Do You Have to Lose Money Breeding Dogs?

Hello German shepherd dog and puppies lovers:

I am just so tired of reading that people shouldn’t and can’t make a decent living breeding dogs. There is room making money in llamas, horses, fish farming, alpacas, worms, pigs, etc. It is biblical even. Abraham, Lot, Moses, Israel, Job for example were in the business of animal husbandry and were very successful at it. In Germany there is a proud and honorable tradition in breeding dogs that has been passed down from generation to generation. They pass down this craft to their children, and are painstakingly rigorous and intently perfectionist. We wouldn’t have our GSD breed if not for the work started with Max von Stephanitz and carried on for generations, proving and improving the breed, culling the gene pool. We are the beneficiaries of their efforts.

I am so tired of hearing that you are either of two types of breeders, those who are broke and do it for the breed, or those who make profit and have a puppy mill. We at Banffy Haus have only 5-7 litters per year, feed our dogs Royal Canin, get them the best vet care, have a heated nursery, wonderful runs with the best kennels from L-Bar-M Ranch products. We play music and sound effects for the pups, know them by name, are intent on reducing genetic diseases, assiduous about the blood lines we breed, serious about joint health, look to honor the breed standard and strive to retain working drives. We are vigilant about cleanliness with our own dog septic, puppies sheets which cost a bit more to disgard after one use, fresh cedar chips and fresh smelling kennels kept fresh smelling and constantly sprayed off. We want to be craftsman, proud of our work, and proud of our progeny. But we can still make a profit and shouldn’t be embarrassed. It is natural.  We were careful in what we spent on our micro-kennels to keep costs at an acceptable level, trying to create a paradigm for other small hobby breeders so that they can do things right and still be able to afford it and earn a return.

The trick is to start with the right motivation and then apply the right skills. I read a blog today where someone asked what breed they should do to breed for profit. Just click here to see the exchange. This was the wrong motivation. We start with a love for dogs, in fact a specific love for a specific breed and a desire to provide top quality companions for families.  This respect and enjoyment will show in how we set up our kennels and the way we treat our dogs. Deciding upon a breed in order to maximize profit is the wrong motivation. I was an athlete and a coach, having also spent five years in military school. I was brought up loving animals. There was something about shepherds that fit for me, something about these brilliant, courageous athletes that I really respected.  I started with shepherds and have only bred shepherds. I focused even more specifically on West German show lines. This is my breed, my focus, my craft. In the next blog post I will discuss the right skills and how they are brought to bear to enable a true craft breeder to make a decent profit while improving the breed and running a very nice micro-kennel operation. There are not just two rubrics for German Shepherd breeders.  Not only are there those who are puppy mills or those who basically do it for the breed and break even or go broke. There are also those who are true proud craftsman and balance their craft with running an operation that can also allow them to continue breeding wonderful representations of this marvelous breed and support themselves in the process.

Every litter for me is an exciting event.  I still love the smell of German Shepherd puppies.  I still love working with these magnificent animals.  If you get a chance, you can also visit our K-9U on the home page for more useful articles and short helpful, free of charge, educational videos on the breed.  Just click here.  Also you can visit our kennel design page which we are incrementally building and will include a video catalog for building your own micro kennel.

German Shepherd Breeders Beware: EPI

Hello German shepherd puppy and German shepherd dog lovers:

Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency in German shepherd dogs. Symptoms include:
1.Foul smelling feces
2.Yellow of mustard color feces
3.Consistency soft unformed like a cow patty, oily
4.Brittle coat, loss of hair
5.Weight loss. Inability to keep weight on even with appetite
6.Voracious appetite
7.Constant thirst
8.Rumbling sounds in the stomach and gas

EPI is a common disease in the German shepherd dog. I myself have been fortunate to only have one myself. Also I have only had one reported in hundreds of pups I have sold over the last decade. But 70% of reported cases of EPI are in German Shepherd dogs. It does not normally present itself in German shepherd puppies. Sometimes it takes time for the pancreas to atrophy (die) prior to the dog becoming symptomatic. It usually appears in young dogs ages 4-5.

This disease is basically caused by the malfunctioning (or lack thereof) of the pancreas. The pancreas either incrementally fails to excrete enough enzymes to digest food or completely shuts done, preventing the proper digestion and absorption of nutrients. Basically, due to the failure of the pancreas to produce the enzymes necessary to digest the food, the dog starves, even if they eat lots of food. The pancreas does not produce the proper amounts of amylase (to digest starches and sugars), lipases (for fats), and proteases (for proteins). The dog literally can starve to death.

There are thought to be two major causes of EPI. One is pancreatic atrophy, which may be due to an inherited condition. The second could be stress to the pancreas caused by multiple bouts of pancreatitis. There is no cure for pancreatitis and life long treatment are expensive, using pancreatic enzyme supplements.

We at Banffy Haus have been very fortunate in this regard.  We have had a very low reported incidence of EPI in the German Sheperd puppies we have sold.  If you are interested we have German shepherd puppies for sale listed on our page:  Current litters (just click to visit).

INTERESTING NOTE: I have heard of a nurse friend of mine who treated EPI in her German shepherd dog with sheep pancreas for a much lower cost than the supplements. I am not certain how she did this but it may be something to look into.

The Holiday Minefield for German Shepherd Puppies.

Hello GSD lovers

Making the Holiday Safe for Your German Shepherd

Many holiday items create a mine field of potential problems for you dog, but especially for your German Shepherd puppy. The GSD has a very sensitive stomach and certain foods like turkey can cause diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration and death fairly quickly in a puppy. Chicken and Turkey bones can splinter and cause a dog to choke. Chocolate is a deadly toxin for dogs. If you suspect they have eaten it, get in contact with your vet or pet emergency/poison control center immediately.

Be careful that your puppy or dog does not consume food wrapped in foil or plastic. Watch out for poinsettias and holly. It is advisable to not feed human food to your dog or radically change their diets during the holiday season. Also remember that it an obese German shepherd puppy or dog is not cute but grotesque, cruel and unhealthy. Be safe and don’t let the kids slip them a cookie or other treat.

Be careful and watch for potential aberrant behavior during this season. It is stressful and confusing for your dog to have all of the visitors, interlopers into his/her pack. Be careful not to turn your back with all of the new toys, especially with your puppy who can quickly ingest small pieces of things.

Please visit our German Shepherd K-9 University for further useful articles and videos.

Above all, love and cherish your German shepherd puppy, keeping them safe this holiday season.

Puppy Development for German Shepherd Breeders


Hello GSD lovers

Puppy Development Techniques:  Please look online on youtube at our new German Shepherd puppy video on helpful techniques for puppy development for Geman shepherd breeders.  In it we show some of what we do here at Banffy Haus to prepare your puppy.

Please take a look at it on our growing instructional video webpage. (click here).

Giving puppies a head start is so vital.  Make certain your breeder is not so big or so commercial that they don’t take the time to nurture and individually treat each puppy in a litter.  Since we normally only have one litter at a time, we can know each puppy individually.  We can know them by name.

We will be sharing more and more about this issue, and will reveal things as we learn through our experimentation with our puppies.

My goal is to make your life with your German shepherd puppies as enjoyable as possible.







Two ball: the Ultimate German Shepherd Game



Hello GSD lovers

TWO BALL:  THE ULTIMATE GERMAN SHEPHERD PUPPY AND DOG GAME.  I just love two ball.  It is a great way to get phenomenal exercise for your dog, teach obedience, and prepare for training skills for competition later.  Two ball also allows the owner to not have to be in great physical condition and still be able to participate in training the dog.

These balls are hard rubber to guard against your German Shepherd destroying them.  They have a rope handle to give you leverage to launch the ball for a much greater distance.  Here is a picture:


Ok. So you get two of these balls and then march out to the field with your overly excited, exuberant dog to play “two ball”.  Remember to integrate training into the games.  Take one ball, ask your dog to sit (this is so difficult as, if they have some prey drive, they are chomping at the bit to scramble after the ball.  Sometimes I make them platz (down) and only release them after I have thrown the ball and allowed them.  So swing the ball with the rope and let it fly.  Send the dog who will bound after the ball and tell him/her, “bring” or other command.  When they are young, start with very short distances and exaggerated commands and praise, coaxing them constantly to return to you and rewarding them with excessively.

When they bring it back, then bring the other ball out and say “aus” (out).  As they drop in, launch the other.  This sure beats running after then all around the yard to get the ball out of their mouth.  You can mix it up by one time requiring a down, throw, slight pause, release to pursue.

I can’t tell you what a great game this is and how much fun you will have with your friend.  However, if you need to work off that holiday culinary excessiveness (too much food!), then maybe “one ball”, with you chasing your dog, might be in order! smiley

Please take a look at it on our growing instructional K-9 U (click here) for more helpful articles .

I hope you enjoy playing this game with your German shepherd puppy or adult as much as I have.











German Shepherd Puppies Hips


Hello GSD lovers

WARNING:  Bad hips:  I just posted a new youtube video on proactive practices for hips for German Shepherd puppies and dogs.  These are helpful ways to obviate some simple mistakes.

Please take a look at it on our growing instructional video webpage. (click here).

Although we have reduced the cases of hip dysplasia in the GSD, especially with ther German import lines, it is still a sad and crippling disease that is prevalent with the magnificent working breed.

It is our hope that this advice, much of which is very common sensical, will help you and maybe help you to avoid trauma to your puppies’ hips.

My goal is to make your life with your German shepherd as enjoyable as possible.

Feeding your German Shepherd puppies and dog

Hello GSD lovers

I just posted a new youtube video on feeding instructions for German Shepherd puppies and dogs.  It has some helpful advice and some warning about feeding your new puppy and dog.

Please take a look at it on our growing instructional video webpage. (click here).

I hope these videos are useful. Please blog me back if you have been helped by them.  Your feedback is important.

Feeding is an area that can be a real issue if not dealt with correctly.  Overfeeding and free-feeding are just two issues.  If you have any other questions please blog me and I will answer.

My goal is to make your life with your German shepherd as enjoyable as possible.

Banffy Haus German Shepherds: Correcting for Disobedience

Hello German Shepherd lovers:  This is Dr. Banffy.  This blog post covers proper correction for dog disobedience.

First of all you must first understand the appropriate level of correction for you specific dog.  You must know the level of correction which will push them into avoidance and submissive behavior.  Watch tell-tale signs such as ears back, tail between the legs, hunching down, urination and/or running away.  If you see this type of behavior, you need try a lower level of correction.

Next, I am a true believer that a firm voice and a leash correction is all you need for training most dogs.  We use a Herm Sprenger stainless fur saver to save the hair on the neck, and a 4 foot Amish leather lead to keep control.  When you correct, use a firm, low voice, put slack in the lead and yank briskly up and to your left (that is if the dog is on the left as it should be).  A well known saying in training circles is one firm correction is worth 1000 small ones.  Dogs learn to adjust if you incrementally increase severity from gentle to firm.

You are probably saying that the last two paragraphs seem to have conflicting advice, don’t be too harsh yet be very firm.  Well, it is a balance. But what I am saying is if you know their limit, then correct to that limit rather than below and then incrementally raising it.

What is so good about a leash correction as opposed to the hand or foot (which I don’t like even though many German trainers use it), is that you are less emotionally connected and less physically connected to the dog when correcting.

There are a few dogs that have to use a prong collar.  Don’t be shy.  It does not hurt the dogs.  Never sharpen the tips of the prongs as some trainers do.   And understand that the collar is made to evenly distribute the force around the neck.

And remember another important training tip.  Never correct a dog who doesn’t yet completely understand the skill.  Don’t use correction to teach the skill.  It is a lot better to use motivation for that.  Please visit our litters page to see current litters.

Finally, for German Shepherd puppies, until they are at least a few months old, use as much positive reinforcement as you can to develop a love for training.

German Shepherd Puppies: Saving them All

Hello German Shepherd lovers;

This is a blog to help some of you in your quest to “save them all”.  First of all, we as breeders have to live with the hard fact that we can’t.  But we always will try our best.  I have saved puppies by giving mouth to muzzle (breathing gently into the mouth to expand their lungs), we have sutured ruptured umbilicals with dental floss where mom chewed too close, I have spent hours with a heating pad and blow dryer to save rigid puppies born outside in the freezing cold, I have verbally encouraged fading German Shepherd puppies, rubbed and massaged, been heartbroken when they die.

I just lost all five in a litter of five because I could not get oxytocin dispensed to me by my new vet.  I spent hours at emergency and then aborted the dead puppy from the canal myself when the attending vet was too nervous about what my dog might do if she did it.

Look, very few people understand what we breeders do, lovingly cleaning our nurseries and dogs after whelping, stressing for days to make sure puppies make it past “fading puppy sydrome”, putting each pup on the nipple.  The greatest joy I get from this all is hearing from my clients about some amazing story of how our dogs served them or protected them.  I have some wonderful stories to share.  I plan to write some tips for you hobby breeders to help “save them all” in the near future.  Please watch on the blog and follow the new articles and videos posted to (click here) my K9-U.

We German Shepherd breeders have to live with the fact that we can’t save them all, but we can do what we do the best we can.

German Shepherd puppies owners CAUTION-HIPS


Hello German Shepherd puppies lovers:

This is Dr. Banfe.  In this blog post I would like to help you with one of the most ubiquitous concerns for German Shepherd breeders and owners, hip health.  First of all, according to the OFA, hip dysplasia for dogs breeds range from 72% for the bulldog to 0% for the Italian greyhound.  In the US the German Shepherd used to be a poster child for dysplasia.  But recognition of the problem has led to a marked decrease in this problem in the breed.  Currently the German Shepherd is at 19% (number 40 of all breeds listed).  This means that your German Shepherd puppy in the US has a 19% chance of having bad hips.

Good news is that the Germans, with their rigorous systemic approach have reduced hip dysplasia to less than 10% – I have heard as low as 7%.  So getting German lines will dramatically reduce the incidence of hip dysplasia in your German shepherd.  You see, the Americans do not require dogs which are bred to have had hip xrays and certifications.  The AKC does not keep any records of a dog’s health.  However the SV in Germany requires hip certifications and accurate records are kept in order to sanitize the gene pool of this crippling condition.  And, they have a central orthopedic clearinghouse for just German Shepherd hip xrays, a specific group which has the responsibility for supervising the review of hip xrays and certifications.  Whereas, from what I understand, the OFA handles all breeds and rotates xrays out to any orthopedic veterinary expert who is currently working within the OFA system around the country.  So the German system leads to more consistency.

Years ago the Germans also instituted the ZW system on top of the HD and ED (elbow) system.  This statistic reflects the probability of that a dog will pass hip dysplasia on to its progeny.  Although in Germany  I have heard reports of cheating to improve these stats for a specific dog, such as not reporting puppies which had the condition, overall the rigorous German approach to hip dysplasia has been quite effective.  A good rating would be less than 100.  But for certain the sum total of a pairing should not equal more than 200.  For example, my new female Ussa vom Suentelstein has a ZW of 80 and my Parla vom Fiemereck has a ZW of 74.  So they have low probability of passing bad joints to their progeny.  They could be matched with a male of over 100, although we never would.

You can visit our k-9 university for more useful articles by clicking K9 U.

In the next blog post, I will discuss your German shepherds puppies’ hips, some do’s and don’ts and some timing issues regarding formation of the hips.