Bellwether Dalmatian Puppy FAQs
Frequently Asked Questions about the Bellwether Dalmatian breeding program and what we do as an AKC Breeder of Merit
What is the process for getting a Bellwether Dalmatian puppy?
The process starts with my review of the information you provide on our questionnaire. If I have questions about the info or need to know more, I will contact you. We are looking for homes that would be a good fit for the breed in general and more specifically, one of our puppies. If I feel your home and lifestyle would be a good fit for one of our pups, I will add you to our list of waiting puppy homes. ALL good breeders carefully screen potential homes for their puppies.
Once our litter has whelped, we will see what the “litter gods” have given us. Some pups may be destined for show homes (homes/owners who plan to pursue an AKC championship in the breed ring), some will go to pet homes. In addition to the questionnaire and email correspondence, I welcome an in-person visit when the pups are about 4 weeks old so we may meet and you may see the puppies and the environment in which they are being raised. No puppy placement decisions are ever made before pups are 6 or 7 weeks of age.
Do you health test the dogs you breed? Do your dogs have a CHIC number?
Yes. All our dogs are health tested in accordance with the recommendations put forth by our parent club- The Dalmatian Club of America https://www.ofa.org/recommended-tests?breed=DM Health testing results are submitted to the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) https://www.ofa.org/about/chic-program where the results are publicly available. We only breed bilateral hearing Dalmatians that have earned an AKC conformation championship and have healthy testing results.
I’ve heard that early stimulation and socialization is important for a very young puppy. Do you do this with your puppies?
Almost since birth, puppy has been learning social skills from mother and littermates. At the age of about 3 weeks old a more formal socialization begins. Pups are moved from the privacy of the whelping box to a bigger puppy pen (with a specific place to potty) in a more active area of the house. Pups are exposed to household activities and the many sounds of general life (vacuum cleaner, television, radio, the coming and going of family, etc.). At 4 weeks old as they become quite steady on their feet, puppies are given more areas and things to explore- different areas of the house, new objects and obstacles. Puppies receive a steady stream of visitors- socializers in every shape and size both young and old from 4 to 8 weeks of age.
Outdoor experiences start at 5-6 weeks of age. Pups get to know nature (new smells, wind, earth, grass, butterflies etc.) and the big busy world (the loud garbage truck, the UPS truck that beeps when it goes backwards, the school bus with blinking lights and loud little humans, etc.). There are new and different outdoor objects and obstacles to explore and climb on. At 8 weeks, puppies receive their first vaccinations and a complete physical. With a clean bill of health and early socialization under his belt, puppy is ready to go home with new family and continue to explore and learn.
Introducing your puppy to the world will be one of your most important responsibilities. Socializing the young 10-12 week old puppy with many different people, places and things is vital.
Do you BAER hearing test your puppies?
Yes. All Bellwether Dalmatian puppies have their hearing tested by 6 weeks of age. The Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response (BAER) is an electro-diagnostic test used to assess hearing. This test detects electrical activity in the cochlea and auditory pathways in the brain in much the same way that an antenna detects radio signals or an EKG detects electrical activity in the heart. The BAER test is used to evaluate components of the external ear canal, middle/inner ear cavities, cranial nerve and selected areas of the brainstem. It is a non-invasive procedure that takes 5-10 minutes to perform.
This test is not used to inform us if a puppy can hear, we already know that! It is used specifically to determine if a puppy hears with one or both ears- valuable information for us as breeders when we consider which dogs may be appropriate for our breeding program. We only breed bilateral hearing dogs as our goal is to avoid any possible risk factor for congenital deafness in future generations. Unilateral hearing puppies (perfect hearing in one ear, less or none in the other ear) are wonderful healthy puppies and excellent pets!
Do you provide a contract to be signed? If so, do you offer a health guarantee?
Yes. We do have a contract that must be signed before you assume ownership of one of our puppies. It spells out certain requirements that you, as the owner, agree to regarding care. It also affirms the health of the puppy. All puppies placed are completely healthy and we encourage you to bring puppy to your veterinarian within the first few days to confirm this or if you have any concerns at all.
I am selective when choosing homes for our puppies and I know a good fit when I see one. If we place a puppy with you, it is because we believe that you will be able to care, nurture and raise him now and continue to love and care for him until his last day. As the breeder of your dog, I will be there as a safety net. I will always be available for any and all questions or concerns.
What early puppy preventative health care steps (vaccines, deworming) are done before we pick up our puppy? What should we do as soon as our puppy comes home, what should we know?
Our pups are wormed at 2, 4, 6 and 8 weeks of age. As a precaution, we do worm nursing mother too. Puppies receive their first vaccinations and a complete physical by our veterinarian before going to new home. We encourage you to bring puppy to your vet to confirm health or if you have any concerns.
Instructions for care will be provided ahead of the curve before you bring puppy home. We are there for you and your new 8-10 week old puppy as you settle in. We send reminders and provide important information for all the early milestones – 12 weeks, 16 weeks and 6 months. We will always be available for any and all questions and concerns.