Member of the Canadian Kennel Club since 1988, Christy is a very loving breeder of Gentle Giant Newfoundlands, but also of magnificent Bernese Mountain dogs. Her love for dog breeding at Heaven On Earth is a family affair — Christy has 5 children and 2 of them have followed her footsteps and are also breeding.
Her website over at Heaven On Earth offers an amazing FAQ that is as good as a great interview. She is honest about how she feels about the new hypes (ie. Raw Feeding) and you can’t blame her for it. Honesty is what is lacking in the dog breeding world, and it’s amazing to see transparent breeders sometimes!
How did you start with Newfoundlands and dog breeding?
We had 2 big black males Bart and Stormer when I was a kid, they followed us everywhere, we use to swim in a dugout in the summer which the Newfoundlands would supervise, and when they thought we had enough water they would come in and get us out. They would walk us to the bus and be there when we got home; my saddest day was when Bart didn’t meet us after school. Stormer passed a few months later and I can still get teary thinking about the boys, my best friends
I always knew my life would have something to do with dogs. In 1988 I had my first litter, it was so hard for me to place the pups, think I screened 100 families to make sure I had the perfect homes. I did a bit of showing But wasn’t my thing after seeing what the show breeders were doing to win. In 2001 we bought a ¼ section and build a new home, I just couldn’t wait to get my barn up so I could get more Newfoundlands and Bernese, I am now living my dream surrounded by my wonderful giants.
What separates Newfoundlands from Bernese Mountain Dogs?
A lot of people I talk to think because they are both big dogs they are a lot alike. In some ways they are, both loyal, you can take them anywhere and they stand by your side, great with kids. The Bernese are more active than newfs and more agile. The Bernese are extremely smart and can hold a grudge if their routine is disturbed as for the newfs they are just happy to go lucky snoring at your feet.
The size of the Newfoundland’s is much bigger than a Bernese.
Every breed has been taking a specific direction over the last decade. How do you honestly see the future of the breed?
It saddens me but I see this breed smaller with an extreme push in the face, for this is where they are heading in the show world. Newfoundland’s are Large not 26 inches at the shoulders like the AKC standards are. Newfoundland’s are water dogs, they need their nose and mouth to hold them afloat in the water not pushed in boxer faces. If they take the size away and add a boxer face then they will no longer be the gentle giants we once knew and loved
Extreme breeding is a massive trend: people tend to want very big, or very small. Are you seeing with other breeders a growth in the already-huge size of Newfoundland dogs? Are dog breeders trying to make a lot more money with these unique physiques?
This is a touchy subject for me, what I see is smaller newfs, I believe the trend is to make them smaller to fit into condos and apartments. A lot of breeders think they are gods and do whatever possible to change the breeds. They honestly think they are protecting the breed when in fact they are destroying it. I have no idea why they want the breeds to be different and I will always breed my large lines with proper noses.
What are the medical conditions affecting the Newfoundland dog breed and how can breeders diminish these in the near future? And how can breeders increase the life expectancy to pass the 10-year mark?
Stop line and inbreeding them! I have seen and even bought inbred dogs in both Newfoundland and Bernese. Once you meet them you can tell right away without even looking at the pedigree which is sad but what do these breeders expect when they are mucking with Mother Nature, a better healthier dog? I don’t think so maybe a fancy show ribbon The more they inbreed the more you see cancer and other health problems.
How did you build your reputation and found your first owners when you first started? And how do you find your forevers homes these days, online?
I have a web site and a facebook page (public and private) I am very picky where my puppies go, I have an online questionnaire that is required to be filled out and also a visit from the families to make sure this is the breed for them. I don’t ship so families that are far away they have to fly here and come and get their puppy, just don’t think it is right to ship a puppy to someone I have never met
Sometimes called a Lion, sometimes a Bear… What type of home suits Newfoundland best? One error and a kid can be severely knocked over.
The best homes are the ones where the Newfoundland and Bernese are a part of the family 24/7 and where someone is home with the dog, they need humans to be happy. They are not a nuisance in the house, you can usually find them on a dog bed snoring. I have 14 retired dogs in my home and some people are shocked by this but honestly, they are all very well behaved and very easy to live with and all get along wonderfully
So many people think because they are a large dog with a heavy coat they do best outside and will even help protect livestock, this is not the case with either breed, they are lap dogs and want to be with their families
Newfoundland’s understand small children and if they are knocking your children over it would be due to poor training of the pup/dog. They are a gentle breed but do need to be trained at an early age. They are like children if you allow them to jump and knock things over then you will have a spoiled fur kid in your house.
What tools and resources do you use to run your dog breeding activity? (computer tools for accounting or contracts, cleaners, specific toys, puppy packs, etc.)
I have a bookkeeper for I am not good at keeping track of paperwork. My kennels and compound are bleached daily in the summer. I use disinfectants daily inside my kennels. I had so many people ask me what are the best supplies for their dogs, this is when I decided to bring in dog supplies and makeup puppy starter kits.
Each breed is different and so are the starter kits. Newfoundlands love their toys (babies we call them) as the Bernese you have to be very careful at what they get for toys for they can chew them up and get a blockage, so each kit is designed for the breed and safety of the pup
Lastly, what diet (brand, quantity, etc) and exercise are your Newfs following and how much does it cost monthly per dog?
I feed Nutrisource large breed puppy and adult. Table scraps and Milk Kefir.
The cost is roughly 100.00 a month per adult and 150.00 per month to raise a puppy. The milk Kefir I grow myself and is an excellent immune builder and the dogs and puppies love it. Table scraps, vegetables, cheese, fruit are also a big favorite with my dogs. I never buy dog treats, I make my own, most store dog treats are garbage and you never know where they are really made or what is in the ingredients.