I can start working on downsizing – retiring knowing I have bred a good line of horses and dogs. Puppies I have bred are in breeding programs in Europe, Isreal, Korea and more. Multiple Dogs bred by me that have gotten Championships up to Elite Champion and Best in Show from ASDR and ICKC, IBCA. A LOT of Breeders have HUGHES TOYS dogs in their breeding program.
Also a strong working service dog line that alerts to medical issues and saves lives.
Also have bred Horses that have gone TOP in nation IFSHA and national shows. And Foals from my breeding & stallions have sold and are, were studs in CHINA, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland and England.
Breeding rights to approved breeders that won’t trash my lines.
Minda Hughes has a degree in Agriculture from OSU ’74 and has taken numerous genetics, animal breeding/reproduction seminars & workshops. In animal breeding matters I have been accepted by the courts as a “learned expert,” expert witness. Have been told by our horse and small animal vet that I should have been a vet, and with animal breeding/reproduction/genetics know about as much as they do on breeding, genetics, birthing, puppy care
We work closely with our vet, Dr. Powers at the animal clinic regarding health, prevention, and care.
Minda Also has an MBA and was a CMA (certified management accountant), not the career I wanted but still pursued until I achieved Chief Financial Officer working 24/7 and realized I had no life outside of work. When I tried to balance work & life, I was told that I “lost my focus” and was “organizationally enhanced.”
Minda has raised animals since high school and was in FFA (future farmers of America) raised rabbits, chickens, etc., later raised cats, Himalayans and ragdolls, and horses. I watched the breeds I fell in love with and wanted to be a part of, change due to the whims of “someone” who determines what the breed standard “should” be. I repeatedly found that what the “someone/group” chose as “SHOW” and the breed standard was not what I liked to have at home. Himalayans went from a cross between a Siamese & Persian that had a fluffy but non-matting coat and lovely doll face with interactive personality, to a “color” of Persian and “should” look like a Persian. Including the matting coat, mutated smashed face that creates nasty health problems, and “distant” aloof personality.
So I changed to breeding ragdolls. Which initially were similar to a “doll-faced Himalayan” -a cross between a white long haired cat & a “Burmese”. But again “someone” decided that perfect markings were more important than health, size, and disposition. I stopped breeding Ragdolls when after a year of working with my vet, not breeding the cats to TRY to get the adults “healthy,” finally realized thru testing that the “show” quality cats had reduced/no natural immunity. The immune system had been bred out by inbreeding for perfect markings? To maintain their health required extreme measures of daily antibiotics & sterile environment outlined/ prescribed by the significant breeders, until the kittens left, to keep their health. And then they would get sick as most pet buyers don’t have sterile homes or give weekly antibiotics for life. So I stopped breeding them.
We have bred/ raised different breeds of horses. Minda has studied conformation, show quality, breeding quality, soundness for performance & temperament to be a show or “home” horse. We have shown and bred horses that have become champions in their breed & performance shows (I am GOAL oriented) or just “at home,” the dream, love of their life to their owners. We bred Friesian and Friesian sports horses. We had and bred Arabians, Friesians, Saddlebred and warmbloods. The Friesian breed goes back to Medieval times and has rigorous inspections and controls for breeding to maintain quality & type again set by “someone” – We understand the “quality control” behind an animal that is RARE. Preservation of a breed that almost went extinct in WWII. And is a serious “investment.” Though we don’t necessarily agree that the breed must only be black with no white markings and no other colors – WHY? – We like color, and I love variety. So I use the Friesian for its qualities & type to breed the Friesian sport-horses.
We apply similar breeding guidelines to my dogs. But we don’t show them in the Aussie “clique” shows for their “inspection and critique.” As we don’t always agree with what is “top show” is the traits we want in our dogs. Most of our dogs shown by those breeders that show, do champion to Elite champions with ASDR, ICKC and IBCA. Showing is political , and we live in an area with very few shows for this breed. Shows can also be a place to pick up diseases, plus just cannot be gone for a weekend.
We breed for quality family companions with the smarts – looks and health of the Aussie, minus a few traits we don’t think the Aussie needs as a family companion. By breed standard for the Miniature Australian shepherd under 14″ is a disqualification, so oops most of our dogs are already disqualified. We have shown different animals to the national level, – primarily horses, obtained championships, etc.. But with the showing of animals found that its 90% POLITICAL. The judge today is the show handler at the next show so places the handler that will be the judge at that show, so they will place him etc.. The judges know certain breeders/trainers/show handlers. It is a conflict of interest for the judge to be a breeder/trainer/handler – so it is not always the best animal that wins. Or the breed “show” standard/qualities to win is an animal we don’t want at home. In the south, every Aussie is a “champion,” there are enough Aussie breeders to have a “sponsored” show in someone’s backyard, every week. there is NO certification to be a Judge at these “home shows. In the southern area with shows every weekend, close there is little expense (travel, motel etc) to showing. in the NW with no shows, its overight travel, expenses, time, and showing in a group that know/place each other.. Have seen one clique direct a newbie to the wrong ring- on purpose so they missed their class. A lot of the ‘champions” are just were able to be at enough shows to get the points. as long as a dog is breed standard, it gets points. the more shows the dog can show in, the more points. Champion for dogs does not mean the “best” it just means breed standard and the owner/breeder has the ability to get the dog to a lot of shows.
We don’t know of “shows” for best “family pet.” The breeders that are only about “show” champions are following a script, fluff..
Minda now has to work from home. She now works 24/7 to ensure the health and socialization of our dogs/puppies and horses. We work closely with our vet to ensure the health and quality of our dogs & resulting puppies. And we keep a lot of my breeding for future breeding stock.
We get feedback from buyers as to the temperament and qualities of puppies from different parents and incorporate that into future breeding pairs to improve the temperament, structure, etc. Our toy Aussie may or may not meet a “breed standard” set by “someone,” but it meets our standards for a colorful, SMALL, healthy, smart quality family companion. And our vet’s exam for health.
With dogs we wanted a quiet, smart, loyal, no health problems, no grooming requirements and a QUIET- on my terms dog.. we originally had the three original mini Aussies. Sky, Holly & Lilly and had 1 litter a year. They were family pets but mainly outside dogs for watchdogs. We bred a toy female from sky & holly that became our house and bed dog- Tootsie. With Tootsie, we realized the toy Aussie is a fantastic family pet if they are less energetic & less herding. Small enough to have in the house all day, take with you in the car, etc.. But quiet, healthy, intelligent and limited grooming requirements. We started looking for a toy Aussie male to breed to Tootsie and found that small, quality Aussies was a “buy 4- get 1” that met my criteria. Most were larger than the breeders represented. Some were fearful and produced “fearful,” these were petted out. We purchased dogs from other breeders for outside bloodlines. When we found an outside line that met our criteria, we kept sons and daughters and bred to sons and daughters of other good lines. We found the perils of “line breeding” or “inbreeding” with the ragdolls. Only about 1 out of 4 outside dogs ended up being the size, quality & temperament we wanted in our program.
We DO NOT BLINDLY FOLLOW THE “BREED STANDARD” that someone somewhere can change at a whim (to make sure their dog wins) and our dogs still go champions in breed shows. ..- We have just taken them a different direction- and a direction that gets mostly glowing references from the puppy buyers. We breed for quality family companions. Good family disposition, intelligence & health are more important to us in a dog than perfect “ear set.”
Most of the adult dogs get a “rotation” in the house, usually have 10 or so in at one time. They have to be quiet. We have 10 acres, 2+ acre is kennel fenced for the dogs to run, and for their safety and health.- i.e., coyotes. Males are individually kenneled in 10ft x 20ft covered runs, with their own “penthouse” &, allowed to run when we don’t have any girls in season.
Puppies are born in the house, with Minda in attendance most of the time. Many all nighter’s with delivery. Many of the girls come to look for me and want me there to “rub their tummy,” and some want to start the process in my lap.. the puppies are raised in the bathrooms or bedroom until we “lose containment”- they start crawling out of the whelping box. We have to redo the flooring & wallpaper several times a year, but the puppies are socialized.
After they get old enough to climb out of the whelping box, they are put out into prepared whelping runs. This is for safety (underfoot) and biosecurity. The home is not a biosecure area – and all the germs that are tracked home from the vets, store, outside are in the flooring. A person can go to the store or a run in the park and bring back Parvovirus on their shoes. Puppies without 1st shot are totally vulnerable.
They are in a temperature controlled runs. Where potty training starts. The play runs are heated & cooled areas and have individual sections for food & bed, Paper, potty. Most of the puppies learn fairly quickly to go on shavings area and adapt quickly when they get into their new homes, to going outside. They are handled several times a day. The puppies are placed, held on their back from when they are born; they learn right away that humans are “pack leader.” they follow humans, but love attention. The playpens are 4×8 ft with fewer puppies per pen as they grow.. For health reasons, puppies do not go outside, on the ground or in the dirt. The ground cannot be sanitized. We plan to get a concrete pad outside that we can sanitize for puppies to play.
We start worming at 2 weeks and rotate wormers every 2wks – (puppies are born with worms, natures odd sense of survival of the fittest) Shots are given at 6, 9, 12(if still here) advantage for fleas started at 6 wks. Puppies are vet checked before they go home. We guarantee they will pass a good puppy check at 8-9 wks by our vet.
For future training, we highly recommend watching the “dog whisperer”- Ceasar Milan on the National Geographic channel.. to understand dog psychology as a basis for raising & training a puppy. We fully believe in “discipline, exercise & then affection,”
Puppies are not babies, they should not be treated as your “baby,” they are dogs and will have the dog pack behavior.. so affection without rules, boundaries, and limitations can create an unstable, confused puppy/dog that does not behave well.
In 10/08 Attended Dr. Carmelo Battagllia Ph.D. seminar on genetics of “breeding better dogs” and “choosing the Best Puppy”.. Will be incorporating a LOT of the information and techniques to “breed a better PET! toy Aussie”, including the “early neurological stimulation” techniques to enhance temperament , intelligence and trainability of our puppies – techniques utilized in starting the dogs used for “war, guard, bomb & guide dogs.”
Did get vindication of not blindly following “breed standards set by someone.. ” the pomeranian used to be a 40 lb SLED dog, and “they (that someone somewhere)” decided it should be a 10″ house dog. But in selectively breeding to make it smaller “they” didn’t change its energy level, temperament or hair.. so have an extremely high energy sled dog now kept indoors as a lap dog, without exercise and too much hair for indoor temperatures.? Any wonder why Pomeranians are hyper?
Have Also attended Myra Savant Harris seminar on reproduction & puppy health for information on better breeding, reproduction and puppy health
our 1st toy – tootsie