Breeder of Quality Working German Shepherds and Border Collies in Michigan




Puppy Information

Vendetta van den heuvel tunnelvendetta van den heuvel with mary

Our puppies are raised completely in our home to expose them to the usual sights and smells of a busy household. It all begins with the female being fed a very high quality raw diet including chickens and sheep from our own farm. They are born in the house in a private area. The whelping box is make out of plastic (UHMWPE and plastic wood trim) so it is easy to disinfect and keep clean. The puppies receive stimulation from the Superdog program. The puppies are individually handled on a daily basis. They are evaluated with notes to compare each puppy in terms of temperament and drive levels. Puppies are all officialy evaluated by an experienced tester at 8 weeks old. Puppies are chosen for each buyer by what they are looking for and how the puppies test out. It is not the order of received deposits.

Puppies will come with AKC registration, a microchip, a health warranty, and a puppy packet (health records, photos, dam and sire information, contact information, and articles). Shipping costs, if necessary, will be the responsibility of the buyer, including the crate. The puppies will be wormed and will receive a parvo-distemper vaccine.

If you are interested in a puppy, please send a message with some basic information about yourself and fill out our puppy questionairre. Keep in mind a certain color may seem very important at first, what is between the ears is a lot more important in the long run.

khaleesi rossa van den heuvel with puppies

Puppies will come with a warranty:

1. The puppy is to be in good health and free of parasites at the time of purchase. Buyer agrees to take the puppy to a licensed veterinarian within 72 hours. The puppy is also warrantied to be free of major communicable diseases for 5 days.

2. Hip and elbow dysplasia up to 25 months. Xrays submitted to OFA, SV "a" stamp, or equivalent and their official results (prelims or vet opinions will not be accepted) will be considered as proof. Xrays must have the dog in the correct position which requires a veterinarian experienced in OFA/SV positioning. Poor results due to incorrect positioning will need to be resubmitted at buyer's expense. The warranty will be void if the dog is overweight leading up to the xrays or if it is due to injury. If a failing result occurs, a copy of the Xray and paperwork must be sent to the breeder. All testing is at the expense of the buyer.

3. Life threatening genetic health defects upto 24 months old. Non-genetic defects will not be covered as well as any conditions due to neglect, poor nutrition, injury, ingesting foreign objects, poisoning, etc.

4. In the event a puppy develops a life threatening genetic issue or has a failing hip or elbow Xray result, the buyer will receive half off a future puppy. A replacement will only be given with proof of spay or neuter of the original dog. If the buyer chooses, they may return the dog including all registration paperwork. Shipping costs are the responsibility of the buyer.

5. Buyer agrees to fully release all medical records and allow the breeders to communicate with the treating veterinarians if there is a claim that a dog has an issue covered by the warranty. A second opinion may be requested at the breeder's expense. If the dog dies, an official necropsy by the state veterinarian or veterinary college is mandatory for warranty. No compensation will be made to the buyer without the full release of all medical records and if failing xrays results, monthly pictures clearly showing body condition of the dog.

6. If the dog is bred before 24 months or official hip and elbow xray results, there will be no compensation for failing xray results or the life threatening genetic defects.


The buyer agrees to:

1. Feed the dog a high quality diet and keep it at an proper lean weight. This would be a balanced raw diet or a high quality kibble (Orijen, Acana, Merrick's, etc).

2. Do age appropriate exercise and training (ie NOT taking a four month old puppy for a 5 mile bike ride, jumping above elbow height or training weave poles before 1 year old, etc).

3. Not breed the dog before a minimum of 24 months of age and official passing hip and elbow Xray results. If the dog is bred before these requirements, the buyer agrees to pay a penalty of $5000 per litter. This is to ensure the dog's well being is the highest priority, and they are mentally and physically mature enough to breed.

4. Give the dog appropriate medical care. Vaccination schedule is always up to the owner.

5. To contact the breeder in the event that they can no longer care for the dog, and give the breeder First Right of Refusal if reselling. The buyer agrees to never drop off the dog to a shelter, human society, or rescue.

6. In the event of a dispute, all legal matters will take place in Wayne County, Michigan. The buyer is also to pay for the seller's legal costs if the buyer is guilty, at fault, or in breach of contract or if the breeder is not at fault.

7. Keep the agreed upon name at time of purchase or there is no compensation for health.

8. To not spay or neuter the dog before it is mature at a minimum of 24 months of age. Hips and elbows will not be guaranteed if the dog is altered before the official Xrays. This is due to overwhelming evidence that an early spay or neuter effects the growth plates and the occurance of ligament injuries.

moss arwen and vendetta with mary

Why buy a German Shepherd puppy from us?

We only breed our dogs after they have been officially health checked and Xrayed for hip and elbow dysplasia with results from an accredited source, and they have been trained and titled in IPO. I make an effort to have the conformation rating and breed survey done, but the timing will dictate whether it is done before the first litter. We aim to breed to the original German Shepherd standard set by the SV. We believe this keeps the breed a working breed. All of the dogs are further tested in different environments and activities. I only get puppies or untrained dogs. So all of the training and evaluations come from me so I know all of my dog's quirks and reactions in different situations. This intimate knowledge is important when picking out a potential breeding match.

The SV standard calls for a dog to have a BH (obedience and temperament test), IPO1 (tracking, obedience, and protection), passing hip and elbow Xrays, AD (12 mile endurance test by bicycle), dentition check (to ensure a minimum number of teeth are present), a passing conformation rating, and breed survey.

Due to all of the training, competitions, living with my dogs in the house, and additional situations I put all of my dogs in, I feel I get a compete overall picture of each dog's strengths and weaknesses. This allows me to pick the best available match when breeding.

Why are the puppies priced at $1800+?

To produce high quality puppies, it is not cheap. To buy or keep a puppy, feed it, give vet care, train it, do the health checks, and then compete takes a lot of time and money. Then there is always the possibility for a dog to get prove it is not breed worthy due to health, temperament, or other problems. It is much cheaper for a person to get a $300 puppy, not do any health checks or titles, feed low quality food, and give no or very basic health care. Without any big money or time investment, they can make a profit selling more $300 puppies. A basic breakdown for each of my German Shepherds is:

Buy or Keep back a puppy $1,800+
Feed the dog for 2 1/2 years $2,000
Regular vet care (vaccines, worming, heartworm preventative, flea/tick, etc) $600
Health checks (DM test, hip and elbow Xrays) $450
Training ($75/month for 2 years minimum) $1,800
Competitions (minimum BH, IPO1, AD, breed survey, and conformation show plus travel) $500
Membership costs (USCA) $300
Classes (obedience, agility, show prep, etc) $400
Breeding costs (progesterone testing, brucellosis test, ultrasound and/or Xray, stud fee, reoccuring puppy costs like microchips) $2,000

Then you add in gas to get to training twice a week and all of this is not considering all of the hours I put into training and care or extra veterinary expenses due to an injury or illness. You may say, but you don't pay all of that again with future litters. While that is true, a lot of those costs are constant like food, training, health care, and competitions as well as unexpected vet bills from injuries and surgeries. I only breed my dogs a few times over their life, and I keep them through their retirement. It is easy to see how when breeding is done right, it is difficult to break even especially when some dogs are worked and tested but end up not being breeding quality.

The exact price of puppies from each litter will depend on a few factors. The price of the stud fee, the amount of travel needed with hotel and/or air travel, and the added veterinary and expenses with frozen or shipped breedings. Frozen litters are the most expensive due to the special shipping, additional blood tests for perfect timing, and the need to have it surgically implanted.


Mary playing with 3 week old B litter



Why are titles important?

Training and titling dogs before breeding helps keep the breed a working dog. It shows that the dogs is capable of passing an impartial test. While no sport can evaluate all aspects, IPO tests the dog in tracking, obedience, and protection and this is what we use as a breeding title. Through training, the dog's strengths and weaknesses are then known. I also train and title in SDA which values slightly different traits than IPO. Lastly I do occassionally compete in AKC rally, obedience, and agility.

Many people loudly say that titles are not everything. Of course they are not since I have decided not to breed a fully health checked, titled female. It is most often an excuse to breed dogs without putting in the work to train them. It takes a lot of time, money, and work to train a dog to get them ready to title. It is definitely easier to just say how great the dogs are without ever testing them or taking them off of their home property. It is always best to get a puppy from someone that actually trains and titles their dog because they know what it takes and the needed qualities to do the work.

Why are you breeding?

I breed my dogs when I believe they are excellent example of the breed in their working abilities, health, temperament, and other factors. My main reason for breeding is because I want a puppy from the litter. Any litter I plan, I will be keeping a puppy to train and hopefully title. The puppies will be held to the same high standard before being considered breed worthy. Because of this, I will not be having a lot of litters every year or that would be too many dogs for me to train at a time and live with. There are a lot of dogs in shelters and rescues that need a home, so my goal is to produce a limited amount of very high quality dogs.

Why is all of this important if I just want a pet?

Everyone wants their puppy to be healthy and have a good, solid temperament for its whole life. There is no better way to prove a dog's temperament than to get the dog out and train it. Then to take that dog to different environments and have it tested by an impartial judge in different activities. By training, you get to see the dog's strengths and faults. Every dog has imperfections that need to be compensated when picking a breeding partner. Temperament is genetic, so it is important to consider the parents.

By health testing the dogs, it decreases the chance of genetic health problems. Nothing can completely wipe out a health problem unless there is a genetic test. The chances of hip and elbow dysplasia are significantly decreased when the parents have passing scores. Dogs with genetic health problems are never bred here (EPI, pannus, hip and elbow dysplasia, DM, etc.)

All of my dogs are my pets as well as my working dogs. I do not have kennels. They all live in my house and don't get worked every day. They live with my child and with guests coming and going. They get to go out in public to stores and fairs. A dog with a solid temperament should be able to do it all.

How are puppies picked?

I keep notes on each individual puppy from birth. As they grow, difference in their drives, temperament, and attributes start to show. I keep the interested people up to date as the develope. Then as they near 7 weeks, they go through a puppy test with a person unknown to the litter one at a time. This just conforms what I have noticed about each puppy. At that point, puppies start getting matched up with their person. Depending on what the buyer wants the dog for (pet, agility, IPO, police, etc) and what qualities they like in a dog (male/female, hardness, drive level, etc), there can be one or multiple puppies that are a potential match. Then we will discuss each puppy and a decision will be made. I will not sell what I consider a poor match to someone, like a super dominant, high energy puppy to a pet only home. The new owner and puppy will most likely end up being unhappy.

What to look for in a good reputable breeder

1. They health check their dogs. In German Shepherds that means at a minimum hip and elbow Xrays with results from OFA, PennHip, SV "a" stamp, or a similar organization. In border collies it is hip Xrays and CEA eye tests. Both breeds have other health problems that can be checked for, but these are a good start.

2. They work their dogs. In order for a dog to be considered a working dog, and especially a breeding quality dog, it should be worked to determine its abilities. Not all dogs are created equal, and in a litter not all dogs are breeding quality. There are a lot of debates on whether titles are important in IPO, but we believe in titles because it means that the dog was trained enough to meet the minimum requirements. That means the dog was worked and trained for a long period of time, and its potential should be evaluated. Not all dogs that can be titled should be breed though.

3. Their dogs are versatile. This would be shown how the dogs can be successful in multiple venues.

4. All of the dogs are in good physical shape and are mentally sound. You can visit the dogs and see them work.

5. They ask you questions too. A good breeder should care who is getting their puppies not just accept who gives them money first.

6. They should be able to answer why they chose to breed the chosen parents. It is not a simple answer if it is done by a knowledgeable breeder. It is rare the most convenient stud is the best match. Many things have to be taken into account including:


health (hips/elbows, DM, spinal, allergies, etc)


drive levels in prey, defense, hunt, and fight



7. Their dogs are not bred every cycle. Some reputable breeders breed every other cycle and some breed back to back cycles with skipping some inbetween.

8. By SV standards, males can not breed before 24 months and females before 20 months at time of mating. This would put the whelping date for a female at 22 months at the earliest. NO responsible breeder would breed their dog purposely younger than this even if health tests and titles are done. It can negatively effect the health of the female, and she may not be mentally mature enough to be a good mother.

whelping box

Can the puppies be shipped?

At this time, I can. With the new regulations, breeders can only have up to four 'breeding females' to ship puppies sight unseen without falling under USDA guidelines. This would mean that the dogs must live in kennels, and the litters must be raised in a kennel environment. Our dogs are part of our family and live in our house. So we plan to always keep our kennel small and should always be able to ship puppies. This would allow the litters to be raised in our home.

Do you take deposits in advance?

I do not accept deposits before the puppies are born. I feel if a person wants a puppy, it is better to wait until I know what is born to see what may be available. I will take a small non-refundable $200 deposit when the puppies are born from serious buyers. If the buyer's situation changes, the deposit can be used towards a future puppy. When the puppies are old enough to begin reserving for specific individuals around 7 weeks, I will require full payment at that point to hold a specific puppy. No puppy will be given without payment in full. Puppies will not be held for people without payment.

What is the LUW and OCD test?

These are newer tests that the SV is implementing to score the spine, and they are not required before breeding yet. The LUW looks for tranverse vertebrae, and the OCD looks for narrowing of the spinal canal. Testing for these should cut down the incidence of cauda equina, back pain, and shortened working careers. Since this is a more recent test, the genetic correlation is not yet fully understood. The scores are 0 - 3 with zero meaning normal to three being severe. I only breed dogs with a 0 or normal rating.

What about the DM test?

The Degenerative Myelopathy is a progressive disease of the spinal cord in older dogs, usually 8 years or older. The spinal cord loses the myelin coating on the nerves as well as nerve cell axons which interferes with the brain communicating with the body. It begins with a loss of coordination in the hind legs and increases in weakness and coordination. This test evaluates the chance a dog may develope certain types of DM. It is the same gene tested for many breeds, and it is not the same as the now gone flash test that was specifically for the German Shepherd DM. Even a dog that has two copies of the mutated gene and is considered affected will not neccessarily show signs of DM. Dogs that are clear and carriers are extremely unlikely to show symptoms. I will choose breeding partners to only produce clears and carriers but no affected dogs. To eliminate all carriers and affected dogs from breeding would severely limit the gene pool and is not in the best interest of the breed. It is best to breed away from affected dogs through generations to keep their positive attributes.

What is the MDR1 test?

MDR, or Multi-Drug Resistant gene, is a mutation for a protein that carries potentially harmful drugs away from the brain. It occurs more often in certain breeds, especially in collies and australian shepherds. When a dog only has the mutated genes, the toxins can build up in the brain potentially causing seizures and death. There are certain drugs for parasites, cancer, pain, tranquilizers, etc that can not be used for these dogs. A carrier can still have a reaction if a drug is given at very high doses but can be treated like a normal dog. An affected dog with two mutated copies will have to take into account any sensitivity to medical treatments for life. Both border collies (less than 5%) and german shepherds (10%) can be effected by this mutation. The average chance for all breeds to have the MDR1 gene is 5%.

Why the test for VWD1?

Von Willebrand's Disease Type 1 is a recessive mutation that effects normal blood clotting due to a binding protein reduction. Type 1 is less severe than types 2 and 3. This is said to run in German Shepherds to a degree, but since it only effects bleeding to an increase in 5-10% it may go unnoticed. Since my dogs are very active, I thought it was important to know in case of an injury or surgery in the future.

What is the HU test?

Hyperuricosuria causes very high levels of uric acid in the urine. This trait predisposes dogs to form stones in their bladders or sometimes kidneys. These stones often must be removed surgically and can be difficult to treat. It is one of the genetic tests recommended for german shepherds.

arwen and vendetta in sprinkler