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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?




1. Who exactly are you?


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!

2. Where are you located?


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.

3. How long have you been a fancier of the Fila?


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!

4. How many dogs do you have?


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.

5. How many litters do you have in a year?


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.

6. Who lives in your home?


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!

7. Do you do any genetic testing on your breeding stock?


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.

8. What separates your puppies from those bred by other kennels?


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!

9. Do you ship your pups?


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.

10. Can I come to your home to pick up my new puppy?


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.

11. How much do you charge for your puppies, and why?


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.

12. How big are your dogs?


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!

13. What are your goals as breeders?


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.

14. What are some of the criteria that you use in choosing breeding stock?


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!

15. How do you pick a puppy for someone?


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!

16. What colors do you have?


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.

17. Do you do co-ownerships with people?


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.

18. Do you offer guarantees?


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.

19. What makes your guarantee different from another kennel's guarantee?


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.

20. What are some things that separate your kennel from other kennels?

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!!!