A Pictorial Visit of Frog Holler
Frequently Asked Questions about Frog Holler
1. Who exactly are you?
2. Where are you located?
3. How long have you been a fancier of the Fila?
4. How many dogs do you have?
5. How many litters do you have in a year?
6. Who lives in your home?
7. Do you do any genetic testing?
8. What separates your puppies from those bred by other kennels?
9. Do you ship your pups?
10. Can I come to your home to pick up my pup?
11. How much do you charge for your puppies, and why?
12. How big are your dogs?
13. What are your goals as breeders?
14. What are some of the criteria that you use in choosing breeding stock?
15. How do you pick a puppy for someone?
16. What colors do you have?
17. Do you do co-ownerships with people?
18. Do you offer Guarantees?
19. What makes your guarantee different from another kennel's guarantee?
20. What are some things that separate your kennel from other kennels?
My name is Lisa and my husband is Lance. We were both raised from birth
with dogs, Lance with Boxers, and myself with mixed breeds. We met at California State Polytechnic University where we were both studying science, myself, Animal Science and
Lance, Agricultural Science. We were married the year before we
graduated with our B.S. Degrees. We are young, honest, and hard-working.
We are both down-to-earth, and arenít caught up too much in politics. I
tend to be very buoyant and talkative, where Lance is more thoughtful and
quiet. My hobbies include Filas, Filas, and more Filas! Lance enjoys (when he
has the time) working on his '57 Chevy and his '57 Hudson as well as shooting his various firearms. By
occupation, Lance is a Firefighter. He was hired on with the Mount Vernon Fire Department in November of 2001. He enjoys his job tremendously and gets much satisfaction from it. Before that, he was an Agriculture teacher for 8 years, where he taught high school students topics like agricultural mechanics, small engine maintenance, welding,
horticulture, agricultural science, animal science, and leadership. He was also
an FFA advisor, and spent much of his after-school time taking kids to
competitions like Trap Shooting, Parliamentary Procedure, Sales and
Service, Creed, etc. As if he didn't do enough already, he also teaches at the Local Recruit Academy where he has been a Captain for the last two sessions. He also volunteers for our local volunteer Fire Department (he was awarded with the Volunteer Fireman of the Year for his district in 1999!!). What a guy! When I'm not doing my dog stuff, I can be found working part-time at a nearby feedstore, where I am more
known for my knowledge of livestock and small animal care than my
horticultural tenacity! I tell my customers that I have fantastic husbandry
skills with cattle, sheep, goats, horses, hogs, you name it, but donít have me
baby-sit your house plants! I think that I am one of only a few that can kill
an Ivy in no time at all!
We are located in the state of Washington, approximately 40 miles south of
the Canadian border, 230 miles north of the Oregon border, and 20 miles
east of the Pacific ocean. We are on a 2 mile dirt road that ends at the
bottom of our gated property. Our property is approximately 100 acres,
bordered by thousands of acres of forestry on three sides.
My research of this great breed began in 1987. Back then there was very
little information on the Fila, as well as very few representatives of the
breed to be seen. I contacted the well-known breeders at that time and
tried to get as much information on the breed as was possible. Poor Lance
kind of married into my Fila obssesion!
We keep only a small number of dogs (all Filas). We usually have several
breeding age dogs, one or two upcoming youngsters, and a couple of older
dogs. Our Fila population maintains itself under 10 individuals. We are not a
commercial kennel with upwards of 20 dogs. We donít co-own dozens of dogs
either. Our litters are born here, raised here, and sold from here. If we
happen to have a co-owned litter available, we tell potential buyers and encourage
them to contact the co-owner of the bitch to learn more about the pups. It is
not our goal to sell as many pups as possible in a year, nor is it our desire to
feed, maintain, and divide our attention between a dozen dogs.
In a year we will be lucky to have two litters. We generally have a waiting
list and we try to produce enough pups so that those patient people on our
list do not have to wait forever and a day! It would be impossible for us to
give our puppies 100% if we had more litters than that. We strive to NEVER
have two litters at one time, only having them several months apart so that
the older ones can have the attention that they need before going on to
their new homes before the next litter is born. We spend a significant
amount of time preparing our pups for what awaits them so that their new
owners have an easier start with them. It is a struggle to do this when the
litter is a large one, and it would be impossible to do if we had two medium
sized litters at once.
For starters, all of our dogs do! We have kennels only for the purpose of
vacationing and for raising our litters in after they have reached 4 - 5 weeks
of age. By raising the older pups outside, they are able to acclimate to
temperature extremes, they have maximum ventilation, and they can enjoy
the sun (when it decides to come out!). This is the first step in
potty-training, too. Along with our dogs, my husband and I manage to find
somewhere to live in our home!
I would have to say at this point in time, we are one of the leaders for
genetic testing. We not only OFA our breeding stock at two years of age,
but we PennHIP them as well. The dogs that we keep for the future of our
kennel have fantastic scores. All of our dogs pass OFA with a Fair or
better, and they are well above the average for the breed with PennHIP.
We also breed only females that have received normal evaluations for their
elbows from OFA. Each generation will tell, but it is our hope that by having
such fantastically sound dogs, we will be pioneers in the movement for
eradicating crippling hip and elbow dysplasia from our beloved breed.
Our puppies grow up with that special interaction that is so very important
to the development of their personalities. We spend time with our pups
watching them play-fight with each other, their mother, and the other dogs.
We notice how they act towards us and how they react to strangers, how
they cope with our livestock and how they deal with stress. With us, it is
not just a simple, Ďyou want a fawn male, we have a fawn maleí. We take the
time to match our pups with suitable homes that understand the needs of
that pup and will best bring out its individuality so that it can be the best
dog that family has ever owned. In reality, a Fila puppy that misses out on
this in its early life is not ruined or neglected. But it may be more of a
handful for its new owners, and it may lack some of that outgoing confident
curiosity that our pups display. By the time our pups leave our home, they
have spent several hours locked in a crate, they have had baths, they have
had their toenails clipped several times, they have each gone for at least a
few car rides, they have received some discipline and most importantly, a lot
of love. They know the difference between a happy-sound and a
naughty-sound. They are usually very easy to train, and they are already
eager to please.
It would be great to say that our puppies grow up to be the top dogs in the
country. But, this would be incorrect and misleading. Although some of our
breeding stock has found itself on the top 10 list for Filas, our dogs are not
multiple Best in Show winners, nor are they the #1 dogs in the US. This may
be in part because we donít really campaign our dogs. We spend time on ALL
of our breeding stock, and each and every one of them holds a title, with
some of them sporting several championship titles before their names. We
donít have one single dog that shines with the rest in the shadows of that
dog. Some of our dogs could possibly go on to further greatness, but we
currently havenít the time nor the money to do such campaigning. We would
rather prove that all of our dogs are quality, rather than have one great one
and breed the rest regardless. A puppy from our breeding will have parents
that will be Champions and they will be evaluated as sound through PennHIP
and OFA. Quite possibly, the parents will be TTíd also. Well rounded? We
like to think so!
Yes. We ship our pups via air. The airlines that we most commonly use are
Delta, Northwest, USAir, Alaska, and United. We ship no earlier than 8 weeks;
about this we are very strict. We offer our puppy buyers the option of
returning the crate that the puppy is sent in at their minimal expense, for a
full crate refund. We have been known to hand deliver our pups as far south
as California, and we were even able to fly with one of our pups to deliver
him to his new owners on the East Coast.
Absolutely!!!!! We love to have company, and what company could be better
than someone who shares our love for the breed?!?! We have had people fly or
drive out to pick up their puppy and we always have a fantastic time! We
usually ask that they stay the weekend so that we have plenty of time to talk
and have fun together. It is the folks who are able to come for a visit that
really get the in-depth knowledge of the Fila that will help them to raise
their new puppy. We show them our adults, we let them see how they
behave at home and in public (if we have time), they get to see the level of
control our dogs are under, and if they are interested, we let them see first
hand what an angry Fila looks like! It is always sad for us to see our visitors
leave with their new puppy, but it gives us the opportunity to feel like our
pup is in good hands because we were able to meet its family in person.
We have often been told that we are not competitively priced. Folks who do
research and talk to other breeders inform us that we are not asking
ENOUGH for our pups! They tell us that with the effort that we have put
into trying to produce the best Fila puppies, the care and time that we put
into those pups, not to mention all the titles and genetic testing that we
have on our adults, that we could ask much more for our dogs. Well, money
is not our motivating factor behind breeding Filas. We love the breed and
we want to be able to share with those deserving such an animal, the joys,
happiness, and sense of security of being loved by a Fila. I was raised by
parents who instilled in me that a project wasnít worth doing if you were only
going to do it half-assed. Even if every puppy I produced was going to go to
a pet home, I would want those puppies to be sound enough to live long
healthy lives, stable enough to be predictable in their protective instincts,
and I would want them to look like Filas! We offer our puppies to only the
best homes. Our Show/Breeding quality pups are $1,200 with a comprehensive three year guarantee, our Working quality pups are $800 with a one year guarantee, and our Companion quality pups are $600 and come with no replacement guarantee. Often times it is the guarantee that the purchaser is opting to buy, not so much the puppy. We don't place puppies based on the price a buyer is willing to pay - we place them based on their personality and temperament. For instance, we may sell a Show/Breeding Quality puppy for $600 with no guarantee, to a perfect home that simply can't afford, or doesn't wish to pay the $1,200 price. We will hold the registration papers until that puppy has proven itself (OFA/PennHIP, TT, and correct for type). At that point, the owner is given the option of paying the difference in the price, and we will forward the papers via Certified Mail to them. If the owner doesn't wish to show or breed their puppy, that is fine with us too. To us, it is not about the money, it is about a happy Fila and a happy owner. It is certainly a gamble, but one that many folks would like to take, being that the puppy we sell them is no different genetically regardless of which guarantee they choose. It will still be born of the same sound, correct parents. We offer this only because it was brought to our attention through a puppy buyer! We challenge you to find another Fila breeder who is as open and thorough in the way they present their contract as we are. On occasion, we will place pups for
reduced prices into homes with some sort of restrictions. For example, if
we would like the dogís hips x-rayed at a certain age, we will keep the papers
on the dog, but place the pup for 1/2 itís worth. Then at the pre-determined
age, when our requirements are met, we forward the papers to the owner.
This occurs rarely, but is a great deal for the puppy purchaser, as well as us,
because we get the information from the dog without having to keep it!
Similarly, we will on a rare occasion co-own dogs with people. Anything odd
like this has its own contract that represents both parties and is clearly
written out so that there are no misunderstandings later.
Our dogs are at the top of the standard for the breed. We do NOT breed
for oversized dogs, but the dogs that have passed the testing that we
require, just happened to be the larger ones! It is our goal to produce the
best Fila, not the biggest Fila. Our females fall between 115 - 130 pounds,
and are 26Ē to 28Ē at the withers. Our male puppies grow to be about 130 -
150 pounds and 27Ē to 29Ē tall. We have NEVER produced a Fila that was
over 30 inches tall or over 170 pounds at optimal weight!
Our goals are to produce dogs that can be companions and protectors for
years and years. We had to ask ourselves several questions. What good is a
Fila that looks perfect, but has no temperament? What good is a Fila that
has fantastic temperament, but is so unsound that it can not leap up to
protect its family? What is the point of a dog that is perfectly sound if it
doesnít look and act like a Fila? So, that is where we began. We took many
Filas that were good representatives of the breed in looks and temperament,
and went forth with genetic testing on those dogs. Some made it, many
didnít. Those that made it are the ones that we try to improve upon with
each generation. We strive to produce the perfect Fila, even though we
know that true perfection is unattainable! EVERY dog has at least one fault.
Most of the best have many faults! By starting with sound dogs that are
stable and look the way they are supposed to, we are able to produce Fila
puppies that will hopefully live a long, healthy life, that are stable enough to
protect their families from threats, and that look like Filas. Basically our
goals are to breed beautiful, level-headed dogs that will be a joy for at least
a decade for those special people who qualify to own one.
First we look at the dog in general. Does it have qualities that make it look
like a Fila? Does it have any disqualifying faults? If so, we cull it from our
selection. We know that all dogs have faults, so we look now to see what are
THIS dogís faults? Are they common faults amongst the breed? What are
its outstanding qualities? Does the breed in general lack these great traits?
We are looking at toplines, underlines, angulation, correctness of leg
placement, head-type such as muzzle length, ear length, ear shape, ear
placement, eye shape and color, adequate amounts of skin and dewlap, and
overall appearance and style. Then we look at temperament. Does this dog
balk at new situations? Does it cringe and act fearful or does it step
forward with confidence? Is it friendly, submissive, dominant, aggressive?
Is it loving to us and distrustful to strangers? When startled, does it
recover and deal with the situation, or does it run head-first into the
nearest hiding place? Obviously, we only choose the dogs that have good Fila
traits in looks and temperament. Last but most importantly, is this dog going
to be sound? Now is the time that we take the dog to have its genetic
testing done. Once anesthetized we have the dog PennHIPíd and OFAíd for
hips and elbows. The only time that we give any allowances is for elbows on
an aged dog. Hips MUST be sound, period. With elbows, because 60% of
the dogís weight is on his/her front, and because most dogs tend to lay
sternally with much pressure placed on the processes of the elbows, we allow
for some signs of aging on an older dog. A dog that is 5 years old is
technically half way through its life, so of course there is going to be some
wear and tear on the major pressure areas. BUT NOT ON A PUPPY. A
puppy should, unless injured previously, have very clean joints with no
degeneration within those joints. If our candidate can not pass all these
criteria, we donít consider them for breeding. There are too many good
dogs out there to be breeding less than fantastic ones!
We encourage people to take the puppy that works best for them with
personality being our first consideration. It is just as important that the
alpha puppy be placed in the correct home as it is for the most laid-back
puppy. Then we take into account the gender that a buyer is looking for.
There is a substantial difference between females and males, mostly due to
size. Last comes color. Regardless of whether your best friend is fawn or
brindle, you will love him/her. When people call looking for a specific color,
that to me is a sign that they either havenít done their research, or that
they are just looking for a trophy dog. People who call looking for a certain
temperament, but are flexible on gender and color, are the people who are
going to be the happiest with their pup. Why? Because they only have
expectations on the way the puppy comes to them in one regard - what is in
its head. If they want an apricot fawn, and I send them what I think is an
apricot fawn, but it is totally NOT what they were thinking when they called
around looking for that color, their first experience with their new puppy is
going to be disappointment. I donít ever want to set my pups up for that
kind of welcome home. So, when I tell someone that their pup is confident
and bold, or that it already has a dislike of strangers, and then it is exactly
what I claim it to be, they call me GLOWING with pride that their pup is
perfect. Happy people, happy puppy! I started out wanting only a fawn Fila.
My first several Filas were brindle. Now the uniqueness of the brindle color
is my favorite by a long shot!
We only breed fawns and brindles. Of course with those two colors comes a
variety of solid shades, from cream to red, and silver-brindle to
black-brindle. Added to that are the occasional white chests, feet, and
white-tipped tail, and the presence or lack of a black mask, so you can see
that there are a plethora of choices.
Very, very rarely. Our co-ownerships usually deal with a special puppy that
we ourselves would like to keep, but the timing is wrong. We offer these
pups at a reduced price (we fully expect the money that is being saved to be
invested back into the dog) only to the most special of homes, those that
have proven to be friends to us, and those that we know will train, socialize,
maintain, PennHIP/OFA, and show. Even then, we only co-own for a short
period of time. With bitches, once they reach the age of 2 years, we split
the first litter or take 4 pups, whichever is more, and then we release her
ownership to our co-owner. With dogs, we ask that they not neuter or breed
the dog until he is three years old. This gives us the opportunity to utilize
him for a year after he has had his genetic testing done. After this time,
we release his ownership to the co-owner. Once the dogs' registrations are
released, their owners are free to do with them (breed/alter) as they like.
Just to give you an idea of the infrequency that we co-own our pups, we have
averaged less than ONE puppy placed in a co-ownership home per YEAR.
Absolutely. Every breeder should offer a guarantee, even if it is only a two
week, free from disease or untimely death contract. Our guarantee has
been molded from hours and hours of careful attention to our
breeding/maintaining/ and rearing practices as well as special attention to
our feeding program.
For one, it splits Show/Breeding, Working and Companion quality into three distinct categories. Most
kennels only offer a guarantee on Show pups, where we offer a one year
guarantee on our Working pups too. For another thing, it is very specific. We
require that our puppies be fed a certain way, and exercised a certain way,
and if this is followed, we guarantee that our show/breeding pups will not
only be free of hip dysplasia, but that they will pass either PennHIP (with an
average or better distraction index) or OFA. Our contract is very specific
in what we require from our puppy buyers. This is not for the reason of
trying to shuck our responsibilities as breeders by making it so complex that
it is impossible to follow, but rather that we feel so strongly that there is a
right way to raise a healthy Fila pup. If you follow our guidelines, which are
not that difficult, by using the book that we send to you as a reference,
success is on your side. Basically all that we ask is that you raise your puppy
in a natural way, by feeding a wholesome, raw diet, and limiting exercise to
casual play and daily eating workouts. Does that sound so difficult? If not,
then we are willing to put the potential of our breeding stock on the line by
offering a guarantee that you will find nowhere else.
If, from reading all the above, you are still not clear on what makes Frog
Holler special, then, darn-it!, we give up!!! Good luck to you in finding your
future companion! Just remember, RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH!!!