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Furnishing Too Much Information to someone purchasing a pet puppy with no intention of breeding the dog gave me pause for thought. Why is a pedigree necessary if there’s no intention of breeding?


September 10, 2019 |

E. Katie Gammill, AKC Multi-Group Judge


How does a breeder explain to a pet owner the genetic importance of a pedigree? At times, individual sires and dams are repeated. The average pet person may not understand the reason behind doing so and explanations can be confusing.


Breeders accept line breeding, in-breeding, and out-crossing when judiciously used. The average pet-owner does NOT look at dogs the way a breeder does so why muddy the water? Most have little knowledge of genealogy and the process of producing a “complete” animal. Their response may be negative or trigger discussions which only add to confusion. TMI (too much information) can fuel the flame of misunderstanding and often is not necessary.


If the pet is to be spayed or neutered, why give the pet buyer a pedigree? Their desire is to purchase a healthy, happy family pet so their interest is about love, care and feeding. They do not intend to breed this pet. When approached by a pet buyer, in place of a pedigree one might consider a beautiful color photograph of the sire and dam as well as certifications of the parents of the litter. Put these and pictures of the litter at different ages in an album. This should suffice. The breeder furnishes a healthy puppy, shot and worming records, advice, and most offers a replacement policy if problems should arise.


Granted, owners are proud of Champions listed in red in their pedigrees. This is rightly so. However, shouldn’t this information be saved for the “established breeder” wherein it has meaning? It is with serious dog breeders that such discussions and understandings run deeper. When pet buyers ask these questions, why not probe the “WHY” as to their questions. You may find they have little idea what they are asking and are actually just “parroting” what they were told, having no concept of what all those titles and certifications are.


Certifications only “pares down" the opportunities for genetic problems. Too many pet buyers see it as a guarantee for “perfection” from all genetic problems. Wrong! Let’s face it, total control over genetics is impossible. Breeders, on the other hand, do need such details so they may incorporate information into plans to improve their stock. Responsible breeders know the genetic OUTCROSS is to pick up virtues (and hopefully they are wise enough to recognize them when they appear) to move forward. LINE BREEDING launches the said virtues and encourages them to appear more often. Once testing and goals are achieved, in-breeding SETS TYPE. Once established, this “LOOK” makes a particular kennel recognizable. Stud dogs from such an in-breeding may “stamp” their puppies on a variety of lines and may well become the stud of the future. In-breeding can at times controls size. However, hang on, as an in-breeding might result in a “brush fire”, reflecting the “worst of the worst” and “the best of the best”. This is what separates “true breeders” from “people who breed dogs”. True breeders step up to the plate when these situations hit them in the face and accept responsibility of their actions.


Again, why does a pet person need a pedigree if that puppy is to be spayed or neutered? Be aware infantile spaying and neutering before the age of 9 months can cause future problems. When older, these dogs may experience incontinence, an under-developed penis or vagina, or cancer. It is especially important toy breeds be allowed to mature before this procedure. All puppies need hormones and testosterone for bone development and proper maturity.


The next time a caller asks for certifications, respond by the question “is this to be a pet or do you want breeding stock?” If it is for a pet, ask them nicely if they truly understand what “certifications” mean or if it was something they were told to ask. Assure them they will receive copies of the certifications, pictures of the parents, and pictures as the puppy’s progress. Remind the buyer most reputable breeders offer a replacement guarantee if contacted about problems.


Breeders allow new pet buyers to visit the premises. Pictures, health records, advice and life long friendships are often the result of such a purchase. Address the pet buyer’s needs for assimilating their new pet into their home. Reputable breeders are there forever for advice.


Don’t attempt to explain your breeding program. Giving them something more attractive in the form of color photographs will suffice. Too often intelligence and the creative mind of a breeder become adversaries and can confuse a puppy buyer.


When puppy leaves, include a sack of toys, current food, treats, and lead and collar. Suggest vet care and grooming facilities. This should complete the picture to any buyer’s satisfactions if they desire a pet for their family. This will make for a better relationship if one sorts buyers initially regarding WHY they desire a puppy.


“TMI” can be “overkill” and may not be necessary. The lack of a pedigree will not affect the well being of a beautiful pet. EST 2002 © 19920S06



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