The Humane Society’s 2017 TV campaign to adopt shelter dogs, combined with the huge profit in spay and neuter is castrating show breeders but readers said...
May 2017 Update from Jan 2013
Barbara "BJ" Andrews, Editor-In-Chief
Forced into hiding by animal control, handcuffed by zoning regulations, local and state laws, most of which are lobbied into fruition by animal rights groups, “responsible dog breeders” are facing extinction.
As with any product, from sofas to shoes, when someone else makes it cheaper, quality merchandise disappears from the shelves. Mass distribution through local outlets further secures the buyer market. Premium wine, cheese, and tobacco specialty shops have all but disappeared, giving way to Wal-Mart, Target, and warehouse outlets.
So it is with well-bred purebred dogs. Show breeders study genetics. You breed sound, healthy, mentally stable, well-reared, wonderfully socialized family companions and show dogs. You don’t do it for the money even though the quality of your product is proven in test markets across the country. Creating a canine masterpiece is your life and holding the newborn in your hands and dreaming of his future enriches your life. At that precious moment, you are not thinking about how and to whom you will sell him.
12 weeks later, reality sets in. He is still with you instead of his own loving family. So are several of his littermates! A decade ago he would have been reserved months in advance.
This article will pinpoint how show and hobby dog breeders got into this untenable situation and invite you to help explore solutions. We are not the family farm or brewery but we are faced with the same mass marketing and retail outlet reality. Do we sell out to the wholesalers? Not an option! Do we just give up? We may have no choice.
How do YOU see this? In early 2013 we asked judges and top show dog breeder who at that time requested anonymity. Selected comments below but TheDogPress.com is asking again in 2017 and we have every confidence that readers are bolder and better informed. Here's what you said about two very important issues confronting breeders today.
“I think part of the problem is that responsible breeders have been driven underground by the animal rights crazies. People don't buy puppies from us because they can't FIND us. We don't openly advertise because we're afraid of being targeted. Some have websites and may be listed on the parent club website's breeder referral listing, but that is as far as we'll go to put ourselves out there. I'm sure the dog-buying public would prefer to purchase their canine companions from the responsible breeder you've described, but we have to be willing to widely market ourselves and our puppies. In the current climate, that's a very scary thing to do, especially when AKC does not have our backs. And if you don't mind, I'd prefer to remain anonymous since I don't know who is reading your site. I don't want to be the next target on an animal rights group's list.”
Her observations were underscored by a long time breeder-judge who said “It is nearly impossible to sell a quality puppy because most pure-breeds can be found in a shelter.”
The breeder-judge explained "HSUS has won the battle. People have been conditioned to go to a shelter to adopt a dog, for which they will pay several hundred dollars and if it has health or behavioral problems, which is likely, that ‘free’ dog will be even more costly in the long run.” As I agreed, she continued "and of course it will be spayed or neutered, so statistically it is doomed to serious health risks.”
In the brief silence that followed, her thoughts went in one direction and mine in another but ironically, they arrived at the same place. "So the veterinary profession has been sold the concept of adoption because consciously or not, shelter dogs increase the vet’s bottom line?” She patiently replied “Of course. Shelter dogs are all sterilized and the veterinary literature is full of articles on the higher incidence of health problems encountered by sexually neutered dogs.”
“But wait” I said. “Spaying and neutering can’t be good business practice because eventually the vets wouldn't have any animals to treat!” She didn’t even let me complete that thought. “But BJ, there will always be USDA licensed puppy mills to provide grist for the shelters and sustain the practice of veterinary medicine.” Oh.
I called four other show breeders. At first I got denials, “no way can shelters hurt me” and “I don’t compete with puppy millers” and “I always have deposits for my show puppies…” pause, “well okay, I don’t have any pet homes for this litter.”
A well-known Malamute breeder identified a huge problem in surviving the animal rights onslaught, “One important point that gets overlooked in favor of the animal rights discussion is that breeders who widely advertise are often quietly but harshly judged by their peers for doing it. In some ways, we ‘responsible’ breeders are our own worst enemy....”
One Chihuahua breeder mused “I used to do very well with Dog World but I heard the online ‘puppies for sale’ sites put them out of business.” I knew the answer but I asked anyway. “Well then Tom, why don’t you use those puppy listing sites?” “What?” he shrieked, “Never! Never! Never! BJ, I am a show breeder. Whatever are you suggesting?”
When he calmed down, I asked what he would suggest to reach good homes. “I tried the AKC breeder listing but it didn’t work for me. I use the glossy mags and my show homes sometimes refer pet people to me. My litters are small but I have two friends in Hounds, they have huge litters you know, and they’ve been forced to run on pet puppies.” I murmured sympathetically and after a quiet moment he replied, “I get it now. Actually, they’ve just about quit breeding. What can we do?”
In 2009 TheDogPress proposed TUBA, The United Breeders Association. Our staff was disappointed with responses. Fear of AKC retaliation or show ring losses? Probably. But times changed in 2017. The People proved at the polls that independent thinking was still the American way.
Traditionally, show dog breeders do their own thing but that's how other solitary species became extinct! Are you a leader or a Platypus? Are you an organizer?
Can you lead a TUBA Chapter in your state? EMAIL EDITOR. If we are to survive, show breeders must come up with a plan and adapt to the current environment or follow the platypus into obscurity.
We asked for your ideas on How Show Breeders Can Survive and free thinkers responded! Now you can too, click the display below.
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