Shetland sheepdogs

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The good breeder Breeders in South Africa Choosing a breeder
So, you have found a breeder in South Africa.....

The good breeder

Don't be surprised to be grilled by a breeder!
Buyers need to hear what a breeder has been through in order to understand why they are so protective of their dogs.
Often breeders have lengthy application forms and strict contracts. This is not to irritate prospective owners, but rather to lay all their cards on the table about what is expected - the breeder wants to protect the breed, after all.

A good breeder will have done extensive research into the Sheltie breed, its characteristics, it's temperament, it's problems.
In order to start a breeding program the breeder needs to gain the trust of top breeders around the world, to form friendships and have discussions, take part in discussion groups and learn everything they can to be able to decide where their foundation will be. A foundation is extremely important when starting a breeding program, and patience is required! To find the right dogs often takes years!

A good breeder does not simply have a male and a female of a breed and decide to have a litter!
A good breeder will acquire a bitch that fits the breed standard of this country, that is towards their aims with regards to developing the breed.
He/ she will have studied the pedigree if this bitch in detail - looked at photos of the ancestors and know the lines well. He/ she will have documented proof of the health of the ancestors, especially the parents of the bitch.

A breeder may campaign this bitch around South Africa (proof of 'worth') in order to gain the necessary titles and qualifications - this basically confirms that the bitch is of a quality to breed with, and that she meets the necessary breed standard in order to go forward.
She will then need to complete her health testing (and the hip and elbow scoring when she comes of age) and be critically assessed for any faults/ weaker points.

Next the breeder needs to choose a suitable male. This may belong to someone else, but would have to have had the same testing and campaigning. It is extremely important that he is selected for his traits that are stronger, and that compliment the bitch - especially where it comes to her weak areas.

Logistically, plans need to be made to get the male to the bitch or vice versa when she is in season - so the details need to be worked out ahead of time. Stud agreements, stud fees and technical issues will also have to be agreed upon. Often a natural mating isn't possible, and a breeder has to have AI done on her bitch. In other cases, chilled or frozen semen will be used, and a specialist vet is required for this. Sometimes breeders even import semen from overseas at an exorbitant cost!

In some cases a bitch will need some additional vacs (ie the Herpes virus vac) to ensure the best chance at an event-free pregnancy.
Care of the bitch during pregnancy is of the utmost importance. She needs to be fit and healthy, not overweight and on a good food. This food is increased as she progresses. She will have to have a few veterinary consultations, scans and perhaps an x-ray during the pregnancy.
The birth isn't always easy for a Sheltie - there are a lot that require caesarean sections.
Litters are small, and the breeder will most likely be breeding for themselves which means that they keep 1 puppy - so less to go around for prospective owners.

Raising a litter the best possible way takes time, money and a lot of hard work!
Breeders will begin to assess the pups for the most desirable traits that make the Sheltie special, and choose from those to continue their line.
In most cases it's not about "having cute puppies and letting people choose". A good breeder will ask the prospective owners to give detailed information on their family life, home and lifestyle and ask them to wait until each pup has been assessed (personality, energy levels, size) before they are allocated.

Some breeders will have dewclaws removed. The breeder should deworm the pups at 2 week intervals, have at least 1 vet check from mom and 1 for the pups, microchips to be inserted at 6 weeks, KUSA registrations done between 6 and 12 weeks. Some breeders that have performance homes will have their pups Volhard tested at 7 weeks of age.

The breeder that goes the extra mile will do the following:
house train the puppies
start crate training
start collar/ leash training
introduction to the clicker
work on sound sensitivity
provide interactive toys and interesting surroundings that change daily
introduce multiple surfaces
provide socialisation with people and safe pets

The breeder should be able to provide many photos and videos of the puppies during their time together
Also during this time, the breeder is to be available to answer any questions that prospective owners may have

It's always a good idea to get to know your breeder and be honest and open about what you are looking for in a puppy.

Do not:
buy a dog on a whim
text "how much?" as your first communication
set your heart on a specific puppy based on it's looks
lie to your breeder

A good breeder will take an interest in their puppy's life, please accommodate them and give them news and pictures/ updates!

Choosing a Breeder

Find a Responsible Breeder. Don’t be put off if a breeder isn’t immediately responsive. Hobby breeders often have full-time jobs and they don’t always have available puppies. Be selective. Find a responsible breeder who is knowledgeable and make sure you’re comfortable with them. A good breeder will be extremely choosy in accepting prospective puppy buyers. A prospective owner should be equally choosy when selecting a breeder. A prospective owner can begin to evaluate a breeder's expertise by noting whether she ranks the puppies' mental well-being and physical health. Be prepared to wait for a puppy.

Visit the breeder’s home or kennel and ask to see at least one of the puppy’s parents. Get an idea of what the future holds for your dog in terms of temperament and appearance. Observe the premises. Is the house/kennel clean? Odour-free? Dogs and puppies should be clean, well fed, lively and friendly. Look for signs of malnutrition such as protruding rib cages or illness such as runny nose/eyes, coughing, lethargy and skin sores.

Pay attention to how the dogs and puppies interact with their breeder. Does the breeder appear to genuinely care for the puppies and their adult dogs? Both dogs and puppies should not shy away from the breeder and should be outgoing with strangers. Has the breeder trained the dogs basic home obedience at least?

Find out about the health of your puppy and its parents. Breeders should be honest about the breed’s strengths and weaknesses and knowledgeable about the genetic diseases that can affect their breed – including what’s being done to avoid them. Breeders should be willing to share proof of health screenings such as hips & elbows, as well as eye and other certificates with potential buyers.

The single best indicator of general health is the overall life expectancy of a kennel line. Check to see that your prospective puppy's parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and other relations are still alive and healthy, or that they died at a ripe old age. Conscientious breeders will have telephone numbers or e-mail addresses readily available of previous puppy buyers and of the breeders of the other dogs in your prospective puppy's pedigree. If the breeder is not eager to share information regarding life expectancy and the incidence of breed-specific diseases, look elsewhere. You will eventually find a breeder who will accommodate your concerns. Before you open your heart to a young pup, you certainly want to maximize the likelihood that the two of you will be spending a long and healthy life together.

Meet and test-drive as many of your prospective puppy's adult relatives as possible. Friendly dogs are self-apparent when you meet them. Friendly dogs are living proof of good socialization by a good breeder. Beware the breeder who is only willing to show you puppies.
A good breeder will take the time to see how you get along with adult dogs before letting you anywhere near the pups.
A good breeder wouldn't let you leave with a puppy if you didn't know how to handle an adult dog, which your puppy will be in just a few months. Make sure the breeder teaches you how to handle and train and groom her adult dogs.
You want to evaluate as many adult dogs as possible from your prospective puppy's family and line before you let a litter of super-cute puppies steal your heart. If all the adult dogs are people-friendly, well behaved and well trained, it is a good bet that you have discovered an exceptional breeder with exceptional dogs.

Assess the breeder's socialization & training program. Observe: Are the puppies being raised indoors or d they have access to outdoors?
Is there a specific doggy toilet in the puppies' living area? Has the breeder done house training? How many hollow chew toys (such as Kongs) stuffed with treats or educational toys can you see in the puppies’ play area?

Ask the breeder to demonstrate the puppies' basic puppy manners/ recall training/ taking treats ability, ask how many people have handled and gentled the pups daily? How many children, have interacted with the pups? Have the pups been exposed to loud and unexpected noises, and music, household appliances.

Beware of statements like: "We haven't taught the puppies xyz because they are showdogs." or "He's the scaredy-cat of the litter."
Certainly in any litter individual dogs will display different tendencies toward approaching strangers (you), but no eight-week-old puppy should be scared to approach people. Any shyness, fearfulness, or tendency to avoid people should have been noticed and dealt with as early as four weeks of age. The shy puppy should have been super-socialized.
Remember: You are choosing a pup to come and live in your home and adapt to your lifestyle, so please make sure the puppy has been prepared for domestic life in general and is suitable for your lifestyle in particular.

Establish a good rapport with the breeder. He/she will be an excellent resource and breed mentor for you throughout the life of your puppy. You should be encouraged to call the breeder if your dog has a crisis at any stage of its life.

A responsible breeder may ask you to sign a contract indicating that if specified conditions of care are not met or you become unable to keep the puppy, he/she will reclaim it. Breeders should be willing to answer any questions you have and should ask many of you as well. Breeders will want to make sure their puppies are going to good homes, with people who know what to expect and have made all the necessary preparations.

Don’t expect to bring home the puppy until its 8 to 10 weeks of age. Puppies need ample time to mature and socialize with its mother and littermates.

Be wary of a breeder who refuses/hesitates to give you papers, wants to charge you more for KUSA papers, offers papers from a registry other than KUSA, or tells you he/she will mail them to you at a later date (although sometimes the papers aren't ready, but you can verify the breeder at KUSA).

If you would like to ensure that the breeder you are dealing with is in good standing with
KUSA, contact them from their website

Download the FCI leaflet

The following are registered participating Sheltie breeders in South Africa
Registered breeders wishing to be added to this list, please apply to

We encourage prospective buyers to ask lots of questions.
This information site is not responsible for any problems arising from purchasing from any breeder.
It is incumbent on prospective buyers to be discerning and careful when purchasing a Sheltie in Southern Africa.

Area Kennel Name Contact Website and Facebook Contact
Port Elizabeth Mackland
Shetland Sheepdogs
Nadine Shortland web sheltiefacebook shelties email sheltie
083 55 44 301
Shamwari Von Lees
Shetland Sheepdogs
Lee-Ann Driessel   email sheltie
072 225 1282

Area Kennel Name Contact Website and Facebook Contact
Centurion Scozzes
Shetland Sheepdogs
Carla van der Merve   email sheltie
083 308 5223
Centurion Sundance
Shetland Sheepdogs
Avril Ventress   email sheltie
082 781 7161
Pretoria Phaelan's Shetland Sheepdogs Cecilia Raath   email sheltie
079 493 8341

Area Kennel Name Contact Website and Facebook Contact
Cape Town Wylwind
Shetland Sheepdogs
Joanie Wylie facebook shelties email sheltie
083 961 6205

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