Addidas Mad About You

A Little Dog Story: Farley

Farley was only three years old and he was in dismal shape. Little did he know his bad luck and poor health were about to change for the better and there would be no turning back.

On September 9, 1999, I became the proud owner of the three year old curly coated retriever Addidas Mad About You (SN30789705) , AKA "Farley". He was a promising pup. His "Puppy Personality Profile" test sheet has "Big Show Male" penned across the top. Farley was born on January 5, 1996. He was out of the first of four litters his dam and sire would produce over the next three years. The last of those four litters was whelped on January 19, 1999, just fourteen days after Farley's third birthday and about a year after Farley began seizing.

Farley had his first seizures on consecutive days around his second birthday in January of 1998. In addition to these two, he had seizures on September 12, 1998, November 7, 1998, May 25, 1999, and September 9, 1999. Now at four years old, he has been seizure free for four months.

In my home I have three generations of seizing curlies: grandmother, son, granddaughter and grandson. I know what treatments have helped my dogs and wanted to try to help Farley too. On September 24, 1999, Farley began taking Phenobarbital and has not had a single seizure since. I hope he continues to do as well as my nine year old male curly Buck who has been seizure free for many years, thanks to his daily dose of Phenobarb.

Unfortunately Farley is one of those dogs who was never very healthy. His skin problems were treated at two months of age and continue to be treated today. He had been diagnosed with allergic dermatitis and bacterial pyoderma and has allergies to histamine, fleas, dust, dust mites, sycamores, and rhizopus, a type of mold. As you can see in the pictures, Farley came to me with pustules, scales, crusts, excoriations, alopecia, and erythema.of a severe nature. With treatment he has come a long way and is fully coated and lesion free today.

I'll never forget my first vision of Farley. His eyes were black and red, the color of the ripened tomatoes I grow in my garden each summer. I was horrified. Severe erythema of the conjunctiva was the diagnosis caused by entropion. When he was neutered on September 20, 1999, those ingrown eyelashes that had irritated his eyes for years were removed by lazer surgery. His eyes are now shiny black and glowing white.

Farley has recently moved in with friends in Connecticut. Today his greatest worries are keeping his tail out of the clutches of that pesky sidekick cat, and whether or not his next truck ride will be to deposit trash at the dump or to pick up a couple of bags of groceries at the market. As you can see, Farley has fallen off the hard-luck wagon into the warm, soft dog bed of life where all good dogs belong. Farley's one good and lucky dog!

Farley September 99 . . . . Farley November 99

Farley Parents Grandparents
Addidas Mad About You
CH Addidas Christmas Party
CH Toakaha Maruiwi SF-238205
CH Addidas SW Nobody's Fool SE-613851
CH Addidas Reasonable Doubt
CH Addidas SW Tom Foolery SE-613852
CH Addidas Streisand SG-017811

Some of my family

Canine Epilepsy Network web

Curly Rescue

More Curly Stories (Holly)

Sad update


Born January 5, 1996 - Died April 20, 2001

Farley came to Cape Ann Curlies a very sick dog in September of 1999. He was treated, then left our home rejuvenated, healthy, and happy in November of 1999. He joined the Foltz family in CT and they were thrilled with him. Their little Jack was born the spring of 2000 and Farley was there. Farley flourished in his new home until this winter when symptoms appeared. He was diagnosed with hemolytic anemia. Despite the attention of veterinarians and specialists, the treatments of blood transfusions, steroids, and experimental medication, and the efforts, prayers, and support of many of you in the curly community, Farley could not be helped. His spirit and heart were willing but his body could not endure.

Laura Foltz would like everyone to know... "Our family loved and cared for Farley very much and we miss him terribly. We will never forget him and the joy he brought to our lives, and we hope that we were able to bring him some joy in the later part of his life. We comfort ourselves by knowing that wherever he is now, he is sure to be bounding around, tail high, without pain, trying to get someone to take him up on a game of "tug"."

A dog is a living creature. As with any living creature, there is no 100% guarantee that there will be no problems. As breeders we make choices. Some good, some bad. Some are choices other breeders would not make. As a potential puppy buyer, it is up to you to do your homework. You can ask talk to as many breeders as possible. Some will have good things to say, some only bad things to say. Some will do nothing but bad mouth everyone to try to get you to get a puppy from them. If a breeder says they have no problems in their! There has yet to be the perfect puppy born. There are no perfect dogs, and unfortunately, no perfect breeders. Check out the OFA site at OFA site. Here you can check on hip, cardiac, eye and GSDII results.

Other Health concerns in Curlies

John C. Fyfe, D.V.M, Ph.D. Associate Professor
D.V.M., 1984, Washington-Oregon-Idaho Regional Program in Veterinary Medicine
Ph.D., 1994, University of Pennsylvania
Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics
5169 Biomedical Physical Sciences
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824

Glycogen storage disease type IIIa (GSDIIIa) is an inherited metabolic disorder that causes liver and skeletal muscle disease due to deficiency of the glycogen debranching enzyme (GDE) and tissue storage of abnormally structured glycogen. This disorder was discovered in an extended family of curly coated retrievers (CCR), with representatives from USA, Canada, and New Zealand, and is due to a single based deletion in the GDE gene. This disease, too, is an autosomal recessive trait, and so the laboratory provides carrier testing for GSD IIIa in curly coated retrievers .

To find out about some cardiac issues in Curlies, visit the
Curly Heart Page

Patterned Baldness

Red Lights, Green Lights: Questions to ask the breeder


Expect your puppy to be registered with one of the reputable stud books: 
  • American Kennel Club (AKC)
  • United Kennel Club (UKC)
  • Field Dog Stud Book
  • Canadian Kennel Club (CKC)
These kennel clubs make some effort to ensure the very worst "breeders" can not register. For example, persons convicted of cruelty to animals are suspended from the AKC (and UKC - I believe).
Remember however that a registration is simply a record that the dog is purebred. Registrations are given based upon the word of the breeder. No one from these organizations comes out to look at the litter or see how it's being raised. Registration is NOT a sign of quality.

Red Lights
  • If you come across a puppy that is registered at some other lesser-known registries, run away - very, very fast. There are a number of so-called registries that exist so that the puppy millers and others who have lost their privileges at the reputable organizations can continue to breed and sell puppies. It's not an easy thing to be suspended from these organizations. If someone has been, it's for a good reason.
  • You may come across a litter or a pup that is not registered for some reason. Why was the litter not registered? Does the breeder care so little about what they are doing? Be sure to ask why the puppy or litter isn't registered. And carefully consider the answer. If you are looking for a good family companion and care little about a registration - this may be less of a red light for you.

Green Lights
  • Puppies registered in multiple registries. This is called "cross registered". One of the registries will be the primary registry. Make sure it's one of the ones listed.

  • Expect your breeder to be willing to work with you when it comes to payment. Good breeders want their pups in the very best homes and will work with those homes to make that happen.
  • Expect to place some kind of deposit on a pup that is not ready to go home yet.

Red Lights
  • The ability to pay by credit card. This is a sign of a commercial operation. Commercial operations look to the bottom line - not necessarily the well being of their pups. It may be that the breeder has access to credit processing through another business. That would be OK, but check it out.
  • A breeder unwilling to work out payment arrangements. This is less of a red light, particularly in areas where demand is high and supply is low. In these cases, the breeder may have a waiting list of outstanding homes for pups and may not need to be a flexible in this area.

Green Lights
  • Breeders who offer "rebates" or "incentives". Breeders may offer rebates or incentives to their buyers for providing proof of excellent care and training. Examples might be: spay or neuter, completion of a Basic Obedience Class, or attainment of a title or award.

Expect to see some kind of advertising:
  • Local Classified Ads
  • Pet Store Flyers
  • Dog Club Ads

Red Lights
  • Out of area advertising. There is one exception to this, which is advertising on the Internet - it can't help but be out of area. If you see ads in the classifieds for out of area breeders or "puppy brokers" (people who will find a pup for you) beware. If breeders are advertising outside their own area that means they are producing enough puppies that they have to advertise at a distance. Lots of puppies generally mean poor puppy care. 
  • Short classified ads. As a rule of thumb you can judge the quality of the litter by the length of the ad. More information means a more informed and responsible breeder.
  • Dropping puppy prices. A breeder who has so many pups left over that they are having to drop the price on pups in order to sell didn't go into the breeding very well informed. The best breeders usually have much of the litter sold before it's even bred.
  • The biggest red light of all: Breeders who sell through an intermediary like a pet store or a puppy broker. These breeders truly don't care about where their pups wind up or what kinds of situations they go into. If they don't care about the puppies' futures, how much did they care about what they were producing?

Green Lights
  • Breeders who don't need to advertise. The very best breeders don't need to advertise. They sell puppies by word of mouth. Or other breeders frequent them . Or they have a lot of repeat buyers. If you're lucky enough to find one of these breeders - expect to sit on their waiting list for a while until they have the right pup for you.

  • And how do you find these breeders? Through word of mouth. Go to dog shows. Go to field events. (Go to the AKC web page at to find a list of your local events.) Contact the Curly Coated Retriever Club of America. Contact the local Curly Club. Basically, beat the bushes until you find a breeder you like and are comfortable with.
Buyer Background Check

  • Expect to be interviewed.
  • Expect to answer a questionnaire.

Red Lights
  • Breeders who will sell to anyone walking in the door with their checkbook out. These breeders don't really care about the future of their pups. They'll sell to anyone, any time, who has the money. If the breeder doesn't care where their puppies go - what kind of care did they take in planning the litter? And what kind of care will they give you if your pup has problems?

Green Lights
  • Home visits. More difficult when purchasing at a distance, the breeder may be able to arrange to have someone else do the home visit for them.
  • References required. Expect those references to be checked. If you have pets now, expect one to be your vet. (Be sure the call your vet and let them know it's OK to answer questions from your potential breeder.)
  • Feeling like it's easier to adopt a child than get a puppy out from under this breeder. These breeders are very careful about where their pups go. Their concern is for the future welfare of the pup.
  • Breeders who try and talk you out of buying a Curly. (See Top Ten Reasons Not to get a Curly) The Curly Coated Retriever is not an easy breed to own. Responsible breeders will be sure to highlight the difficulties in having a Curly. They are concerned about your well being too.
Breeder Background Check

Most breeders won't offer this information. But if you ask for it they should unhesitatingly provide it.
  • References, their vet and previous buyers
  • Experience statement
  • Clear statement of what they offer to buyers

Red Lights
  • Breeders who refuse to provide this information.
  • Breeders who can't provide this information.
  • Breeders who don't understand why you require this information.

Green Lights
  • Breeders who have a prepared sheet or list to give prospective buyers.
  • Breeders who have a written "mission statement" or set of "breeding goals". These are breeders who have thought long and hard about the direction they want their breeding program to take.
Questions about the litter.
Why was this litter bred?

Always, always, always, ask this question. It will give you more insight into who this breeder is and what you can expect from your pup than any other. OK answers are:
  • Because this bitch has qualities we wanted to see passed on. (with a list of those qualities)
  • Because the dog has qualities we wanted to see passed on. (with a list of those qualities)

Red Lights
Any of these answers:
  • To get our money back out of her.
  • So the kids could see the miracle of birth.
  • To make money.
  • So that she'd be "fulfilled" before we spayed her. (Sometimes at an unenlightened vet's recommendation!!)
  • Because we thought it would be fun.
  • We like her a lot and wanted to keep one of her pups.
All these answers show a lack of forethought and planning. The actual breeding was probably pretty haphazard, as was the care of the pups.

Green Lights
Answers like:
  • This breeding furthers my breeding goals. With a detailed explanation of how that is.
  • Because we were looking to produce pups with specific qualities. With a detailed explanation of those qualities.
You're looking for any sort of answer that shows forethought, planning, and specific goals for the breeding. This means research was done before the litter was bred.
How often do you breed?

  • Less than once per year
  • No more than twice per year

Red Lights
Look for answers that show too many pups for the breeder to raise properly. Or, that they are producing pups so quickly they may "burn out". Each litter requires tremendous amounts of time to raise, expose, and evaluate properly.
  • Multiple litters on the ground at one time
  • More than two or three times per year

Green Lights
  • Whenever I can keep a pup. This means the breeders are breeding for themselves. These litters are not haphazard but are well thought out and researched.
How often has this bitch been bred?

  • No more than once per year or every other season
  • No more than three or four total litters

Red Lights
  • Bitches bred every season. This is hard on the bitch. And it shows an interest in puppy production over the care and welfare of the bitch.
  • Very occasionally, you may run across a breeder who is breeding the bitch "back to back" that is, two seasons in a row. If this is the case be sure to find out why. Also, how long she was "rested" before these breedings. And how long she'll be "rested" before she's bred again. You want to see at least a year on either side where no litters are bred. And a sound reason for asking this of the bitch.
  • Bitches who have had more than three or four litters. Only the smallest percentage of truly great bitches should be bred this much. And it's unlikely that you'll run into pups from these bitches, as these pups tend to stay within the breeding community.

Green Lights
  • Bitches bred less than once per year
  • Bitches with only one or two litters.
Sire and Dam Genetic Screening / Health Checks

  • Expect both sire and dam have OFA (Orthopedic Foundation of America) or Penn-Hip certification of being free from hip dysplasia.
  • Expect both of the parents to have a CERF (Canine Eye Registry Foundation) certification of "normal".

Red Lights
  • No health certifications. Indicates a breeder who either doesn't know or doesn't care. They probably bred Maggie to Butch down the street for no other reason than he was convenient.
  • Only one parent with hip certification. It used to be that the breeder had an "out" on this because the OFA won't certify hips before 2 years of age. However, the Penn-Hip certification can be done even at very young ages. So, this is no longer a valid excuse.

  • Penn-Hip is still fairly new in the certification arena - and is still not widely accepted. So, a breeder using a dog under the age of two may have had a preliminary hip screening done. This is OK too, provided the x-rays were sent to the OFA for a preliminary reading.

Green Lights
    • OFA Hip certification
    • both parents with CERF normal certification
    • OFA Cardiac certifications
  • Breeders who can (and will) give you the health history on one or both sides with regard to
    • Bloat / Gastric Torsion
    • Distochyasis (Extra Eyelashes)
    • Hip Dysplasia
    • Cardiac Problems
    • Coat Patterning
Picking Pups

  • Expect your breeder to give you some advice when it comes time to pick your pup. After all, no one knows the litter and the individual personalities as well as the breeder.

Red Lights
  • Breeders who can give you no insight into the personality of the individual pups. These breeders either don't know what they were looking at, don't care what they were looking at, or didn't pay attention. In general their attitude is that all puppies are alike, so what does it matter.
  • Breeders who don't offer any advice about your pick. Their attitude is one of "take the puppy and go."

Green Lights
  • Experienced breeders who pick for you. These breeders are confident in their ability to select a pup for you and your situation. And, they have the experience to back it up. (Be sure to ask about a breeder's experience in this area.)
  • Experienced breeders who select a pup for you and make a recommendation to that effect, but still leave the final selection in your hands. As above, be sure to ask about their experience in evaluating pups.
  • Breeders who can provide written notes on each pup. Who have carefully evaluated each pup and noted what they observed. These breeders have the most insight of all to offer. And, since they wrote it all down, they do not have to rely on memory to make recommendations.
  • Breeders who have had the litter evaluated by one or more outside persons. Many breeders will do this to verify their own evaluations or to get a more experienced breeder's opinion. Remember however, that these outside evaluators are seeing the pup for only an hour or two. The breeder will still be able to offer a better insight than any outsider.
Lifetime Return Policy

  • Most breeders do not offer a lifetime return policy. (First Right Of Refusal) However, should you need to place your dog in the future they should make an effort to assist you in finding a home for that dog.

Red Lights
  • Breeders who you don't know and can't contact should something go wrong.
  • Breeders who don't maintain contact with their buyers so that you can find them should you need assistance.

Green Lights
  • Something to the effect of: "If at any time, for any reason, you can no longer care for the dog. It will be returned to the breeder. If you have found another home for the dog the breeder must approve that home before the dog is placed there." These breeders are the best of all. They take their responsibility to their pups seriously. They are doing their best to ensure that no pup of theirs is ever placed in a shelter.
  • Do not expect the breeder the buy the dog back. They are simply guaranteeing a good home for the dog should something happen to you.

When is a Curly not a Curly?


(I was asked by Farley's owners to make a page telling his story. SoftMaple in no way takes credit for the content of the page, just for the page layout and web design)

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