molly and and their background in general. Heck, I would like to suggest that Molly and Chester have play dates once in a while. She only lives a couple of blocks away and it would be a ton of fun for them to romp together.

I'm frustrated but I think they're nice people overall so I will try my best to be kind and supportive AND informative.

15th September 2005, 07:25 PM
Bruce, would you be interested in taking your post and expanding on it when you have time, to create something on Why You Shouldn't Consider Breeding Your Cavalier for my Faqs section? I would really value this experienced perspective.

15th September 2005, 07:29 PM
Also I'd add the reasons to spay!!

From the ASPCA:

1. Your female dog or cat will live a longer, healthier life.
Spaying-the removal of the ovaries and uterus-is a veterinary procedure performed under general anesthesia that usually requires minimal hospitalization. Spaying a female cat or dog helps prevent pyometra (pus-filled uterus) and breast cancer. Treatment of pyometra requires hospitalization, intravenous fluids and antibiotics. Breast cancer can be fatal in about 50 percent of female dogs and in 90 percent of female cats. Spaying your pet before her first heat offers the best protection from these diseases.

2. There are major health benefits for your male animal companion, too.
Besides preventing unwanted litters, neutering your male dog or cat-the surgical removal of the testicles-prevents testicular cancer and prostate disease, if done before six months of age.

3. Your spayed female won't go into heat.
While cycles can vary greatly, female felines usually go into heat four to five days every three weeks during breeding season. In an effort to advertise for mates, they'll yowl and urinate more frequently-sometimes all over the house. Unspayed female dogs generally have a bloody discharge for about a week, and can conceive for another week or so.

4. You male dog won't need to roam away from home…
An intact male in search of a mate will do just about anything to get one! That includes digging his way under the fence and making like Houdini to escape from the house. And once he's free to roam, he risks injury in traffic and fights with other males.

5. …and he will be much better behaved to boot!
Neutered cats and dogs focus their attention on their human families. On the other hand, unneutered dogs and cats may mark their territory by spraying strong-smelling urine all over the house. Indoors, male dogs may embarrass you by mounting on furniture and human legs when stimulated. And FYI, a neutered dog protects his home and family just as well as unneutered dog--and many aggression problems can be avoided by early neutering.

6. Spaying or neutering will NOT make your pet fat.
It's no use to use that old excuse! Lack of exercise and overfeeding will cause your pet to pack on the extra pounds-not neutering. Your pet will remain fit and trim as long as you continue to provide exercise and monitor food intake.

7. Spaying or neutering is highly cost-effective.
The cost of your pet's spay or neuter surgery is a lot less than the cost of having and caring for a litter. It also beats the cost of treatment when your unneutered tom escapes and gets into fights with neighborhood strays…or the cost of cleaning the carpet that your unspayed female keeps mistaking for her litter box, or the cost of…well, you get the idea!

8. It's good for the community.
Stray animals pose real problems in many parts of the country. They can prey on wildlife, cause vehicular accidents, damage the local fauna and scare children.

9. Your pet doesn't need to have a litter for your children to witness the miracle of birth.
We've heard this one a lot. But you know what? Letting your pet produce offspring you have no intention of keeping teaches your children irresponsibility. Anyone who has seen an animal euthanized in a shelter for lack of a home knows the trust behind this dangerous myth. There are countless books and videos available to teach your children about birth in a responsible manner.

10. It packs a powerful punch in the fight against pet overpopulation.
Millions of cats and dogs of all ages and breeds are euthanized annually or suffer as strays. These high numbers are the result of unwanted, unplanned litters that could have been prevented by spaying or neutering.

15th September 2005, 11:36 PM
Gudrun, I think the softly, softly appraoch is probably the best. As you have said, take them under your wing, be friendly, arrange play dates etc etc then try gently but firmly talking to them about the health implications in cavaliers etc.

Bruce, I must be very honoured as the breeder I had my Maxx from said she would let me have any of her puppies as she couldn't think of letting them go to anyone she'd trust more and she also said that if I did get a bitch and wanted to breed from her then it would be fine with her and she would help and support me.

I think it's because she knows how passionate I am about cavalier health issues & would never breed from any cavalier unless they were completely healthy in every respect.

Maxx would have made a fantastic show dog (have been told this by several people who are judges :D) but we had to have him castrated young and all I really cared about was that my baby was going to be OK, not OMG look how many stud fees and show prizes i have lost out on :roll:

Bruce H
16th September 2005, 10:21 AM
Karlin and Gudrun: There is a web site out there that is devoted to breeding and making the decision to breed that is absolutely excellent. It does a far better job than I could ever hope to. I have requested permission to post a link to her site.

Donna: It doesn't surprise me at all that your breeder would take you under her wing if you decided to breed. It's people like you and others on this forum that we, as breeders, dream about. We know that you are passionate about the health and well-being of the breed, and the future of the breed. Like all breeds, there are some issues about this breed that simply cannot be ignored.

MysticKnight Cavaliers

16th September 2005, 11:54 AM
Thanks, Bruce! icon_thumbsup

Camilla Berntsson
16th September 2005, 06:28 PM
I would ask them if they knew about all the healt issues, and if they have any idea of how many tjiongs that can go wrong with the bitch/puppies when it´s time to deliver the litter.
Here in Sweden we say that you must have a buffert of atleast
10-15 000:- Swedish Krones (1200-2000 USD) just to pay for everything that can happens, like ultrasound, x-ray, c-section( spelling???) puppies got stuck, what you have to feed them during their 2-8 weeks of age, what you need to give to the bitch during the months before the puppies are born etc etc.

When I talk to a bitch owner who is looking for a stud dog, I bring up all the bad things, as well as the positive. If the bitch is dreadful looking or have a completely disgusting pedigree, I press on the bad things.

I also recommend them to buy the books they can find about whelping, breeding, feeding etc.

Cathy T
16th September 2005, 11:56 PM
Excellent list of questions Bruce!!