For many Connecticut dog breeders, a lot of care and attention goes into creating your familyâs faithful companion. From LabradorÂ retrievers and French bulldogs, to spaniels and Portuguese water dogs, breeders emphasize genetic testing and the importance of making a good match between family and puppy.
But first, you need to make the puppy, and that involves research. Julia Kamis, a Lab breeder in Glastonbury, owns female dogs, so she has to find a stud for them.
âI go to dog shows, read publications and talk to other breeders to find dogs.â
Breeders respond to historical weaknesses in a breed by choosing partners wisely. For instance, French bulldog breeder Laurianne Goulet of Cromwell is particularly attuned to pairing up dogs with sound breathing and healthy backs, and Christy Logan of Tolland, a standard poodle breeder, is attentive to her potential matchesâ hips and eyes.
Breeders also consider what the dogs will eventually be doing. Some end up as working dogs, like the English Springer spaniels Geoffrey English breeds in Oxford, so he breeds accordingly.
âOur dogs are trained to help with the hunt for upland birds like pheasant, grouse or woodcock. Also in hunting for geese and ducks.â He likes to place his dogs in American Kennel Club events that test for their trainability and natural ability for hunting.
While Kamis does not specifically breed service dogs, Labs are frequently employed as such.
Of course, most dogs find their place in a home (often napping on a couch). To find the right dog for you, breeders say you should consider the traits of the breed, and how much youâre willing to invest in grooming them.
Logan, the poodle breeder, can rhapsodize about her standard poodles but she also warns that âthis isnât a wash-and-wear breed. They need grooming and clipping. That said, standard poodles donât shed and work well for most people who have allergies.â Temperament-wise, she loves their intelligence, docility and compatibility with kids.
Kamis touts how Labs mostly self-clean.
Kris Cofiell, who breeds Portuguese water dogs in Glastonbury, talks about the dogs as if they are friends you want to get to know better: âThis breed is highly intelligent, funny, exceedingly stubborn, an independent thinker.â
Goulet calls French bulldogs âa big dog in a small body. Theyâre clowns, and are very adaptable to any environment â you can train them to go with your schedule.â She cautions that they donât do well in extreme heat or cold, so keep that in mind if you intend to travel with your dog.
Breeders typically keep puppies for about eight weeks, and they often have requirements before placing a dog with a family. Kamis, for instance, does not like placing a puppy in a home where everybody leaves during the day. âLabs are not happy alone,â she says.
And then thereâs the matter of money. Pure-bred puppies are expensive to breed, and expensive to buy. Prices range from $1,250 and up for one of Englishâs spaniels to upwards of $4,000 for a French bulldog. Most breeders emphasize that theyâre there to support the new families, so the relationship doesnât have to end once the check is cashed.
âWe make dogs purposefully,â says Cofiell, âand any dog we produce has a 100 percent guarantee to their owners. These puppies are my responsibility, which is why I find suitable, great homes for each of them.â
Information: Kris Cofiell, Portuguese water dogs: cnsandpwd.com; Geoffrey English, Labrador retrievers and English Springer spaniels: woodlandkennel.com ; Julie Kamis, Labrador retrievers: facebook.com/woodruff.labradorretrievers; Christy Logan, standard poodles: Gemstonespoodles.com; Laurianne Goulet, French bulldogs: Lgoulet@att.net