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1. How does the purchase process work and what is the cost of a pup? [+/-]
The purchase process begins when you fill out the questionnaire and contact me about a pup. I receive between 5 and 20 inquiries a week regarding Malinois, the questionnaire has been designed as a way to begin to get to know you, and also keep track of “who is who” until we get to know each other better. After reviewing your questionnaire I will contact you with any questions I have, and answers to your questions. We will email back and forth discussing what you are looking for in a pup, what your plans for the pup are, and what I expect from the litter(s) you are interested in. If we decide that one of my litters is right for you, then you will be added to a waiting list.
The waiting list is a list of people that are interested in a litter; being on this list means that when the female goes into heat you will be contacted to let you know the breeding is coming up. After the breeding you are interested in has been done you will be contacted again with the opportunity to send in a deposit. People already on the waiting list will be contacted first, and have the opportunity to send in a deposit, before deposits are accepted from anyone else. A limited number of deposits will be taken prior to a litter being born, usually 4 to 6, so it is important that you respond ASAP as the waiting list usually has more names on it than the number of deposits I will accept.
After the litter is born I will contact people regarding the number of pups born and their gender. If I have 3 males and 3 females reserved and 5 males and 1 female are born anyone with a deposit will be given the opportunity to switch genders. If nobody is interested in switching genders then 2 deposits would be returned, or held over to a future litter. The decision on who will receive which pup will be based on the home and the pup, and who I feel will be the best match to form a lasting partnership and great working team.
Pup prices range from $1000.00 to $1500.00, depending upon the cost to do the breeding. If I use one of my stud dogs, or a local dog, pups are usually $1000.00. If I am doing an artificial insemination, shipping a female across the US, or traveling to another country to do the breeding the price of the pups will increase. Each litter announcement on the For Sale page will indicate the price of the litter.
2. Are deposits refundable? [+/-]
3. Do you sell pups to pet only homes? [+/-]
No, I do not sell pups to pet homes. While a working Malinois can also make a good house dog and companion, this is when it's also working and has the training and outlet needed for its drives and working abilities. A pet home provides the pet portion of this equation, but not the other part, the working portion. The traits that make a Malinois one of the top working dogs, drive, intelligence, energy, reactivity, character, possessiveness, resiliency, and athletic ability are the same traits that make a Malinois in the right hands a super star and in the wrong hands a disaster in the making. A Malinois that does not have a daily outlet for its working energy/drives will quickly become bored/unhappy and will find things to do, which may include remodeling your house, landscaping your yard and re-arranging your furniture. Not to mention developing neurotic behaviors such as barking at the leaves on the trees, constant pacing, etc. Taking an 8 week puppy class at the local PetCo isn't going to be enough of a training outlet for your Malinois. If you want a working Malinois, you need to plan to be involved in a training club and train not just weekly with the club but during the week on your own plus socialization and other "outings".
While I don't agree with everything in this article (I believe a working Malinois can also be a good house dog/companion) Francis has MANY good points in this article regarding why a working Malinois is not the right choice for a pet home and even many performance (obedience, agility, etc) homes.
Click for the Article on Malinois as Pets
4. Your motto is "Versatile dogs that will work for you and live with you", doesn't that mean good pets? [+/-]
5. I want an intelligent, energetic dog. I have owned Border Collies, Terriers and other high drive dogs, so why isn't a Malinois right for me? [+/-]
First, Malinois puppies bite. That’s what they are bred to do as a reaction to their drives. A Border Collie goes into "stalk mode", a Labrador wants to retrieve, a Malinois bites. Watch this video of a litter of 7 week old Malinois pups (just turned 7 weeks) doing what they were bred to do.
These puppies are not being aggressive, they are doing what comes naturally to them, pursue something and bite it when they catch it. This behavior can be (must be) molded/focused as the pups mature so the pup learns what is and isn’t acceptable to bite, but it’s an instinctive behavior. If it’s not molded you may have an 8 month old, 60+ pound dog who still thinks this type of game is acceptable, and that’s a liability. If the idea of an 8 week old Malinois pup biting your ankle, digging in hoping to get you to flinch, as you try to walk around is an issue, this isn’t the breed for you. If you are going to mistake this behavior for aggression, this isn’t the breed for you. One of the puppies in the video was sold to a working home that planned to do Schutzhund with it. He was a very forward, confident, social, drivey pup with the potential to be a top level working dog. What I didn’t realize is the “highly successful” Schutzhund club they trained with was a show line GSD club with little to no Malinois experience and used to a much more laid back, less driven type of dog. Within a few weeks of the pup arriving the owners were convinced by the people in their club that when their puppy latched onto their pants, their shirt sleeve, the hair of someone who bent over to pet it, etc it was being aggressive and launching a full out attack the person. He was returned to me at 10 months of age with a wide variety of issues caused by the belief that normal puppy drive behavior was aggression. So you have to ask yourself, "Am I prepared, and looking forward to, that level of drive and mouthiness?"
Next, let’s talk about the character of a working dog, which was bred for patrol/military type work. A few years ago one of my puppy people contacted me with some concerns about their dog. They had purchased the dog for obedience, agility and personal protection. They were at an event spending some time with another Malinois breeder who focuses mainly on conformation/performance dogs. They had their dog out, who was approximately 1 year old at the time, and he was hanging out with people, playing with a toy, etc. Just being a normal, friendly dog. The other person decided after spending about 20 minutes with the dog to suddenly challenge the dog/owner aggressively. The dog launched up, put both feet on the person’s shoulders and barked in their face, stopping them in their tracks. They proceeded to tell the owner the dog was liability, it should not have reacted that way after spending that time hanging out with them, playing tug, being social, etc it should have realized they are a friend and backed down from them. And that the dog was a liability and was going to bite someone some day. I requested they bring the dog to me for evaluation. After spending time around him, interacting with him, watching him interact with others, watching his behavior in a stimulating environment, etc I determined that he was a normal, stable working Malinois who was friendly when warranted but with the character to react to a threat appropriately. He didn’t bite the person, probably because he had just spent 20+ minutes interacting with them in a friendly/positive way. Instead he just warned them that their behavior (a sudden aggressive charge) was unacceptable. After a discussion about proper handling (the owner is lucky the dog didn’t take it further and bite, a sharper dog may have), a reminder that the dog was purchased for personal protection and protected from a perceived threat, and setting out a training plan, the owner left with a better understanding of their dogs behavior and the behavior/character of a working bred Malinois. If in this scenario you would have expected your dog to back down because the aggressive person was a friend, aunt, uncle, neighbor, etc and the dog “knows them”, this probably isn’t the breed for you.
So now you have to ask yourself, is this the right breed for me?
To be continued …
6. Other breeders describe their dogs as EXTREME, are yours EXTREME? You don't use that word often in your website. [+/-]
One definition of extreme is "of a character or kind farthest removed from the ordinary or average." Another is "furthest from the center or a given point; outermost." On a sliding scale, extreme would be the small percent at the outermost edge of the measuring stick.
Yet when you talk to Malinois owners and breeders, the majority of them describe their dog(s) as EXTREME. If the majority of Malinois are extreme, then doesn't that make all those "extreme" dogs average? If you take one high drive (average) Malinois and compare it to 25 normal pet dogs, then yes, that Malinois is extreme, at least for that group of dogs. But if you compare that Malinois to other high drive Malinois, it's not extreme, it's average. And this is what I see, over and over again, when I finally see in person these dogs that I hear described as EXTREME. Dogs that in many cases are nice dogs, but in my opinion they meet the standards of what the average working Malinois should be. They are not in that very small percent that deserves to be labeled extreme. Some of them, while still extreme compared to that group of pet dogs I mentioned previously, aren't even IMO average Malinois in drives, but are below average.
I will on occasion describe a dog as extreme in some way, if I do that's because it fits within the top 5% (or less) of dogs I have personally seen in regards to that trait, wether it's prey drive, hunt drive, food drive, courage, grip quality, whatever.
7. Do you sell females with breeding rights? [+/-]
There are too many "fly by night" Malinois breeders putting puppies out there at this time that do not know the bloodlines, what dogs will combine well, or put any effort into finding the right homes. Their pups are for sale to anyone who has a check that clears. Many of the dogs being used for breeding aren't being worked themselves, but are from a working pedigree, and are still capable of producing some working potential in their pups, meaning the pups need to be in homes that are prepared to deal with them. These people will produce a litter or two, discover they can't sell the pups, wind up with a number of untrained, unsocialized 4-6 month old pups that are destroying their home, and then move on to something else, doing who knows what with the Malinois they currently have. Many times I see these dogs being sold to the highest bidder to become a new fly by night breeders breeding stock, for the next round of disasters waiting to happen. I want my pups going to homes that will do something with them, not just leave them in a kennel and pump pups out. If someone has taken the time to train/title their female, understands what she has to offer the breed, done the health checks, researched the lines, and feels she is worth breeding then I will change the registration to full (this is covered in more detail in contract). If the breeding being done is one I approve of I will also provide support and send potential pup buyers their way.
8. Do you ship puppies? [+/-]
9. What guarantees do you offer? [+/-]
Health – pups health is guaranteed until they are 4 years of age. This is not a lifetime guarantee for 2 reasons. First, if there is a concern about the dogs health, it should have been checked prior to the dog reaching 4 years of age. The sooner an issue is discovered, the sooner it can begin being treated the longer the dog will enjoy a happy/healthy life. Second, I make breeding decisions based on the health of not just the parents, but their siblings, aunts, uncles, and any past offspring they have produced. The owners of the past who have health checks done on their dogs have helped shaped the decisions that were made to produce the pups of the present. It is my hope that all puppy buyers will do basic health testing on their dogs prior to 4 years of age so this information can be used to make breeding decisions for the future.
Working Ability – I make every effort to match each pup and the abilities it shows to the proper home. However, after the pup leaves my premises I have no control over if the new owner properly socializes and trains it. Therefore I do not guarantee that a pup will achieve a certain level of title or working certification. Most people have heard "pups are a crap shoot". This is true, but it's not always the pup that makes it true, but how the new owner chooses to raise their pup. I do realize though that sometimes a pup does not grow up to be exactly what we thought it would at 8 weeks, even with proper socializing, training, etc. They are not machines, but living, breathing beings. If I feel that you have done right by your pup, and it just isn't going to work out as desired, we will talk about a possible replacement, which is soley at my discretion.
10. Do you make your living selling dogs? [+/-]
11. What is the best way to contact you? [+/-]
12. I have my new Malinois puppy, now what? [+/-]
13. Do you have trained dogs for sale? [+/-]
14. Will you take the dog back if I can't keep it? [+/-]
15. Regarding hip and elbow xrays, why are some dog’s OFA and others just say “xrayed normal”? [+/-]
16. I want the pick puppy, how do I go about getting 1st pick? [+/-]
“Pick” (1st, 2nd, 3rd etc) is not determined by when an inquiry or deposit is received. “Pick” is based on what each person is looking for in a pup, and also their experience as a handler and trainer. When placing pups, top priority goes to experienced handlers that have already titled dogs and proven that they are committed to the task of training and trialing a dog. In addition, what is one person’s “pick” may be another person’s “pass”, depending on the job or sport they plan to do with the dog. For example, someone looking for a dog for French Ring may be focused on drives (prey, fight, food, toy, and to a lesser degree hunt), character, athletic ability and grip quality. While someone looking for a dog for Search and Rescue may be focused on drives (hunt being a primary focus), socialness, character, and athletic ability. The pup with a great personality, high hunt drives, and so-so grips might be the pick pup for the SAR or detection home, but not even a consideration for the French Ring or IPO home. The pup with perfect grips and so-so hunt might work perfectly in French Ring, but not be the best choice for IPO (tracking). Personal preference in temperament comes into play also, with some handlers liking a very pushy, forward, dominant dog while other handlers want a more biddable personality. When presented with 3 different pups, each pup might be 1st and last choice, depending on the handler and intended purpose.
It’s my job as the breeder, and the person who has been interacting with the pups from the day they were born, to take the information you give me in regards to your personal preferences and the job you intend for your dog, and determine which of the pups is best suited for you. On occasion I will feel that 2-3 pups in the litter equally meet your needs as stated, and you will be offered the chance to select between those pups. If you are looking for a breeder who will show you the entire litter, then allow you to pick the one you want, I’m not the breeder for you.