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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,
Warning: This is an introduction/memorial/and breeder question, all in one post, so it's very long.

My name is Kelly and I'm from New York. I lost my West Highland White Terrier on March 12th this year from two kinds of cancer. He was 12.5 years old and I had him since I was 10--I literally grew up with that dog. He slept in my bed every night and (even though I know everyone feels this way about their dog) he was the best dog I knew.

His death was and still is very hard on me. But it also opened my eyes to a lot of things I wish I did better (spent more time doing things, for example). I've become kind of a surrogate mother to the other dogs in my life like my sister's Cavalier and my aunt's Shiba Inu, but I miss having my own dog so I'm looking into a Westie breeder.

As I mentioned, my Westie was diagnosed with 2 kinds of cancer: hemangiosarcoma and endocrine cancer. As with other cases of hemangiosarcoma, we found out only when it was too late and a tumor in his spleen ruptured. He was shaking and breathing extremely fast with his mouth closed. We brought him to the vet specialists and after a blood transfusion and test, they performed surgery. He recovered well and we were expecting to pick him up after 3 days of not seeing him, when I received a phone call at 5am saying he had went into cardiac arrest and died. The following minutes/hours/days were the worst time in my life.

Anyway, researching hemangiosarcoma led to me to some theories that genetics and food can be linked. I was 10 when I bought my dog, after having begged for one my whole life, so when my dad took me to a pet store to pick one out, I couldn't object (nor did I know any better). We all know the genetic uncertainty and dangers of buying from a pet store.

As for food, My dog was fed Eukenuba and Nutro as a puppy/young adult. After I learned better a few years ago, he was switched to Wellness for the later part of his life. Still, I feel like I did some harm by my ignorance when I was younger.

So today I think I'm ready to start thinking about a new dog, and Westie's are dear to my heart so it's definitely the breed I want. I was wondering if anyone could recommend a breeder in the NY/NJ area (or PA/CT) because even though I contacted both the Westie clubs in NY and NJ and got the breeder lists, there's so many and I'd love personal recommendations/advice.

Thanks for reading. I appreciate all your help!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for your replies.

Michiyo-
I've already contacted the Westie clubs in NY and NJ for breeder referral lists. I was just hoping maybe someone on this board could offer their personal experience or recommendation.

Paux-
As bad as it sounds, I don't think I want to do a rescue. I want to be as sure of my dog's genetic history/health issues as possible, and although I know there's no guarantees ever and even the best breeders can't promise anything, it's a little peace of mind for me. Also, I want to experience the very early puppy stages.
 

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I share your feelings about your loss, and Westies in general. Had to put my Charlie age 13 down in late August, 2009, as he suddenly went into kidney failure. Miss him terribly, and am looking now for a new Westie (as I work in a school my best time to train a dog is during summer). There are a lot of Westies up for rescue, but I too am looking at breeders in the NJ and PA area as I want more of a guarantee of a healthy dog who will live a long life. A previous Westie I purchased years ago from a nice family in Virginia was diagnosed w a terminal disease at age 5. There are known genetic diseases carried in some Westie lines.

Since you have the list of breeders in NJ and NY, start calling and email those who are accessible that way. There are also some reputable breeders who "retire" female westies after they have a couple of litters, so you might want to check about any possibilities that way too. You can also ask about any upcoming Westie shows, etc. as this is also a way to meet breeders.

Expect to pay at least $2000 for a Westie pup from a breeder in this area of the country. Some are even higher.

Best of luck! Westies are the besties!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
BlueSkye- those are my thoughts exactly. I've contacted a few people on the lists and one way I have narrowed it down is by asking what they feed their dogs. If anyone said Eukeneuba/Iams/etc. I immediately crossed them off. I definitely plan on going to some shows around me (a few are happening this summer).

I was wondering about cost but have yet to ask a breeder specifically what their pups go for. I could understand a show quality dog going for $2000+ but what about just a companion pet?
 

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There are known genetic diseases carried in some Westie lines.
There are genetic diseases in all lines.

If anyone said Eukeneuba/Iams/etc. I immediately crossed them off.
I'm sorry, but this is just silly. As much as we want to believe that every dog should be on/do well on all the holistic grain free dog food, it just doesn't work that way, and you shouldn't cross off a breeder because of it.

I met one of my favorite dogs of all time this past weekend. He was in the AKC top 10 and was shown all over the country. He's 9 years young. His breeder/owner/handler has fed him Purina Pro Plan and Royal Canin (RC was his backer). He looked spectacular and is in great health.

The overall HEALTH of the dogs they have bred is far more important than what they eat!

ETA: By the way, I would TOTALLY buy a GSD from the woman that bred that dog. Absolutely amazing program.
 

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Xeph- While I understand where your coming from and why you think that's a bit rash of me, I still maintain my reasoning.

With all the information out there today, and all the high-quality products readily available, I can't see why a breeder would go on feeding brands of food that are proven to be inferior. Not just inferior, but many of these commercial dog foods are actually harmful to dogs. Like I said, I've researched my first Westie's cancer extensively and many websites say that the ingredients and processing of commercial dog food have been linked to it. I'm not taking it as gospel but I won't take a risk when I don't have to.

I'm sure the dog you're talking about did look great and was healthy, but later on in the line..? It just makes me wonder why someone with such an amazing program who obviously cares very much for their dogs won't want to feed their dogs the best food available.
 

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It's called $300+/month of dog food feeding a kennel of 10 (large breeds) if you feed a brand like Wellness. It's not affordable.

The dogs in her line are very long lived, and I'll maintain that is is absolutely ridiculous to discount what would be an AWESOME breeder in every other way except what they feed. You can always switch food when you get a puppy.
 

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where in NY are you?? There are a few AKC dog shows coming up in NY area.
The end of June 24-26th there is a few shows up in New Paltz and then June 27th Sunday there is a show in Staten Island. Let em know if you'd like more info on them.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Xeph-
That may be the case. I just think that food is the last thing a breeder should be cutting costs on. It's not like I'm discounting them for not using the best dog beds or whatnot. I think food is extremely important and not something to skimp on, especially when there are much better choices that Purina Pro Plan and Royal Canin that don't cost as much as Wellness and the like. Purina Pro Plan is ranked between 1 to 2 on dogfoodanalysis.com, the majority of them being 1.

Also, when you have many breeders to narrow down from (Westie's are pretty popular), I can afford to be picky.


Kacaju- I'm in Long Island. I'm afraid New Paltz is too far for me but I was planning on going to some of the shows in my area this summer. I'd love more info if you have.
 

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The thing about food is, It's quality only affects the dogs it's being fed to. It has no effect on the quality of the puppies. You would turn down a Westie breeder who has champion and earthdog champion dogs with every heath test under the sun and perfect temperament if they fed Purina Pro Plan?
 

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...Yes. A mother with a life of being fed crap food is will effect the puppies that develop INSIDE of her, nurse from her, etc. In my opinion, generations of feeding a dog crap food will have an effect somewhere down the line and I DO feel it's a reflection on the breeder.

I don't see why this one means of narrowing down a large list of Westie breeders is so disputed. I've gotten in contact with breeders who have champion dogs, perform health tests, and breed for temperment above all else who also feed their dogs holistic, excellent quality food. Like I said, I understand why some people will choose to do things differently (which is fine!) but I want to be especially anal about where I get my next puppy from.
 

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I think you need to do more research on canine health and nutrition I don't feed Pro Plan but I recognize that different dogs have different needs. Yes there are better foods out there but some dogs just don't do well on the higher grade foods, I believe a breeder who knows what is best for her own dogs is much better than a breeder who wants to impress puppy buyers.
 

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...Yes. A mother with a life of being fed crap food is will effect the puppies that develop INSIDE of her, nurse from her, etc. In my opinion, generations of feeding a dog crap food will have an effect somewhere down the line and I DO feel it's a reflection on the breeder.
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what scientific studies is your opinion based off of? cause I have a lot of experience with many different breeders of the same breed using different foods and several are on their 5-6-7 generation of dogs and their dogs are just the same in health as the next good breeder who feeds a different food.


I have a friend who feeds raw and is on her 3rd generation of dogs, her dogs are (for lack of a better word) spazzy and of poor temperament. Does this mean feeding Raw is bad for breeding dogs? NO it just goes to show that everything else is more important.
 

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Pro Plan is one of the better low-cost dog foods, it's not on the level of Ol'Roy-quality garbage. I wouldn't automatically think badly of a breeder that used it.
 

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Hi Kelly,

I love Westies! Just the cutest things. And I sympathize with you about getting a puppy. I don't mind rescues, but we hate missing out on the new puppy phase, on when they experience something for the first time and when they are so cute and playful. No replacement for that. We compromise on our family; we have 2 dogs; one from puppy and one from rescue. maybe that will work out?

I'm sorry for your loss; we know the pain of losing a dog you've known for most of your life as far back as you can remember. I hope you get a bundle of joy soon...

I've never been to NY before, so I know posting these is a bit silly, but here are two Westies in NY -- maybe it helps?

http://www.pups-seeking-homes.com/ad/index.htm?breed=West%20Highland%20Terrier&adid=5ySQwPFgO0lO0QUw0FIWOg%3D%3D

http://www.terrificpets.com/dogs_for_sale/viewad.asp?adid=66489
 

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I just think that food is the last thing a breeder should be cutting costs on.
I'd rather they cut costs on food and feed something like Pro Plan (which I almost put Strauss on because he has stomach issues and believe it or not LOTS of sensitive stomach dogs do very well on it) than on things like veterinary care.

Just sayin'.
 

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Actually, a lot of show breeders swears their dogs do the best on Pro Plan. I believe a few Dobe people on this board said Dobes are known to do well on Pro Plan and that's what a majority of the breeders use.

I personally would never take a breeder off my list if they do everything else right but feed a lower end food.
 
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