In this section of our web site, you will find brief yet informative and factual summaries on Canine Hip Dysplasia, vaccination, and dew claws interjected with our own pondering on the subjects. We invite you to take the time to browse around.

For links, in-depth downloadable files, and free eBooks, visit our Research page. Before scrolling down the page, please read this message from all of us at Highland Glenn:


“Too often when it comes to the care of our companions we allow the ‘experts’ to think for us. We trust what the veterinarian says, we believe those ads with cute puppies on brand name dog food. We’ve all done it! The responsibility of deciding what you will do, however, rests squarely on your shoulders, and Yours alone.

We’ve all had to become proactive about the health care and nutrition of our family. Even livestock husbandry is changing according to what is appropriate for each species. Land management, too. Why not that of the companion animals relying on us?

It is our earnest hope that each of you will use your mind and listen to your instincts, learn what is best for the animals entrusted to your care. For the health and happiness of your devoted companions, investigate the facts for yourself, immerse yourself in research, ask questions. Look at all sides of an issue, thoughtfully consider what seems reasonable, and then don’t dismiss the evidence simply because it upsets your long-held views. Never stop learning and questioning!

Our dear companions trust us, they look to Us for their care. Have the Courage to be their Voice!

Tom and Krystal
…& the Highland Glenn Ranch crew


“All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.” – Arthur Schopenhauer


Canine Hip Dysplasia

Consider this: Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD) was first diagnosed in 1935, this was approximately 5-10 years the introduction of commercial dog food. Yet, here we are over 70 years later with generations of breeding dogs tested and selected for clear hips, and still we haven’t managed to get rid of it. During that same period of time we’ve continued to feed our dogs a processed diet completely inappropriate for the species. Mere coincidence? We think not. Thus, the reasonable question is raised: What if genetics is not the main cause of Canine Hip Dysplasia?

There are several secondary factors which influence the development of Canine Hip Dysplasia, one being growth patterns. Feeding a high calorie, high protein diet produces rapid growth and weight gain thus increasing the chance and severity of CHD if the genetic potential is present. This rapid growth is especially contraindicated in puppies between 3 months and 10 months of age. Obesity is another factor as excess weight exacerbates joint degeneration. Too much exercise and jumping activities at a young age also contribute.

The amount of calories a dog consumes and when in its life they are consumed appears to have the biggest impact on whether a dog may be genetically prone to Canine Hip Dysplasia. Nutrition is the key factor in growing sound dogs!**  Incorrect nutritional values are where bone growth problems begin- when the muscles fail to develop and mature at the same rate as the bones, it leads to joint instability. Commercial dog food is too high in protein, fat, calories, carbohydrates, and calcium (too high or too low) and conversely too low in vitamins and minerals due to processing. All of which contribute to the development of CHD through improper muscle growth.

To reach their full potential, puppies and dogs need a Species Appropriate Raw Food diet!

The second most important factor is the oft-overlooked production of hormones. Hormones affect development of joints, bone and muscle, too. When spayed/neutered at an ever-increasingly young age as is now common, rapid cessation of those growth hormones adversely affects proper development. This fact is recognized in the show ring and in livestock as well.

**In 1997, a book called “The Thirty Years War 1966-1996” was published in Germany by Marc Torel and Klaus Dieter Kammerer about the role nutrition plays in the development of Canine Hip Dysplasia. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been translated into English yet, however, a summary of it can be read at: The Error of the Millennium in Veterinary Medicine.



There are so many harmful aspects to vaccination it’s difficult to know where to begin. So, let’s start by reviewing the typical medical schedule for a puppy. By the time a dog is two years old it has been subjected to:

-chemically wormed at 2, 4, 6, and 8 weeks of age
-vaccines given approximately three times before the age of 16 weeks, in combos of 5 to 9 different viruses
-rabies vaccine at 16 weeks
-topical insecticide flea/tick treatments monthly during warmer weather
-Spay/neuter with anesthesia, pain meds, and possible antibiotics
-second rabies vaccine at 1 and 2 years of age; at 1 and 2 years old given 5 to 9-way vaccine boosters
-heartworm pills monthly during warmer weather in some locales
-wormed annually

Is it any wonder why today’s canine suffers from so many chronic illnesses and autoimmune diseases after such an extended duration of assaults on its immune system? On their own, some of those may seem minimal, but month after month, year after year the damage adds up. Generation after generation the damage continues to compound.

Vaccines are an assault on the immune system, even more so when given as combination shots. Evidence shows the new vaccine protocol adopted by the majority of veterinary colleges is still over-vaccinating. Time and time again vaccinations result in the early death of companion animals due to cancer and autoimmune disorders. Then there are adverse reactions, ranging from a limp to diarrhea to urinary tract infections to loss of appetite to heart problems and even death in extreme cases. These reactions don’t have to be immediate or within 24 hours, but can occur weeks, months or even years later.

In addition to the actual virus contained in a vaccine, they also contain other harmful ingredients such as, but not limited to, antibiotics, aluminum, formaldehyde, infected tissue, and Thimerosal (a preservative that is 49% mercury). Interestingly, Thimerosal has been removed from human vaccines but not those for animals.

Such toxins are repeatedly being injected into our companions, yet they aren’t a ‘protection’ guarantee from disease. In fact, 1 in 10 dogs vaccinated for Parvovirus still contract it. 90% of protection comes from the immune system; vaccines are designed to catch the remaining 10%.

While conducting a five year study, Purdue University was able to say in only three years that they have found dogs given only 1, 2 or no vaccinations are healthier than dogs that have had the usual annual vaccinations. Juliette Di Bairacli Levy realized that 70 years ago. Nothing in science indicates canines need annual vaccinations.

Natural exposure produces the strongest, safest and most effective immunity response. Take notice of the following natural action: for several weeks after vaccination a dog “sheds” particles of the virus into its environment; when another dog is exposed to the “shed” virus it triggers an immune response. Yes, the immune system receives low-level stimulation to produce antibodies just the same as if it were exposed to the actual disease.

This natural immunity is worlds safer since it is through a natural means of exposure (inhaled or ingested) and at a much more diluted concentration. Whereas attempting to “trick” the immune system by vaccination with an abnormal pathogen actually impairs its normal defense process, producing an abnormal response. A body must be able to recognize a virus or bacteria in order to overcome the challenge on its own.

The immune system is very complex and involves many organs and systems of the body. It is still beyond the full understanding of modern science. It begins when dogs are born and receive hundreds of antibodies through their Dam and her colostrum. We can’t even begin to know what interfering with the immune system in the way allopathic veterinary practice does means for the life of our companions or future generations. Vaccines within the human and animal population have undoubtedly altered our genetic make-up.


“The only safe vaccine is a vaccine that is never used.” – Dr. James R. Shannon, former Director of the National Institute of Health

For more information, please visit our Research page.



We are not against the removal of “front dewclaws” by other breeders, nor do we view this fairly painless practice as cruel, but it is unnecessary and does impact a canine’s life. Our Natural Rearing philosophy is about life as nature intended. The ‘front dewclaws’ our dogs are born with are normal and functional, part of their beauty.

The term “front dewclaw” is actually a misnomer, though widely used. The term properly refers to the claws on the rear feet in particular the Briard, Beauceron, Great Pyrenees, and Kangal Dogs, all of which often have double rear dewclaws. And with the possible exception of the Lundehund, claims about the functioning of those rear dewclaws are dubious, but they can be attached by bone as well so we prefer to leave them as is.

In contrast, the fifth toe of the canine foreleg is neither an ill-formed remnant nor the characteristic of a remote ancestor- virtually all dogs are born with five toes on their forefeet and all five toes have functional uses in the everyday life of a dog. Many people do not realize that on the foreleg those fifth digits are essentially thumbs, complete with their very own pad- fully functional and movable, used for grabbing the earth in running and turning, as well as for grasping objects, and grooming the face and ears. Our dogs use them while eating to hold a large chunk of meat. Evidence suggests that they may also be an acupressure point.

Yes, a dog might injure that digit, but they injure other toes much more commonly. Does it seem logical that simply because injury may occur it’s wise to cut off all such appendages “just in case”? Not to us!

Canine structural experts such as Dr. Chris Zink found that the fifth toes of the foreleg serve an important function in athletically active breeds, like the English Shepherd. Research has shown that performance dogs without these digits are more likely to suffer carpal injuries as well as other related injuries. On a fast turn those thumbs dig in, providing stability and balance, and the carpal pad provides cushioning as the front dewclaws actually come in contact with the grounds surface. Now, does that sound unnecessary to you?

“Another Look at Dewclaws”- by Fred Lanting