Monday, March 30, 2009

Wheatens, Cresteds and Shelties - Oh, my!

I thought I would give everyone a quick look at the breeds that i have, and why.

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier:
A few years ago i became interested in getting a puppy, but my son had severe allergies. So after a lot of research I found the Wheatens. When a breeder with a nice group of healthy, quality Wheatens was having to sell her all of her dogs, i took advantage of the opportunity. I have not been sorry one day. They are wonderful dogs that are never in a bad mood and when i bring them in the house there is no shedding or doggie odor. Most importantly, there are no allergies for my son.

So here are few highlights about the breed. They are truly non-shedding and hypo-allergenic (as opposed to Labradoodles who shed less than a Labrador but A LOT more than a poodle or wheaten). At times we have a mom and pups inside for up to 10 weeks. They are a beautiful blond (wheat) color and I often use a black crate inside. There is not one hair in that crate by the end of their stay inside. I shed more than than they do! Besides those obvious benefits (non-shedding and hypoallergenic), Wheatens also don't have that doggie odor. Personality wise, they are the least terrier-like of all the terriers, and stay very playful and like a puppy their whole life. They are famous for their 'Wheaten Greetin' - a playful jump at the very sight of you. They will bark at a stranger, but then they just want to visit and play. They were originally used as good all-round farm and family dogs that could hunt, herd and defend, and they are still great family dogs to this day.

Chinese Crested:
I currently have a very nice group of Chinese Cresteds (show quality), which i became interested in after the Wheatens. I was attracted to the Crested's hypo-allergenic qualities and their unique look packaged in a small size. Chinese Cresteds are a low to non-shed breed and also hypoallergenic. They come in 2 coat varieties - puff and hairless. These are not 2 different breeds, just a genetic variation of one breed. A puff coat will have a very low amount of shedding, and do not have the doggie odor. A hairless will have little to no shedding, obviously.

The Crested personality is very sweet and quite comical at times. They are very people oriented and love to please. They do want to be with their people - the more the better. A Crested is very happy to sit in your lap as long as you are willing, or follow you anywhere you go. I have several one that go to the barn with me to check on horses or anything else i might need to do outside. They are very smart and easy to train, esp for a little breed. And of course, it's fun to dress the hairless in different outfits - and they are willing to play along for the warmth. A Crested makes a very nice purse puppy, but esp a companion that is always willing to share the couch.

Shetland Sheepdog:
Shelties were not in the non-shed, hypo-allergenic plan i had for my kennel, but here they are anyway ;-). My first dog was a Sheltie named Joy. She was so smart and intuitive that we called her a 'Sheltie Person.' When my mother first became ill we taught Joy sign language and trained her to go find the other person. Once you have a Sheltie they always hold a special place in your heart.

A couple of months ago an acquaintance called and told me that their family friend had broken her back and needed someone to take her Shelties. Since i love Shelties and I'm a sucker for a sob story, i now have her dogs. The group is very mild mannered and sweet, and not barkers (sometimes Shelties have a tendency to bark a lot, esp when there's been irresponsible breeding). Several are nice quality and meet the breed standard, but a few fall short. We'll be looking into which ones to breed over next few months.

Shelties are members of the herding group. As such, they are very in tune with their owners, but they also think independently. Shelties often find something to herd on their own, and will circle their owners when going for walks, or circle a group of kids to try to bunch them together. 'Sassy' is the word that comes to mind for a Sheltie. ;-) They will shed a little throughout the year, but esp when the warmer weather causes them to shed their winter coat (or when a female goes into heat).

I have also raised Skye Terriers and Schipperkes in the past. I still have some connections for them and like them, but no longer breed them.

If you have more questions about the breeds that I have, please feel free to ask.


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