I stand apart from other breeders for the following reasons...

  • First and foremost in my mind when breeding a litter is the health of the parents and whether the mother is emotionally ready to become a mother.  I spend a good deal of time researching the pedigrees behind my dogs for known health issues in the lineage.  I keep in touch with many breeders of all standings~ some I trust implicitly, some I know better than to do business with, others who trust me and I have taught many things to and still others who I respect and learn from as well.  I will never tell you I know it all as my goal in life each day is to learn something new and if I also can pass that knowledge on to another than it is a good day!
    • ​I health screen my breeding cockers for known health concerns within our breed.  I do not believe any breeder who does not participate in health screening to be ethical and certainly not respectable let alone knowledgeable.  Yes I encounter everyday breeders who don't know about the need for it or who don't do it but I try to educate them about the issues and encourage them to do the research and make the change in their breeding programs.  I try to do this without a condescending attitude about it, sometimes I can't seem to understand why they haven't already implemented this and yet claim to want the best for their dogs, I do wish that people who sell dogs (breeders and so forth) do their best to educate new people to this breed the issues.  I also wish that the AKC will one day require certain breed specific health testing from the parents in order to register a litter with them.  Unfortunately just being AKC registered is not an indication of true quality anymore.
      • CERF (Canine Eye Research Foundation) testing is done annually from the time my dogs are 2 years of age.  It can be done as early as a year of age but I skip the first year since I won't be breeding that early (both because the OFA testing is not done yet and because I do not believe most dogs are ready to be parents at that age, especially emotionally ready as mothers).
      • ​OFA (Orthopedic Foundation of America) for hips.  Hip Dysplasia was at one point in time a large concern in our breed.  Thanks in part to the testing and breeders no longer breeding dysplastic lineages it is less so today.
      • ​PRA (progressive retinal atrophy) genetic testing is done as well.
    • I evaluate eachpuppy as it grows into an adult and decide based on that whether or not that cat/dog is ready (emotionally) to become a parent.  For the males it is possibly less of a process to go thru but for the females it is in my opinion, a process that they need to be ready for.  Yes, going thru hormonal changes, being bred, growing a litter of puppies and whelping takes a toll on a dog's health, emotionally they need to be ready for it.  I do not view my dogs as less than family members and so if I feel that a particular dog is not ready to become a mother (if never at all) than I do not breed her.  I certainly don't want to put her in harm's way physically and neither would I want to mentally (which is why they are always at least 2 years of age) and I also want to make sure that she is ready to nurture and raise her puppies to help me prepare them for their life to come, be it with our family or a new one.  Some of the qualities I look for are confidence, playful, nurturing with others, outgoing and patience.
  • I do breed 2 patterns that are not part of the breed standard.  
    • One (Sable) was at one time shown in conformation and they are not currently allowed to be because of a political decision that arose from a very controversial rumor in the 90s about how the most popular Sable breeder at the time had introduced it into her lineage (the rumor says she also bred beagles and that was where the pattern came from even though Sable is among some of the oldest color/patterns on record with Am. Cocker Spaniels).  Sable is still shown in Canada and other Countries around the world.  For more information about this topic visit our SABLE INFO page.
    • ​The other is MERLE.  Said to not be part of the purebred cocker spaniels but proven by Genetics to be inherited from the one common ancestor all canines have~ the wolf!  There are many more details about this topic on our MERLE INFO page and we do encourage you to check that out for yourself.  We are proud to have had some Merles and have spent many years learning about them genetically and their history with the Am. Cocker Spaniel.  While we do not argue that possibly all the merle cocker spaniels today can be traced back to one common ancestor we also do argue that with the common practice of culling (killing) pups from a litter that come up not looking exactly as desired in order to a) establish a certain 'type'/look to cockers but b) as clearly illustrated above if you have something different than anyone else they will say your lines are un-pure.  Dog Breeding is a competitive world, Showing for Conformation is often even more so!  We may have Merles to offer again someday in the future.  I CURRENTLY have only a JUVENILE MERLE so am not breeding them at this time.  I will not know until the end of 2018 if she will be bred or not.  Soonest Merle Litter would be 2019.

I made many mistakes in the beginning but I learned along the way...

  • One of the first mistakes I made was impulse buying.  Because I was lonely and sad and wanted a puppy so much I didn't do any research on the breeders I was buying a puppy from.  The first breeder didn't inform me that the 2 pups were Merles (And not really as important an issue at that time because I was buying them as pets.)  I saw cute snuggly puppies and made the purchase.  I should have asked more questions for certain!  Their AKC registration didn't hold the same value as it had years before.
  • The next mistake I made was again not doing my own research.  With the second breeder I purchased a sable stating clearly I wanted "SHOW QUALITY" because I was interested in showing this dog in Conformation and breeding her.  Well as it turned out the years in between me owning and being in the show world with my first cocker spaniel the Pattern (some call it a color but it is a pattern) of Sable was no longer allowed in the show world due to a controversial decision made by the American Spaniel Club (ASC) which is the parent club for the AKC.  Other countries still allow for sables but the United States currently does not (neither in solid or parti).  Had I done my own research I would have realized this breeder was just interested in selling a high priced puppy and either wasn't informed with experience herself OR didn't care and just wanted a sale.
  • Another mistake I made with BOTH breeders was not meeting the parents of the pups and also not seeing their facility.  While it might not be ok to visit while the pups are too young (unvaccinated) I certainly SHOULD have been able to at the time I was picking up my puppies.  BOTH of them agreed to it but then at the end came up with excuses as to why they couldn't.  I look in hindsight and realize this is another bad decision I made.  
  • While I, as a breeder, do restrict you from coming until the pups are 6 weeks old (1st vaccines) I DO want you to come meet me, the parents and the rest of our family.  I want you to know that I am not a "Kennel" or a puppy mill and to see for yourself that the kitties,puppies and parents are hand raised in our home as part of our family.
  • I also want you to ask as many questions as you like!  I am knowledgeable about ALL my cats, dogs, genetics, behavioral information, health concerns, and can direct you to references that will attest to this information as well as other resources to verify my information.
  • I don't just want you to take my word on it~ I take my information seriously and look for families that ARE looking for a GOOD QUALITY RESPECTABLE Breeder to find their companion from.
  • I am not worried about losing a 'sale' by referring you elsewhere to get information from.  If you find something better than you made that decision.  Most of the time though, I expect that you will realize what a GEM I am to have found and seeing as my biggest PLUS is referred buyers based on a pet that others have seen OR repeat buyers it makes me feel even better about the situation.  I am not exaggerating when I say that I have had one family buy not 1, not 2 but 3 pups from me (waiting to look at getting a 4th once their son gets older).  Their neighbor even bought a puppy from the same litter as their 2nd pup from me.
  • I am also a member of many organizations that keep me current on information and concerns about my breed, the laws and other situations.  Continuing my education is how I like to live, learn something new every day.

In 2003 when I purchased my next cocker spaniel Sunshine N Lollipops for $550 it was mostly an impulse buy as I had longed to have another ever since my first one passed away.  I bought 2 of them (littermates) from the nearest breeder I could find and didn't really do much research into what was going on with the breed and world of American Cocker Spaniels at the time.  The 2 males I selected one resembled my first cocker as he was a red and white (We named him Trouble N Mischief but called him WigglyButt) and the other looked different as he was a buff mismark.  It turns out that they were both Merles and carried the gene to produce chocolates.  I did a bit of research on them once I had the boys home with me and learned of the controversy involved with them.  I had no intentions of breeding them until my then husband quit his job and I had to figure out how to support the household for awhile.  Please note that I did not decide to do this for an income alone, I have years of education and experience that is needed to be responsible for raising animals. 

Along the way of researching the merles I came across a breeder who had a sable female available.  She appeared knowledgeable and to be aware of current issues with the cocker spaniels and I truly thought I had done my research.  I drove half way across the United States in winter to pick her up and meet her breeder.  Lil Miss Muppet was purchased for $900.  I had intended on meeting the breeder and seeing the parents of this puppy that I had paid for well in advance.  The day of the 'meeting' was a cold winter day in January of 2004.  We had trouble adjusting to the icy roads and harsh winds on our drive up north from Arizona to Iowa.  Rather than give us directions to their home the breeder insisted on meeting us an hour away from the city she said she lived in, because of the weather we agreed but stipulated she have the parent's of the puppy with her, when we arrived she did not.

Why I believe I am a Better Breeder

Thoughts from the Heart of Kat.

I want to start out by saying I am not comparing myself to anyone else specifically when I am sharing these thoughts.  This is about myself and my breeding program not anyone else's.  If anyone feels slighted or singled out that is not my intention.  I honestly believe that everyone is capable of bettering themselves and striving towards their own goals.

When I got my first cocker spaniel in 1995 MyGame's Sunkissing Ice for $700 he came from an amazing kennel and lineage and I was included in this incredible world of show breeders, top quality dogs and some of the most influential breeders at that time and perhaps even to this day.  I was fortunate enough to have access to the best of the best and a prestigious world that few people are allowed to be on the inside of.  I happened to get there by fate or luck, not because of my hard work like so many others before me had earned the privilege of achieving.  Being on the inside I was taught many many trade secrets to handling dogs and grooming them for the Conformation Show Ring.  I also realized how back stabbing and political this world can be.  I learned plenty of things both good and bad and at this stage in my life while I support others for their endeavors I think my primary focus is not on handling or showing cockers to a Champion Title but to raising quality companions for the rest of the world.  I do have an interest in actually sporting with this sporting breed and may pursue titles of that nature where the performance of the dog is what earns the title.

Where the PitterPatter Of Cocker Spaniel Paws Can be Heard Through Out the Halls.