Spotlight on Pawrade Puppy Breeder Dave

13 minute read By Lucy Hughes
Reviewed by: Pawrade Team
June 08, 2024

A man stands next to a zebra in a field

Gazing across the verdant, sweeping fields of a 130-acre certified organic dairy farm, one would expect to see cows grazing peacefully – but what about a zebra and camels peacefully munching on grass? 

Pawrade breeder partner Dave, his wife Luann, and their daughters operate a farm and sell their quality dairy products to Organic Valley. Their busy farm includes cows, horses, ducks, chickens, puppies, and yes, even a zebra and camels! While people obviously cannot take home baby zebras as their beloved companions, they can pick out a variety of puppies from various breeds raised by Dave and his family. 

“I’ve been a breeder for over 20 years,” says Dave. “It’s really important for customers to know someone has been at it a long time. I do whatever I can to offer genetically-tested, AKC-registered, well-socialized puppies that are happy and healthy.”

Dave’s successful, thriving farm all started with one Boston Terrier, Daisy, that he adopted when he was 12 years old. “This affectionate and loving breed quickly stole my heart,” explains Dave. Since then, Dave has always had a Boston Terrier by his side, keeping his heart open to taking care of a variety of animals, both domestic and exotic. Dave says, “I’m an animal lover! Animals are just like potato chips – you always need more!”

Get To Know Dave’s Favorite Breeds

Today, Dave and his family have branched out beyond Boston Terriers and have raised French Bulldogs, Frenchtons, English Bulldogs, Yorkshire Terriers, Mini Dachshunds, and other breeds. While he loves all of his dog breeds for different reasons, Dave will always have a soft spot for Bostons. 

Dave says all of his breeds are raised to do well in a variety of homes. He says, “Some people have kids. My daughters help me a lot with the puppies and socialize them by taking them to the yard and playing with them. All kinds of people like our dogs, and we take good care of them.”

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French Bulldogs

Dave loves the personality of a French Bulldog puppy. He notes French Bulldogs are energetic, lively, and hilarious. They are currently the #1 most popular registered dog breed with the American Kennel Club, and it’s not hard to see why. They are not big barkers and are very friendly, making them great family dogs. 

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Frenchtons

A Frenchton puppy is a cross between a French Bulldog and a Boston Terrier. A Frenchton is a bit more laid-back than a Frenchie and contains the best qualities of each parent breed. They are charismatic, playful, and goofy. Their small stature and low shedding make them great canine companions for small spaces. 

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English Bulldogs

“I like Bulldogs in general, says Dave. “English Bulldog puppies are laid-back with a friendly, happy temperament, and are so ugly that they’re cute!” The English Bulldog has a thick, stout body on short legs with a snubbed nose and is known for its gentle courage and reliable nature. They don’t require much exercise and are the perfect dog to take a snooze with them in the afternoons.

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Yorkshire Terriers

While Yorkshire Terriers may have a reputation for being bold and feisty, Dave notes, “They’re easy to raise, are good moms, and seldom have issues birthing puppies. They’re a really nice dog for someone who likes a small, non-shedding dog.” Yorkshire Terriers are considered hypoallergenic due to growing hair and not fur, making them an excellent choice for allergy sufferers. 

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Mini Dachshunds

Everyone can recognize a Mini Dachshund with a body that is twice as long as it is tall. Dave says, “I like how energetic they are, always sniffing and wagging their tails, and they are very funny dogs.” Mini Dachshunds have three types of coats: Short, long, and wire-haired. They’re great family dogs that will keep you entertained for hours. 

Puppy Parents and Genetic Testing

Dave and his family are indeed true animal lovers, and it shows in his puppy breeding efforts. It all starts with healthy parents. Dave raises his dams on site, and he hand-picks males that he likes and are good candidates to produce healthy litters. 

Part of being a responsible breeder is conducting genetic testing to check for any hereditary issues. Testing also helps Dave maintain genetic diversity and promotes the overall quality of the breed. “We do a lot of genetic testing on our adult dogs. We test through Animal Genetics, which offers state-of-the-art testing for genetic traits and to identify the likelihood those traits will be passed down to the next generation, covering everything from coat color to inherited genetic diseases,” notes Dave. “We do everything we can to avoid issues such as hernias, luxating patellas, and heart murmurs, and it’s very important we keep away from those issues. Very seldom do we have any issues due to following responsible breeding practices.” 

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It’s Birthing Day!

Dave does not have a steady number of litters at all times, so there is not a typical time of year when birth occurs. “We sometimes have 4 litters in a month and sometimes no litters,” explains Dave.

When birthing day comes for a litter, Dave is prepared. “I’m the type of guy that likes challenges. It takes a lot of time and effort. I love being there and taking good care of them, but I don’t get a lot of sleep!”

Not every birth is considered a traditional birth for all dog breeds, starting with the English Bulldog. These snub-nosed, compact, muscular dogs are unique in that English Bulldogs give birth by cesarean section through the abdomen rather than through the birth canal due to their large heads potentially getting stuck in the narrow passageway of a small pelvis. 

“The gestation period is about 59 days long. As the due date approaches, we start monitoring her progesterone. When the mama’s levels drop, that’s when we call the vet and bring her in. She has her c-section, we bring them home, and that’s when the real work starts!” Dave explains. For other breeds, the birth occurs at home with Dave and his family attending to the new mama and puppies.

Dave immediately begins tracking information on individual puppies and the litter as a whole. “I have a tablet where I keep information. I note the litter with the father and the mother, the birthday, microchip information, and notable moments each puppy experiences along the 8 weeks,” Dave says. 

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Dave’s Typical Day as a Puppy Breeder

While no day is the same as a breeder, it falls into somewhat of a routine. After they wake up, they immediately go check on the puppies and the dam. 

“We monitor the moms. We watch the puppy’s stool, and if there is diarrhea. there’s something wrong,” explains Dave. “I have a microscope to look at stool samples. Our veterinarian taught me to identify parasites to pinpoint issues so I can give them treatment right away. We keep a very close eye on them.” 

Dave also notes, “All the puppies go out in the yard while we clean the kennel. We allow some puppies to nurse while the others are playing outside so the mama has bonding time with just a few instead of the entire litter.” 

After everyone has eaten and been cleaned off, it’s playtime! “Our puppies have lots of room to run and play here on our farm where we often take them along to bring the cows back from the pasture,” says Dave. 

Once everything is in order, Dave has a bit of time to focus on other aspects of his program, like those amazing camels and his zebra! After lunch and an afternoon puppy snooze, the puppies come back from romping around in the yard, are fed their evening meal, and are tucked into their whelping box or pen with mama for a night of sweet puppy dreams. 

Preparing Puppies For Their New Homes

From their birthday to the day they go home, let’s examine the efforts that go into raising well-adjusted puppies through vet care, high-quality nutrition, socialization, and potty training. 

Veterinary care for puppies

Monitoring puppies during those first few weeks is crucial, beginning with the mother and father’s health. Once a litter is born, Dave’s licensed veterinarian comes out every week to look them over to note any possible concerns. As we learned earlier, Dave can monitor stool samples and identify parasites or changes in what a regular sample should look like. He gives vaccines and deworms them on the appropriate schedule. Lastly, the veterinarian conducts a final health check before the puppies leave for their new homes.  

Nutrition

The puppies nurse right after birth, taking in their dam’s milk, and will continue to do so for several weeks. Mother’s milk is the perfect nutrition for the little pups that can’t even open their eyes or hear yet. It contains colostrum, a substance rich in vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and water that protects puppies from infection, diseases, and dehydration. The babies will continue to nurse until about a month has passed. 

“We’ll start letting the puppies nibble on Royal Canin soft food for puppies around 3-4 weeks old,” says Dave. “If we have a larger litter of smaller puppies, we’ll monitor their weights and provide any supplements they might need.” 

During weeks 4-8, the puppies gradually transition to puppy food. “We wean them fully around 8 weeks old. The puppies are out playing in the grass in the fenced-in yard most of the day, and we feed the puppies in the evening. It’s a good way to start weaning them. We like to make gradual changes rather than all at once to ease them into a good eating routine,” notes Dave. 

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Let’s get social 

Socialization shapes a puppy’s temperament and behavior when interacting with the world, resulting in confident, well-adjusted puppies. Each week of development allows puppies to explore their environment in different ways. Socialization aims to expose puppies to real-world scenarios such as common household noises, interactions with children and other animals, and other unfamiliar situations. Not only does it help result in curious, adaptable puppies, but it also reduces undesired behaviors like aggression, anxiety, and fear later on in life. 

Dave knows how crucial those early weeks are to hit that short window of time to gain the most benefit from their socialization efforts. One way to prepare puppies for their new homes is to learn how to interact with children. “When we take them into the yard, our daughters do a great job making sure the puppies are happy and have lots of time with people and other dogs,” notes Dave. 

Tinkle time

Part of learning how to be a puppy is where to eliminate. As newborns, puppies relieve themselves after every feeding, as often as every two hours, due to their tiny stomachs and rapid metabolism. The mother helps them eliminate until their digestive systems grow stronger. At 3-4 weeks old, puppies gain more control over their bodily functions.

When they are ready to begin learning the places that are appropriate for elimination, Dave starts bringing them outside. “The puppies can go in and out by themselves in our fenced-in yard and learn to go where they need to,” says Dave. The puppies continue to master their tinkle skills with a puppy potty training routine when they go to their new homes.  

Dave’s favorite stage of puppy development

Puppies change so rapidly from week to week, but Dave has a particular favorite milestone to see. “I like it when the happy little puppies start running around checking everything out,” says Dave. “I like that stage about 4 weeks old when their ears start coming up.”

Going Home and Beyond

Despite having a wonderful time raising puppies, the ultimate goal is to prepare them to have a successful life beyond Dave’s kennel. His puppies go home anywhere from 8-10 weeks depending on the puppy’s readiness and travel arrangements. No puppy goes home empty-pawed. “We offer breeding rights and registration papers. We also microchip our puppies and enroll the microchip number.”

Pawrents have a variety of Pawrade puppy travel options for the journey to meet their puppy. “We offer flight nannies who fly on standby, but most of our puppies utilize the ground transportation option.” 

Contact does not end beyond the last day puppies live at the kennel. “We have lots of people who send us pictures on their dog’s birthday and keep up with us.” He notes, “I always like seeing when people come to pick up their puppy. They’re happy, and it’s always a highlight to see what a puppy can do to someone.”

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Breeder Business Aspects Beyond Raising Puppies

While it’s true that raising the puppies and ensuring the dam’s health is the primary focus for Dave, so much more goes into a breeder’s day than just attending to their needs, and they never run out of things to do. 

Pawrade parents love receiving pictures and videos of their puppies, so Dave spends lots of time updating his pictures to provide accurate, timely photos and customers. Dave also attends a few conferences where he enjoys going to sessions given by veterinarians and other dog experts on continuing education topics. “Because we live on a farm with lots of other animals, there’s always something to learn,” says Dave. Staying current with updated practices, new scientific research findings, and ways to better his breeding program are all important components to running a successful breeding business beyond the whelping box. 

How Being a Pawrade Breeder Partner Has Benefited Dave

Other aspects of kennel activities beyond actual puppy raising are marketing and sales, something breeders don’t often have time to do themselves. That’s one of the reasons why Dave turned to Pawrade.

“I’ve been with Pawrade about 4-5 years. Pawrade does all the marketing so I can be at home taking care of the puppies. I’m so busy, and Pawrade processes all the transactions right away,” says Dave. Pawrade uses PetPay, a secure transaction management system that provides smooth interactions among breeders, puppy adopters, and Pawrade staff. “As a breeder, I like PetPay because they set up direct deposit for bank accounts,” explains Dave. 

Dave knows how difficult it can be to vet breeders on your own. He notes, “Pawrade gives peace of mind that we do the breeder screening.” Breeders who seek partnership with Pawrade must be hand-selected after they pass a rigorous selection process, only accepting the best breeders who uphold Pawrade’s program standards. 

Pawrade protects breeders and customers from scammers. “I’ve had lots of scammers try to scam me before I used Pawrade, but I never gave in to it. It’s easy to tell after asking a few questions, says Dave. Luckily, no one has to worry about being scammed with Pawrade’s rigorous anti-scamming efforts. PetPay only asks for secure payment options and will never ask for payment via wire transfers, gift cards, apps like Zelle, or other unsecure payment methods. 

When asked what’s next, Dave wishes to expand his exotic animal menagerie to include an African Antelope called an Eland, a cattle-like animal with intricately V-shaped spiraling twisted horns that mainly eats grass – a unique addition to an already thriving farm. 

We are so grateful to Dave for being an amazing Pawrade partner breeder, and we’ve enjoyed sharing a snippet of Dave’s breeding operation. Browse our puppies for sale to see puppies from reputable breeders like Dave. 


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Lucy Hughes

Lucy Hughes has been teaching and writing professionally for half her life. She has a passion for helping people choose a puppy and lead an exciting life with their new furry companion. She enjoys spending quality time with her family and her beloved Golden Retriever, Bowie.

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