Frequently Asked Questions

"If you are the smartest person in the room then you are in the wrong room." Confucius
You have questions, we have answers.  Let's see if they match.....


What type of German Shepherds are Tusk and Freya?

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Tusk and Freya are from West German Working lines.  They both have outstanding ancestors  who are titled in working dog sports, working line breed standards and are thriving in police work, search and rescue, scent detection, therapy dogs and service dogs.  Please visit our family tree page to learn more about titles and see pictures and videos on the ancestors.  
You will not find any show lines German Shepherds in the pedigree, so if you are seeking a"red and black with a sloping back" you will not find it here.  

Can we meet Tusk and Freya in person?

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Freya  is here with us at our happy place.  She is always happy to meet new people and add them to her fan club.  
Tusk is, and has been for the past 8 years, on active duty with the Vancouver Police K9 squad.  Public appearances are extremely rare, but we do post on our FB page if we know where he may be appearing. 

What do all the letters after the dogs names in the pedigrees mean?

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The letters below the name represent date of birth, registration kennel and registration number, titles the dog has earned, what type of German Shepherd (short or long haired), owner name, height/weight, hips/elbows/other health data. All the data is imporatant, but most folks want to know what the titles are as the rest seems fairly straight forward.
Most of the dogs are certified using a dog sport called Shutzhund, IPO, or IGP which is a three phase test consisting of tracking, protection and obedience.  There are three levels to this type of title, 1 being the first level and 3 being the highest.  There are also tracking titles.  Also show/conformation titles.  I have listed the main working certifications or titles below.  Click on the link to watch a video about Schutzhund also called IPO or IGP.

BH - the preliminary and prerequisite test for a dog going on to get his/her Schutzhund titles. A combination temperament and obedience test.
SchH, SchH 1, SchH 2, SchH 3 or IPO1, IPO2, IPO3 - Schutzhund and the 3 levels of titles awarded. Each level is a progression and built on the skills learned in the previous level.
FH, FH 1, FH 2 - Fährtenhund - tracking dog title
AD - Ausdauerprüfung - endurance trial 12 miles in 2 hours
KkL1 or KkL2 - Körklasse 1 (especially recommended for breeding by the SV) Körklasse 2 (suitable for breeding by the SV)
SV - The original GSD breed club and breed registry, based in Germany. The SV is not only the largest breed-specific registry in the world, it’s also extremely active. In addition to being a breed registry, the SV also promotes working-dog activities, i.e. by awarding working titles (SchH). They also sanction conformation show and koerungs (breed surveys).
V, SG, G - Excellent show, Very Good show, Good show.
BSP/LGA - National working trial/Regional working trial.
Freya has her BH - prerequisite test for temperament/obedience needed before attempting further IGP titles, SG - Very Good show in conformation/structure.

What is up with Tusk's down ear?

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Tusk's ear is a topic of conversation we cannot seem to get away from.  If you look closely in some pictures and videos, his ear is erect but the set or where the ear joins the head is incorrect. In other words, it is in a different place on his head than it should be and not even with the ear set on the other side.  Gravity sometimes works against his ear and it appears "floppy".  The genetic makeup of this particular ear set is so deeply buried that we cannot confirm it is indeed a genetic problem at all, it does not appear anywhere else in his pedigree.  Perhaps he was squished up against his mother's hip bone while he grew?  Our consultations with many folks about this from vets to breeders to judges to handlers resulted in no one believing we would see this same unique ear set in his offspring.  We do know that the ear set has in no way ever inhibited his ability to be brave,  be an outstanding police K9, and be adored by thousands.  We also know that this ear has endeared him to many children with unique features of their own......

OK!  I am ready to bring a new puppy into our home.  What is the first step?

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Whew!  That is a major decision and we are here to help.  The first step is to fill out a puppy application form found on our puppy page or contact us through an email.  Our contact form is on our contact us page, or find us at  Please include your phone number so we can call you to chat.  Once  details are decided and both parties agree to the matching process, a deposit of $500.00 will confirm you on our waiting list.  Balance of funds is due at time of puppy pick up.

How do you decide which puppy goes to which home?

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Preference is given to working dog homes.  This means homes who are actively pursuing a title or certification with the dog.  This could be sport dog homes, volunteer services such as Search and Rescue, Service Dog Certification, or kennel club titles. We will then pursue a match for the handler based on observations and handler preferences.

Where are the puppies being raised or whelped?

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Freya and her pups are cared for in our home.  A quiet whelping area in their own room for the first 2-3 weeks and then we move them out into our main living area for the next 3-8 weeks.  We begin crate training around 6-7 weeks and of course plenty of time exploring the outdoors once they are ready.  A basic plan for the puppy NIED program the first 8 weeks is covered with each interested party.

When will the puppies be ready to go the their new homes?

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Traditionally, puppies are ready for to leave their birth home by 8 weeks.  By this time they are on solid food, introduced to crate training and are very busy.  We will evaluate the litter at this time, and there are options for the pups at this time.  We may choose to place puppies into guardian homes for 2-3 months so we can re-evaluate them at 4-5 months of age to see if any hold potential for police work, Search and Rescue, dog sports or other work focused homes.  We also have a board and train option for new owners who want to have a puppy go through the first few months of very successful puppy training with us here before taking them into their forever home.  We also may decide that a new owner is a perfect match for an 8 week old puppy and they can come to pick up the puppy after 8 weeks.  Of course we are always open to chat about options, so please contact us with ideas.

Can the puppy be shipped to us?

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No.  We do not ship puppies.  Potential new owners must travel to us and meet with us in person prior to taking a puppy.  Sometimes, we can arrange to deliver the puppy to its new home.
Besides, everyone needs an excuse to come to the amazing Okanagan Valley, in Beautiful British Columbia.  Come for a puppy, stay for the amazing skiing and winter fun at Silver Star, hiking, wineries, small town shopping, world class spa at Sparkling Hills Resort...... our Happy Place is just 40 minutes from Kelowna International airport or a 5 hour amazing drive from Vancouver.

Do new owners get to choose a name for their puppy?

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Yes, of course.  All the puppies will come with Canadian Kennel Club registrations, and their paperwork will have their full registered name.  New owners can use any version of the registered name or choose something completely different and this becomes the dog's call name.

What health guarantees do the puppies come with?

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We are very lucky to live in a time when health testing and DNA tests are accessible.   They do cost money and take time to achieve results.  We would not breed Tusk to Freya if there was any indication that the pups may have any health issues from this match. The health history is supported by the family tree of each dog.
The following are the health topics we have tested both parents for prior to breeding:
Hip Dysplasia , Elbow issues, Degenerative Myelopathy, Hemophilia A Factor VIII Deficiency.  
We have done our homework.  There are health challenges beyond our scope and should owners become aware of an area of concern they must contact us immediately.  Each concern will be treated with utmost care and attention and on a case by case basis.  We have a lifelong commitment to our puppies and this means we will always take a dog back, no questions asked, should the need ever arise.

How much are the puppies?

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Puppies are $2500.00 each Canadian.  We offer a $1000 reward bonus to handlers who certify one of our pups in a volunteer based working dog partnership.  This includes (but is not limited to) Search and Rescue, Avalanche, Conservation, Human Remains Detection, etc.  Ask us for details.

What socialization and/or training is done with the puppies?

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All our puppies are raised through the puppy NIED program, outlined on our puppy page.  It is a comprehensive combination of mental, physical and human world experiences designed to allow for the best chance of success in the human world.

What vaccinations and certificates will be provided?

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Puppies will be vaccinated according to the latest scientific data available and under the guidance of our excellent veterinarian staff at Panorama Veterinarian Clinic.  Pups will also come with a health certificate, microchip and CKC registration.

Will Skeleton Crew K9 provide help for us in the future?

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Of course!  We have a vested interest in each and every puppy.  We are always ready to provide help and support.  With our training background, we go far beyond most breeders with our depth of knowledge and understanding of this breed.  We want to see you and your new K9 succeed together.  We are a simple phone call away.

Is there a contract involved in bringing a puppy home?

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Yes there is a contract.  It covers topics such as breeding, health, change of ownership, and return to breeder.  A sample contract can be sent out on request to interested parties.

Skeletons in the Closet

How long has Skeleton Crew K9 been working with dogs?

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Professionally for over 12 years. Before that we have 5 years with Search and Rescue K9 group in Fairbanks, AK.

What areas of dog training and breeding is Skeleton Crew K9 certified in?

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Breeding: We participate in the American Kennel Club Canine College program.  It offers a wide range of breeder education topics, such as breeding basics, genetics, selection, and anatomy.  We also work with Good Dog ( program and continue to educate others about the right dog match for their families.
We have attended seminars such as the Canine Seminar at Sea with Dr Carmen Battagllia and Dr Bob Hutchinson.  We are currently under the care and guidance of Dr Sophia Fanous of B.C. Canine Reproduction Services and Dr Jessica Wales of Panorama Veterinarian Services.
2019 - November, Vernon, B.C. - Two day IPO/IGP workshop with Steve Kemick, training director and IGP world competitor from Sturgeon Schutzhund Club.
September, Idaho - Four day Human Remains Detection workshop with Paul Martin from HRD Specialized K9 Training.
May 2018 - Dave Kroyer nosework 3 day workshop, Wyoming.
January 2007 - 2018.  Opened and operated Antler Creek K9. Classes, workshops and seminars continue every 2 months and private consultations and lessons were also provided in Winnipeg and Lake Country, B.C. 

2017 - May, California - Five day Theory of protection and Five Day decoy and helper week with Michael Ellis.
2015 - August, Las Vegas - Superzoo conference for pet retailers and service providers on the education track.
2012 - 2017 - Somewhere around here: Two day Schutzhund helper workshop, two day Schutzhund tracking workshop, another helper workshop, raising the Tusk litter, online continuing breeding education, visits with other breeders and kennels and meeting potential K9 studs, trying to breed Chipsy one more time, attending trials, client dog match program, raising puppies for clients, Presenter for Doggone Safe, a dog bite prevention group.  Seminars for school aged children called “Be A Tree”, presenter for Dogs and Storks, a program to help expecting families with dogs, foster home for puppies with Winnipeg Humane Society.
July 2011, August 2012 and May 2014 - Tellington Touch 6 day training for dogs with Linda Tellington Jones and Robyn Hood, a continuation of the certification program for Ttouch. 

May 2010 - Attended 5 day National Association of Search and Rescue conference in Tunica, MS partaking in the K9 SAR track of seminars and workshops.
Fall 2008  - Boston - a three day seminar with John Rogerson on puppy raising and canine aggression. Winnipeg -  Brenda Aloff two day getting connected and canine aggression workshop.
May 2007 - Pet Dog Trainers Association three day seminar in Saskatoon, Saskachewan, Canada. 
October 2006 - Dr Ian Dunbar “Last Woof” seminar in Orlando Florida.  Introduction of Request/Lure/Reward method of training.
March 2006 - Completed Certified Master Dog Trainer program at Canada West Canine in Salmon Arm, British Columbia. Canada West Canine Center is the first school of Dog Trainers to be registered with the Private Post Secondary Education Commission of British Columbia. Topics covered: Basic Obedience, Customer Relations, Advanced Obedience, Utility (working dog) Obedience, Kennel Management, Canine Temperament, Dog Care, Behavioral Problems, Personal Protection Dog Training, Attack Dog, Support Dog, Police K-9, Tracking, Security, and Business Management.

Fairbanks 2000-2006 - People Assisting Wilderness Search and Rescue group - Trained as SAR tech and K9 Loki became certified in tracking, article search and cadaver work.

How long has Skeleton Crew K9 been breeding?

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Tusk and Freya's December 2019 litter was our second litter of German Shepherd Puppies.  Our first litter was with Chipsy and Goran and that is when Tusk was born.  We "got the t-shirt and wore it out" during our trials and adventures trying to breed Chipsy, Tusk's Dam one more time.  It was a very big education for us and those who helped us.  Although it was unfruitful and Mother Nature kicked us down, we were able to put together the Tusk and Freya breeding with a far bigger education behind us, and a new t-shirt.


Karelian Bear Dog and German Shepherd cross.
Certified for K9 Search and Rescue in tracking, article search and cadaver.  
This dog taught us humility and sparked our interest in dog training as a profession.  Adored this dog, but he was not an easy dog to train and certify.  In all our years and all the dogs we have worked with, we never came across another dog anything like Loki.
Obtained from backyard breeder.

German Shepherd cross.
Obedience and tracking titled.  Great nanny to puppies and a constant project in the works.  Taught us much, had a great sense of mischief and was loyal to the ladies.
Obtained from a rescue group at 2 years of age.

Chipsy vom Calculatorhof
West German lines working German Shepherd.
BH, AD, K9 Good Citizen, Therapy Dog.
Our foundation bitch and the reason we chose to breed.
A chance meeting with Chipsy has set us on this current path to breed.  She was truly rare and beautiful.
Obtained from breeder at 3 years of age.

German Shepherd
Raised as a puppy for Search and Rescue, when we were approached to train him as an assistance dog.  He was trained to provide specific tasks to an elderly person to allow them to remain safe and active.
Obtained from breeder after meeting his sire.

Tusk Toa Toiora
German Shepherd
Bred and raised by us.
Raised through our puppy NIED program.
Presented to Vancouver Police K9 unit at 5 months of age, and was taken into their program.

Long Haired German Shepherd
Kya came to us for puppy training from clients.
She spent three months with us enjoying the puppy NIED program.  Today she is successfully living on a farm with her human family, two cats, chickens and a whole lot of love.
Obtained from breeder of long coat German Shepherds

Standard Parti Poodle
Ero came to stay with us for his first three months and was a very lucky puppy to spend those crucial months with us learning all he could from the NIED program.
He lives with his very busy human family, his K9 brother in arms Huey and two cats.
Obtained from breeder of Standard Parti Poodles

Fronos z Canczeck - NOS
German Shepherd - Long Coat
Nos is our current Human Bone detection dog in training. He has excellent handler connection, is environmentally stable and loves children. He was originally obtained to raise for Police work, but developed ununited anconeal process at 5 months. We opted for surgery and placed him on 
a more suitable life path.
Obtained from breeder of Czech lines 
German Shepherds

Freya vom Fuchsstein
BH, VT titles.  (so far)
Our newest addition we obtained in Spain.  Her West German Bloodlines made her the best match for Tusk, and when we met her in person we knew she was perfect.  She is now training to obtain her IGP1 title in 2021.
Obtained from trainer in Spain who bought her from a breeder/kennel in Germany as a puppy.