Founder of Hayes Haus
Breeder/Trainer/Canine Behavior Specialist/CGC Evaluator
My name is Brandon Hayes, I breed working line German Shepherds. I am sure to specify the "working line" bit, because the working line dogs are not what your typical person thinks about when German Shepherds are mentioned, however, to the surprise of many, they are the original German Shepherd. A dog bred with utility in mind. The working line German Shepherds vary so distinctly from the show line dogs that genetically they appear as different as a separate breed. (Data here: Click)
In the early 2000's I fell in love with the working line German Shepherd. A breed that took me too long to find! Once, introduced to this breed, I quickly realized their amazing qualities, I wondered why they weren't being bred and enjoyed by people but the show line dogs were. And I racked my brain to figure out why these dog weren't being touted as, perhaps, the most impressive, versatile dog on the planet. Suited for nearly any job a dog can do and stable enough in temperament to be part of a family setting. So, I spent quite a few years learning the about breed and working with breeders, before I ventured out on my own.
I had my first German Shepherd litter ("A" litter vom Hayes Haus) in 2009. A breeding between a very strong working line bitch, Gitta vom Haus Barkley and the eventual 2010 world Schutzhund champion, Como vom Bonauer Wald (he placed 7th in 2009). I had 5 healthy girls from that litter and I haven't looked back.
Having been in the dog world for quite a while, and starting in dog shelters in the year 2000, I made a pact to myself, that I would do my personal best to keep dogs out of shelters and off of the table for euthanasia at the vets office. So, many might ask, and rightfully so, how does adding more dogs to the world solve this? My answer is very simple, you'll see.
Dogs are placed into shelters for many reasons, some of which no one can do anything about, i.e. an owner dying or moving somewhere they can't have dogs. But, many more dogs are sent to shelters every year because of behavior problems that people can't seem to get under control. I've seen my fair share, having been training dogs to behave since 2000. I have noticed that most people are very quick to blame the owner and circumstance for a dogs behavior and not the dogs predisposition to certain behavioral proclivities that don't mesh well in our society. Understanding the breed you buy is something some buyers do and some don't we can't police them, however, understanding and explaining the breed you breed is something breeders MUST both desirable and undesirable traits alike, this is of the utmost importance.
I breed dogs using a simple motto, which is stated on the home page, "THIS is what we breed for," "THIS" standing for temperament, health, intelligence and structure. I thought an acronym would resonate with people and perhaps become a motto for breeders all over. The breeding community, in this "show and tell" age of dogs has shifted, dangerously, I might add, to breeding dogs to a standard for looks instead of temperament. Most dogs shown don't have working titles and aren't required to obtain them to win show titles, like "Best in Show" and "Best in Breed." Now, let me ask you, do you think it's fair for a Labrador Retriever to win best in breed if he doesn't retrieve a single thing in his life? A lab that doesn't retrieve doesn't make for much of a Lab does it? But, for so many dogs a test of temperament is not placed as high as, how the dog looks, or the opinion of a judge. This is a dog world sin!
If you disregard temperament for certain physical qualities ('qualities' is a strong word, because it implies some worth or usefulness) or even put it second to physical qualities, you're are doing a disservice to dog owners but moreover you are doing a disservice to the dogs of that breed and that breed itself. You are creating an animal that is far removed from its genetic strengths and lowering their worth to an assessment of beauty, based on loose temperamental guidelines and a few judges opinions on its appearance and movement.
In addition, to all that is above, some breeders and trainers have realized that titling a dog is a sure way to sell puppies. And it proves quite effective. But, while some titles and trails prove a dogs worth in certain aspects of life and competition, buyers do not get to see the process. There are more great trainers in the world now, than ever before. We have vast knowledge about the canine brain and techniques to get dogs to work in certain venues. But, it is a trainers job to cover up "holes" in the dogs genetic temperament for sake of passing tests and winning trails. Just because a dog is titled doesn't mean it is breed quality and the converse is also true. And just to pile it on, many great trainers can train terrible dogs to impressive titles. If those dogs are to be bred and produce puppies, the pups don't come out with the knowledge taught to the parents by the trainer(s). They come out with only the genetic baseline for temperament. Which, includes all the holes the trainer covered up. Breeding temperamentally sound dogs is paramount to great breeding practices and keeps dogs from being placed in shelters and put down.
The other part to keeping the shelter population down is how I do business with people and the dogs I breed and sell. My dogs, as stated in my contract, can NOT: Be bred, surrendered to a shelter, put down, contested over in a divorce or separation or change hands without either the dog becoming my property or given express written permission by me to do anything listed previous. Otherwise you are in breach of contract and I will pursue charges. To many puppy mills, backyard breeders and hobby breeders don't back there dogs 100%. You must eliminate the options for the buyer to be a burden on the dog world.
It takes a certain type of honesty to breed dogs. Understanding your own breeding dogs personality and their history. Understanding their flaws (all dogs have them) and trying to figure out how to change the baseline genetics through breeding, to ultimately make a better generation of dogs than the previous. All breeders, good and bad fumble around an make mistakes, it's not as straight forward as many other professions, but good breeders admit and try not to repeat mistakes.
In closing great breeders have a vast array of knowledge about their breed, about dogs in general, about genetics and can convey that knowledge to clients so they can make an educated decision about their new family member. There are many breeders that are doing a wonderful job, support them!
Check out these articles (click here) for more dog information and my opinions on dogs and the dog world, feel free to email or call if you have any questions, comments or concerns.
Kennel Manager/Puppy Caregiver
Courtney is the kennel manager and German Shepherd puppy caregiver at Hayes Haus Kennels. Courtney is an avid dog lover and has had dogs her whole life. She studied at Empire Beauty school and became a hairstylist in 2012. After two years in the industry, Courtney decided she needed a change in scenery- joining our team in 2014. Now, Courtney spends her days caring for our adult dogs, making sure they are provided the exercise and interaction they need, as well as, hand raising Hayes Haus German Shepherd puppies via a puppy rearing and stimulation process unique to our kennel. This process ensures every puppy is well adjusted and has a leg-up on being a balanced member of a family or working dog unit when they leave our kennel. We are fortunate to have someone so dedicated to our cause raising and caring for every single one of the Haus Haus puppies!
Assistant Kennel Manager
Kennel and Dog Training Assistant
Dog Care Specialist