A New Puppy!

I have an announcement to make.

A new puppy!!

Her name is Heidi and she is a miniature schnauzer puppy, shortly to be arriving in the Cussens household.  Do we need a new puppy?  My long-suffering husband (who prefers planes, cars and boats to anything with a tail) would say  ‘probably not’.

My son, missing our gorgeous blue roan cocker spaniel (who was recently re-homed under sad circumstances) would say ‘probably’

But my ten year old daughter, watching from the sidelines while I attempt agility and obedience with the brown bolt of lightning which is a working cocker – and desperate to have a go herself with a new puppy a little more manageable says a loud and emphatic ‘yes’

And as I’m with her anyway and daughters with sparkly blue eyes have a certain persuasion with their daddies…

… the search for a new puppy began.

First we had to decide on a breed.  Lots to consider there, and every family will have different things to think about.  For us:

  • It has to be small – we haven’t space or money for a big dog
  • It has to not be a ‘yappy breed’ – husband’s stipulation
  • It has to be photogenic – I am a photographer
  • It has to be able to do agility – my daughter’s main goal
  • It has to be reasonably trainable – could be open to discussion but some breeds are more easily trained than others.
  • It has to be a reasonably healthy breed – some breeds are notoriously at the vets more than others
After talking at length to trainers and agility trainers, we came up with the following shortlist for our new puppy:
Westies – love these highly characterful dogs, but all the trainers said they could be a handful for a ten year old and they are prone to skin conditions
Papillons – I absolutely fell in love with this breed, and they are super for agility.  But they are not common and it would be a long wait for a good one.  Also I would have wanted to work her myself and this one is for my daughter… maybe in a few years!
Poodles – very easy to train and very good at agility.  We very nearly got a poodle.
Miniature Schnauzers (suggested by my trainer friend) – healthy, starting to make their mark in agility, very characterful little dogs.  (Even my husband was quite taken with the photos we showed him) and I know one at agility, with a very positive owner…
It is very difficult to get into a new breed.  If I had wanted another cocker spaniel, or GSD or border terrier I would have known exactly where to go.  But finding a good reputable breeder of an unknown breed is tricky.  The best breeders don’t actually need to advertise, and we did want to get our new puppy from a good breeder – slightly more expensive but you know the lines, health checks are in place, you have their support and especially because we will breed from her in the future these are very important considerations.
Often it’s best to start with the breed clubs and an email to the secretary, followed by a phone call and if they are satisfied you are suitable you will get a list of breeders and need to ring round and probably wait until a good puppy becomes available.  We were extremely fortunate to find a good breeder (recommended by a friend who I trust 100%), not too far away with a litter of puppies and a girl available.  The best breeders will also ask you a lot of questions to see if you are suitable (which this one did.  To be honest I would walk away from anyone who didn’t)
So the long and short of it is that Heidi (it might not be Heidi by next Saturday – depending on my daughter’s latest reading material) the miniature schnauzer will be joining us on Saturday.  We ‘re meeting her Tuesday.  We are all very excited about our new puppy.
Even my husband, who is rubbish at pretending he’s not!



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