Archive for Musings

March 18, 2021 ~ An anniversary

March 18, 2021 marks the 20th anniversary of our A-litter Giants. It was a disaster.

In the wee hours of that day, back in 2001, our four-year-old, new-to-us bitch, Liebchen vom Eichenbaum, birthed one male puppy, and then died with 12 more puppies inside her.

Let that sink in a moment.

A friend of mine recently challenged me to write the story of how I got in to breeding. I thought this was the perfect time for such a story. I write this singularly from my POV, but really, we are a duo (and indeed a village). I can’t imagine being able to do this by myself. My hubby of 25 years splits the chores of dog care, breeding, training, promoting, pedigree research, marketing, vetting buyers, and so many other things it’s a wonder we do anything else at all.

How did I get into breeding? Simple; I fell in love. Fell in love with my husband Ron, who at the time had Dobermans. They were GORGEOUS. I fell in love with them too. Then he rescued a Giant Schnauzer. He was an asshole, but I fell in love with him too.

We bought my first Doberman, Raven, in 1997. I was determined to do Search and Rescue with her to prove my dog could work any day of the week, not just on trial day. (Sorry sport peeps, little did I know/respect back then how much time/energy/money goes into the sport!) So, we trained, and we certified. Then she failed her hips and we couldn’t breed her. Strike #1.

I’m not going to count every strike of my/our breeding history, suffice it to say, I couldn’t possibly remember them all. What I do remember, are all the lessons I’ve learned along the way. Every. Single. Litter. teaches me something new. Most of these lessons are expensive. There is no possible way to make up from the loss of a young bitch and twelve puppies. So when you start with that kind of deficit and continue anyway, you are some kind of crazy. 

The financial losses continue to outnumber the gains, and that doesn’t even begin to account for our time. When you consider the average German import puppy costs $5000 CAD to arrive at our door at the age of 10 weeks, and then feeding, vetting, training, health testing, in the first two years before we even know if you have a viable breeding prospect… we’re at least doubling our investment long before there is any return. In two instances (so far) we have had to rehome those imports. A failed elbow, and a failed hip. BOOM! Strikes #499 and #557-ish give or take. I often tell people our kennel might have been better named for bank account instead of passion.

So why do I continue to do this? Play the crapshoot that is animal husbandry? Simple; LOVE.

I love to share in the joy our puppies bring to their humans. I love to hear about how smart they are, how loving they are. I love to hear the stories of natural instincts that give me goose bumps. I love to hear of their accomplishments. I absolutely love to see their people become NEW people simply by sharing their heart with one of our puppies. I love when children grow up to become puppy buyers, because their parents were.

For all you aspiring breeders out there who think this is a get rich quick scheme… think again. Please.

For all you aspiring breeders out there who think it will be a fun experience for your family… think carefully at all that can happen. Please.

For all you puppy buyers out there who presume breeders are loaded… we laugh and laugh and laugh until we cry.

Bottom line, if you’re not doing it for love, you’re not doing it right.

In loving memory of our Liebie, and the many who have followed in the past 20 years, we go hopefully into the future.

Bitter & Sweet

This business, for lack of a better term, can be as heartbreaking as it can be rewarding. I recently told friends “breeding will make you crazy and poor”. Both are true, and then some. Such as sad, helpless, frustrated, mystified, and bewildered, to name a few more.

Two-year-old Zia vom Lindelbrunn

Last month we learned our beautiful princess Zia vom Lindelbrunn did not meet OFA standards for her hips.
We are working at placing her in a loving forever home.
That’s a bitter pill to swallow when you consider the cost of importing her from Germany, two years of feeding, vetting, training, and of course LOVING, only to discover she’s not breed worthy. This of course would be the heartbreaking part.

Even on the Sweet part of this business, there are many folks sad and disappointed this week as the puppies they’d wished for did not materialize. We are blessed with two beautiful girls, both of which we’ve decided to keep for the time being. Hopefully they’ll both be outstanding girls and will eventually replace their momma when it’s her time to retire.

Tiny little rant here; to the folks who say “wow, $2000 for a puppy, you must be rolling in it…” I’m here to tell you, it’s never about the money, because quite frankly the losses far exceed the income. For us, this crazy “business” is about Passion. We simply love what we do, why we do it, and who we do it for. Tam Out.

January 21, 2020

The M-litter with their first ID collars.

I try to keep this website upbeat and positive, but life is messy and sometimes bad things happen. The emotions in the early days of a litter are high; fed by exhaustion, aching muscles from hours of lying on the floor, sitting cross legged, doing puppy shakedowns, running at every little squeak or squeal, and making sure every puppy gets on the nipples.
Last year I was having an emotional moment and wrote a post on Facebook. I liked it a lot. I won’t post it here, in case you’re the kind of person who isn’t keen on emotional stuff. Instead I’ll attach the link to the original post, you can click on it or not.
This Box

Yesterday was one of those days when bad things happen. I wrote a longer post. A catharsis. I thought about my first post all day, sorting through what was important about the events of the day and how I felt about it. It never comes out the way I want when I actually put it down in text, but in the end, I was pretty pleased with the result. Should you wish to read it, you can find it here.
This Box Revised

For those interested in a pup, at this time we have reserved all the males, with a waiting list, and we have one female reserved. There is a great deal of interest in this litter, it’s potentially the last time for this combination. If you’re serious, I wouldn’t wait to contact us.

Diligence

Happy New Year!!! We are so excited to begin 2020 with another fantastic litter of puppies due on the 18th! Rogue is in excellent shape and sporting a large and growing baby belly!

With puppies due soon, I am more conscious of all the potential hazards which could present accidents or injury to mom and/or the litter. Rogue reminded me of just such a hazard this morning. Read on.


As I was finishing morning chores with the dogs, I was reminded by the distinctive “peep” of the Hairy Woodpecker that their suet feeder needed filling. It’s a great feeder, containing a basket within a wire mesh to allow the small birds to feed and minimizing the gluttony of the Jays, Starlings, and Grackles. I took the feeder inside to fill with the frozen suet balls Sobeys makes in store. They are compact balls of ground beef fat with tiny bits of meat and birdseed combined. The birds love them, and they are a great value compared to commercially produced blocks.

Anyway, what does this have to do with raising dogs? As I was securing the wire mesh feeder Rogue came by with her nose in the air. Normally quite trustworthy with food, at 7+ weeks pregnant, she’s looking for every extra calorie she can get! As her nose skimmed the counter, I moved the Styrofoam meat tray a little farther back. Also on the tray is a pair of nitrile gloves I wore to handle the balls, plus the mesh bags that comes with the suet balls. Instantly I imagined any or all of that trying to pass through her intestines. As soon as I secured the feeder, I disposed of the meat tray and its contents in the garbage can.

Ron will sometimes accuse me of seeing the worst in everything. He’s not wrong; but it doesn’t come from a place of negativity, it comes from having a vivid imagination. I can actually SEE the consequences of a misstep in any situation. It can be the most benign set of circumstances and my brain will form a worst-case scenario. Fortunately, most often nothing happens, whether from removing an enticing meat tray, or it just wasn’t in the cards that time.

Regardless, when raising puppies to be good dogs, DILIGENCE will solve or prevent almost every problem you can imagine, or have experienced. I have a good friend who shall not be named; she has an amazing dog, who also shall not be named. But this dog has got in to and eaten a long list of things that really aren’t good for dogs. Chocolate covered almonds, not once, but two days in a row. Toilet paper on a daily basis. Jumped on the table and ate a casserole. His latest feat, a box of toothpicks. The dog is 18 months old. He’s also a very determined dog. That said, diligence from a young age, would still prevent these escapades.

If your puppy pees on the floor, it’s your fault, not his. Either he woke from a nap and you weren’t quick enough to get him out the door, or he had a big drink of water after a play session, or you didn’t pay attention to his subtle cues because you were immersed in your smart phone.

We have a few rules in our house regarding puppies and adolescents.

  1. If you can’t watch him, crate or x-pen him. He can’t get in to stuff that’s not good for him if he’s safely in his crate or x-pen.
  2. You wake him, you take him. Like young children (and old people) puppies and adolescents need to pee almost immediately upon waking.
  3. Have plenty of safe chew toys to substitute for shoes, books, chair legs etc. If you catch your puppy chewing (and you should because you’re being diligent) sub out the bad thing for something puppy is allowed. This will reduce frustration and conflict.
  4. Although we share many of our groceries with our dogs, we never feed from the table! And if you’re not sure the treat you’re about to give your dog is safe (many people foods are not!) Google it. You’re probably on your phone anyway! 😉

There are likely others that I’m forgetting at the moment, but the whole point of this post is to encourage you to pay a little more attention to the circumstances in your life. Imagine a situation which could be unsafe for your dog, and then fix it. At the very least, you’ll avoid conflict, and potentially an expensive vet bill and trauma for your dog.

Questions or comments can be directed to ourpassion @ leidenschaftkennels dot com.

Why?

Today I received two separate messages from two puppy owners. They reminded me, WHY we do what we do.

“They do it for the money,” say the ignorant and the haters. Yes, THAT’S IT! I think as I check my bank balance. It’s NOT very high. I’m happy if it’s not in the overdraft!

I tell people all the time, our kennel name “Leidenschaft” is the German word for PASSION, not bank account.

So what keeps us going through the failed AI matings, the false pregnancies, the silent heats, the 2-year-old stud-to-be who fails a health test and needs to be rehomed…

What keeps us going through the anxious moments of the first few days of a litter? Carefully checking weight gains, watching the little ones get time on a teat… What keeps us going when government regulations thwart us at every turn, and one airline’s rules are not the same as the next? What keeps us going when the haters hate, and the ignorant believe?

Rogue vom Klingsgarten BH with our K-litter. 9 females, 2 males. Born November 30, 2017

Rogue vom Klingsgarten BH with our K-litter. 9 females, 2 males. Born November 30, 2017

The Lovers! That’s what. The ones who message us with their new puppy’s first EVERYTHING! The ones who send us photos, and video clips, and private messages that say: “Sorry to gush so much, but really we’re over the moon!” To which I immediately replied, “Gush away! It helps us through those sleepless nights.”

We are breeders, and as such, we appreciate the breeders who entrust us with THEIR offspring. We do our best with their puppies, nurturing them, training them, bringing them up in a happy, healthy environment, so that they may go on to be the parents of the next generations of Leidenschaft puppies.

It’s not easy, it’s not cheap; sometimes it’s downright heartbreaking. So here’s to the Lovers. You know who you are, and you are deeply appreciated.

Our Amazing Giants!

Along with being amazing companion dogs for dozens of people over the years, Leidenschaft Giant Schnauzers have achieved distinction in many walks of life.
Many of our offspring have earned Schutzhund/IPO titles, many have topped the Flyball charts, with our kennel boasting 6 of the top 10 in North America! Several have become therapy dogs, visiting folks in the hospitals. One particular Giant, Chevy von der Leidenschaft, juggled an impressive Flyball career while being a mobility assistance dog to her owner. 


Of course I’d be lying if I denied our greatest pride is that our kennel busted past the GSD/Malinois mind set of most police organizations with Hugo von der Leidenschaft, AKA #psdtyr We owe his handler Chad a great deal, as he persisted both with the training and the campaigning for Tyr to be accepted. That said, NO dog becomes a police dog without courage and drives! 


Ron and I would like to thank the many current and past owners of our offspring for providing them with great homes, and flexing their special talents. We’ve had a few missteps over the years, but for the most part we’ve done well with matching the temperament of the puppies with the requirements of the homes.
We also thank Rolf Waßmuth for trusting us with his bloodlines! His is our foundation.

We are looking forward to providing great puppies from this litter and litters to come. A puppy is an open book where you get to write the story. 

K-litter von der Leidenschaft at 10 days old.

K-litter von der Leidenschaft at 10 days old.