The KeelMtn Corgis and Friends moved several years ago from the desert southwest to beautiful and green northern Alabama, just outside of Huntsville. We are settling into a wonderful old Dutch Colonial-type farmhouse (read this to mean we spend a lot of time at Home Depot) on just over seven acres located on top of Keel Mountain…the inspiration for our kennel name change from Faer’Steed to KeelMtn. If you’re interested in a KeelMtn corgi or just want to see them in person, please contact us about getting together at a show or planning a visit. Keep in mind that I try to plan our schedule in advance, but for various reasons we may change our minds, or our coats, for that matter!
Our focus is the well-rounded Corgi – healthy, smart, beautiful, structurally and temperamentally sound. Our Corgis are tested for all pertinent health issues and we make those results public. A Corgi may be a perfect “type” specimen, but must also be a wonderful housepet, a dog you would want to live with. Our dogs do not live in “kennels”; they live in the house, day and night, with us. We abide by letter (and the spirit) of the Codes of Ethics of both the Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of America.
Breeding is conducted extremely carefully and thoughtfully at KeelMtn. We are not in a rush to have a bunch of puppies just to have our name on them. We continue to become as educated as possible in all aspects of health, genetics, and pedigrees. We breed, extremely sparingly, only to improve the breed and so that we have dogs to show; all pet puppies will be sold already altered or on a limited registration with a spay/neuter contract. The dogs we breed to and from are champions, or well on their way, and have been tested for all breed-related inheritable diseases. Our stud dogs are only available by private treaty to approved bitches with appropriate health clearances.
Shopping For A Breeder
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a smart, lovable, happy breed. You want your pet Corgi to live a long, healthy life and to be a cheerful, well-adjusted and well-behaved dog. Here are some questions to ask a breeder to help you make an informed decision.
1. “Can you tell me some of the qualities of the PWC? Can you tell me some of the negative characteristics?”
A good breeder should be familiar enough with the breed to describe its traits in detail and conscientious enough to help you decide if the breed is not right for you.
2. “Are the sire and dam tested for genetic defects?”
THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT! Inherited diseases can appear in both Corgi breeds. To avoid costly and painful conditions later in life, BOTH parents, grandparents too, should be tested by qualified technicians. Insist that the parents be x-rayed and then evaluated for hip dysplasia by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) or by a licensed veterinarian. Don’t accept the explanation that, “We never have problems with our breeding stock”. Many problems can not appear up until after breeding age. Some problems may not show up in the parents, but can appear in the puppies. There are several eye problems that can affect the Corgi, so the parents should be tested by a vet and screened by the Canine Eye Research Foundation (CERF). Pembroke corgis should also be tested for von Willebrand’s Disease, a blood clotting disorder. There is NO reason why a breeder should not provide you with a copy of these documents.
3. “Do you guarantee against genetic diseases when the pup reaches maturity?”
A responsible breeder will replace an afflicted puppy, or full or partial purchase price. Do not accept verbal assurances; have ALL guarantees in writing. Breeders who have carefully bred their dogs are not afraid to guarantee.
4. “Have puppies had inoculations appropriate for their age and worming?”
Puppies should have at a minimum had their first shots. Get a copy of which shots have been given and the veterinarian’s recommended schedule for vaccinations. Even dams that do not have parasites can have puppies with them. Puppies should also be guaranteed against infectious diseases.
5. “How old are the puppies?”
A good breeder would absolutely not consider letting puppies go prior to 8 weeks, closer to 12 weeks is better still. They would also not recommend a puppy going to a new home during a big holiday, a move, or right before or after the birth of a new baby, depending on the circumstances involved.
6. “Do you require your pet puppies to be spayed or neutered at maturity? Do you accept the return of your dogs at any time during their life span?”
A breeder who answers yes to these questions is usually a good breeder, who wants to be responsible for the lives he/she has produced. Breeding Corgis is difficult, expensive and sometimes dangerous. The breeder will not want you to endanger your pet. A responsible breeder will take responsibility for any dog they have bred throughout its life.
7. “Do you belong to a regional breed club?”
Breeders who belong to these clubs adhere to a code of ethics requiring them to be conscientious and honest. Visit www.pwcca.org to see the Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of America’s Code of Ethics,; your breeder should adhere to these principles. Good breeders have more experience and have access to information on their breed. They can refer you to other good breeders. You can be assured that these are not puppy-mill operations or backyard-breeders.
8. “Can you tell me about the grandparents?”
A puppy is more than a product of its two parents. Health and personality traits will trickle down from its ancestors. A good breeder takes this into account. Here is where your puppy will get its temperament, ask about the personalities of all of its relatives!
9.”Where were the puppies raised?”
Puppies raised indoors receive better socialization and will bond to people better. This is another important factor in developing a puppy’s personality.
10. “Have they had any training?”
Housebreaking and crate training should be started, leash breaking as well. This makes transition to new surroundings easier for the lifetime of the dog.
11. “Do you offer any help and literature on training and other things?”
Good breeders are happy to help with these issues. Good breeders are happy to take the puppy back at any age if you can no longer keep it.
12. “How many litters do you breed a year? How many breeds do you breed?”
Be wary of anyone who breeds frequently (more than 2 or 3 litters a year) or who breeds multiple breeds (more than 2).
13. “Have you ever been suspended by your breed club or the AKC?”
This is an important question; breeders that have been suspended have obviously done something wrong in the eyes of the AKC or their breed club. Above all, be suspicious of a breeder that tells you, “None of these things are important because I only raise pets”. ALL pets should be free of pain and emotional problems.
14. Be suspicious of the breeder that does not ask YOU any questions!
Good breeders want good homes for their puppies. Obviously pet shops cannot answer these questions. Do not try to rescue a pet-shop Corgi; the store will just order more from the puppy-mill.
Visit the Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of America’s website website for more information about how to choose a breeder and a puppy, and for a list of member breeders.
Remember, ALL puppies are cute and lovable, making them hard to resist. Do your homework beforehand. Think about how much time and research went into your last major purchase, such as your car or your home. A dog will be with you for at least as long as your car and will require a lot more “maintenance”. Make sure the puppy you get and the person you get it from are worth the investment!
Much of KeelMtn’s philosophy about dog ownership can be found on Our Rescues page. Let us close with the following thoughts:
Man domesticated the dog to be a companion animal. We, then, bear the awesome responsibility for all dogs to have loving homes, to receive appropriate medical care and training, to be relieved of the burden of careless procreation, and to live a life free of hunger, illness, fear, and violence. Simply because all people can own a dog doesn’t mean they should. Careful thought to and planning for the lifestyle changes inherent to owning a dog is necessary before including one in your life.
“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.” – Roger Caras, 1928-2001