Explore your opportunities! Create an account or Sign In
The most trusted and popular consumer complaints website

Skansen Kennel / Puppy Mill

Posted:   User 
Complaint Rating:  42 % with 135 votes
42% 135
Contact information:
Skansen Kennel
Sabastapol, California
United States
DO NOT BUY A PUPPY FROM SKANSEN KENNEL. I purchased 2 mini Schnauzers from Skansens, the first was 3 years old paid $800.00 the second was 4 months, paid $800.00. Both dogs were very sick. The Old Lady that owns the place gave me back the money for the 3 year old after I wrote her a letter saying the dog had to have 18 rotten teeth pulled and a number of other issues! But that was nothing, the puppy which I have had for just over a year has cost me over $6000.00! She stopped making tears at 6 months old, the Old Lady blew me off this time because she knew what it cost to take care of a sick dog. I had to have a tube from her saliva glands into her eyes so she didn't go blind and she will have to be medicated two to three times every day for the rest of her life. The Old Lady will take no responsiability for her bad breeding. Why she is still in business I'll never understand. I hope everyone reading this that cares about animals will pass on the word and put her out of business and save the lives of so many sick dogs. Two out of two isn't very good odds and speakes volumes about her breeding ability! TRUST ME WHEN I SAY SHE IS NOTHING BUT A PUPPY FARMER.
I have attached a photo of my puppy Diva when I brought her home and now. See for yourself!!!

Skansen KennelSkansen Kennel

Complaint comments Comments (130)    Updated: Complaint country United States Complaint category Business & Finances


Sort by: UpDate | Rating
D  10th of Nov, 2009 by  User  Agree Disagree +3 Votes
I've purchased two dogs from skansen kennels... Brutus my giant, and Fergi my Mini... Brutus is been the best dog i've ever had and actually made me decide to purchase the mini from Sylvia. In fact I was looking at purchasing a white mini from her as well and was how I stumbled upon this unbelievable claim. Unless things have went down hill in the last 2-year I'd highly recommend Skansen if your in the market for a schnauser.

N  12th of Nov, 2009 by  User  Agree Disagree +3 Votes

When my daughter was ten she was the victim a severe dog attack. She required years of facial and optical reconstruction and therapy. Our surgeon, Dr. Marc Karlin in Chicago, suggested we get another dog for Lauren to help her through her therapy. He had Skansen's giants and highly recommended them as they are bred for solid temperament.

Due to my child's injuries we were unable to travel from Chicago to California. The pup was sent to us. I honestly believe this dog saved my daughter's life. We were so impressed and grateful to this dog, that two years later we flew to California to visit Sylvia and the Kennel. It isn't just a kennel; it's truly a preserve, a beautiful and very well maintained open air preserve. It was amazing, acres and acres of happy, healthy, clean animals.

We flew home with a 2nd puppy were happy for the next 14 years with our Giants.

I can't believe the individuals complaining have actually visited Skansens. I highly recommend this breeder. My husband and I are the founders of Hemisphere Animal Rescue in Chicago. We have up to 10 dogs as a time in our home. The Giants were grounding and healing forces for all the dogs that we have rescued. We never had a bad experience.


Mikol Mendes Highland Park, IL
N  17th of Nov, 2009 by  User  Agree Disagree -7 Votes
Write the AKC, this woman should be shut down on her lack of record keeping alone. As a breeder/judge of purebred show dogs I am ashamed that this is allowed to go on.
D  1st of Dec, 2009 by  User  Agree Disagree +3 Votes
Lorrie - You are a very bitter woman! I can't wait to get my puppy from Sylvia. I have been to her kennel several times and all the dogs are happy, clean, and VERY FRIENDLY. Problems will definitely occur as spontaneous mutation can happen anytime independently of how well to have followed a dog's health. Think about it a little: even humans go blind and have to be medicated daily... who are you going to blame!?

I hope you find some peace in your life and they you respect others as much as you would like to be respected. You can have your opinion, but I agree with the vast majority that Sylvia's dog's are health, happy, and beautiful.
N  19th of Dec, 2009 by  User  Agree Disagree -2 Votes
We may soon be in the market for another dog and will most likely go with a Giant Schnauzer. I purchased one from Skansen in 1990. The kennel is huge, with many, many dogs. While they seemed happy, it was a bit overwhelming for me. However, I got to see quite a few puppies and came back weeks later to purchase one. She was pet vs. show quality, but to me she was a beauty. She lived for 12 years and grew up to be a wonderful dog with a great personality - a bit dog aggressive, but great with family and friends and most of all with children. Unfortunately, the Giant had two significant medical problems. First, was a pelvic bladder, which means that her bladder developed way up in her pelvic area which meant it never really got to be full sized - was more like a bladder for a miniature schnauzer in the body of a Giant. This condition was diagnosed as a congenital defect at UC Davis Vet School and caused her to leak when she was sleeping, particularly overnight. To counter this we put her on the active ingredient in over the counter contact. It helped the leaking quite a bit, but the effects of being on contact for several years at a time couldn't have been beneficial. The staff at UC Davis informed me that they had seen this condition in a number of Skansen Giant's. When I wrote to Sylvia about this (she apparently doesn't take calls from many non-show dog quality owners) she blamed this on me not following the diet she prescribed. As difficult as this condition was, my Giant also had and finally died of heart failure from a heart condition that was diagnosed when she was about 8. I know many satisfied Skansen customers. In fact I just met on at the Long Beach Eukanuba dog show who brought her black adult male and 6 month old salt and pepper female to the show. Both dogs were great looking and had great personalities. She had bought 8 giants from Skansen, with one having had serious health problems. All in all a very satisfied customer. I'm not going to pan Skansen - they have had too much success and too many very satisfied owners. However, our next Giant will be from a smaller breeder. Fortunately, we were able to meet two three of them at the dog show.


N  20th of Dec, 2009 by  User  Agree Disagree +2 Votes
Lorrie- I agree you are an Idiot!!! And do not know what you are talking about!! It is very apparent that YOU are the problem not the Skansen Kennel. Perhaps you should take a good look in the mirror and ask yourself, What is wrong with me!!!
N  22nd of Dec, 2009 by  User  Agree Disagree -4 Votes
"PEOPLE" THIS IS NOT ABOUT ME but the facts are the facts, please let me show you the files on both my dogs. I will be happy to fax you all the records! Then shut your stupid mouth OK! I have better things to do then worry about what you think. If I save one dog by telling reasonably intelligent people my very bad experience then it will make all make difference. Just not to you, because you are not reasonably intelligent! If you had a good experience with Skansens yip pee, tell everyone about it; but save your drama and personal attacks for someone who cares, this is about the dogs! I could give a good crap what you spewing about a person you don’t even know.

Please if you have something to add about Skensens, good or bad please address the matter of disussion, not who brought up the subject…………………. so we would love to hear your experience (no your opinions!)

Honestly ladies and gents, no one cares what you opinion of me is and that includes me.
I still wonder why people with no complaint go to complain sites, talk about no life!!!

N  31st of Dec, 2009 by  User  Agree Disagree +3 Votes
Championship Schnauzer Breeder Displays Her Dedication To Excellence And Love For Animals

Sylvia Hammarstrom has been accepted by Stanford Who's Who for her dedication in the Dog Breeding Industry and her love for the animals involved

SEBASTOPOL, CA, November 23, 2009 /Stanford Who's Who/-- Sylvia Hammarstrom has been accepted by Stanford Who's Who for her dedication in the Dog Breeding Industry and her love for the animals involved. As Owner and Operator of Skansen Kennel, she has bred some of the finest dogs in the world for the last half century.

Located on a 100 acre ranch in Sonoma County, Skansen Kennel has bred over 900 Giant Schnauzer Champions. Sylvia is the #1 breeder of Schnauzers in the world. Her dogs have won hundreds of Best In Show competitions in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe, South America, Africa and Japan.

Originally from Sweden, Hammarstrom moved to Sebastopol, California in 1964 where she has been breeding top show, family, pet and companion Schnauzers ever since. Her dogs are handled with superlative care as they reside in pairs of two or three in large, open half acre fields. This allows them to play together as well as get their necessary exercise. It also affords them to receive plenty of sunshine and fresh air. Proper nutrition is also at the forefront in the care of all of her four-legged friends.

Hammarstrom is involved as a Judge of Professional Dog Shows and selling vitamins as well.

As if her life were not already interesting enough with all of her dog breeding success, she also served 26 years as a Flight Attendant for TWA where she was able to travel to various destinations around the world.

Sylvia is associated with the American Kennel Club. She has also appeared in articles from Dog Review and Dog World for her excellence in the field.
N  3rd of Jan, 2010 by  User  Agree Disagree -6 Votes
Sylvia must be feeling very insecure these days! Because all the comments are coming from people who have no business on a complaint site. Hummmmm what does that tell you? The facts speak for them selves. I will be happy to give you all the information on me two very sick dogs, that will need medical care and medicine for the rest of there lives. Anyone who wants to see this information can email me at lorrie_lheureux@yahoo.com . I’m bored with these wind bags, look at my files before you buy from this puppy mill!!! Hopefully the ghost writers will go away now that I have invited you to personally look at my files. Thanks, I should have done this a long time ago then I wouldn’t have had to put up with all the personal attaches. Not that I care what anyone thinks, IT”S NOT ABOUT ME! 

As you can see the older female Darcy has very few teeth left, she had 18 pulled a few weeks after I brought her home. She was in so much pain and had been for a long time. She was 3 years old and that was just one of her issues!
N  3rd of Jan, 2010 by  User  Agree Disagree -5 Votes
I hope they post the picture, if not email me I'll send it to you.
N  6th of Jan, 2010 by  User  Agree Disagree +5 Votes
The complaint site is for people to learn the truth and provide their experience with the product or service. Just because 98% of the comments do not side with your distorted view is the only reason you keep saying we have no business out here. Anyone that has had an experience with this breeder should and are willing to share their experience...and as you can see it is VERY VERY different from your distorted story. The comments and the way you approach people even on this complaint site show me and others what kind of person you are and as I have stated before it is not voting well for you.

I have received 2 Giant Schnauzers from Skansen Kennel and they have both been a wonderful experience. Your approach to the breeder and the honest people on this site is really a testament to your lack of character and the less than valid complaint. No body can guarantee 100 health issue free and I am certain that Skansen’s Kennel would have been more than willing to work through your issue if your approach was different than the one you share here.

For those that are interested I have attached a picture of my second Giant Schnauzer from Skansens kennel and she is the highest of quality.
D  7th of Jan, 2010 by  User  Agree Disagree -6 Votes
AS YOU HAVE STATED BEFORE? You have some nerve judging me honey! I'm posting the files for the WWW to see. I have no more time for these small minded "sheepeople "that can't except the facts. Email me for the web sites where the entire files on both dogs will be posted. Then you can how valid my complaint is and show how stuipd the last person truely is. Although we would love to see your pictures! LOL
We have asked you to keep your comments on the animals but obviously it's to PERSONAL for you to stick to the subject at hand. Therefore I'm posting all the facts and will not reply to anymore idiots. You "honest" people can see what real honest truth looks like with documented files.
Lack of caracter, what an ### you made of your self!!! I'll have a place on the web sites for votes for or against Skansens and I'll even post your stupid comment at the bottom of the page after they read THE FACTS! I hope you feel better now that you have exposed Sylvia's dirty little secret for everyone to read. Trust me it will be everywhere, I have new motovation thanks to your Last personal attach.
Happy reading everyone. Email me for sites lorrie_lheureux@yahoo.com or just go to Shansens web site you will find it close by!!!
I won't acknowledge any more personal opinions because they have no basis or fact. These woman need to get there fustrations out, for what ever reason. Has nothing to do with me they are just feeling brave as they type!!! 8>Q
D  7th of Jan, 2010 by  User  Agree Disagree +2 Votes
Hey there Lorrie, You are definitely an "idiot!" I am 61 yrs old and have had 4 wonderful gentle Giants from Skasen's Kennels and I have love them all and they were all very healthy. I just got another Giant from her just before Christmas and I love him very much. Her dogs are so intelligent and "HEALTHY, " and if they are not healthy she will take the dog back. If you go to a small breeder, I know that you won't get to give a sick dog back to them. After working for years with Lab, Golden Retriever and Weimaner Rescue, I can tell you quite a few horror stories and the breeders who would not take their dogs back, leaving all these wonderful Rescue Groups to deal with people just like you Lorrie, just plain stupid and then turning their dogs over because they did not understand the breed before they got it.

Just like people, dogs get sick and are unfortunately born with problems, that is not Sylvia's fault and I know for a fact that she would never, ever, give away or sell a sick dog to anyone.

Face it Lorrie, you are just a plain "loser, " trying to slander and wonderful breeder who sells her dogs all over the world and everyone seems very happy with her. All I can say to you is to GET A LIFE, and leave Sylvia's alone. I bet you are the type of person who complains about everything.

I have been to her place many times and it is very clean and beautiful. Watch Animal Planet and you will see she definitely "DOES NOT" run a filthy puppy mill like you would like people to think.

N  7th of Jan, 2010 by  User  Agree Disagree +3 Votes
And Lorrie, I am disabled and my new GIANT SCHNAUZER IS GOING TO BE TRAINED TO BE MY SERVICE/ASSISTANCE DOG. My trainer said that at just 4 months old, he is extremely intelligent and she sees no reason for him not to be trained to take care of me.

With all the comments that I've read to your complaint, seems like you have no one supporting you. So, get over it and get on with you poor pathetic life.
N  10th of Jan, 2010 by  User  Agree Disagree -2 Votes
I must say. For animal lovers there way to much hatred around here. This past year we lost both our friends. Lucy, who was 7 years and a day old. She developed cancer and no-one knew until 3 days before she left us. Lucy had had to have a toe removed but lived a very wonderful life. Just much to short. Then there was Max. Max as 10 1/2 Max the lion heart He was just the best. Max was a person hidden inside a Giant Schnauzers or better than that. He nail problems and had to have 2 pills a day. Other than that he chased squirrels his buddies out of he yard almost every day. He loved walks in the woods, wind in his face and food! I miss him so much. Anyway, both came from Skansens. I lived in Colorado when we go Max and he was so great we got Lucy 3 year later. We have been looking to find a kennel closer to us now that we live in Connecticut. It's very alarming to hear all this talk about Skansens. Very happy for those of you who have had your friends for 16 years or so. If the person who is complaining is really telling the truth. Hateful, communication for any reason is just wrong. Anyway, is there someplace to look and try to find the truth? This is Max
D  14th of Jan, 2010 by  User  Agree Disagree +2 Votes
Sue Hill,

I am so excited for you. I am a paragelgic and my first Giant (Maxine) although she was not trained to be a service dog inheritantly observed and somehow understood when I needed assistance. I can not count the times she helped me from a bad transfer where I was about to fall and she would lean into me to stop it.

Happy days!!

N  14th of Jan, 2010 by  User  Agree Disagree +3 Votes
I bought a giant three days ago. He is brilliant and sweet. I called Sylvia a couple of weeks ago and she spoke with me for thirty minutes about giants even after I informed her I was buying him from a local breeder. I find your claim impossible to believe Lori, simply because you are a stupid hateful b@#$ch. Learn to spell dumbass. I have counted several misused words in your rants. I feel sorry for your husband unless he is as dumb as you.
N  18th of Jan, 2010 by  User  Agree Disagree -2 Votes
I've had two Giants from Skansen. The first I bought and the second a friend bought but after the divorce neither of them could keep here so I wound up with her. Both have been wonderful and generally healthy dogs. All dogs have some health problems along the way. I've also met other dogs out of Skansen, all beautiful and healthy.

No breeder is always going to breed 100% healthy dogs. It just doesn't happen. I'm sorry Lorrie has had problems with the dogs she got from Sylvia.

On the other hand, if there really are so many dogs on her farm, maybe she is taking the wrong approach. Instead of trying to get Skansen shut down she should just be trying to get the number of dogs on the farm reduced so that more attention could be paid to the smaller number of dogs and they get better treatment.
D  18th of Jan, 2010 by  User  Agree Disagree -4 Votes
Before I thank the people on this site for getting national attention to my cause, I just want to tell you why.
Pet ownership is a commitment just as is breeding pets for sale. If the breeder fails to commit to the quality and health of the animals then two things happen. First the animal suffers (my main concern) Two the new owner/purchaser of the dog has not only a life long commitment to love and care for the dog, they are burdened by the dogs ill health. For example, I purchased a 4 months old, at 7 months both her eyes had stopped making tears! This is not normal in any animal ever, and I did research this in depth. After two surgeries and monthly visits to the specialist, the conclusion was this. Three times a day Diva needs drops in her eyes, at night ointment. Not for a week or a month but for the rest of her life! I now have to hire people to come to my house if my job is to far away because for you narrow minded people with no education, saliva is a digestive enzyme with out the drops and ointment her eye balls will be eaten away! Can you see or feel the horror in that? I love my dogs as if they were my children so you ###s, who want to bash me, call me bitter, or whatever should shut your mouth and open your eyes. Until you have to watch the animal, you love so dearly have to go through this you have no opinion period! Choosing to have a tube from her saliva gland in to her eyes was the only one, other wise she would not only be blind but loose both her eyes. I won’t even go into the pain and suffering she has had to endure. These are documented facts for those who are really concerned about the animal and not the lame opinion posted by Sylvia and her friends!
This is my last posting on this site. It would not have received this much attention if not for the postings mentioned above. I’m happy to say this is now on a national level and I couldn’t be happier. I have exposed my files and the facts speak for them selves. There- fore I no longer have to waste my time and energy trying to convince anyone.
May all you pets be healthy, live long and be an important part of your family.
Thank you again,
Diva and Darcy
N  18th of Jan, 2010 by  User  Agree Disagree -4 Votes
Hate is a powerful word Max be careful how you use it. I hate no one only the acts of they choose to commit. Angry, yes to watch my baby have to suffer. Better days are coming Max for all of us. Thanks for your posting.
God bless you

Post your Comment

Pl Please check text spelling before submitting a comment
Your attitude towards Complaint Agree Neutral Disagree
Comment text
Attach photos (optional)

Contact Us

Reply to