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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I’m about to re-send my deposit to Sally Ciraolo of MiVida Poodles in El Cajon, CA. She breeds Miniature Poodles and Toy poodles. She seemed like a great reputable breeder before but now I’m having concerns about if she is actually reputable. I also have had some other breeders who also seem reputable say they have litters coming up so I may want to go with one of them instead. Based on these observations do you think this breeder is reputable?

Good
  1. Always answers the phone but not email.
  2. No tail docking or dew claw removal
  3. Raises puppies in home
  4. Replies relatively quickly and is communicative
  5. Will take puppy back if I could no longer care for it
  6. Wants me to have a puppy and has one spot for me in 2 months, she even bounced me to the front waiting list because she liked my reasons for getting a puppy.
  7. Is working on socializing the puppies
  8. Was on this reputable breeder spreadsheet: Poodle Breeder Referral (USA) - Google Drive
  9. Shows her dogs but not sure if the parents of the puppy I would get are shown or champions, no proof
  10. Had a breeder contract
  11. AKC limited registration
  12. Claims to fully health test all breedings dogs but haven’t seen the results yet or proof through CHIC numbers.
  13. Seems kind and genuine
  14. Diversifies her breeding stick by getting dogs from other breeders around the world
  15. Has been breeding for a while
  16. Not far from where I live
  17. Has 3 year health guarantee
  18. Has a litter available for pick up in 2 months
  19. She a small amount had good reviews online


Bad
  1. She hasn’t told me the gender yet of the puppy I will get, becaus she wants to keep one that can produce brown puppies but hasn’t been able to do the test yet. (I want boy since I already have a girl dog and I heard opposite genders get along better.
  2. Said one of the puppies was weak in the litter.
  3. I haven’t seen puppies with eyes open.
  4. Hobbyist breeder
  5. Charging $4k for mini poodle with no breeding rights or full AKC certification. Is that too high?
  6. Sometimes doesn’t answer all my questions on email, I have to ask multiple times.
  7. Wasn’t on recommendation lists for Poodle Club of Southern California.
  8. Mom has had no hip testing and no patella luxation testing before breeding and wants to breed again dog already at 5 years old. Said she will get her hip testing done after her next litter but says her hips are fine and all her parents were fine with hips also. Also no chic number for her but ofa testing for eyes that is more than 3 years old said normal (says results aren’t valid after one year on OFA website). Degenerative myelopathy and progressive retinal atrophy all normal.
  9. Didn’t reply my email for over 3 days when asking if she received my check.
  10. Couldn’t remember who I was when I called and she asked if I was for the next litter when we had emailed a lot and spoken on the phone only one week prior.
  11. 3 litters back to back for different dogs she breeds, maybe breeding too much not sure if normal?
  12. Deposit to hold a puppy is $2k now of $4k total.
  13. Hasn’t sent dad’s health test results but says he’s fully tested by previous breeder and that she will send it.
  14. Claims to have never gotten my $2k deposit check or it got stolen, then says I could send venmo or PayPal instead. I’m not sure why she didn’t tell me to send the deposit over the internet instead of a personal check through the mail? Said she hadn’t checked her mail since last Wednesday, a week from now, and didn’t see it today when it was sent over a week and a half ago via USPS from LA to San Diego. Once I found out she didn’t get it, I had to email and then call to ask her if she had gotten it earlier, I did stop payment on check I sent just in case.
  15. Dogs come microchipped, is 8 weeks too young?
 

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Hi and Welcome to PF!

That's a lot of information that you've provided but not information that allows me to say whether she's reputable. I'm actually feeling a little leery by some of the things you list as Pros and I'm not so concerned by some of the things you list as Cons but overall I see questions that need to be answered asap before sending money again.

Thru the research I've done I'm familiar with many of the breeder/kennel names on the Google doc and would agree that the doc seems to have reputable breeders listed. I'm also guessing that you prefer not to name them, which actually could get a quick answer for you, either by someone with recent experience or with experience reviewing breeder's public facing sites.

Without asking you to give the name, there are several things you can try:

1/ Use the Search function above the posts and see if you find comments on the breeder. Just enter the kennel name in the Search field. Use " " around the name.

2/ Review the Breeder List in the Finding the Right Puppy & Breeder section to see if they're listed there. It's not a complete list but I've reviewed every website of the breeders listed there for health testing, which I consider a minimum bar for any conscientious breeder.

3/ You can go to the OFA website yourself (link in the Breeder List) and use the search there for the kennel name, or by registry name or number of the sire or dam.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The breeder is Sally Ciraolo of MiVida Poodles in El Cajon, CA. The main issue is her claiming to do full OFA health testing on all her breeding dogs.
The parents she has used for the litter I am interested in haven’t done all the OFA recommended tests. The dam, who has been bred a few times already, has had no hip displaysia or patellar luxation tests, she has only tested eyes through OFA and those results are already expired.

So the mom has no CHIC number since all of the OFA required tests haven’t been done and neither have the mon’s parents. The Breeder claims the father is fully health tested but hasn’t sent me his OFA chic numbers after asking twice.

I have no issue with paying $4k for a well bread puppy but that price seems a bit high for a pet puppy that will never be bred and won’t be in shows. I also think that price for a puppy that isn’t fully health tested is high.
 

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Based on what others have stated on here, the high end seems to be $3000, unless extra charges like flight nannies are involved (or other transport). 4 sounds excessive. Also I would pass on any dog without the appropriate health testing. My older dog has mobility issues because one or both of his parents should not have been bred.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Based on what others have stated on here, the high end seems to be $3000, unless extra charges like flight nannies are involved (or other transport). 4 sounds excessive. Also I would pass on any dog without the appropriate health testing. My older dog has mobility issues because one or both of his parents should not have been bred.
I’m so sorry to hear about your dog’s health issues. I hope he/she still is able to have a long and happy life with you despite that.

Yeah, the health testing is very important for me, this is my first time buying for a breeder so I want to be sure to support responsible breeding practices. It breaks my heart to hear about puppies born or developing serious hereditary health issues due to breeders cutting corners and being greedy.
 

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I'd deduced it was probably Mi Vida. I did a search and only found the one recent thread with a couple of members sharing their experience with her. Those came off as fairly neutral. Mi Vida comes up starting at this post Looking for a reputable breeder San Diego area

The price seems high but it may be more common in California to be higher. I've also seen a couple of members noting that breeders were saying that completing testing has been a bit challenging this year. I'd provisionally accept that as a reason but would still want the OFA minimum. To get the CHIC certification, the testing is exactly the same. The difference is that the dog must also be permanently identified by microchip or other method.

If you have the sire and dam's registered names, have you checked OFA yourself?

**this is the right link Advanced Search | Orthopedic Foundation for Animals | Columbia, MO
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'd deduced it was probably Mi Vida. I did a search and only found the one recent thread with a couple of members sharing their experience with her. Those came off as fairly neutral. Mi Vida comes up starting at this post Looking for a reputable breeder San Diego area

The price seems high but it may be more common in California to be higher. I've also seen a couple of members noting that breeders were saying that completing testing has been a bit challenging this year. I'd provisionally accept that as a reason but would still want the OFA minimum. To get the CHIC certification, the testing is exactly the same. The difference is that the dog must also be permanently identified by microchip or other method.

If you have the sire and dam's registered names, have you checked OFA yourself?
I mentioned twice that I’ve searched the Dam who has no CHIC but eye test done in normal range. No other tests, other than eye, done on OFA. Still waiting for Sire’s name or CHIC from Sally so I can check his results. The dam has been bread a few times and is already 5 so it seems she should have been CHIC certified through all required tests years ago before she was even bread the 1st time so I don’t think it has anything to do with it being hard to get tests done this year.
 

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I mentioned twice that I’ve searched the Dam who has no CHIC but eye test done in normal range. No other tests, other than eye, done on OFA. Still waiting for Sire’s name or CHIC from Sally so I can check his results. The dam has been bread a few times and is already 5 so it seems she should have been CHIC certified through all required tests years ago before she was even bread the 1st time so I don’t think it has anything to do with it being hard to get tests done this year.
My apologies. It wasn't clear to me that you'd done the search on OFA yourself. I read it as you had that info from the breeder. In my research, I frequently find breeders that don't list full testing on every dog. In this case, all you can do is what you're doing and ask for the current results.

I did a second search with an alternate spelling and found more threads mentioning this breeder, including this one. I haven't read thru all of them but one includes comments from an active breeder/member here who speaks very well of MiVida. These threads won't resolve your concern over not having the full testing results, with or without the CHIC certification, but may help you get a feel for what other members, including at least one peer, think of her.
(12) Search results for query: "mivida" | Poodle Forum
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Personally whether reputable or not, I would never give $2000 as a deposit, nor w ould I pay $4000. for a dog, who will be a companion/pet. No matter how wonderful.Just won't happen.
It’s my first time doing this so I thought that was ok since I was securing one of the puppies that were already born (no waitlist). After reading more comments I now know that was way too much for a deposit and won’t make that mistake again.

What price range do you think is fair for a fully health tested miniature poodle puppy that will be a pet (no breeding rights)?
 

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Here in my neck of the woods. Good quality miniature poodle puppies are selling for $2,500 to $3000. Most breeders require a non refundable deposit of $500. Only you can make the decision on the puppy. Best wishes.
 

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No opinion on the breeder, but I will mention something about CHIC numbers... the dog doesn't need to actually pass all the testing. They just need to have had it done. So a dog with confirmed dysplasia or PRA can still get a CHIC number.
 

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Pupmommy,

There is a panicky quality to your description and comments. When this happens to me, it suggests that my gut or intuition is telling me something that I need to listen to despite everything appearing to be okay.


"Charging $4k for mini poodle with no breeding rights or full AKC certification. Is that too high? Deposit to hold a puppy is $2k now of $4k total."

Agree with others both are too high. To put this in perspective, I looked up the home prices in El Cajon; the median price is around $620K. Depending on the down payment, it sounds like her $4K per pup asking price covers a monthly mortgage note, car note and car insurance with maybe enough left over for cable and a bag of groceries. For that much I'd expect unlimited registration without strings attached like co-ownership unless both sire and dam are hotshot champions and the breeder wants the pup to be shown first. Even then, review those contracts with a fine tooth comb.


"Claims to have never gotten my $2k deposit check or it got stolen, then says I could send venmo or PayPal instead. I’m not sure why she didn’t tell me to send the deposit over the internet instead of a personal check through the mail? Said she hadn’t checked her mail since last Wednesday, a week from now, and didn’t see it today when it was sent over a week and a half ago via USPS from LA to San Diego. Once I found out she didn’t get it, I had to email and then call to ask her if she had gotten it earlier, I did stop payment on check I sent just in case."

Her claim may well be true. The postal service isn't what it used to be, and thefts of handwritten envelopes and packages are not uncommon. I think PayPal has better protection than Venmo in case there is a dispute, but PP deducts a $29 service fee to the receiver who may then ask for an additional $29 to cover the fee, so you'd want to be clear with her who would pay that. If you use PP, write in "deposit for puppy" so it will be clear this is a business transaction. Even so, this could bump against a contract with her if it says deposit is non-refundable, which most contracts say.


"Mom has had no hip testing and no patella luxation testing before breeding and wants to breed again dog already at 5 years old. Said she will get her hip testing done after her next litter but says her hips are fine and all her parents were fine with hips also."

Hip x-rays are recommended by OFA but in actuality I've seen extremely few mini-poos that have this problem. I wouldn't sweat that but that's just me. Others may disagree.

The patellas, however, should have had a 5 or 10 minute in-office vet check. The vet will fill out an OFA form for this and OFA will post the results. My own vet didn't even charge me for this, it was just part of a routine exam, although I expect some/most vets will. Bad patellas are common in toys, not sure about minipoos, but a problem with them will cost you a lot. I see this a must-have test.


"Also no chic number for her but ofa testing for eyes that is more than 3 years old said normal (says results aren’t valid after one year on OFA website).

Often a breeder will not have CHIC b/c an eye exam by an ophthalmologist is so expensive. There are OFA clinics for a variety of deeply discounted testing like those listed here or here, but they may be located very far away. Instead they will rely on DNA lab work to rule out the most common genetic diseases. DNA tests don't cover other problems like early onset cataracts, which I think is not common in poodles but others can chime in on that.


Degenerative myelopathy and progressive retinal atrophy all normal."

I would really want to also see a test for Von Willibrand's Disease 1 and the two PRA eye diseases. If either sire or dam have short legs, also testing for CDDY/IVDD. You can see the recommended and suggested panels here and click on the names of those genetic conditions to learn about them.

A lab like Paw Print Genetics or Embark would have done the DNA testing. Most labs have the results online and the owner/breeder can and should share the link.


"3 litters back to back for different dogs she breeds, maybe breeding too much not sure if normal?"

Seems too aggressive to me; the poor mother doesn't get a break between cycles? Ugh. Some breeders do two back to back and then lets the dam rest at least one cycle or a year. Others have her do one litter per year from ages 2 thru 5, although some push it to age 6 which generally seems excessive to me.

"Hasn’t sent dad’s health test results but says he’s fully tested by previous breeder and that she will send it."

One phone call to the sire's breeder and she should be able to get the link to his results. You can even call the owner of the sire if you have his info, but as a courtesy I'd ask if she'd mind I did that. For $4K per pup, I'd think she'd be willing to make that call and supply you quickly with the links to those labs.

Dogs come microchipped, is 8 weeks too young?

I'd rather microchip my own puppy. When you do, I highly recommend you use AKC Reunite. They don't charge to update your info if you have to move, which happens a lot with chips purchased at a vet office.


I also have had some other breeders who also seem reputable say they have litters coming up so I may want to go with one of them instead.
Not saying that breeder isn't reputable, she and her poodles may be fabulous, but I'd probably seek another b/c I prefer doing business with people who cross their t's and dot their i's in a more thorough and timely manner. And again, the deposit and cost...

Good luck.
 

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Did you mean the bitch herself has three litters back to back, or that the breeder has three bitches whelping close together?

I wouldn't write off a breeder for having, say, a litter due in April, another in May, and a third in June. It's a lot of puppies underfoot at once, but a well organized breeder with a good setup could handle it. Peace would return when the puppies went to their new homes. I would be more concerned with a breeder who had litters every month all year. Not many people live with 12 dogs under their roof, so I'd want to know more about conditions.
 

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The things that concern me most are the $2k deposit and the health testing. The dam is quite old to not have complete health testing. I might be inclined to a little leniency for breeders with lines they've been testing for generations. But I'd really like to see full health testing results. Especially patellas as I just see so many smaller dogs with patellar luxation.

The $2k deposit I will admit I really do not like. $500 is standard and I do not see the reason why a breeder would ask $2k. The $4k price tag I believe is a California thing and is likely not indicative of disreputable breeders given the location.
 

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In June, 2019 this breeder was selling a pet mini puppy for $3000. I don't have any additional information to add because I ended up going in a different direction and the contact was brief. At that time it was clear that 3k was a common price in California. I am surprised to see that the price quoted to you was $4000. That is a steep price increase in a short period of time. Of course, I don't know any of the details. I assume the puppy himself would be extremely lovable, but buying a puppy is complex with many things to consider.

I wish you well in your puppy search.
 

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I’m about to re-send my deposit to Sally Ciraolo of MiVida Poodles in El Cajon, CA. She breeds Miniature Poodles and Toy poodles. She seemed like a great reputable breeder before but now I’m having concerns about if she is actually reputable. I also have had some other breeders who also seem reputable say they have litters coming up so I may want to go with one of them instead. Based on these observations do you think this breeder is reputable?

Good
  1. Always answers the phone but not email.
  2. No tail docking or dew claw removal
  3. Raises puppies in home
  4. Replies relatively quickly and is communicative
  5. Will take puppy back if I could no longer care for it
  6. Wants me to have a puppy and has one spot for me in 2 months, she even bounced me to the front waiting list because she liked my reasons for getting a puppy.
  7. Is working on socializing the puppies
  8. Was on this reputable breeder spreadsheet: Poodle Breeder Referral (USA) - Google Drive
  9. Shows her dogs but not sure if the parents of the puppy I would get are shown or champions, no proof
  10. Had a breeder contract
  11. AKC limited registration
  12. Claims to fully health test all breedings dogs but haven’t seen the results yet or proof through CHIC numbers.
  13. Seems kind and genuine
  14. Diversifies her breeding stick by getting dogs from other breeders around the world
  15. Has been breeding for a while
  16. Not far from where I live
  17. Has 3 year health guarantee
  18. Has a litter available for pick up in 2 months
  19. She a small amount had good reviews online


Bad
  1. She hasn’t told me the gender yet of the puppy I will get, becaus she wants to keep one that can produce brown puppies but hasn’t been able to do the test yet. (I want boy since I already have a girl dog and I heard opposite genders get along better.
  2. Said one of the puppies was weak in the litter.
  3. I haven’t seen puppies with eyes open.
  4. Hobbyist breeder
  5. Charging $4k for mini poodle with no breeding rights or full AKC certification. Is that too high?
  6. Sometimes doesn’t answer all my questions on email, I have to ask multiple times.
  7. Wasn’t on recommendation lists for Poodle Club of Southern California.
  8. Mom has had no hip testing and no patella luxation testing before breeding and wants to breed again dog already at 5 years old. Said she will get her hip testing done after her next litter but says her hips are fine and all her parents were fine with hips also. Also no chic number for her but ofa testing for eyes that is more than 3 years old said normal (says results aren’t valid after one year on OFA website). Degenerative myelopathy and progressive retinal atrophy all normal.
  9. Didn’t reply my email for over 3 days when asking if she received my check.
  10. Couldn’t remember who I was when I called and she asked if I was for the next litter when we had emailed a lot and spoken on the phone only one week prior.
  11. 3 litters back to back for different dogs she breeds, maybe breeding too much not sure if normal?
  12. Deposit to hold a puppy is $2k now of $4k total.
  13. Hasn’t sent dad’s health test results but says he’s fully tested by previous breeder and that she will send it.
  14. Claims to have never gotten my $2k deposit check or it got stolen, then says I could send venmo or PayPal instead. I’m not sure why she didn’t tell me to send the deposit over the internet instead of a personal check through the mail? Said she hadn’t checked her mail since last Wednesday, a week from now, and didn’t see it today when it was sent over a week and a half ago via USPS from LA to San Diego. Once I found out she didn’t get it, I had to email and then call to ask her if she had gotten it earlier, I did stop payment on check I sent just in case.
  15. Dogs come microchipped, is 8 weeks too young?
I’m purchasing one from this litter. No worries. CA is expensive.
 

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I think the amount of money she is charging is ridiculous. She has probably doubled her price since Covid. When I started looking last summer I wound up going with a standard poodle puppy, for which I paid $2,000 from a very good breeder, because all the mini breeders were charging outrageous prices. However, I'm sure you will love your puppy.
 

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Based on what others have stated on here, the high end seems to be $3000, unless extra charges like flight nannies are involved (or other transport). 4 sounds excessive. Also I would pass on any dog without the appropriate health testing. My older dog has mobility issues because one or both of his parents should not have been bred.
 
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