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Puppy FAQ

These are the Frequently Asked Questions about PWD ownership

- if you have any other questions please ask.

Questions include:

  • Can I buy one for my patents / as a birthday / retirement present?

  • Are they suitable for flats?

  • What size garden do I need?

  • Can I have a dog if I work full time?

  • Can I take my dog to work? It's easy they are only a cute puppy.

  • Are they suitable for families with young children?

  • Are they a placid breed suitable for first-time owners?

  • Will PWD be perfect for my allergies? 

  • I am busy & PWD don't shed so are easy to look after.

  • Will you export a puppy?

 

  • I have been told they are perfect therapy dogs.

  • I want one as a school dog.

  • Do they need much exercise?

  • I don't have access to water - can I have a water dog?

  • Will it get on with our cat?

  • Will it get on with our other dog?

  • Are girls easier?

  • Are boys harder?

  • I want a puppy for showing.

  • I want a puppy to breed in the future

Frequently Asked Questions.

I am buying one as a birthday / Christmas / retirement present for my parents / someone else:

Do not ask as we will not deal with third parties. We will only deal with the eventual owners. They need to be fully committed, fully aware and fully informed. No puppy should be a surprise as it only increases the likelihood of failure and the puppy requiring rehoming at a later date. We want to build a relationship with the owner so they are fully prepared for a PWD and so they can experience everything from the birth to the collection at home at 8 weeks and then have personal support for the lifetime of the dog - which can be 15 years. As a part of the adoption process, how can a good breeder match the experience of the owner with the individual puppy if they haven't met and talked with the new owner.

Please be very clear about who will be the dog's primary owner / carer - who will take full financial, legal and medical responsibility for the dog? It is absolutely fine if the main carer is an older responsible teen/adult living at home with the full financial support of the parents (who usually pay for the food, insurance, vets bills etc).  But we ask parents - not to be a front and purchase a puppy if it is really for your son or daughter and they live in another house / flat or are at university. If they live elsewhere they must apply themselves - from the address where the dog will live. Often it will be too small or rented and not suitable for a dog.

Are PWD suitable for flats?

It is important to remember that PWD are an energetic working breed and need adequate space to meet their needs. Please note that we will not consider applications from people who live in flats on or above the first floor as they do not have direct access to a garden from the flat.  We will only accept ground floor flats if they are of a suitable size and there must be direct access from the flat to your own private, reasonably sized and fully secure garden (not a shared or communal garden).

 

Also if you are in rented accommodation please check with your landlord / tenancy agreement that you are allowed pets. Some breeders will ask for written proof that you can have a pet in rented accommodation - this again reduces the likelihood of new owners finding out they can not have a pet and having to rehome the dog in the future.

 

What size garden do we need?

This is not an exact science. It is recommended that a PWD needs a good-sized garden to be able to run freely. A Medium size garden is between 100m2 and 320m2. We consider the absolute minimum it needs to be is 10m x 10m or 100m2  of open area for the dog to run freely. (33ft x 33ft or 1080ft2).  By open area we mean the useable space for a dog to run around in - many people just measure the length and width but forget that much of the area is covered by a garage, shed, summerhouse, large overgrown hedge etc.

Different local authorities have different planning requirements but the 100m2 garden is considered to be the acceptable minimum private (i.e. rear) garden size for most 3 bed houses that can accommodate most household activities. To help picture 100m2: it is smaller than half a tennis court (130m2) and bigger than a full badminton court (81m") or around 8 supermarket car parking spaces.

100m2 is not set in stone but we find it is a good starting point for discussions.  If you have a smaller space (say between 75-100m2) you will need to consider & demonstrate how you will meet the needs of an energetic breed and overcome a small garden. How active you are, how often they will exercise, and whether you have access within walking distance to a secure and suitable space where they can run off lead (beech, field, park). This is an active breed and a lead walk is often not enough and they need space to run freely. If you have a smaller space or only have a courtyard or tiny garden then you probably shouldn't be considering a large, working breed.

Please do not ask to have a PWD if you do not have suitable accommodation or outside space.

If in doubt measure your garden - don't just guess. To help: you can easily check your garden size on google maps - so please make sure you are honest with a breeder. What matters is the health and welfare of a dog which will always override the desire of a human to have a dog.

Can I have a dog if I work full time?

Rehoming charities and many dog breeders will not give a puppy to people who work full time. They say that if you are asking this question then you are probably not really in a position to have a dog. Why have one if it is locked in the house all day or sent out to doggy-day care, or you get someone else looks after them for you.

 

Please have a look at the Kennel Club advice. We often hear from people that they have been turned down by re-homing charities because they work full time - so they try to get a puppy from a breeder even though their circumstances haven't changed. You really have to carefully consider how you will meet the needs of your dog during the day; feed them 4x  then 3x a day while they are a puppy; socialise them, let them out to wee, exercise them etc. What is the point of a dog if they spend less time with you and more time with someone else?

 

From our own experience, we know that it is possible to work and have a dog but don't be surprised if a breeder turns you down if you can't demonstrate how you will meet the dog's needs.  We meet so many couples who would like a dog and are fully aware that the time isn't right for them to have a dog. But when the time is right and they move into a property that has enough space and they have the time and finances for a dog they will often come back for a PWD. They are worth the wait and patience will be rewarded.  

COVID lockdown has meant people working from home are considering or got a puppy. They suddenly have the time but really should have considered how they would cope when they went back to work. There has been a massive surge of dogs requiring rehoming as a result of people getting dogs during the lockdown.

Can I take my dog to work? It's easy, right? It's only a cute puppy.

Think very carefully about this.  Would you take a baby to work? Would you take a toddler, child, pre-teen or even a teenager to work with you? Would it be easy to take care of a toddler at work when they need constant attention and close supervision? When they are young, puppies will demand and need attention and believe me, this is not easy while you are trying to work. If you work 9-5 it is a long time for a young puppy. Don't forget that they are an exuberant, energetic working breed. Some breeders will turn people down if this is their intention.

But it is possible - it is all about where you work, how long you work, how you slowly introduce them to it - and when they are old and mature enough. Don't forget that breeders suggest that they don't mature and clam down until at least 18 months. Many owners do eventually manage to successfully take a dog to work - but they don't presume it will just happen - they prepare for it and carefully train the dog.

Take this experience from a PWD breeder as an example:

Imagine an owner who loves their dog but despite advice, believes they know best - they take their puppy on a 30 min journey to work, expecting the puppy to behave at work all day - but without the attention it requires it just can't behave. So they try solving the issue by taking the dog to doggy day-care. So early each morning they drive 30 mins to work, drop off the dog, the dog spends all day with doggy day-care, they finish work each evening, picked the dog up, drive 30mins home. Once home they feed the dog and are surprised that the dog is excited & full of energy - while they are tired from a day of commuting and work. The dog is just excited to see them. They believe that the dog isn't behaving as they would like in the evenings and weekends - but all the dog wants (needs) is attention. Added to this the dog spends most of the week with doggy-day care and is getting its main behaviour and attention from one person and not from the owners. The dog is confused about how to behave and the dog's behaviour becomes very difficult. The dog is thought to be at fault. Is this really the dog's fault or the owners?

In this case, the owners certainly loved the dog but found the dog's behaviour too challenging and it needed rehoming. Once rehomed with owners who understood and could meet the dog's needs it has become a delight. If you ever watch Dogs behaving (very) badly on TV, the trainer doesn't train the dog - he trains the humans to understand the dogs needs and how to meet them.

We often say to people "you get the dog you deserve" and the more you understand dogs and PWD, and the more you train them with consistency and love - the better the dog you will have. When you have children, you soon realise your life changes, and you have to adapt your life around the children. It is the same for dogs - but too many people think they can simply fit a dog into their life rather than making the changes to their life to meet the needs of a dog.  If you can't meet the needs of a dog - don't have one.

Are PWD suitable for families with young children / toddlers?

Again we have had conversations with people who have been turned down by breeders who will not consider them for a PWD because they have young children. They are an energetic, willful, and "mouthy" breed (bite, nip, chew etc) and can pose real challenges to families with young children. However, we believe it is possible to have a PWD and a young family if you are well prepared and consistent with your training. By this, we mean that it is just as important to train your children how to behave around a dog as it is to train your dog. We have many of our puppies successfully living with young children. It can be done and is increicly rewarding.

I have heard that they are a placid breed, are they are suitable for first-time dog owners?

PWD are lovely but they can pose challenges for inexperienced dog owners as well as experienced owners.  I wouldn't call them placid, the breed standard uses the terms: intelligent, energetic, pleasant disposition but self-willed. It may not be the easiest dog for your first dog but as long as you

  • plan well;

  • ask for and follow advice;

  • are consistent with your behaviour training;

  • train with praise and love;

  • physically and mentally stimulate them;

  • are patient (very patient) and persistent

then you will have a real sense of achievement and be rewarded with a better adjusted, better-behaved dog.

 

You will get the dog you deserve - the more you put in the better the dog will be.  It won't be easy but it can be done by first time owners. But please be aware, like any dog, they will have their challenges. Our first dog, Chester, was full-on, energetic, bright and quick to learn. He was also willful and mouthy, so much so that Wendy would have sent him back virtually every day for his first year. But it didn't stop her eventually getting Holly or Jasmine or Rafferty. All of whom share many Portie characteristics whilst having their own unique characters and pose their own individual challenges. The best thing to do is always meet the breed at the breeder's home and see what fully grown dogs are like rather than just seeing the cute puppies. Those cute fluffy puppies are easy to fall in love with but they soon grow up and you need to be prepared for what is coming your way!

I want one as I have been told they are perfect for my allergies as they are hypoallergenic and I won't react.  *******Click here to read our page on allergies and hypoallergenic dogs. *******

To put it simply hypo means "low "it does not mean "no" cause of allergies.  Simply there is no such thing as a no allergy dog. PWD may have low shedding hair but that does not mean you won't react to the protein in the shed skin cells (dander), saliva or urine. You must visit a breeder to see how you react and some people react severely. Don't take anyone's word that you won't react to a PWD.

I am busy and I have heard they are low shedding so that will make my life easier as they are low maintenance and that makes them easy to look after?

No, no, no! Quite the opposite - because they have hair and they don't shed as much as other breeds,  they need constant, daily grooming. This is something you can not neglect because the result will be a dog in pain from a matted coat. They are high maintenance - ******** click here to read our grooming page **********

Will you export a puppy abroad?    or    Can I get one from abroad?

We will not generally export.

Many UK breeders will not export because there is more than enough demand in the UK without having the added complications of exporting. We will not generally export.

Breeders and purchasers must pay special attention to quarantine laws, vaccinations (especially rabies) & pet passports. If you intend to import a puppy it is vital all requirements are met you are certain the breeder is reputable, all the health tests done and the dogs are pedigree dogs registered with the national equivalent of the Kennel Club. Even more important is that you will find it difficult to visit the breeder and check them out - this best done by visiting and is far harder to do over the phone or by email.

It is important to note that for many countries puppies can not enter or leave the UK until the Rabies vaccine is completed at around week 15 or16. Most puppies leave the breeder's home at 8 weeks , however, rabies vaccination can only be done at 12 weeks and it takes a further 21 days before a puppy can be exported. As a result, there is often an extra charge for the extra 8 weeks the breeder would have to look after them. You also have to consider that the new owner and puppy will be missing the most vital 8 weeks of socialisation.​​​

 

Many breeders will not consider putting a young puppy in the hold of a long-haul flight at such a vulnerable, young age.

I want one because have been told that they are perfect therapy / school dogs.

Every dog can be a  therapy dog and at the same time, no specific breed can ever be considered to be perfect therapy dogs. Despite their reputation, I have seen Dobermen and German Shepherds as perfect therapy dogs. Have you ever considered why people don't talk about therapy cats, rabbits or even snakes - all of which would be great for therapy? It is not just the type of animal or breed of dog - it is a combination of the temperament of the individual dog and the socialisation and training that is done with the dog which makes it suitable.

Remember what people really mean is a companion dog for someone with specific needs. Any dog can give them unconditional love, companionship and a real purpose. This is the wonderful benefit of any animal.

However in true "therapy" it is not the dog who does the therapy - it is the trained therapist who carefully uses the dog as their medium just as they would use art, play, Lego or music as their means of a carefully planned intervention and support. After all, a ball, paintbrush, piece of lego, drum or dog are little without the therapist.

Yes, PWD can be great therapy dogs but at the same time, there are as many PWD who would not be suitable. They are an energetic working, mouthy breed and without careful training and bringing them up to be well-mannered dogs you can easily have an unruly, high energy PWD. Many breeders say that PWD are slow to mature and don't seem to calm down until at least 18 months. Our Chester, even with years of obedience training, wasn't ready to be a therapy dog until he calmed down at about 4 years old. Jasmine was always a calmer dog at a younger age.  

Don't believe people if they say "Get a PWD and they will be perfect therapy or school dog." Don't believe people who will charge you more for a therapy PWD - it is not about how much they cost it is about how they are brought up, socialised and trained by the owner.  Yes breeders can breed two dogs with a calm temperament in the hope you will get calm puppies - but without proper socialisation and consistent, loving training you may still not have a well behaved or suitably calm dog.

Do not get a PWD and expect them to be perfect therapy dogs.

Are they perfect as a school dog?

Just as above - they can be perfect as well as being totally unsuitable. Do not think that PWD are the perfect answer to dogs in schools. Many charities including Pets as Therapy (PAT) and reading dogs do not advocate full-time school dogs. Dogs need to go in for a purpose for short allotted times. The dogs need to be carefully introduced and all aspects of the dogs welfare must come first.  Don't forget full risk assessment and public liability insurance will be needed. Many liability insurers will want the dog's temperament to be assessed and if a dog works in school then many dog health insurance companies will not cover them.

They can serve a purpose if their use is well-targeted. I have seen many reading dogs in school where children who are reluctant to read will happily read to a dog and their handler. Yes, there is no doubt it is a great motivator but it is no substitute for targeted support from a teacher or TA who can identify and support the child's reading or emotional needs.

Being in education for 30+ years and being head of various schools,  I meet too many people who want a dog but work full time so don't have the time to meet the needs of a dog. But because they are teachers they think they can get a puppy because they can take it in to school. We say make sure you really have the time for the dog first and only if it's temperament is suited to therapy or school work then you have a double-win. The thing to consider is - a puppy (or dog) isn't really suited to a full-time school environment and what will you do with your dog if it isn't suited to be in school and you work full time? There is so much to consider before having a dog in school - please ring for a chat if it applies to you.

Do they need much exercise?

Yes - ideally they need space to run off lead every day. That's why we suggest you really need a suitably sized garden or at very least a suitable and safely enclosed area (park, field, or beach), within walking distance where the dogs can run off lead every day. Without exercise, you may well end up with a frustrated, challenging, difficult or destructive dog. Without both mental and physical exercise including a good run, they will often have "zoomies" where they will tear around the house for a mad half hour. PWD will love exercise and some of our puppies have gone on to do Canni-X, a form of cross-country running with a harnessed dog.

I don't have access to water - can I have a PWD?

You don't need sheep to have a sheepdog. You don't need a gun to have a gun dog and you don't need water to have a water dog. Many PWD love water and having water locally to swim in can be advantageous. But not all PWD love water or love to swim - don't presume that they will. Some people ask why their dog won't go in the sea - the answer is: it is winter and it is cold - perhaps if you swam in the cold sea they would follow you. Lead by example! Some will willingly swim or body-board with you.

Will they get on with our dog? Yes - but it depends on how you introduce them and how you train & socialise them and give each dog the right amount of space, individual attention and clear boundaries.

Will they get on with our cat? see the answer above regarding other pet dogs - we find that it is often the cat that decides how the relationship progresses.

Will they get on with our chickens / horse / goat / gerbil? See above - it depends on how you introduce, socialise, and train your dog. However, some PWD have a strong predatory instinct and may well chase livestock. We have even known a small placid female bring down and kill a deer in the garden. However experienced dog owners we are and how well trained our dogs, we always put our dogs on a lead around livestock and horses. It is our responsibility as owners to control our dogs and not the dog's responsibility to over-power their natural instincts.

Are girls / bitches easier?

We find that those who have previously owned bitches or had bitches growing up tend to think girls are easier. Those who previously had dogs or dogs growing up tend to think boys are easier! You will find that you can have either male & female PWD as dominant dogs as well as placid PWD. Much of a PWD's character is down to a mix of the breed characteristics, mixed with their own individual character, mixed with how the owners treat, socialise and train them. Unless there is a specific reason you want a bitch or dog - we suggest that it is preferable to fall in love with the temperament and characteristics of the breed first rather than being hung up on having a specific gender.

Are boys / dogs harder work? see the answer above!

I want a PWD puppy for showing: You will need to phone Wendy.

I want a PWD puppy because I will want to breed: You will need to phone Wendy and have a good chat. Also take the time to read our Breeding Page to fully understand the breeding endorsement which will be put on the Kennel Club registration and contract. All breeding should be done well with the long term health of this rare breed being paramount. It is not easy or cheap to do well and can be both incredibly very stressful and rewarding. It is not something to do lightly or something to do if you just want to make a quick profit. If you do it right it may cost you money.

Nicholas & Wendy

OldeEly PWD

Haddenham, Ely, Cambridgeshire

01353 741108

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