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Be a Specialty Breeder
Do you really want to be known as a
hobby breeder? Would you use a hobby dentist? Hire a furniture fixer to build a
house? What’s your definition of a dog breeder?
May 29, 2018
By a subscriber who asked to remain anonymous
With all respect, it is the
“perception is reality” that has dearly cost what you refer to as a ‘hobby
breeder’. Listen to the term. A hobby is something people do for fun or pleasure
but they may not be very good at it... Golf is a hobby but people DO give up country club memberships when money is tight. Would you give up your dogs?
That “hobby breeder”
term, when compared with the price of a pet shop puppy to one you sell on limited registration with all kinds of restrictions placed
on it feeds the ‘breeders do it for the money’ image.
It doesn't help that the consumer can go to a
"rescue" and get a "mixed breed" mutt for half the price without all the
bothersome applications, mandatory spay/neuter policies, restrictions on
what can be done with the animal, etc.
When someone is told the
pet-price puppy is not ‘show potential’ but they can buy
that puppy with full AKC registration and breeding rights for an additional
amount of money, that raises eyebrows. What
changed besides the price tag?
When I told one thoughtful
guy that he could get full registration only after he provided proof of
neutering, he politely observed that he couldn't see paying for half a dog at twice the price.
The reality was
thought-provoking. There are other sources for a
purebred dog. Most people neuter anyway. It’s the principle that seems
hypocritical. Put your lovingly created and reared puppy at health risks created
by premature removal of reproductive organs when they can buy a pet shop
puppy with no strings? That proffered protocol seems to promote the puppy
“Adopt don’t shop” brainwashed most people into altering anyway.
But then there's the dishonest buyer who will breed the dog anyway. They forge papers
or buy them (!) on a black market in legit registrations. Greedy breeders,
not necessarily "puppy mills", routinely register ghost puppies and hang on
to the "blue slips" in case they are needed later...
So does it pay to be a Specialty
Breeder and what does it mean?
You don't lie
on applications, breed X-doodles, X-poos or whatever. Your worst purebred dog
is better than the puppy mill dog. You know the genetics of your bloodline,
from size to health to projected aptitude and personality. You share professional knowledge in a way people understand
because it helps the dogs as well as the owners. If we don't, it dies with us. Then the puppy
mills, i.e. HVB (High Volume Breeder), BYB (Back Yard Breeder), and AR (Animal Rights) folks win.
The AKC responds to public need and what makes them money. The “mutts are
as good as purebreds” concept led to the ILP (Indefinite Listing Privilege)
which allows mongrels to compete against my specialty-bred purebreds in
many types of AKC sports. As a specialty breeder it doesn't seem to matter that
my dogs are only
bred for service work. They graduate quicker, are more predictable. Yes, shelter
dogs are sometimes used. Most wash out. Mine don’t.
I don’t need to ‘limit’ AKC registration since my dogs are transferred to
service organizations without papers and are altered prior to placing per their policy. However, I am tired of defending my dog’s balls in public. And it does
seem hypocritical for me to preach the benefits of NOT mutilating the animals, but force others to do it?
Everyone has stories of the rescue dog from hell that couldn’t be trained or
cost a fortune in medical bills. The same story applies to the ‘breeder dog’ and
the ‘pet store dog’. I retired from human medical care. Mother Nature loves a
curveball. It happens. We cry, curse, scream, but it just is.
I say we should try out the term ‘Specialty
Breeder’. You are an expert in ______ breed. Then for heaven sake, have champions in the breeding mix, not “champion
lines”. If the parent dogs are service or field bred and aren’t in the show
ring, at least get the Parent Breed club to do a ‘conformation certificate’ to
see how closely they conform to their AKC Breed standards. THEN talk about
health testing and issues that make sense to a consumer. The pricing will then
make sense and is more palatable.
The AKC is just DUMB in not allowing limited registration to participate in 4-6
month certificate of merit. What an awesome way for someone to see that the pet store dog or backyard breeder doesn’t have a pup that measures up. Everyone I
know who did do that was happy for the experience, got their ‘CM’ and neutered their animal.
It’s about marketing and getting out the message of what makes a ‘hobby breeder’
or “pet bred” dog different from a ‘rescue’ dog. Some rescue dogs have
“registration papers” so how does that make sense? “Specialty Breeder” sounds
better and feels better. We are ‘specialists’ in our breed. Let’s advertise it that way.
We are the Golf Pros of the dog world, the Purebred Dog Breed Specialists. We know how to plan, create, and raise a hole-in-one dog time after time. We are Specialty Breeders.
Editor's Note: Are you a Breed Specialist? A Specialty Breeder? Hobby Breeder? Our comments have closed, you told us how you would define yourself, here are some selected comments.
Mary Tripp "I REALLY LIKE THE TERM PUREBRED
DOG BREED SPECIALIST. WE OFFER SO MUCH MORE THAN JUST A PUPPY!"
commented on the article and about Janice, "I'm home this weekend so came back
to see if there was interest in Specialty Breeder nomenclature. Interesting
discussion, Janice seems to exemplify what sounds like a Specialty Breeder
BECAUSE she produces what someone called Purpose Bred Dogs. I'm not on
facebook but wonder if this is there."
Anderson "Perception is everything! I am a
specialty breeder of Newfoundlands, producing quality, not quantity, with my
breeding program of near 50 years. With my limited breeding program of
purpose bred dogs, I produce healthy, happy and true representations of the
breed. These magnificent animals are excellent companions, workings dogs,
service dogs and show dogs. I am proud of the accomplishments of my dogs
over the years, excelling at home, in the ring and in working environments.
Champions, Group, BISS & BIS winners and Obedience, Water Rescue & Draft
titlists including Versatility Newfoundlands are but a few of the
achievements of Ebontide Newfoundlands. But the most important thing any of
the purpose bred dogs I produce can achieve, is to realize their purpose as
water rescue dogs. I had such a dog, Ebontide's Boon Companion, Newfoundland
Club of America Hero Dog in 1996. As a puppy, with nothing but natural
instinct and no formal training, Boo saved a deaf-mute man from the Yuba
River in California. "Purpose Bred, Purpose Driven, my purebred dogs save
Harriett "How do I get to be called a
breed specialist? what are the qulifications? I do not breed often but I
produce winners. Where to apply? I do not wand my email out there but
I will watch this for answers bc it sounds overdue."
said back to Jackie Phillips, "Jackie, you have
definitely been drinking the Kool-ade. I had several rescue dogs and after
several heartaches and disasters, I decided to go back to purpose bred dogs
and to breed my own pets. Then people asked me for pets for themselves and,
since I believe that every child should grow up with a dog and not all
parents have the time and money to rehab a rescue dog, I provided them to
other people, never making money on my litters since I wanted to share the
dogs I loved with people I cared about. Purpose bred dogs ARE the preferred
choice for working dogs, don't fool yourself. Do you see police departments
using mutts from the pound for their patrol dogs? Never. They use purpose
bred Belgian and Dutch Shepherds or German Shepherds. I provide pups to
several Service Dog organizations so I know they don't use rescues for their
programs either. In fact, CCI has one of the best breeding programs in the
country and has advanced the science of dog breeding for all of us.
Make sure you get your facts straight before you start
spouting them on public bulletin boards. This is not a pro rescue site so
you're not among friends. If we're desperate, it's desperation to keep our
breeds healthy, genetically diverse, and their original instincts intact. My
dogs still pull sleds even though it's not something we need them to do to
survive. They are a rare American breed though and I think our world would
be a lesser place without them. So I will keep working with them. I've been
at it for 30 years so far and I'm not done yet."
Jackie Phillips "It is so much fun seeing breeders attempt to make
excuses for breeding and selling dogs, when they know that adopted dogs of
all types are the preferred choice of pets and working dogs. Keep it up.
Love seeing the desperation. It is very entertaining."
Farley "I have been producing a limited quantity of some of the most
beautiful dogs on the planet for more than 20 years now. It is one of the
oldest breeds, and also one of the few NATURAL (not man made) breeds. For
years, the registrations in this breed have been going down and down, now
about 300-400/year. It will be a less beautiful world if this breed is lost
because some people are overproducing golden-doodles, or pit bull mixes.
I am talking about the incomparable Afghan Hound. I
have called myself a 'hobby breeder' simply because this is not a breed to
'make money' in. There is not much market for pets, although I think a lot
of that is the fault of some others in this breed who seem to feel their
only use is for show ornaments (or coursing), and that only they, and their
best friends should be able to have one, let alone breed them. I think this
is short sighted of some of them. In our very first litter, we won our first
Champion points (as complete total novices to showing, and I was in my 40s)
with the boy and girl we kept. One of them also herded our COWS. Another
became a certified Therapy Dog, and a licensed Service Dog, and lived in a
Licensed Theraputic Foster home, which averaged 10 children residents. Some
of them were blind, autistic, had cerebral palsey, etc. That is a FABULOUS
temperament in ANY breed, let alone this one. The others were beloved pets.
27 of the 28 Champions we produced/and/or finished are descended from 2 boys
from that first litter, the only litter our first beloved Afghan Hound ever
sired. It is a 'hobby' mainly because, now that I am 66, and husband is 76,
we have no more retirement savings, and our home needs a LOT, as we are
still a good quarter million dollars in the hole due to past 20+ years of
maintaining, and proving these beautiful dogs in the show rings. But, it is
not really a 'hobby', it is the passion of my life. They make my heart sing
every time I look at them. I HAVE studied genetics since I was about 11
years old, it happens that has been a lifelong interest of mine. And,
breeding is applied genetics. The world is a more beautiful place because
our dogs are in it."
Michaels "Excellent points!~ The nomenclature is very important!"
Wilson "I judge fun matches because they are fun. I have been a hobby
breeder for 23 years. This was thought provoking. Yes, I am a specialist in
several breeds as a judge but I only breed two breeds."
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