Before purchasing a pet, find out as much as possible about the breeders. These healthy Cavalier King Charles spaniels Kekoa and Nala are the companions of Kim and Khy Kimura. This photo is featured in the 2003 Pets in Paradise Calendar. Don't miss your chance to see your pet in the 2004 calendar. Entries are due by July 31. Pick up an entry form at the humane society or get more information at


put premium
on precaution

Adding a companion animal to your family is a choice sometimes made more with your heart than with your head. It's easy to fall in love with a fluffy little bundle of joy.

"Adorable puppies and kittens are difficult to resist," said Pamela Burns, Hawaiian Humane Society president, "and we recommend that families carefully consider this important addition."

Once made, the commitment to care for your new pet is just the beginning. It's a group decision and a relationship that will last for decades.

"Then there is the decision of what kind of animal you'll adopt," said Burns, "and whether you want a mixed breed or a purebred puppy. Poi dogs and domestic short-hair cats are as unique as fingerprints; puppies and kittens from breeders should conform to breed standards."

Those who have their hearts set on a purebred dog should research the breed to discover the nature of the dog, behavior traits and any genetic diseases the breed is prone to. Then they should research the breeder. Representing the breed, all-breed and obedience clubs of Hawaii, Hawaiian Dog Fanciers has compiled a few guidelines for breeders.

Gerri Cadiz, president of the Hawaiian Kennel Club, said, "We hope that prospective breeders will study the guidelines and set standards for their breeding programs that will produce healthy, well-adjusted puppies, representative of their breed." The guidelines are available as a brochure from the Hawaiian Kennel Club at 262-5236 and at the Hawaiian Humane Society.

Puppy buyers can benefit from the guidelines, discovering how to evaluate the puppy they hope to adopt and what questions to ask to determine who is a responsible breeder.

"Registration papers from the American Kennel Club do not guarantee the quality of the puppies or that they will be free of genetic defects or other health problems," said Cadiz. "AKC papers mean that the sire and dam (father and mother) of the puppies are registered with AKC.

"If AKC papers are important to you, do not pay for the puppy or take it home until you have the papers in hand," said Cadiz. "It should raise a red flag when someone is selling puppies without showing you where they were raised, or offers to meet you in a parking lot with the puppy. The best advice we can give is to always buy directly from a reputable breeder."

ONCE YOU HAVE located a responsible breeder, Hawaiian Dog Fanciers recommends that you meet the puppy's mother and father, check out the conditions where the puppies are being raised and ask for three generations of pedigree and written proof of vaccinations.

The litter should be kept together until the pups are at least 7 weeks old but preferably 8 weeks old. Puppies learn many life skills from their mother and from each other, becoming well-adjusted dogs thanks to this early puppy training.

The recommendations are essentially the same for those who want a purebred cat or kitten from a breeder.

"Anyone can produce litters of puppies or kittens who will all be adorable and appear to be healthy," said Cadiz. "A responsible breeder will be able to prove that they are healthy."

Here are some excerpts from Hawaiian Dog Fanciers' "Guidelines for Responsible Breeders":

>> Breeders will not sell or consign puppies or adult dogs to pet stores, puppy brokers or other commercial dealers.

>> All dogs shall be kept under sanitary conditions and shall be given maximum health protection through regular veterinary care, inoculations, adequate exercise and proper nutrition. Dogs shall be provided with a safe and secure environment at all times.

>> All breeders shall keep accurate and complete personal records of breedings, litters, pedigrees and puppy owners' names, addresses and phone numbers.

>> All puppies leaving the breeder's possession shall be a minimum of 7 weeks of age.

>> Breeders will screen for inherited diseases as known in their breed.

>> Breeders shall provide the puppy buyer with written details of feeding, general care, dates and types of inoculations and wormings, grooming instructions, training resources, etc., and be available to offer future advice as needed.

>> Only healthy, mature dogs will be bred, and the breeder will allow proper, healthful spacing between litters.

>> Prospective buyers should be screened as thoroughly as possible to determine their desire and ultimate intent for each puppy or dog, and also for their interest and ability to provide a safe, adequate and loving home for each puppy or dog acquired.

>> All dogs will be provided with appropriate socialization and training to become good companion animals.

>> Any advertising, oral or written, shall be factual and not worded so as to attract undesirable buyers or encourage the raising of purebred dogs for profit.

Call to request a copy of the free Hawaiian Dog Fanciers guidelines brochure by mail. Just leave your name and address on the voice mail at 946-2187, ext. 223.

News of the dog and cat breed and obedience clubs and breeders can be found in Ilio magazine, available at the Humane Society and pet stores statewide at $4 per issue. More information can also be found on the American Kennel Club Web site ( and the Cat Fanciers' Association (

"Pet Ohana" runs the first and third Fridays of the month. The Hawaiian Humane Society is a nonprofit agency dedicated to preventing cruelty to animals. They are at 2700 Waialae Ave. Call 946-2187.

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