Our breeding philosophy, registration and pricing information is available here, Rhodesians.
WELCOME TO THE TERRA CHRISTA FARM SITE. PLEASE TAKE THE TIME TO BROWSE OUR PAGES!
We have one of the most informative Rhodesian sites and all the pages can be accessed by clicking the following links. You are currently on the PUPPIES page which lists upcoming litters, shipping and selection process.
To view PRICING and our breeding philosophy, please click here PRICING. PETS RANGE FROM $2,300 to $2,500.
To view pictures of our dogs, please visit the OUR PRIDE page.
To view feedback from current owners, please visit the TESTIMONIALS page.
To view dogs currently showing, please visit the SHOWTIME page.
To view our application, please visit the APPLICATIONpage.
Curious about the breed? Watch our Animal Planet breed video here: RHODESIANS
Application and Deposit: Step One
Selection Process: Step Two
We realize the selection of a puppy is an important one and we take this process seriously. Over the years, we have developed what we believe is the fairest and most comprehensive selection process. First, no one makes a selection until the puppies are six to seven weeks old. This extra time allows the puppies to develop both physically and emotionally. It also gives us extra time to observe and evaluate the puppies, and this ensures we jointly select the best puppy for your household. There is no need to rush in making a decision if you have guaranteed your puppy with a deposit and you also get to see the puppy develop over a period of weeks. Puppies DO change, so why rush?
We do keep individual preferences in mind (dark mask vs. light mask, etc) and our testimonials are an indication of our thorough selection process. We continue to take pictures at birth, and about every two weeks after. At six to seven weeks we will categorize the puppies either as pets with faults or perfect pets/show puppies, and you can make your selection within your group and according to deposit order. Priority will always be given to show homes. We will gladly give our input as far as personalities, etc, and do assist in your selection. We firmly believe our litters are so consistently sound and loving that most puppies from most litters would be your perfect puppy. We keep hearing..."This was the best puppy for me, etc.." but the matter of fact is that several puppies from the same litter would have received the same accolades!
Health Information and paperwork: Step Three
New owners are often anxious and are full of questions, and the best way to prepare for your new arrival is to be informed, so please read on. This section will address the following questions:
What health Screening are done on the puppies?
What paperwork will I receive?
What steps do I need to take before getting my puppy?
Vaccines and Veterinary Exam:
The State of Florida has strict guidelines when it comes to puppy sales and set guidelines as far as legal age to sell, vaccinations and exams required, etc. Please note some states DO NOT have any guidelines, and this is to your detriment as they help not only protect the puppy but also your rights as a consumer.
The State of Florida requires puppies be eight weeks of age, have a complete veterinary exam, vaccinations and negative fecal prior to a sale. All this information is placed on a USDA form called an Official Health Certificate and you are to be given an original for your records and to take to your veterinarian. Below is a sample:
Vaccines include Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, Parvovirus, and Bordetella (Kennel Cough). Leptospirosis is NOT given due to medical considerations, which means our veterinarians feel it is not advisable. This vaccination is controversial in the sense that puppies (all breeds)can have severe allergic reactions to the point where the risk is greater than the benefit of vaccination. Please consult with your veterinarian as to the risk/reward aspect in your area. Rabies is not given as they are too young at 8 weeks.
NOTE: vaccines often contain extenders (to prolong the life of the live virus) and dogs can sometimes react to this by developing a small, soft, grape like ball under the injection site. This can happen to all breeds, however, because new ridgeback owners are familiar with dermoids, this benign soft spot can take a frightening aspect. I have received panicked calls from new owners who feel this bump and immediately assume it is a dermoid. IT IS NOT A DERMOID and will be absorbed in the soft tissue over time. PLEASE ask your veterinarian to vaccinate your puppy in the left or right shoulder instead of the neck/ridge area to prevent unnecessary concern.
The fecal exam is rather straightforward and basically checks for the presence of internal parasites and organisms (mainly protozoa) which may negatively impact the well being of your puppy. Parasites in puppies are rather common and therefore our puppies are treated every two weeks until they leave to their new homes. Additionally, the State of Florida requires the puppy be wormed by the veterinarian even though the fecal is negative. Your puppy will be due for a wormer four weeks after getting his Health Certificate.
The Physical Exam is a well being physical exam conducted by a licensed veterinarian and includes eyes, ears, coat, genitals, heart auscultation, and dermoid sinus check for our breed. The genital check is to make sure the boys have dropped testicles and that the girls have a normal vulva presentation. The weight, name, and any comments are noted in the section titled "Other information/Comments" and ANY HEALTH abnormalities would be noted here.
Issuing Veterinarian Certification is a statement made by the examining veterinarian stating that to the best of their knowledge, and after examination, the puppy is found to be healthy and exhibits no sign of contagious diseases and has no evidence of external or internal parasites, including coccidiosis and ear mites, but excluding fleas and ticks. The reason external parasites are excluded is because they are easily acquired beyond the breeder's property, such as during the flight, or at any dog park, etc; are easily treated; and are generally not life threatening. However, we treat for fleas year round in Florida, and your puppy will be treated at 8 weeks with Nexgard (highly recommended for Flea and Tick monthly treatment).
In closing, you will receive an original Health Certificate with your puppy and you need to take this to your veterinarian when you complete your puppy well being exam. Please make sure you schedule a vet appointment within three days of receiving your puppy.
Our Health Guarantee and Policies
The above Health Certificate is our documentation attesting to the good health of your puppy at the time of the sale. It is our guarantee and we offer a full 100% money back refund for five days should you not be satisfied with your new pup. You are contractually obligated to take your pup to YOUR veterinarian, with the Health Certificate supplied and within 72 hours of arrival, to have your own veterinarian do a second, independent evaluation. No vaccines nor procedures will be due, it is simply a well puppy visit for your own protection. At this time, your veterinarian will schedule a second visit for the puppy's boosters and wormer/heartworm preventative (usually three to four weeks from the date your puppy received his/her vaccines from our veterinarian).
A word on the Health Certificate and your obligations:
As a breeder, it is my obligation to sell you a healthy puppy, however you are also responsible for the continuing well being of this puppy. A Health Certificate is a picture in time of your puppy's health status and while it is valid for 30 days for a sale, it can change depending on the care he or she receives after arrival. Too often, breeders are given a bad name for issues which developed while in the care of the new family. I believe it is a two way street so to speak and there are measures you can take to minimize the risk of contagious diseases for your puppy.
Do you ever wonder why obedience classes do not take puppies until they are past four months old? It is mostly due to the fact puppies are not fully immunized until they receive their third set of shots at about 16 weeks! That is also the time they get their rabies shot. However, until then and despite leaving here with their first set of shots, they are still susceptible to contagious diseases including Parvo, Distemper, Influenza, etc. What not to do?
DO NOT TAKE your puppy to a dog park or other areas where dogs with unknown vaccination histories congregate. Even adult, vaccinated dogs can be carriers. For those with you with children, do you remember your discharge instructions once the newborn baby arrived? Stay home for two weeks, limit hand to mouth touching, etc? Taking a puppy under 16 weeks to a dog park is similar to taking a human newborn to a kindergarden class and allowing the cute 3 and 4 year olds to exchange boogers, sloppy kisses, etc, with the newbie. It is simply too risky at this unprotected stage.
DO NOT OVEREXERT your puppy! They are babies and will sleep...a lot! This is normal, they are fast growing and need to rest, so despite everyone being excited, allow the puppy to sleep when he is sluggish/sleepy. At this age they do not need to walk around the block, simply playing in the yard or the house is enough.
DO NOT ALLOW ALLOW YOUR PUPPY TO MEET AND GREET every dog at the veterinarian's. Do you know what that dog is in for? A dog coming in for simple vomiting and diarrhea could be exhibiting the signs of something much worse...and contagious. That other puppy looks really cute and wants to play with yours, but did you know he just got adopted from a shelter with active cases of (insert here deadly and scary contagious disease)? No nose or butt touching please!
In closing, some common sense safeguards will keep your puppy healthy and happy. We have more information on feeding, crating and potty training below. The first most important document you will receive with your puppy is your Official Health Certificate followed by your AKC puppy application, which is covered below.
AKC PUPPY APPLICATION
This is your puppy's individual registration that needs to be submitted to AKC in order to get your AKC registration certificate. Contrary to popular opinion, breeders do NOT issue AKC papers, AKC does. We only issue a puppy litter application indicating a puppy was born from such and such parent, and the new buyer submits this once a name is chosen. All our dogs carry our kennel name but you must add more characters to complete the name. You also get to chose between a Gold Package (three generation pedigree, one year AKC Family Dog Magazine subscription, and a Dog Care and Training DVD) OR a Silver Package which is just a Three generation Pedigree. I recommend the Gold Package for first time dog owners as it has a booklet that describes the growth stages of the puppy. Please note AKC puppy applications are often sent later and separately than the Health Certificate and Sales Contract to allow time to pass for our five day guarantee. You have 13 months to send this application to the AKC without incurring late fees.
Raising puppies is fun!
I find raising puppies enjoyable and easy, but I have been doing it for years. This may not be the case for a new owner and while I try to educate everyone, I do not mean to sound alarming. However, some people lack experience or simply do no know any better, so maybe this information is helpful to some degree. The internet is a great source of information but also tends to give conflicting (or wrong) information and this can be worrisome without needing to be. Don't believe everything you read and just because it is printed and online does not mean it is true.
For example, everyone interested in Ridgebacks knows about Dermoid Sinus and we get tons of questions on this subject. In my experience, it is not as pervasive or as devastating as some sites would lead you to believe. We have had some over the years and over many litters, easily detected, operated on at 6 weeks at less than $200 each, and now live productive, happy lives. Some breeders, and even RCCUS, would recommend "culling" (nice way of saying killing) those puppies but I have a different opinion on this. I don't think the owners of these wonderful dogs would want a life without them, so my alternative is to surgically remove the dermoid and let them live. Some breeders opt for the "freezer" option where the newborn puppies are placed to die right after birth because the breeder is embarrassed or fears negative feedback from other breeders or the breed club. I believe in taking responsibility for what you breed and doing what is necessarily to make them healthy. After all, we are talking about a VERY small minority of puppies, so not sure why others consider it such a hardship to correct? Once removed, the dermoids do not pose long term health issues and the only evidence you may see is a small scar. .
I find people who were either raised with a dog or who had a dog at some point in their life AND have children to make the easiest transition when introducing a new puppy. I think the prior dog experience and having children makes them more grounded and less likely to overreact to a minor issue and they have the experience to tell the difference between a real concern and a minor one. New owners who have never had a pet probably have the most concerns/questions and I hope this section has helped alleviate some of these concerns. Raising a puppy should be a happy experience and one with minor yet memorable stages (the chewing stage? lol!). For those of you new to this, I highly recommend you subscribe to the GOLD PACKAGE on your AKC puppy registration as it has a yearly subscription to AKC Family Dog with monthly growth stages matching those of your new puppy. It also has a neat Training DVD you (or the kids) may like!
Happy Puppy Raising!
Shipping options: Step Four
We do have certain procedures to ensure a smooth trip for the puppies. First, puppies are vaccinated a day or two prior to shipping so are tired, just like kids are from their regular immunizations. Secondly, we ensure the puppies are used to crates and hence consider them a source of safety, not stress. We also allow the pups extra playing time the morning of their flight and this makes for a tired puppy. We then give them long, warm baths. We do not use any form of sedation and really don't think it is needed. The culmination of the extra playtime, tiring effect of immunizations, relaxing bath and a safe environment add up to one really tired puppy who will sleep for most of the trip. We also try to book flights from Orlando (MCO) which are non-stop or at least with no changes in planes. We will ask you for a preferred day and time, but please bear in mind the puppy has to be there two hours prior to the flight for processing AND we are about an hour and a half from the airport. This means we aim for flights which leave around noon or later and use American or United as our main carriers. We make the reservation about three days prior to departure and will forward you via email a flight itinerary and confirmation. You can contact PETSAFE at any time to get updates on the flight by calling 1-800-575-3335.
A NOTE ON FLIGHTS: I realize airlines may have direct flights for passengers but this MAY NOT be the case for puppies traveling in cargo. How so? The cabin on flights is always pressurized, but that is not always the case with the cargo departments. This means the cargo hold would not be oxygenated nor temperature controlled. Therefore puppies are often booked on larger planes with pressurized cargo areas but it also means the amount of direct flights is limited. In other words, a puppy traveling from Orlando to Baltimore, which is a 2 hour direct passenger flight, may very well go from Orlando to Newark and then to Baltimore, and have a longer flight time.
If applicable, the cost of shipping a puppy averages $400, which includes the airline ticket, crate, insurance and health certificate and must be pre-paid. Another option we do offer is personal delivery, which means we drop the puppy directly to your house. We can only offer this service if we have multiple puppies traveling to the same region/direction and if our schedules allow us to take a few days off. For example, a recent trip included puppies going to TN, PA, and NJ. We love to meet our new families in person and there is nothing more satisfying than seeing happy kid faces when they meet their new puppy! Please inquire as to the possibility of personal delivery if this is what makes you most comfortable and we will try to fit in your request when possible.
Going home!!! Step FIve
What to feed?
We feed Diamond Naturals(Lamb and RIce formula), and easy to digest food with moderate protein levels. You should be able to find it at most pet stores and it is also available on delivery, here is the link to their site which also lists the places where it can be purchased:
Diamond Pet Foods
We like this feed as it is easy to digest and is not too high in protein content. They do have other varieties such as Chicken and Rice as well as Beef Meal and Rice, which are also good. Another highly recommended food is Orijen. Read more reviews here:
Diamond Food Review
Feeding instructions: we feed twice a day, at 7 am and 7 pm, about a cup to a cup and a half moistened with warm water per feeding. Puppies will gain approximately 8-10 pounds per month and their nutritional needs will also increase. Follow the feeding guidelines on the bag for gradual feed increases.
Show people often ask me what supplements or products I use to have dogs with such healthy, glowing coats. The truth is a premium food should be a complete feed but may not take care of all the nutritional needs and provide an immune system builder. This system builder if vital to all dogs, but especially those experiencing a stressful period such as new pupppies, or those weak, lactating, or recovering from surgery. I recommed a supplement known as NuVet for all my puppies and dogs. We start our puppies at six weeks and suggest ordering two weeks prior to your puppy coming home so you have a continued supply.
What is NuVet?
NuVet is the award Winning #1 Supplement in the USA, manufactured in a FDA (human-grade) Manufacturing Facility with Human-Grade Ingredients, 100% Natural, holistic, and best of all, made in the USA! NuVet Plus is a natural, full-spectrum supplement that will boost your puppy's immune system. Our puppies get one waffer per day, and they consider it a treat! However, should you have another finicky dog home, you may want to try the powdered version (also available for cats). NuVet Labs have also developped a hip and joint therapy formula named NuJoint Plus that is loaded with well known joint supplements such as MSM, Glucosamine, Chondroitin, and Vitamin C. This product has great reviews as an aid in relieving the pain of older dogs suffering from arthritis, osteoarthritis, joint pain or hip dysplasia. We recommend the 90 waffer bottle as the initial order and then inquire as to the Autoship program as you would get a 15% discount and get future orders set up automatically.
NUVET is only available online or via phone as it is not sold at local stores nor any of the pet chain stores. To order, please call 1-800-474-7044 and you will need an ID code, 52502 or you can do it online here, http://www.nuvet.com/52502
Like most things, timing is everything here...My puppies are introduced to paper potty at two weeks, and if given the room and the chance, will stumble to that area to do their business. Dogs are clean by nature and will try to keep their den clean. We continue this early process by taking them outside to potty as soon as they can properly walk (four weeks). I find that when on our wood porch, they will wait to be released out on the yard to "go". Now, to help this instict, it is important to have regular feeding times and not to feed too late and then put the puppy up. Between 6 and 8 weeks, we feed at 6am, noon, and 6 pm. Puppies will normally have movements within minutes of eating and when waking from a nap. Our bodies continue to digest when at rest, so the first thing they will do after waking is pee or poop. A wonderful tool in assisting with housebreaking is the use of crates.
I have to admit I am a reformed crate user. I used to think the use of crates was cruel and deprived the dog from socializing with the rest of the family. Now, I find them to be indispensable and for several reasons. First, dogs are den animials and like to feel safe in a confined, secluded area. I often leave my crate doors open and will find the rightful owner snuggled up there as opposed to a couch or one of our beds. Crates are a security spot where they can retreat and rest. It is a safe haven from rowdy kids or any other household commotion. Secondly, crates provide a space where dogs can be confined when necessary (visitors, medical orders, etc) and...housebreaking.
As I stated earlier, dogs will not soil their den and taking advantage of this means regulating how much time the dogs is confined and when to let him "vacate". Puppies will generally not have accidents if confined for less than 7 hours at night; however, this will only work if you feed the last meal fairly early (6 pm) and put the puppy up at about ten or eleven pm. This will allow plenty of time for the puppy to have his bowel movement prior to bedtime. Also, there is no food nor water provided in the crate. Chew toys are encouraged. We like natural rawhides.
The transition to their new home crates should be fairly easy. Prior to leaving to their new homes, our puppies are already introduced to small crates. I leave a few in their play pen and the pups will pile in and take naps in them. I believe most of the crying will be due to the separation from the new pups and this should subside within a couple of days.
We recommend a standard wire 42 inch crate to fit an adult Ridgeback.
Chew items are encouraged as they provide a distraction and your new pup should settle in soon. Some whinning is normal but you should not release the pup as otherwise you are rewarding bad behavior. Think of a human baby settling to bed, crying is part of the process and soothes them. Speaking of behavior, one of my favorite topics is obedience!
We strive to send you a well socialized puppy but it is every owner's responsibility to ensure you raise an obedient, manageable dog for your family and society in general. Please enroll your puppy in a basic obedience class to ensure a happy, lifelong partnership! We recommend you wait until your puppy is fully immunized, to include rabies, and this is generally completed by 16-18weeks. AKC has a great search tool with certified trainers in each state, you just need to plug in your zip code to find different clubs. Here is the link, it will open in a new window:
AKC TRAINER SEARCH
Ridgebacks make excellent therapy dogs and often the first step is to get a Star Puppy certificate, followed by a Canine Good Citizen certificate which evaluates how obedient, non-reactive, sociable, and well mannered your dog is. This next link will explain the differences between a CGC, Star Puppy and other obedience titles AKC offers through certified obedience clubs:
AKC OBEDIENCE TITLES
These courses are usually short as the puppies do not have the attention span to focus for longer than 30-45 minutes, can be tons of fun, highly recommended for children 8 yo old or older, and a great way to socialize your puppy. They generally consist of a series of 6 to 10 weeks with at home exercises to do in between and I find them to be a great stress reliever! It is honestly a small investment in time and effort and the rewards are much greater than the investment you put in!