The Poodle Pedler: the stuff behind the fluff

Joseph Kamin, Editor-in-Chief

On a sunny fall day, Cathy Hall sits on her porch with two of her children. They’re in the yard chasing each other and kicking up dirt. “Oh, you’re such big boy. Look how tough you are!” Hall says admiringly to her kids. However, her children are not what would be considered normal children they’re her dogs.

“When I was a child, there was three of us. I had a younger brother and an older brother. We were only allowed to have one dog between us. It was always a fight as to who got to play with that dog. That’s what really started me wanting to raise dogs” explains Hall.

Hall is a native of Pittsburg, Texas. She moved to Stephenville 27 years ago with her husband, but they have since then separated. Hall lives right outside of city limits with her 13 dogs. Hall is a dog breeder and she raises and sells dogs as a source of income. She has eight female dogs, four males and a neutered male.

While Hall mostly breeds and sells Tiny Toy Poodles, she is branching out to Chi-Poo and Yorkie-Poos. Toy poodles are usually 10 inches tall and can range from 6 to 9 pounds in weight. Chi-Poos are a mix of a Chihuahua and Poodle. They can get up to 10 inches tall and can range up to 12 pounds. Yorkie-Poos are a mix of Yorkshire Terrie and Poodle, they are usually a foot tall and get up to 14 pounds in weight.

While 14 dogs might sound like a daunting task, 11 of the 14 dogs that Hall has weigh 10 pounds or less. Hall stated that she only goes through around 50 pounds of dog food a month, but it does vary based on whether she has puppies.

While Hall says she loves her children equally, she says that her favorite will remain Mega-Man. Mega-Man is a 14 years-old, all white, 4-pound toy poodle. While Mega-man was in his prime, he used to be a show dog.  Even though he only showed for one year, he brought in five blue ribbons while he was showing.

“Mega-man used to show. But I did not like the attitude of show people, “Hall said with a sign “I’m sure they aren’t alike. But they weren’t helpful, they were snooty and they looked down on you. They didn’t like breeder-handlers either, they wanted you to put your dog with a handler and I wasn’t willing to do that”

While Hall usually has puppies, she only breeds her females once a year. But with five breeding females, the number of dogs in the house can vary depending on the number of dogs per litter. Over the 25 plus years of breeding dogs, Hall said she has bred and sold a countless number of dogs. The American Kennel Club motto for breeders is “Breed to Improve.”

“To maximize profits, female dogs are bred at every opportunity with little to no recovery time between litters.” Says the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. “When they are physically depleted to the point that they no longer can reproduce, breeding females are often killed. The parents of the puppy in the pet store window are unlikely to make it out of the mill alive—and neither will the many puppies born with overt physical problems.”

Hall states that she breeds and raises dogs because she loves her poodles. “My favorite dogs are Poodles. Poodles! Poodles! Poodles! They don’t shed. They’re very intelligent and they’re so loveable,” exclaims Hall, “They’re just cuddly and loveable.”

“When I sell a tiny Toy Poodle and I know it’s going to be very fine boned, I try not to sell it to a family with small children. Because they’re very fine boned and easily broken. Most of my dogs go out and about. Most of my dogs go out to Houston, San Antonio, Austin. They’ve gone to New York, North and South Dakota and California.”

Hall’s dogs have their own room in her house. As most of the dogs are tiny, they do not require much space. They have individual cages to eat and sleep in. While mothers have bigger cages to accommodate the puppies and mother. Almost all of Halls house is dog-proofed, from ramps on the doors to dog doors and dog guards for rooms they are not supposed to enter.

“My dogs are cage raised, but they’re let out. They don’t stay in the cages. They’re mostly in the cage while I’m gone,” explains Hall “I’m not a puppy mill. My dogs are treated like children. I would love to shut every puppy mill down.”

Cathy Hall 254-431-9750