(Picture is courtesy of one of our very kind customers)
Please be aware that due to the corona outbreak, everybody seems to be looking for puppies and most breeders have more than doubled their prices. We have kept ours the same as we didn't feel it was right to try to cash in on peoples circumstances, but this does seem to have attracted some customers that are just looking for a cheap dog. This in NOT the category our puppies fall under, and if we don't feel that you are a suitable home we will not allow you to reserve one of our puppies.
It also means that on the reservation night we are going to have over 500 people all trying to reserve our 10 puppies. There are going to be disappointed people, and I'm afraid that is something we just can't avoid. Don't forget that you can always make a charity bid on Captain Tom if you don't make it through to reserve.
Due to the Coronavirus outbreak and Lockdown, we are sadly unable to carry out farm visits at the moment as we normally insist on. We are having to take people on trust that they have fully considered all the ins and outs of taking a puppy home before looking to reserve one.
Our phone is currently ringing constantly from dawn till dusk, with people hoping to secure a new puppy. While we try our very best to talk fully to everyone that calls, we just aren't able to cope with all the calls at the moment. Before calling PLEASE go through the website fully and see if you can find an answer to your questions on there. Please remember we are a family with 3 girls under 5 year old. As well as having to keep the home running, we also run a farm with horses, sheep, pigs, chickens, cats and dogs, with everyone & everything needing attention. Due to the lockdown we don't have any outside help, so it's all falling to us to keep everything running smoothly, so we are extremely busy. Please don't take that as if we don't want to talk to you, it's just very hard to talk to everyone, as we would never be able to leave the house! Please only call if it is something that is not already talked about on the website.
A few of the key questions that are asked regularly are covered below;
* We are having to take people on trust that they have fully considered all the ins and outs of taking a puppy home before looking to reserve one.
*There is NO waiting list, all our puppies are reserved by 'phone in' on a set date. This is detailed further down the page.
* The minimum requirements that we insist on are; someone must be able to be home with the puppy at all times, with no more than a maximum of 4 hours being left alone at any one time, and even that amount of time should not be a regular thing, particularly while they are little.
* Puppy must have regular access to outside space, weather that is a garden, patio or park, a puppy will want outside space to play.
* While Cockapoos and Cockers are fantastic family dogs, if you have children you will need to be sure that your children are gentle and sensible with a puppy. If your children are rough or over excitable with a young puppy they could frighten or injure him.
* All our puppies currently cost £1500 (but we are going to be having to charge VAT on Puppies born after 1st April 2020)
* While Cockapoos are very low shedding in their coat, they do still shed slightly. If you are worried about having a reaction to your puppy, first see if you can find some local to you that already owns a Cockapoo that you can spend time with before reserving a puppy. I would suggest that during this lockdown is NOT the time to be buying a puppy if you are at all likely to have an allergic reaction. Both for the sake of the puppy, and for the potential extra strain on the NHS.
* An F1 is a straight 50/50 between a Cocker Spaniel and a Poodle - this usually produces a very consistent coat type with long wavy curls.
* An F1b is a 75/25 cross with an F1 Cockapoo being bred back to a Poodle (would also be an F1b if bred back to a Cocker but we don't use that cross here at Hallslake). This produces a less consistent cross and will produce mostly puppies with very curly coats more like a poodle,some puppies with an F1 type wavy coat, and some will occasionally throw back towards the Cocker Spaniel with quite flat coats. We can usually identify the coat type prior to reservation and will detail this on the puppies individual description.
We would normally then encourage people to come and meet us and the gang before a puppy is born which we call this a 'farm visit'. As well as giving us a chance to chat to you and ensure your suitability, it gives potential puppy owners a good chance to come and meet all our dogs and get to know the personalities of potential parents. Sadly due to Corona this if just not able to happen at the moment. What we are instead suggesting is that you try to find people who already have visited us and ask for their opinion of us. We are not on Instergram but I believe that if you hashtag Hallslake that there are many people on there that have our babies, and I'm sure some might be willing to chat about their experiences here.
PRIOR TO COVID19; We only allow people who have already visited us at Hallslake to reserve our puppies when they become available.
The reason we encourage a farm visit is that you get to see everything here. This includes our kennels, runs, where the puppies live and play before they are ready to leave for their new homes. You will meet ALL of our dogs, and see what they do, and experience on a day to day basis. All these things are VERY important for you too see when visiting any breeder (even if you don't end up having a Hallslake puppy). Looking at a lovely clean puppy, in a lovely clean home, perhaps on a white sofa or cream carpet, may all seem great at first appearance, but always look for signs that a dog actually lives there. If there is no dog hair, mud, no bowls, no chewed toys, or the dog/puppy isn't looking relaxed there, ask where it lives when not in the house. Don't be shy to ask probing questions, a good breeder should have nothing to hide, and if you don't get the answers you need then always walk away. Often unscrupulous breeders will try to conceal the actual living quarters and conditions of their animals, and will be reluctant to show you where they live on a regular basis. Seeing a puppy with his mother is also very important, sometimes a bad breeder may even present a mother that isn't the puppy's real mother, so make sure you see the puppy and mother/litter mates playing and interacting as you would expect. Mum may growl and snap at puppies trying to suckle after 7 weeks of age, but she will still show an interest in them, sniffing bottoms and licking and cleaning them. She may quite often play chase with them or tumble them over. If she has recently been separated, she may even regurgitate some of her dinner for them to eat, this is a bit YUK-but normal motherly behavior. Socialisation is also absolutely crucial to investigate. Socialisation is the term used to describe the experiences that a puppy encounters and becomes comfortable with from birth to around 16 weeks old. After this age it is almost impossible to change the attitude and fear reaction in a dog, so proper handling and interaction from day one is absolutely crucial. At 8 weeks old when you collect your puppy, a puppy from a top class breeder, or one from the worst of puppy farms, would both look identical. You need to have compete confident that your chosen breeder will be doing everything possible to give your puppy the start in life it needs to make it ready and confident for the day you collect it and take it home. He should already be used to household noises, sudden or loud sounds, doors slamming, ideally they should have experienced children and other animals, dogs which are not the mother & preferably different breeds, cars coming and going, indoor or outdoor space, freedom to roam and play at liberty in a garden or yard, being confined in a kennel or crate on occasion (only with company before 8 weeks), he should be confident to run over to you for a stroke, and he should have seen as much of 'normal life' as possible. At 8 weeks old they will still have a lot to learn and experience, but they should be ready and open to seeing and learning new things. It's our job as good breeders to ensure that this is how they are. An unsocialised puppy will be fearful and reluctant to experience new things and you will always have a much harder job trying to normalize him before his learning window closes. Another unseen thing to ask about is health testing. And not just the normal PRA-prcd (inherited progressive blindness) & FN (fatal kidney failure). Although these are absolutely crucial tests, most breeder will do these tests as a bare minimum. Often just the dad is tested, not the mum, which is just about acceptable so long as you are not considering ever breeding from your pet in the future. But always ask if a breeder has taken any of the extra measures available. Full health testing is available to everyone. It is expensive, but hip scoring, annual eye testing and glaucoma testing are all readily available through the British Veterinary Association, and is a way of ensuring the best possible health prospects for any puppy born. If a breeder isn't willing to health test both parents, and doesn't care if it's puppies are likely to inherit hip dysplasia or cataracts, ask why not, and consider if they are really the breeder you wish to buy your future family friend for the next 15 years from.
Anyway, sorry for the long ramble.... but these are reasons we like people to come and meet us here at Hallslake. We like to do our best to find the best owners for our puppies, show you what to expect from a good breeder, put your mind at rest that if you do have a Hallslake puppy in the future that we will have given it the best start we can possibly manage, and we also try to educate people how to accidently avoid fueling the puppy farm trade if you don't end up having a Hallslake puppy.
Once this is all said & done though, and if you do decide we are the breeder for you, we are still not able to guarantee you a puppy.
We have tried everything possible to find a fair way to offer our puppies to good potential owners. We started offering a simple waiting list. This list went to 6, but after having a litter of 4 born, number 5 & 6 on the list were very disappointed so wanted to become 1 & 2 on the next waiting list. Sounds fair, except that the existing 1 & 2 on that second list didn't really like becoming 3 & 4, and 5 & 6 were very unhappy about being bumped off the waiting list all together! Next came a question of sex and colour... If you do decide to offer a waiting list, how do you score the desired colour and sex of the puppy? A lot of people are very specific about what they are looking for. Do you make a waiting list for each individual puppy option? For example if a potential litter had the possible litter options of; gold girl, sable girl, red girl, black girl, and the same colour option for the boys, and realistically you allow the potential for 4 to be born of each colour & sex, so put 4 people on each waiting list, then what would you do when a bitch (Coco has recently done exactly this) has a litter of 8 girls (1 gold, 2 red, and 5 sable) and 1 sable boy? If I had had a waiting list of 4 people for each colour in each sex, I would have had 32 people on the waiting list, and 26 of them would have been disappointed not to get their chosen sex/colour, and there would still be 1 sable girl unreserved. In short we have found the waiting list system completely impossible. If anyone has a better idea of how to offer one fairly and easily managed though, we would be very glad to hear about it!
So, what do we do?
Its a little bit like getting Glastonbury tickets.... we keep the website News page & Planned Litters page up to date with details of litters born, & when the puppies are around 10 days old we announce a time and date that we plan to make the puppies available to reserve, and then on that date we will post photographs and descriptions of the puppies and give an exact time that people (only people who have already visited us) are allowed to call us on our landline and ask to reserve a puppy. We do not answer early callers, we do not allow pre-reservations, & we do not take bribes (although we are often offered them!) and its very insulting to us if people suggest otherwise. The call in system is totally fair, and everyone has an equal chance to reserve a puppy. When we speak to you on the phone, we take your details for our reservation forms, and we will update the online list with your initials. We don't ask for a deposit at that point, that can come later, it is done on trust.
At the end of the reservation process when all the puppies are spoken for, there is almost always disappointed people who haven't been able to get through on the telephone in time. This sadly is just something we can't avoid. We only breed a certain number of puppies. Often there will soon be another litter coming up, but sometimes there isn't, and it's very hard for us to console a family who has been down with their children and they all have their hearts set on a puppy, only for us to have to tell them that they are too late for that litter. But it is just unavoidable for us. If we offered preference to families with children, or following a bereavement or other upsetting or emotional circumstances it would not be fair to other people who have taken the time to do their homework and come and visit us. So please, if you don't manage to reserve a puppy, be patient in waiting for another litter to come up, and don't be too hard on us. We really do try our best to be fair.