WHAT IS A BREEDER?

A Breeder (with a capital B) is one who
thirsts for knowledge and never really knows
it all, one who wrestles with decisions of
conscience, convenience, and commitment.

A Breeder is one who sacrifices personal
interests, finances, time, friendships, fancy
furniture, and deep pile carpeting! She gives
up the dreams of a long, luxurious cruise in
favor of turning that all-important Show into
this year's vacation.

A Breeder goes without sleep (but never
without coffee!) in hours spent planning a
breeding or watching anxiously over the birth
process, and afterwards, over every little
sneeze, wiggle or cry.
A Breeder skips dinner parties because that
litter is due or the babies have to be fed at
eight. She disregards birth fluids and puts
mouth to mouth to save a gasping newborn,
literally blowing life into a tiny, helpless
creature that may be the culmination of a
lifetime of dreams.

A Breeder's lap is a marvelous place where
generations of proud and noble champions
once snoozed.

A Breeder's hands are strong and firm and
often soiled, but ever so gentle and sensitive
to the thrusts of a puppy's wet nose.

A Breeder's back and knees are usually
arthritic from stooping, bending, and sitting in
the birthing box, but are strong enough to
enable the breeder to show the next choice
pup to a Championship.
A Breeder's shoulders are stooped and often
heaped with abuse from competitors, but
they're wide enough to support the weight of
a thousand defeats and frustrations.

A Breeder's arms are always able to wield a
mop, support an armful of puppies, or lend a
helping hand to a newcomer.

A Breeder's ears are wondrous things,
sometimes red (from being talked about) or
strangely shaped (from being pressed against a
phone receiver), often deaf to criticism, yet
always fine-tuned to the whimper of a sick
puppy.

A Breeder's eyes are blurred from pedigree
research and sometimes blind to her own
dog's faults, but they are ever so keen to the
competitions faults and are always searching
for the perfect specimen.

A Breeder's brain is foggy on faces, but it ca
n recall pedigrees faster than an IBM
computer. It's so full of knowledge that
sometimes it blows a fuse: it catalogues
thousands of good boning, fine ears, and
perfect heads... and buries in the soul the
failures and the ones that didn't turn out.

A Breeder's heart is often broken, but it beats
strongly with hope everlasting... and it's
always in the right place! Oh, yes, there are
breeders, and then, there are BREEDERS!

By Peggy Adamson
Where to buy a Purebred Dog
By Laurel Tofflemire
From what resource would you have the best
chance of finding a nice healthy pet with
lifetime of support from it's breeder? I feel it
is odds on from the hobbyist show breeder.
While anyone who produces a planned
registered litter is a dog "breeder", some hardly
fit the traditional meaning. Today we need to
define breeder farther. Please remember there
are honorable and less than honorable people
in each group and that AKC papers are not a
guarantee of quality.


Commercial Breeder, USDA licensed (Puppy
Mill or Puppy Farm)- These are wholesalers,
the government considers this agriculture,
they produce a product to sell for profit and
that is their only reason for raising dogs. To do
so they must keep costs down, so puppies are
only guaranteed to arrive live at a broker's or
pet store and so ends their involvement. The
dogs get the bare minimum in quality of care
and food. Genetic testing for heath problems is
rare. Some raise their dogs in clean kennels or
on wire floors in raised cages (like rabbits) and
so are in reasonably good condition when they
are shipped. Puppy factories seldom socialized
the pups so many have behavior problems. The
adults are livestock. Once they produce as
many litters as they can they are usually either
killed or sold at auction. The worst puppy
mills are too horrible to describe here, suffice
to say, short cuts in costs often lead to
suffering and abuse. Most puppies are sold to
pet shops. The new scam in larger cities, are
"Breeders Outlets" and clever "home" retailers
that advertise in the local paper to hide their
puppy mill origin, watch out for one phone
number advertising several breeds.


Backyard breeder - Starts with a family
breeding their beloved pet. The majority of
purebred dogs come from this category in
many popular breeds and the majority of
purebred dogs in rescue or destroyed in
pounds. Their reason to breed is honorable but
uneducated; they think it will be fun (wait till
the thousandth dirty newspaper or the
midnight visit to the vet), They think they can
make back the purchase price of their dog (The
hobby breeders who do it "right" lose money
on most litters), they want the kids to see a
birth (At 3 AM most kids are not interested),
because their friend or relative wants one too
(They don't consider what they will do with
the other six dogs they brought into the world,
if no one calls off the ad in the paper).Most
don't get involved enough to know if the dog
is breeding quality and breed to the closest
male they can find. Some are sold as
registerable when papers were lost, and the
litter never be registered at all. The majority
are sold locally through newspaper ads and the
responsibility ends with the sale. Often they
do not have the knowledge to properly raise a
healthy socialized litter or to help the new
owner with any problem that might arise.
Some backyard breeders turn into small time
unlicensed puppy mills, keeping a few bitches
to breed for profit without consideration of
quality or health concerns, and selling them
locally.


A retail pet shop, no matter how clean or well
run, will only have stock from the above two
sources. If they say their dogs come from local
breeders, it will be of the backyard variety. The
sales people can not know each breed like a
hobby breeder knows their own. Many do not
care if the breed or individual puppy will be
right for you, most will be more than willing
to make the sale. The average pet store's
commitment to the dog is a 48 hour guarantee
at best.


Large Show or Working Breeding Kennels-
These are normally very responsible in their
breeding practices, They are breeding for top
quality, but may expect a profit and produce
numerous litters for the show and pet market.
They do not make their profit by cutting costs,
but by increasing their price based on their
reputation for quality. They do genetic testing
and raise puppies well, but not quite with the
"in home raised" attention a hobby breeder can
give. Sometimes I feel they do not have the
time to properly mentor the people to whom
they sell pets and show/breeding potential
dogs. When people, new to the dog show
sport, get frustrated if they don't instantly win,
they breed the dog to "get their money back"
adding to the backyard category. These large
operations are quite responsible for the dog,
but some are less than willing to take them
back as older dogs because of the numbers
involved and add to rescue problems. These
breeders sell their own dogs, pets may be sold
on spay/neuter contracts with warrantees.
They often advertise in the national dog
magazines.


Hobby Breeder- Very responsible or they don't
rate the designation. Their dogs are their pets
as well as show dogs. Often their "kennels"
include the couch or bed. The hobbyist feels
the only reason to breed is to strive to
produce the ideal dog of their breed. They
breed "the best to the best" no matter how
much time, research, money and effort it
costs.They are creating a work of art and have
thoroughly educated themselves.Having
champions in the pedigree proves nothing
toward breeding quality of an individual.
Therefore they breed a dog only after they
prove themselves in their field, be that a show
Champion, a hard pulling sled dog, or a good
sheepdog or retriever. They do all available
genetic screening for known health problems
in their breed. They spay or neuter any dogs
that produce health problems, no matter how
beautiful, or how much they have won. They
breed to the written standard of excellence
for their breed, not to a showring fad. These
breeders are committed to every dog they
produce for life. Expect pet quality to be sold
on spay/neuter contracts only to protect the
breed and written guarantees to protect you.
Many only sell their puppies by referral,
although some do advertise in the paper or
magazines. They would not trust their mother
to screen a prospective home, let alone a
retail pet shop.When you have located a hobby
breeder expect to be grilled about your home
and life and maybe to wait a awhile for a
puppy. You may even run into resistance when
you ask about buying their dogs. Best to ask
price last, it may well depend on how good of
home they think your family will be! The
hobbyist is surprised if they break even on a
litter because they invest so much "doing it
right". When you do acquire a puppy from a
true hobby breeder you will be joining a new
family, Dog-in-laws.


So how do you find the quality kennels and
Hobby Breeders? Your local kennel club
should have a breeders list. A list of the clubs
are available from AKC on the internet. Or
call the AKC breeder finder number, 1-900-
407-PUPS. Also visit the dog show calender at
AKC's site, at Infodog or inquire with your
local kennel club to find a dog show nearby to
attend. It is a great place to find out more
about the breed you are interested in and talk
to the breeders. The extra effort will be well
worth the time invested.

Copyright Laurel Tofflemire 1998
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