Skansen KennelPuppy mill

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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!!!

Puppy mill
Puppy mill

Responses

  • Mu
    Murph2013 Jul 08, 2020
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    Black Giant Schnauzers matter! Skansen does well by those who would otherwise miss the beauty and grace this animal provides

    0 Votes
  • Ch
    Charles Stern Sep 06, 2019
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    Lemon laws. Simply contact the Office of Attorney General in the state in which the breeder is running his or her business. According to the Lemon Laws, the breeder is obligated to return the initial fee paid for the dog or replace the dog. As for veterinary bills, the breeder can be sued in Small Claims Court. Unfortunately, small claims court will only award the dog owner $5, 000. Perhaps the amount is now higher in small claims court. The other option is to hire a lawyer to sue the breeder. Otherwise nothing will happen. One must take legal action for the desired results. Also the AKC can be contacted, if the breeder fails to remedy the problem. And, of course, one can contact the breed club to file a formal complaint.

    0 Votes
  • Tr
    Tracy Almquist Richard Oct 30, 2018
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    We purchased a giant Schnauzer frim Skansen in 2001 and adored her. She became a therapy dog and lived to be almost 12. After a number of years we purchased a black miniature schnauzer from Skansen the beginning of this year, 2018. Lionel is a joy. He has the most wonderful temperament and is playful and healthy. I’m so sorry that you had such poor luck but we’ve been to her kennel in California on 3 different occasions and it’s no puppy mill. She has always guaranteed to take her puppies back as well. I’m sorry again for your painful struggles but we would buy from Skansen again.

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    1 Votes
  • He
    Helen Lenise Kilbourne Jun 23, 2018
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    Purchased and adopted Giant Schnauzers from SkansennKennel since 1980. Six females all neutered all lived to be 12 to 14 years, were healthy and rarely required a vet.

    Sylvia provides a wealth of information on feeding, training and health. Follow her directions, love your dog and make a place for them as part of your family. You can’t go wrong.

    All my Skansens have arrived in beautiful condition. Their dispositions were and are great. Everywhere we go people come up and want to know about our beautiful dogs. My girls go where I go and live in the house. Buy with confidence.

    1 Votes
  • Je
    Jennn J Apr 09, 2018

    The person you are haphazardly calling "old lady" is an expert who has spent her entire life successfully devoted to improving the breed. I'm not sure what happened here but it sounds hard to believe that two dogs you purchased were that bad if you followed proper diet and vaccination instructions.

    4 Votes
  • Ji
    Jim/ Becky/ Zeb OKC Jun 28, 2017
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    All I have to say is my boys (Zebadee God's Gift) father Warlock came from Skansens kennel and he is healthy and beautiful. Wonderful temperament.

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    2 Votes
  • Be
    Ben Ten May 29, 2017
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    You should try to get her shut down by the animal control and have her reported saying she is trying to christopher pallantus of while being to crewl to animals

    -5 Votes
  • Ti
    Timothy Iaconis Mar 19, 2017
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    After reading the reviews on this page, I had to add my two cents to this story. For starters, I have a Pepper and Salt Giant Schnauzer puppy on hold at Skansens Kennels. After reading Lorrie LHeureux complaint, I started to have second thoughts about purchasing a puppy from Skansens. Those feelings lasted a few minutes then faded, because Lorrie’s story points to her being the problem not Sylvia or the Kennel. I did an internet search and could find no genetic issue that would cause Schnauzers teeth to rot to the point of having to be pulled out. Secondly, Lorrie failed to mention the "other health issues" her dog had. Also, the dry eye condition is rare in Schnauzer dogs and could be caused by a variety of reasons. These appears to be non-genetic issues with the actual fault being poor ownership by Ms. Heureux and her inability to care property for her dogs. Canines teeth just don't fall on their own. Lack of proper dental care and poor food are the primary reasons for canine dental decay. If the dry eye condition was a genetic flaw, then it’s a genetic flaw. No breeder can guarantee their dogs will never get sick or come down with a disease. When you by a dog, you must accept those possibilities and live with them. The fact that Sylvia worked with Lorrie shows just how responsible of a breeder she is. Furthermore, Lorrie's lack of respect by calling her the "old lady" shows just how little respect she has for others; she really appears to be quite the mean-spirited person and one lacking self-control and decency.
    The clear majority of people responding to this complaint board supported Skansen Kennels and have had positive experiencing with the Kennels and the dogs they've had. Some of the dogs did die of various diseases known to affect Giant Schnauzers such as squamous cell carcinomas but that is to be expected with Back Giant Schnauzers, Labradors, and Poodles. Health cannot be 100% guaranteed by anyone, but Skansens guarantee is about as good as any breeder out there. Plus, for a person like Sylvia to be in the business of breeding G&S for over 40 years, producing over 900 champions, having her dogs being used as breeding stock for GS lines across the country she must be doing something right. With 40 years’ time invested in breeding; there is a complaint being made by one person whose dogs teeth had to be pulled, and another who had dry eyes. The AKC recommends the following tests for GS Ophthalmologist, Thyroid, and Hip Evaluations. With all the dogs being breed, you'd expect several complaints in these areas. You'd expect a negative score with the BBB...there is none.
    Finally, as a disclaimer let me say this; I have never met or spoken to Silvia. I have emailed her twice and she responded to me within a day each time. I have spoken to office personnel twice and they treated me with respect. I get to see my Pepper and Salt little girl on May 1 and take her home on May 5th something I am looking so forward too. I wrote this rather lengthy review because I hate it when people try to ruin another's business because they think society owes them something, and that they can get their way by bullying people.

    8 Votes
  • Na
    Nathan907 Jan 04, 2017

    After much research, I have reserved a puppy from Skansen Kennel and will have him by the end of February. All I can say is, I am extremely offended by a person who claims to be wanting to protect the dogs while at the same time using the phrase "You may want to return that mutt"! I mean really?

    Are you going to attack me now because I have reserved a puppy? Maybe your dog reacted to having a severely negative owner who caused undue stress to the animal. You are abusive in your language used in this complaint.

    If you were my owner, I would probably stop producing tears too!

    BTW... if you are researching Skansen Kennel online this site automatically pops up, so please stop accusing these people of being implants!

    7 Votes
  • Su
    SusanA1 Nov 07, 2016

    I am from Canada and it is 2016 so some years since the previous posts, that I have been reading.

    My puppy whom I bought in 2005 was from a Canadian breeder with Skansen bloodlines (quite heavily).

    By the time she was 4 months old she was suffering from incontinence. And by the time she was 5 months old on costly medication for the rest of her life. She also suffered from severe allergies and foot problems, swelling of the toenail bed etc. We where concerned she would get foot cancer, but fortunately she did not.

    We loved her and she was our baby, She passed away last Nov 2015 at the age of 10.

    I have since researched Giant Schnauzers and Skansen kennels has caused a lot of major problems in the American/Canadian breed, They are producing and selling show and breed puppies that are riddled with heartbreaking, costly health problems. There is a registry on line of Giant Schnauzer lines and the diseases they carry and pass on to their puppies. It is very heartbreaking to have such a major player (skansen) in the world of Giant Schnauzers doing so much harm (health wise) to the breed and not seemingly to care.

    Skansen Giants are beautiful show quality dogs, dont get me wrong, but a good show dog, or family pet should be healthy not riddled with health issues, that is not a sound breeding program. And Skansen dogs have the health problems.

    I would recommend that if you are looking for a Giant Schnauzer or any size for that matter, do your homework, research the breeder and the lineage, the internet is a wealth of information. Dont go through the heartache we and many others did at the hands of Skansen dogs.

    -2 Votes
  • Am
    AMkadee May 29, 2017
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    @SusanA1 Susan,
    Can you tell me what Canadian kennel you purchased your Giant from?

    Thanks,
    Angela

    3 Votes
  • Tr
    Tracy Almquist Richard Oct 30, 2018
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    @SusanA1 We have had 10 minis and 3 giants in our lifetime and a number were Skansen. If you don’t let your Female giant go thru a heat cycle to let her reproductive organs mature to the size of a large breed, they could become and stay forever incontinent. We make sure our Giants have one cycle or period and then have them spayed and we’ve had no more issues. We had one early on and spayed her young and she was in continent but otherwise healthy. We did have a giant get cancer that is more susceptible to large black dogs and it did start at a toe but she had a healthy life until then and died just shy of 12 years old. We have purchased from other hi-end AKC Schnauzer Breeders as well but always go back to Skansen.

    1 Votes
  • Pa
    paulooka Oct 03, 2016
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    My parents bought a standard schnauzer from Skansen Kennels. Skansens doesn't socialize their dogs. My parents' dog is a completely unsocialized monster, arrogant, alpha male, ###-headed stubborn and aggressive mutt. He almost bit two family member's faces. He growls and shows his teeth when you scold him. I'm afraid of him. He is rude. He is untrainable, remote, aloof, unfriendly, weird and I believe he is this way because this kennels isolates the puppies. This place should be shut down. How is it they're still in business?

    0 Votes
  • La
    LauriLD Sep 29, 2016
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    We got our third mini from Skansen in April 2015. I was Leary from the time I had to fill out an application and put whether I wanted a show quality, pet quality or "defective"! I put down pet or defective. I was called in February that they had a black and silver defective female. Defective because she had a hernia. No biggie, that can be corrected when she is spade. I wasn't allowed to get her until she was three months old. My husband and I thought it was sweet how she wanted to be picked up by the caretaker but she wouldn't pick her up. We took our new girl home. Once I got her to the vet we discovered giardia and another disease. All correctable but when I wrote an email to the "old woman" she replied that her vet said all dogs in California have giardia. WRONG. My other two minis where born and raised in California and they did not have it! Our little girl continues to have behavior issues no matter how we work with her. Our vet has been extremely helpful. We've been considering making a formal complaint on Skansen Kennels. After reading all of these, I think we will. I feel like we rescued her. I just feel bad that we can't rescue the rest there.
    Lauri
    Reno, Nv

    1 Votes
  • An
    Andy Riddick Feb 23, 2016

    Sylvia is a monster. She does no health testing of her breeding stock, and many of her Giants have serious problems like hip dysplasia and thyroid under function. Any reputable breeder will only breed dogs that have been OFA certified as healthy. Sylvia prefers quantity over quality.

    When you roll the dice, you win sometimes. Because she is such a high volume breeder, there are many people who've gotten wonderful, loving dogs from her. But because she doesn't do any health testing, there are also many families who've had their hearts and wallets broken needlessly because she breeds without doing necessary testing.

    Do yourself a favor - only buy puppies if both parents have been OFA cleared for hips, thyroid and heart function.

    3 Votes
  • Sh
    Showdogs Jan 17, 2016
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    Hello I have know Sylvia since 1973 to present. Many puppies sent to me finished in shows and obedience. I never had any health problems with Giant`Schnauzer or Miniature Schnauzer. I have been promised show puppies and received nothing but show puppies. I also send family members and never had problem with their puppies from Skansen's. I have nothing bad to say and Sylvia has always been honest with me and I am honestly honest with her and her staff. If you follow the diet and all vitamin supplements to give her puppy should have no problems but if you could cut corners then your problems are all your own fault.

    Marie

    2 Votes
  • Ro
    Robert K-9 Wagner Nov 30, 2015
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    Hello to all, I found this site due to searching for info on Skansen Kennels. I had heard that there was someone really out to get Sylvia and this shows it. I have known Sylvia from only phone calls and emails since 2004, when I was looking for my first Giant. I am a retired PD K-9 person with 6 years of experience with working police dogs. Have had dogs in my life it seems forever, 1st German short-hairs, Springers, Rottweilers, and Shepherds. While training my Rotty for police work my instructor had a Giant Schnauzer, which he used to show us how a police dog should perform what we had just learned. This Giant was so smart that no person that came to the training could outsmart the dog when it was their turn to be the bad guy for the dog to find and apprehend. All of the other breeds at training, including some of the very experienced dogs, could be outsmarted. Plus the Giant does Not shed or stink like other breeds. So I got one from Sylvia, attached are a couple photos, his first home as a pup, and then older and very hansom. They flew him from San Fransisco to Seattle to Boise, But he wasn't on the plane when landing at Boise, Boy was I scared I had lost him. So I named him "Skansen's Lost Cargo" . I never showed him, but everyone would stop us and ask what his breed was, and he was so beautiful. I lost him day after last Christmas, and now we are getting another from Sylvia the 30th of Dec. Very much looking forward to his arrival, but this one is black, "Skansen's Jack of Spades"

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    4 Votes
  • Bl
    Blitzfritz Nov 27, 2015
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    My husband and I have been to Skansen Kennels. I have pictures of Skansen Kennels and I met the people at Skansen Kennels . I saw the dogs at Skansen Kennels all of the dogs in their living conditions their happy the friendly .I have three of her dogs now so please do not badmouth her until you know for sure all our dogs a healthy. Your dog must had eaten something while with you. One of her standard dogs is now a service dog for my husband he is 31/2 years .One is a pet for my son has a mini 10 months .I have a mimi another dog that comes to work with me he is 10 years old. So please what is this bull you are talking about. If you show respect you get respect. Like I said I've been to the kennels if no dog emails people smiles happy dog happy I don't know what you're talking about a puppy mill get the faxts lady. Oh now we are getting a puppy gaint so we are happy. Sylvia is a very sweet person when we speak to her. So I want to say get a life.

    2 Votes
  • Mi
    mixed mary Sep 28, 2015

    Well, if you want to buy your puppy from someone that has around 200 dogs then go for it. Some of the dogs are healthy and of sound temperment and some are not. I've met several people with both experiences. Against my better judgement I bought a Giant pup from Skansen. My regrets were completely limited to the number of dogs that she has and the impossibility that a number so big could have proper care and socialization. I bought a Giant who had a wonderful personality, though not confident by any means, especially when we first picked him up at six months old. He had clearly spent very little if any time out of his pen and every puppy they showed us trembled as they stood on the outside of the fence to be introduced. We fell in love anyway, it's hard to turn away in the face of such beautiful loving creatures. Our boy Chip lived 7 years, he like some of the others reviewed here, had a funky toe that our vet treated as an infection. Two months later every one of his peripheral glands was swollen, he had lymphoma. About a year after we adopted him we received notice from the AKC that they would only give him some kind of honorary pedigree. Apparently a littermate was DNA tested and the father on the pedigree was not his father and who knows who the father was. The dog could not be shown. I didn't care about showing but someone was probably disappointed about that. Chip's bladder constantly dripped, when he slept there was a puddle under him. Sylvia, to my knowledge, does not screen her dogs for genetic diseases and appears to rely entirely on her raw chicken diet and a plethora of supplements
    (including sulfa for constant diarrhea from raw chicken) for good health. My advice is to buy from a more responsible breeder that tests it's lineage for disease, socializes in a household setting and breeds dogs in a controlled way so you get the dog that's on the pedigree.

    2 Votes
  • Ja
    James Staudt Apr 22, 2015

    I had a friend here in Dallas (Mrs. Margaret Smith) who purchased her show-winning dog (PAVO) from Skansen Kennels several years ago. He took the number one place in the WORKING GROUP AT THE WESTMINSTER DOG SHOW!! Does that sound like a dog that came from an inferior breeder? No, Mr. Towert, you have accusations of idiocy in reverse!!!

    James Staudt -- Carrollton, Texas                     

    2 Votes
  • Ga
    Ga Realist Feb 16, 2015

    I purchased a male giant schnauzer puppy in the Spring of 2013. Jet, (registered name Skansen's Jetticus Rex / pepper and salt male) arrived June 5, 2013. He was immediately taken to the veterinarian we have used for 13 years. Jet was given a very clean bill of health by Dr. Motzkus . No issues at all. Before Jet arrived, I received a package of material explaining the diet and nutrients that Sylvia Hammarstrom recommended. We followed the recommendations given. I spoke with Sylvia several times on the phone prior to deciding which puppy would best fit our home. She assured me that she had worked very hard to breed for a good temperament. I have bought pets many times and heard the same claim so I really thought that it was just an additional part of the selling pitch. Boy was I wrong. Jet truly is one of the gentlest dogs I have every owned. For such a large dog, and being a schnauzer, he really is a marsh mellow. I have two miniature schnauzers that I raised (mother 13yrs and son 7yrs) which interact with him daily. He takes so much guff out of them it is silly. All the while, he is as easy going as I have ever experienced. I would recommend Skansen Kennels to anyone who wants a great pedigreed schnauzer at an incredibly good price. I have bred and raised miniature schnauzers since the mid 1990's and have come to the conclusion to purchase any schnauzers going forward from Sylvia instead of going through the breeding process myself. I could not do a better job than she and her staff do.
    As for Lorrie, it is an incredible shame that one person can have so much venom for no real reason. You have a sick dog, Unfortunate, yes, but given the odds of a puppy now and then having some sort of medical issue. It is bound to happen. Put it all into perspective. All creatures including humans, have offspring which are born as a special needs baby. No one knows when they are young that they might have some sort of issue. Heart breaking, sure it is. That should make you love your puppy that much more. Not hate the place it was born or the people who you got it from. I would hope that you find some other avenue to vent the stress and strain of life on than the owner and staff of Skansen Kennels. -- John Jansen

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    3 Votes
  • Il
    ILoveallGiants Jan 12, 2015

    First of all Jim Sill, I am so very sorry for your loss, you must be utterly gutted at the moment. I too had a Skansen Schnauzer (Giant) that lost the genetic lottery. Over the course of 6 years, we did everything right but his myriad of health concerns was endless, low thyroid, bad hips, and eventually heart problems that took his life.
    I can say that I know that Skansen kennel does zero health testing. All responsible, reputable breeders in this day and age test for hips, elbows, thyroid, heart and eyes at minimum and many are doing DNA testing also. Sadly, even as the times have changed, Sylvia hasn't. She continues to breed dogs countless times that have been proven to produce cancer, thyroid issues, bladder incontinence, hip and worst of all temperament issues. This is so sad and so unnecessary.
    To those that have had very healthy Skansen dogs that are posting here, good for you, I am genuinely happy that your dogs got to live long and healthy lives. Unfortunately, many of us, due to the sheer volume of dogs bred with no testing done, are not as lucky as you were. Trying to explain the heartbreak of living with a dog with these kinds of problems or with the kind of heartache that Jim is suffering now over the lose of his young dog is devastating.
    Any breeder can produce health issues in pups but most remove the dogs responsible from their breeding program, and how do they know which dogs may produce health issues... they do health testing prior to breeding. Something that in her egotistical belief that she can know just by "eyeing" a dog that it is healthy.
    I would ask only this, talk to reputable breeders, ones that raise a few litters a year to better the breed, do all of the required health testing and raise the pups in a home environment. You can never be guaranteed that your dog won't have a health issue but you can cut your risk substantially. Don't go to a BYB or a puppy mill, or a breeder like Skansen kennel who still does not do any testing on their dogs. Thanks for listening.

    4 Votes
  • jim sill Dec 11, 2014

    Here is a picture of my two year old baby boy, Gunter, std blk from Skansen, mentioned above, Dropped dead today for no apparent reason, waiting for results of necropsy/autopsy to find out why he died so young.

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    0 Votes
  • jim sill Dec 11, 2014

    My name is James Sill. I'm still in shock because I lost my 2 yr old Skansen blk standard today. He was playing and bouncing around as usual and suddenly fell to the floor seemed to shake a little as if having a seizure and then he was gone. There was no heartbeat, we rushed him to the vet emergency hospital and they confirmed he was gone. His name was Gunter and he was the canine love of my life, I am crushed. He had never had any health problems whatsoever, was the picture of health, and I did feed him a high quality raw food diet including meaty bones and supplements suggested by Sylvia, he had plenty of exercise, saw Dr, Jordan at Coddingtown vet suggested by Skansen. Every time he was seen she would comment on how incredibly healthy he was, he was the picture of health. He was born 8/26/12, we purchased/brought him home 12/23/12 for Christmas, he died today 12/11/14. We have taken him to another vet on the advice of Dr Jordan for an autopsy/necropsy to determine the cause of death. Everybody seems to want to bash this woman that complained about the schnauzers she got from Skansens, calling her an idiot, etc.. I would suggest you consider her pain and frustration. I will certainly be anxious to find out why my baby boy died at 2 yrs of age. If it is in any way considered genetic/congenital/breeding my voice will be heard, you can be assured of that. My healthy baby boy is gone at 2yrs old and my entire family is crushed.

    0 Votes
  • Ni
    Nichole_83 Dec 01, 2014

    Hi, Nichole here again. We contacted Skansen kennel about Cleo being blind. We sent them proof from the eye specialist. They apologized and sent us a full refund. We want to thank them for working with us and refunding us in a timely fashion.

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    3 Votes
  • Ni
    Nichole_83 Nov 21, 2014

    Hi
    My name is Nichole. I adopted a standard schnauzer from a foster mom in July. He was 3. He displayed some unwanted behavior but was a great guard dog. He fixated on lights, instead of playing at dog park he humped all the dogs & he ended up nipping a man in the calf one day as well. (It was a chase after the bike thing, not aggressive behavior.) With all of that I chose to take him back to Skansen because that is where he was bread. I don't believe his behavior was their fault. So I decided to trade my standard for a mini female puppy. We have had her for 3 months & we love her so much. But on Nov. 5, 2014 I took her to Sacramento to see an eye specialist. He informed me that both of her retinas are 360 degrees detached. So basically she was born blind. I even have a video, when we were at Skansen kennel, of her bumping into my other mini's side. So it's proof that we purchased her with this condition. Some people think we should just give her back & get our money back & look elsewhere for another puppy. But it is so hard to just swap out dogs because they really do become like family members. I'm not sure what to do at this point.

    0 Votes
  • Ma
    Matt R. Oct 22, 2014

    I have owned schnauzers for over 15 years. I have never met a more caring and knowledgeable breeder than Sylvia Hammerstrom. The care she takes for the improvement of the breed is second to none. We will be traveling to Skansen Kennels in November to pick up another schnauzer. This complaint is clearly false and unwarranted. Skansen, its staff and Sylvia are truly remarkable.

    Matt
    Fresno, CA

    -1 Votes
  • Ha
    HardscrabbleH Oct 14, 2014

    My husband and I just got back from a visit to Skansen. We are in the market for a pup, and before making a final decision trying to do as much research as possible. We left feeling incredibly torn..There were just SO, so so, many dogs we couldn't help but get a puppy mill vibe, they are obviously cranking out pups. But, they are in high demand! Almost all the puppies there are sold and waiting to be ready to go to homes! Although, they were all obviously beautiful, well cared for, well fed, and in large, CLEAN, pens. We were amazed that with so many dogs there was no poo smell. The other thing we found so odd, was the complete lack of training in ALL the dogs. Puppies, maybe although since you can't get your pup till after 4 months, and they are large by then, That will make for a longer and more difficult time training when you get them. But, the permanent residents (breeders)????? No training or Manners? We witnessed this first hand with wild 100lb dogs jumping on us. We also were never asked any questions about us, which surprised me! Others have said they were asked lots of questions, maybe that would come later???? We also did not see Sylvia, but the woman we did see was very kind, and helpful! Needless to say our visit didn't make our choice for us, but we haven't ruled it out either...

    3 Votes
  • Gi
    Giant Schnauzer Owner Oct 13, 2014

    In 2010, I bought a male Giant Schnauzer from Skasen's Kennel. I found the owner, Sylvia Hammerstrom to be professional, courteous, honest, direct and forthright. Interestingly, because Sylvia wants to make sure, her dogs end up in a good home, over the course of 2 phone calls, Sylvia interviewed me for 4 hours (a gold-standard, best business practice, used by EVERY reputable breed). While raising my Giant Schnauzer these past four years, I'm frequently reminded of those discussions with Sylvia, which BTW, included the Pro's (good) and Con's (bad) of the breed, has turned out to be true. That said, and I say this with every sentiment of respect for Ms. Heureux experience, it's possible, Ms. Heureux is not recognizing animal breeding is, at its core, a business; and a Dog Breeder, engaged in the business of breeding full-time, is not a pet owner, but a business owner.

    As a business owner, the breeder's product is a puppy. Similar to an established, reputable, business owner, a good breeder will conduct their business, using a standard that exceeds their industry's currently established & accepted standards for ethical/moral conduct. For example, while conducting a business transaction, whenever possible, an established, reputable business owner will demonstrate Good Faith. Hence, the question then becomes, when a business owner, engages in a dog breeding as a business, what does ethical and moral conduct look like? To clarify, the requirements of running a business, which by default include the actions and decisions required of business owner, occur in a BUSINESS context; which exists separately, and apart from, the decisions, actions, conduct and context of pet ownership. For example, in a business setting, economics drive the business and, but for a few exceptions, feelings of attachment and love, do not; whereas, as a moral/ethical pet owner, feelings of love and attachment, drive most decisions and actions.
    During my dealings with the owner of Skansen Kennels, Sylvia Hammerstron consistently demonstrated Good Faith. First, she made every effort to ensure her product, a puppy, would be sold to a good home; second, as part of that process, she made a point of informing me the good aspects of the breed, along with the bad. Finally, as first time owner of a Giant Schnauzer, and unlike almost all other business transactions, to ensure the future well being of the puppy (the product) Ms. Hammerstrom recognized (believed) she had an ethical and moral responsibility to ensure I was making an educated, sound decision. The fact is, in the business world, it is statistically not possible (impossible) to hit a home run every time a business goes up to bat. Factually, the economics of business, which means to keep your doors open, total revenues must include some profit, consistently produces bases hits, home runs, and the occasional out.

    1 Votes
  • Re
    Rebecca evans Oct 09, 2014

    Hi. I drove to this kennel in June 2014. I picked up my beautiful giant s/p Skansens Miss Norma Jean. From the moment I arrived I was treated with respect and kindness. I do not remember the lady's name that helped me but she was so kind and I could tell by the way she treated the dogs that she wasn't there to just earn a pay check. She was very informative and since Norma Jean was separated from the other puppies until I got there she put her Mom Harriet in her kennel to comfort her. I was greeted by Harriet when I first got out of the truck and she stood by my side the whole time I was there. I watched the dogs play and interact with each other and they seemed healthy and happy. I didn't notice the condition of the water bowls or food bowls but there was no foul odor. It's a farm. It's a large kennel with a lot of dogs. This was a good experience for me. Miss Norma Jean is 7 months old and the most beautiful, well mannered, healthy giant schnauzer you could ever meet. Every time I walk with her people stop to tell me how beautiful she is and I've never seen another one like her. Look at her photo and judge for yourself.

    1 Votes
  • Mo
    Moichiro Sep 12, 2014
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I have owned Skansen Giants for nearly 30 years. My first was ill and died at 4, but I was hooked on the breed. My next lived to be 14 and had a wonderful, healthy life. The next Giant died at 11, had toe cancer diagnosed at 9 and a recurrence of cancer at age 11. My last Giant had three toe cancers (yes, 3) at age 4, 6, and 8. He had three amputations, and he lived until 9 when cancer appeared in his jaw. He was stoic through it all and managed well with the amputations. One foot had only two toes but it didn't seem to bother him. In all, I probably paid over ten thousand dollars in vet bills.


    Owners need to be aware of health issues in the line. Is the high incidence of toe cancers the result of breeding? Yes it is, but is it deliberate? Probably not. Sylvia cares for her dogs and would never deliberately breed a animal to be ill. However, due to the high volume of breeding and the fact that dogs that have produced offspring with such issues are still bred only exacerbate the problem and the disease propagates.


    Sylvia will be quick to say that cancer is a result of not following her feeding program. I doubt that this is true, as the gene that causes toe cancer has been identified, and a gene is not related to food intake. It is terrible that the cancer is blamed on the owner by not feeding the dog according to Sylvia's recommendations.


    The Giant Schnauzer is a remarkable dog. Owners need to be aware of potential health problems. Breeders need to use every tool available to them to breed a healthy animal. It is up to the owner to research the breed and decide from whom to buy.

    1 Votes
  • Sh
    shellseeker811 Aug 27, 2014

    I never leave comments on posts like these until today. We put our 15 1/2 year old Standard Schnauzer down today. He was extremely healthy until the end. We kept him on Sylvia's raw diet from the beginning and he was never sick, had a great coat and a wonderful disposition. Sylvia described him as a sensible puppy, a thinker, a gorgeous pepper and salt with dark markings. He was show quality, but, we didn't show him. She nailed it. He was brave and smart, a thinker. He hid things around the house, especially winter gloves. He was a special dog and will we miss him greatly.

    1 Votes
  • St
    Stan F. Aug 02, 2014

    We purchased a Giant Schnauzer from Skansen, sight unseen, based solely on the staff recommendations. He was the best dog we've ever had in our family and lived a full and healthy life to the end of his 15 years with us.
    These tirades by Lorrie H. serve only to expose an incredibly rude and naive person. Whose only purpose would seem to be to hurt and strike out at the Skansen Kennel business. Please consider the thousands of satisfied schnauzer owners from Skansen over the past 50 yrs and you'll realize how little credibility Lorrie H. really has in her complaint.

    1 Votes
  • Jc
    jcarlson Jun 30, 2014

    Over the course of the last 20 years, we have had 4 Giants from Skansen, picking up our 4th one in March of 2014. This was the second time we picked up a dog from the ranch, and yes, it is a ranch where the dogs have fresh air, fresh food, room to run, plenty of staff to take care of them, other dogs to socialize with and even an occasional puddle of mud to dig in.
    The poison of this complaint by Lorrie just doesn't mesh with the respectful, knowledgeable staff we've encountered or with Sylvia. Sylvia loves those dogs, takes pride in the dogs she produces and we wouldn't buy a Giant, or any schnauzer for that matter from anyone but Sylvia! In no stretch of the imagination is Skansen a puppy mill.
    Yes, our 3rd Giant developed cancer in her toe which spread, however, I discovered this is not uncommon in black dogs. Not Skansen black dogs but ANY black dog of any breed (particularly labs, btw)
    Any breeder of any breed will have a certain percentage of dogs with health issues. Take a look at statistics on Golden Retrievers, if you don't believe me.
    But to go on a site and spew filth - entry after entry after entry of disrespectful, repugnant, libelous filth is unbelievable and sad.

    We have been absolutely overjoyed at all 4 of the Giants we have gotten from Skansen- in their temperaments, in the way they look, in their intelligence and in their health. Anyone considering buying a dog from Sylvia only has to look at the overwhelming quantity of positive responses to this complaint to know how out of touch the complaint is.

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    -1 Votes
  • Lo
    loveallgiants Apr 01, 2014
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    Like most other breeders of Giant Schnauzers, Skansen sees it's share of leakers, epilepsy, hip dysplasia and thyroid disorders. The problem is, with small kennels, typically even with "cleared" parents used for breeding, if something like this crops up in their line, they stop breeding these animals. I could name countless Multi CH dogs from a myriad of kennels that only were ever bred once because a problem arose. They wanted to improve their line and therefore chose not to breed dogs that threw these problems in pups. Usually, you don't hear or see complaints about the other kennels because the situation is dealt with prudently and sympathetically by the breeders who brought these pups into the world and genuinely care about their welfare.
    The difference with Skansen is that while she has bred some spectacular Giants, she has also bred many CH dogs with the above mentioned problems and even when repeatedly chronicalled that they throw these problems, continues to breed them. If you contact her about a genetic problem... if you have vaccinated or not kept on a raw diet then Sylvia blames the owner...PERIOD. No recourse, no compassion and no stopping from breeding the same parents again.
    It really is a volume thing and things have changed greatly over the years at Skansen's Kennels. When she just bred Black Giants, even in larger numbers than most, things were mostly right, now however, she breeds, P/S Giants, Black Giants, Black Standards, Black Miniatures and White Miniatures in such a high volume (shipping EVERY Wednesday) that I don't know how anyone could keep track of, let alone care about all of the progeny that they have produced. Skansen is a business, many purchasers are lucky and win the genetic lottery but many are not. I am not trying to bash Skansen, I have seen, touched and loved many a Skansen Giant but unfortunately I have known folks with a heartbreak dog that they love suffering from the effects of volume breeding with no support because they didn't feed raw.

    0 Votes
  • Co
    Concerned Dog Lover Feb 21, 2014
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    Not all puppy mills keep their dogs in bad conditions. Anyone who let's anyone with cash have a puppy, ships their puppies on planes to people they have never met and crank out litter after litter is a puppymill. Sylvia refuses to spay dogs who have produced puppies that die of toe cancer and therefore perpetuating it into the line. Breeders are to have the best interest of the breed in mind, and if that means NOT breeding a dog.

    1 Votes
  • Jd
    JD Koch Sep 04, 2013

    Here is what I know: The breeder of this kennel has long been well respected as a champion breeder and built a phenomenal reputation spanning many years.
    Here's what else I know: Sometimes as people get older, things can change.
    All I can say is that we were quite excited about getting a dog and it was not at all what we had expected. The temperament was completely off. I'm telling you, this dog just wasn't wired right. He was skittish, bit at things in the air that weren't there, bit us several times, growled at things we could not see or hear. If this dog had been human he would likely have been diagnosed with a delusional disorder. He would also just attack furniture that had been there longer than he had even been in our home. Finally, our vet tried medications to control his anxiety (he was also eating the fur off his own paws and causing them to bleed). Then, the health problems started...I won't get into everything here, but within two years we had spent nearly $5, 000 on vet bills. It makes me very sad remembering Skansen's value to the dog world, specifically schnauzers. I cannot say what has changed, but something has.

    2 Votes
  • Jf
    JFAZ Jul 10, 2013
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I have had a Giant and Standard from Skansen and I have nothing but good things to say. I maintain the raw meat diet and I am very happy with this breeder. I love how the dogs are bred for quality and character and she produces some of the best show dogs available yet the dogs are still free to actually "be dogs" and play in the dirt and outdoors as dogs should be!

    0 Votes
  • De
    demosthenis May 07, 2013

    I would never consider an opinion from someone who, without merit, considers those who disagree with her "idiots" or "stupid." This is clearly an under-educated individual who lacks emotional intelligence and could use some anger management. Also, if you pay $800 for a dog from a breeder or kennel, you are knowingly paying for a "fault" dog, not pet or show quality.

    1 Votes
  • Mc
    mcloughm Apr 26, 2013

    We have a fantastic Giant, she is 10 months from Skansen, great health, great with our 2 kids - 4 year old and 7 months (growing up with the dog :-) ).
    She has quite a bit of energy but loves to be walked, runs well with us, hikes with us etc...
    The Raw diet is not the only way to go by the way but is what Skansen pushes... my sister who's is a vet put us on a mixed diet and our dog is doing fantastic.
    As with all large breeds when we got her neutered we also had her stomach stapled which was a must for us -- look it up if you need details.

    0 Votes
  • Sa
    Sally 123 Feb 08, 2013

    I own a large farm in the midwest and have not purchased a dog from Skansen kennels, but do own three Giants with her bloodlines. These are the most beautiful dogs I have ever seen. I am a breeder and do not by into the fact that anyone breeds dogs for poor health. I think this woman is trying to do the best for the breed. Take care of your dog and treat it as you would your children. If you do not like her don't uy from her... but do the christian thing and be nice.
    It is so easy for others to point fingers. Stop it. Be nice. In this day of mean...don't be like that. Hug your dog and count your blessings.
    I mean it BE NICE!

    Sally 123

    1 Votes
  • Ru
    Ruger23 Feb 01, 2013

    all i have to say is if you stick a well balanced raw diet with plenty of excercise your skansen schnauzer will be healthy for a long time to come, if you decide to vaccinate/ deworm regularly, and feed processed foods you run a much greater risk of having a puppy who develops a problem, mainly due to the fact that there is 50 years of breeding/feeding raw food to these dogs this is what they are adapted to eating and what keeps them healthy, not a bunch of shots, and processed dry, by product food. rapidly introducing these things into a very pure animals body will almost certainly cause problems. I only hope this will help you understand how you started with healthy happy pups and turned them into sickly sad suffering animals, not enough excercise + inproper nutrition +routine vaccination= sick animal

    0 Votes

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