Breeding Philosophy

Our somewhat different Breeding Philosophy

Family raised, quality AKC Puppies

Our own experience during our search for breeding stock and testimony from many of our clients show, that it has become quite difficult to find a reputable breeder with healthy, well socialized puppies. 

There are many so called breeders (also see: Breeder Meter) and self-proclaimed experts in the Havanese community without any background, little history and no experience, but only a few who truly passionately and selectively breed breed worthy stock to maintain and improve upon the quality of their breed in all aspects of appearance, temperament and health. Many of them will give up because they run into problems they never expected, with the breeding itself, the whelping or their angry customers, others are forced out or closed down involuntarily and some will even go to jail for animal cruelty or for producing phony papers. For each of those, a new one will try their luck. Buyer beware!


Over 25 years of breeding experience. Specialization in pug and havanese breeds.

Breeder Pride

Alspirations to exceed breed standards, and striving for the improvement of the breed. Carefully selected parents and lineages. High standards for health and disposition.


CERF and OFA testing performed on Sires and Dams. Lineage of healthy dogs.

Socialization & Health

Our dedication to socialization & health is unparalleled. We source the best food, premium vet care, and nutrition for our parents and puppies.


We have raised Pugs for more than 25 years and started breeding Havanese in 2001. Our passion for these terrific breeds has since only increased and we have had between 1 and 5 litters each year over the past years. While I owned several different dog breeds growing up and over the past 45 years, I never bred or had an interest in breeding any other dogs. This is where my expertise and my passion is and no market trends will persuade me to change my choice. Besides, I worked very hard to establish the valuable contacts it takes to be able to buy breeding stock from the most reputable breeders in the country and our lineages are among the best you can find. Our latest addition, triple crown CH Maxanita’s Marshall is from the most exquisite lines and is a brother of a 2009 AKC Invitationals participant (yep, Westminster), one of the top 25 dogs in the country.  

On a side note: many people don’t realize that not just anyone with $5000 to spend can buy a high quality dog from a high end breeder WITH BREEDING RIGHTS. Money can buy you a PET, but to buy royal lines from the people who guard them, namely high end show exhibitors in 95% of all cases, you need clearance first.

And if you are welcome into “the unlimited club” without invitation and special references, just based on the amount you are willing to spend, you are not getting the real deal and in most cases you find yourself dealing with entry level lineages, upstart breeders and wannabees. 

Unlimited funds of course, will probably open any closed door. Most high end breeders however, carefully select whose $$$ they accept and in many cases $3000 and even $4000 is not enough for full registration with this breed.

This does not mean that you will have to spend this kind of money on a pet, but it should give you an idea what separates the chaff from the grain. 

Some dogs I had to negotiate for 18 months over, with the help of breeder colleagues lobbying and vouching for me because my name alone was not good enough. It is both, a humbling and an elevating experience and it is only then that one notices the wide range of experience and expertise from novice breeder and quacks on one side and seasoned breeder establishment on the other.


All our puppies are thoroughly checked by a certified vet before they leave. All our adults are routinely vet checked for cataracts, patellar luxation, other structural issues, heart, thyroid and brucellosis.  

Tests are an important tool but are often overstated by breeders who solely rely on them and use this false sense of security as a marketing tool as well as an excuse if something does go wrong and a way out of their liability. 

The standard tests that are currently performed are NOT genetic tests. They only describe the current condition of a dog with relatively little bearing regarding future developments or the prediction of the condition of the offspring. A positive test result does not guarantee anything, while a negative test result can disclose problems so that those dogs should be eliminated from the breeding program immediately. However, just because a dog has CERF or OFA, should alone and in itself not make a breeder confident enough to go ahead and breed these dogs.Nobody in my family had poor eye sight and yet I wore glasses at the young age of 7. Nobody in my wife’s family had asthma and yet she does. 

That said,We have all dogs checked for patella and all are OFA certified. We will only breed dogs with excellent knees. Patellar luxation is probably THE most common condition in Havanese and while an A+ test result for the parent is no guarantee that some of the offspring does not develop a grade 1 or 2 or even worse luxation, a parent with an already diagnosed luxation is certainly much more likely to produce offspring with problems. 

All of our dogs were CERF’d for cataracts in the past and all of our dogs are yearly checked by our vets (who are qualified to detect abnormalities such as cataracts but are not politically and/or financially involved with CERF). We currently do not get the yearly CERF done unless our vets refer us to an ophthalmologist because of a concern during an exam. Some dogs however are still current on their CERF. 

Our ophthalmologist of many years retired recently and there is only one fairly new clinic with an ophthalmologist who is affiliated with the CERF organization within driving distance. There is a whopping 4 for all of PA. One office is located in Doylestown, PA, north of Philly in the eastern part of the state, two are in Philadelphia, and one is in Pittsburgh. One other ophthalmology office in Pittsburgh on Rt. 8 that no longer welcomes our patronship after a dispute involving the State board regarding a botched surgery on one of our pugs is no longer on the list of affiliated vets on the CERF website. (Actually there were three surgeries which resulted in the loss of the eye and a bill in excess of $4000. I was not happy.) 

It is a shame that there are only 4 offices in all of PA who are affiliated with CERF. I am not sure if this says anything about the ophthalmologists and the criteria CERF has for affiliated doctors, or the CERF organization itself and its standings among ophthalmologists? Anyway, the most important test of all for ANY hereditary issues is NOT a medical test but rather the MEDICAL HISTORY, not of a particular dog but of its ENTIRE LINEAGE (which requires monitoring over several generations and/or monitoring of side lineages i.e. brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, cousins). 

Too many breeders have little or no knowledge about the health history of their breeding dogs. Shipped from across the country and imported from questionable countries with questionable lineages and even more questionable papers (such as Russia where corruption is rampant and “legitimate” papers are a dime a dozen), many breeders never even get to see, touch and study the parents, much less the grandparents of their breeding stock. They may get lucky and buy a healthy dog, perform the recommended tests and then, in good faith, breed dogs whose parents have already produced siblings with liver shunts and patella problems or cataracts.


As I already mentioned, we have only a few litters a year, which allows us to dedicate the necessary care, tons of love and passion and also plenty of time for the socialization of the puppies who grow up in our living room with two cats and three children, ages 13, 18 and 23.

We sporadically keep in touch with our previous customers, many of whom have already adopted a second or even third puppy from us.

We do this not only to share the joy that we bring to people’s homes but also for the important and valuable feedback for our breeding program. 

As we learn how our puppies are doing and how they are developing over time, we are reassured of the health of our lines and the quality results of our pairing decisions.

Keeping an eye on the siblings of YOUR puppy is an additional safety precaution that most breeders won’t take.

Breeder Pride

We do not sell to pet stores and do not know any reputable breeders who would. Reputable breeders with a few litters per year do not have to sell to retail stores who sell their dogs at an inflated price to people the breeder never gets to see. This of course, does not matter to a breeder with little or no pride.

Most established breeders have wait lists and may not even breed unless at least some of the pups are already spoken for. Made to order so to say. 

We buy stock from the best and spend what money it takes to produce the best. We pride ourselves to cooperate and friendly compete with the top breeders in the country. It not only takes money but also healthy ethics, honesty and trust to be able to do so. I have no sympathy for any breeder who undersells his puppies and is then not able to pay for a high end food, veterinary care and all the other expenses it takes to produce quality. 

We not only breed to compete and produce excellent puppies for pet and show homes, but have also high aspirations to maintain and improve upon the breed standard. Not many breeders can hope to improve a breed and breeders of merit are proud to maintain a high quality level. In case of our Havanese we can hope to make a major contribution as with our triple champion, we have a very special specimen as his coat, unlike most other Havanese’s is extremely low maintenance and almost does not matt at all. In case of our Pugs this primarily means to increase the gene pool of PDE free dogs.

Line Selection & Health

Our lines are carefully selected, the parents are on the premises and have no history of seizures, epilepsy, heart, knee, hip or eye problems for at least 3 generations back. As already mentioned above, our adults are health tested for hereditary issues and we test every new dog for Brucellosis and Thyroid issues on arrival and before mating.

While we breed to the highest conformity standard as governed by the HCA, our first priority is health and disposition.

A good show dog does not always make a good breeder, and a good mix of a breeding couple can produce higher quality in regards to health as well as show prospect of their offspring than the offspring of a champion. If the quality is there. 

CLOSE BREEDING has led to many health issues in all existing breeds and it is therefore extremely important to select the dogs that are just right. Most amateur breeders have little understanding for this issue, while professional breeders do, but often do not breed accordingly because their first priority is the perfect looks and health issues are often compromised in the process. 

A certain amount of puppies with KNEE PROBLES, LIVER SHUNTS,  EYE  or  HEART PROBLEMS, SEIZURES or EPILEPSY to name the most wide spread issues, seem to come with the territory for some irresponsible trophy hunters. We don’t have to compromise our breeding program to stay in the competition. 

Although we show competitively, we will not compromise on health, line history, disposition and breeding prospect in the selection of our own dogs and more importantly, we will not sacrifice health in an attempt to “clone” a terrific dog by breeding it back to his first or second degree relatives.

A word about dog shows:
While AKC shows are the most prestigious, they are flawed in that a dog is shown against the competition. This means that in a weak competition, a relatively average dog can be pointed whereas in a strong competition in a major metro area, even a strong dog can end up with reserve. Had the same dog been shown in two competitions in, say Helena, MT and Casper, WY, it may have been a champion in no time at all. Not really fair, is it? It is a lot more expensive and time intensive to finish a dog say, in Philly than it is in 20 states in the US. But that is how the system works.APR shows on the other hand work differently. A dog is shown against the breed standard only. 181 points out of 200 qualify for a point towards the championship.

We exercise GREAT CARE, do EXTENSIVE RESEARCH, and do not spare any expenses with the selection of our breeding pairs which we adopt from highly reputable breeders at prices between $2,500-4,500 for a puppy or young adult that we feel is a good fit and meets our requirements. We do this to minimize the health issues that are specific to the breed and ensure that our clients will receive only happy, healthy puppies. We have been very successful in breeding healthy dogs and back our confidence up with a unique lifelong genetic warranty.

Perimeters for Success

Truth and Honor: According to the motto of my alma mater: in omnibus veritas suprema lex: truthfulness in everything (or losely: at all times) be the highest law, our success and our reputation are built on a no nonsense approach in dealing with clients and a scientific approach to modern animal husbandry. Breeding healthy animals is no coincidence, it is not based on luck; it is a consequence of doing what is right and necessary according to modern science combined with a pinch of common sense. Having happy customers is a consequence of doing what is right and speaking what is true.

Diet: Our 5 Pugs and 8 Havanese are on individual diets and receive only excellent nutrition, supplemented with vitamins and special foods such as fresh cooked meats, Yogurt, and Cottage Cheese during pregnancy and nursing. They are under permanent supervision of our very knowledgeable veterinarians.

We start our puppies out on the very best, high end nutrition (vitamin enriched and without animal by-products) such as Baby Rice Cereal and Royal Canine Babydog (30%protein), switch them at 5-6 weeks to a mix of Chicken Soup For The Puppy Lover’s Soul, Nature’s Variety and Taste Of The Wild. The selection of the food is extremely important especially at the age between 4 and 12 weeks, when the puppies go through a critical period which is often referred to as “the immunity gap”. During this precarious time of weaning, the bitch’s milk contains fewer and fewer colostrum and only a few puppy foods supply the necessary incrediences to strengthen the puppies own immune system and help develop a beneficial intestinal flora.  

If you do some research regarding feeds, you will find that most popular names such as Iams or Eukanuba, still often but mistakenly thought to be the best feeds around, are not mentioned among the 5 and 6 star feeds that we are using and are in fact widely considered 2 (!) star feeds. If you check out the list of incrediences, it becomes obvious why. While they may be high end among the supermarket brands (such as Nutroplan, Pedigree, Purina, etc.) they are highly overpriced. In fact, the very reasonably priced Chicken Soup is actually cheaper than Eukanuba. We recently recommended to a client to switch their 6 year old Lab from Eukanuba to Evo in preparation of the new arrival. Before they even picked up their new puppy, they reported back that the Lab’s activity level was back to its puppy days literally over night and the coat improved dramatically within a week. Changes I did not expect myself so radically and quickly. Just shows how average Eukanuba really is. And hate to be so GERMAN again, but:TOLD YOU SO…! 

The food a breeder uses can be an excellent litmus test. If a breeder uses one of the above supermarket brands, run and do not turn around as they obviously do not know the first thing about breeding quality dogs. And you don’t have to take my word for it either, just check out

We do not design our feed mixes to keep our dogs artificially small in order to cater to a tea cup market. A wide spread practice that is very unhealthy and is condemned by any reputable breeder.

Disease Prevention, Maintenance, and Care: Of course we use continuous flea and tick prevention and preventive heart worm medication throughout the season, as well as frequent worm medication for all gastrointestinal parasites to keep our dogs healthy and in perfect breeding condition. While we can’t use montly chemical treatments on our breeding females to prevent birth defects in puppies, we have developped our own preventive program consisting of mostly biological helpers such as beneficial nematodes which prey on fleas and ticks. Where we do use chemicals such as Nylar, an IGR that targets only insects (and the “plus” in Frontline Plus), we use products that do not accumulate in the reproductive system and are non toxic for mammals.

We do not exhaust our females and skip a heat if there is not enough time in between cycles.

Our puppies come crate and paper trained, with health certificate, AKC registration including 2 months free health insurance, are current on their shots and receive worm treatments at 2,5 and 8 weeks of age. They are well socialized and prepared for their new homes. Also see: Training Advisor.

Guarantee: We guarantee a healthy, well socialized puppy with no regrets and support beyond the point of sale together with a lifelong genetic warranty. We are also available for help and advice after the puppy leaves our home. Once you adopt a puppy from Camelot, you buy into the Camelot family and our responsibility for the puppy does not cease to exist when the puppy leaves our premises.

Shipping Restrictions

According to official statistics, more than 20,000 animals decease every year in transition on planes and in airports across the US. Of course, considering the huge amount of animal transports, this figure is relatively very small, however, we feel that each animal that dies unnecessarily is one too many and do not want to take a chance. Even if all goes well, the stress of the travel is certainly not becoming and does not make for a good start. 

While we do not ship our puppies as cargo in the freight compartment of an airplane, we are prepared to travel a reasonable distance to meet our clients and some have even come by plane to get one of our special puppies. Land transportation via pet courier or on-board transportation (sometimes flight attendants function as pet nannies)may be an alternative, however, we have not used either one yet.

Due to the shipment limitations, most of our puppies found homes along the East Coast, mainly in Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland, Connecticut and New Jersey, but also as far as Boston, Massachusetts and Atlanta, Georgia, Denver, CO and even Hollywood, CA.