Ok-This is long, but bear with me... I sell on spay and neuter contracts. Occasionally, we may place a puppy with a promising person with good referrences for show or breeding, but not often. I have been attacked my people wanting my puppies as pets, saying it is their right to do what they want. Here's my response... "It's my right not to spay or neuter." Yes, that is true, however it is MY RESPONSIBILITY as a breeder to place our puppies in the best homes and to consider the options of placement.
Now, they want to show their children the miracle of birth (trust me, I have a 4 year old that has seen all aspects of breeding and whelping and it's overrated for a child to see!)- "I want my children to see the miracle of life." Consider the tragedy of death too-puppies, momma or both. This is a common occurance when an inexperienced breeder takes on this task. A dog and a litter take planning, neonatal care, after whelping care, and a great deal of expense to do right and very difficult for a family to add the time and stress to an already busy schedule
And we get many more like this, but if I lose a sale because of it, I'll still sleep better knowing I did my best to place a puppy. Sometimes it works out to place one this way, but sometimes you feel like you made the worst mistake in your life!
I really started getting defensive about this when I had a woman call and want both litters of the puppies that I had around Christmas for her 150+ kennel! No considerations about relation, health and when I asked her retirement policy-she just hauled her 'old' dogs to the auction! I really don't have a problem with auctions per say, but do when people use that as a dumping ground for a dog that has given to someone and they can't take the time to properly adopt them out-That just makes me sick! At the time she called, there was a USDA ruling that even if I wanted to, I couldn't sell to her since she was USDA. She said I was hiding behind that and she'd get my puppies some other way. I had to screen even more and it caused me a great deal of sleep-but thankfully they are all in puppy homes!
From that experience, I was able to decide who and who wasn't getting my puppies on spay and neuter agreements and how to check into people first. That's why I was able to post so much about Anna's Pet Grooming-as now I know where to look and who to ask.
Everyone who has any career has the responsiblities that go with it. And this is mine. It takes a lot of consideration and nights awake thinking if I made the right decision to place a puppy without the spay and neuter manditory, but if I didn't worry, I guess I should be in a different profession.
I hope I can manage to explain this well :) When you are breeding for show, you are not just breeding to produce more dogs, you are breeding to produce BETTER dogs. You study your dogs, you study the breed standard, compare your dogs to the standard, and search nationally for the BEST complement to your individual dog (bitch). You do the breeding, and cross your fingers.
Your bitch whelps a litter of pups (hopefully!) and you look at them. You look at how they fit the standard. The pet pups are the ones that have traits that make them not really an "ideal" specimin of the breed. Ones that the genetic roll of the dice was less favorable; that have perhaps a missing tooth or not enough coat or a less than spectacular front or whatever. They go into pet homes, or obedience homes, ON A STRICT SPAY-NEUTER CONTRACT. You will hopefully have in the litter one or two that are fantastic that you keep, that are ones that brought together the traits and made the progress in your breeding program that you wanted, that you put in the time and money for that particular breeding for in the first place. See, if you are breeding for show, for the betterment of the breed, you are trying to make progress toward a more ideal specimin of the breed in every breeding. You never breed because you want to play with puppies or the neighbors think your dog is cute. You are trying to bring in a better rear into your lines or a better temperament or whatever. The ones that are not PROGRESS are not kept. They are spayed. Why? Because they, if bred, they will procreate problems like missing teeth or lack of coat or cowhocks or bad temperament or whatever.
Most show breeders are VERY into spay and neuter, because the average Joe, who has not put in the hours and hours for years of learning the breed, has no idea how to select for traits that are progress for the breed. Without selection, no progress can be made. Not every breeding is a "Click". Sometimes you get a litter of duds, and you learn from that- select a different sire for the next time. Most breedings result in some pet puppies, due to the genetic roll of the dice.
Anyway, since there must be selection to keep breed type, if you just breed two registered bow-wows with no regard for selection for ones with the best traits and breed type, you lose breed traits, and eventually wind up with dogs that do not really resemble the breed that they are.
The showing is to keep one from losing one's perspective on breed type and traits. You can develop a severe case of Kennel Blindness, in which you think your dogs are fine when they are not. If you are showing them, it helps you know that they really are or they really aren't good specimins of the breed, worth continuing with. Because of course, if your dogs really aren't very good, you generally don't win (though of course having a big name handler can help with that) but even so, a handler won't win with a horrid specimin of the breed.
It is this desire for progress that demands selection for the best, and the way to remove dogs from the breeding pool is to spay and neuter. This is why many show breeders are hesitant (to say the very least) to sell a prospect. Will the novice study and learn breed type and traits? Or will they just breed to the dog down the street because they think it would be fun to have puppies?
Any questions? I hope this explains it well enough, or was in some way what you are looking for.
As breeder, I do not insist on my puppy buyers to spay/nuter but I screen them carfully. As you say show dogs cannot be fixed. I do show, by the way. I found most of my buyers do spay/nuter as I recomend highly, for the health of the pups. and unwanted pregancys. I try very hard to make sure my pups go to homes as pets or show dogs. I do follow up on them.
I also believe in selling dogs on a strict spay/neuter contract. If you aren't breeding to improve the breed, to maintain and preserve the best health possible by doing health testing and knowing what the health issues are with your breed. Now that said, I do believe that some dogs that aren't showed in conformation shows should still be bred. For example, hunting dogs, schutzhund dogs, etc.. If a dog can do what it's breed to do and has proven this in competition, especially if it's only disqualifying fault is color, as is often the case, then I believe that it's a disadvantage to the breed in general to remove that dog from the breeding pool.
Although, I encourage spay/neuter, and even provide a small refund if they do, I do not usually require it. I always feel a little hypocritical as a breeder to try to prevent others from breeding.
Although most people have no intention of breeding, they feel that a fixed dog is not worth as much as an intact dog, and therefore won’t pay as much when they can just call the next # in the classified and get one that they do not have to fix.
If some one wants to buy a dog to breed, then they will get one they can breed. If they don’t get it from me then they’ll get it elsewhere. Requiring to spay/nutere may prevent unintentional breeding, but it will not stop anyone who is buying a dog for breeding. If they buy it from me, at least they are getting a good quality dog with solid background from a genetically tested clean line which is more then I can say about dogs from other breeders with the same price. It may not be ideal for breeding, but lets face it, most people don’t know any better or just don’t care and see no reason to spend a $1,000 for a breeding quality dog when they can get a dog that in their untrained/uneducated opinion looks just as good for half that price.
You may be able to stop people from breeding from your line, but you can’t impose your opinions and will on them and stop them from breeding your breed.
Gi Gi Mom and Lucina, I am at a loss of understanding here. Why would you not insist on spay/neuter for puppies that you sell that are not of breeding quality? Do you not worry about your own reputation as a breeder? Do you not do limited registrations?
Sure they can buy a cheaper Poodle than what I sell them for, and I could care less. They get what they pay for. It's not about the sale...it's about producing high quality puppies whether for companion or show, and having your puppies going to quality homes.
In the perfect ideal world you are right, but in reality, it doesn't work like that. I tried to enforce spay/neuter and limited reg before, and had very hard time selling the pups for the reasons I mentioned above. People In my area just wont pay full price for a dog with limited reg or with a spay/neuter restrictions. I can sell them for half the price with these restrictions with no problems, but at that price, I can’t afford to.
There is another point of view to consider. Most will scoff at the idea, but there is some truth to it.
By your action, you are actually hurting the breed more then helping it. Look at it this way. By restricting people, and not letting them breed dogs that come out of your high quality, healthy show dog lines unless they pay a lot more for what you would consider a breeding quality dog, you are not stopping people from breeding. You are just forcing them to use a cheaper, lesser quality pup from diseased defective line from a back yard breeder and breed these dogs instead which is what contributing to damage the breed.
As you can see, people like you are actually the ones who ultimately hurting your breed. If you really cared about improving the breed, then you would flood the market with cheap high quality pups with full breeding rights. This way, these dogs will be bred instead of the genetic messes that are being bred now.
***Edited By: lucina on 4/28/2005 1:40:02 PM*** Reason: add
MyShadow summed up a good majority of my opinion, but I will elaborate a bit more on my personal practices.
I breed Shetland Sheepdogs. Shelties have one of the longest standards in the AKC and it is VERY difficult to come by a show quality sheltie - even in a champion bred litter - because there is such a long list of possible faults AND due to crosses made into the breed when the standard was being set there is such a huge possibility of random faults popping up. Size is always difficult to maintain, earset/tip even harder, and temperament is often thrown away to get these two things which is sad because with Shelties poor temperament leaves you with a nightmare dog where a sheltie with correct temperament is a dream. One average, I think most breeders are lucky if 1 out of 10 of their pups actually get a title.
With that said, I don't show. I live in one of those parts of the country that would require me to travel 8-10 hours both ways to get to a show. And with shelties it takes double the average number of shows to title a dog so it's more work and travel than I am prepared to do - at this time (I am looking into getting a handler for a couple of my dogs). I spent 2 years studying the breed and standard BEFORE I even made the decision to breed because breeding two dogs with a laundry list of faults only gives the breed a bad reputation. And the breed has enough of a bad reputation in some areas that I don't need to be the person helping to ruin it. I objectively look at each of my dogs, have a breeder friend who did show shelties for years look at them, and am constantly talking with other breeders to make sure I have "my head on straight".
I place probably 90% of my puppies on spay/neuter contracts. I will occasionally place a puppy with full registration for breeding or showing. I have placed several in junior handler homes that wanted mainly and agility dog, but wanted to try their hand in the show ring. And the number of breeding dogs I have placed I can count on under 10 fingers. I ask $200-300 more for my full registration puppies and I don't lose any sleep at night. WHY?
#1.) Shelties are a tough breed to breed. Because of the vast possibly size differences (they are supposed to be 13-16 inches but it is not uncommon to see an 11 inch future adult and an 18 inch future adult in the same litter - from two standard sized parents) c-sections are reasonably common. Just the mating end is tricky because it is not uncommon for 2 dogs that YOU want to breed, to look at you and laugh and say NO WAY. Sheltie females can't always deliver on their own. We have a couple of girls that have 7-8 puppies in every litter and at full term can't reach their rear ends - which means they need assistance in order to deliver.
#2.) Too many people breed without doing their homework. Shelties have complicated color genetics and in some color to color breedings you have a very high risk of producing deaf or blind puppies. Most people don't know this unless they do their homework first - which many don't.
#3.) Breeding is always a risk and most "average" people don't see the down sides to breeding until they come across a problem. They get blinded by the "fun" of it and the "joy of seeing new life" that they forget that they are dealing with mother nature.
#4.) I have found it is more common that the homes that want to breed recreationally either A.) turn into BYB's or Puppy Mills because they get charmed by the money or B.) get tired of the dog when things don't work out. I actually had a gentleman when I first started breeding (I was selling pups with breeding rights at this time - before I learned the hard way) who bought a dog and then tried to sell her back to be at double the cost because someone else told him she was a show quality dog. I learned later that he had been doing this with several breeders (buying dogs and selling them for more). I finally got the dog back after I shelled out almost 3 times what I sold her for and she was 10 lbs underweight because he "didn't like fat dogs". The people that want to spay/neuter tend to be more educated pet owners. Period. I have a "Take Back" clause in my contract that states that I have first rights to the dog at all times if the owner can no longer care for it, or chooses to sell it. Why would I sell to breeders who are going to breed the life out of the dog and then give it back to me when it is 8 years old? I want my puppies in "Forever Homes".
#5.) I ask $200-300 more for full registration puppies BECAUSE A.) that is what the average spay/neuter costs. I don't want people to say "I'll take a full registration puppy because it's cheaper than spaying/neutering". In all reality I actually make my spay/neuter puppies down to compensate for the families commiting to the spay/neuter operation costs. B.) Breeding is spendy to do and I think people need to understand BEFORE they have a pregnant dog that it is more expensive to have an unaltered dog. Someone said that people tend to think that spayed/neutered animals aren't as valuable as intact ones - I think if they are going to take that mindset they had better pay for the difference in "worth" There are additional costs up the wazoo with unaltered animals and this needs to be made more clear to "PET owners".
I do place puppies on full registration/breeding rights. But I have a very intense screening process that I use to insure the dog's well being will always be #1 at all times. I will actually place a dog with a Breeder on full registration before I will with just the average family that wants to have a litter. I work openly with another sheltie breeder who has a couple of our shelties and is right now in the process of adopting 2 more from our current litters. We are actually getting one of our "grandpuppies" back from her current litter - and she has 2 brothers going to show homes. I have another breeder I have also placed a puppy with that I am thrilled with.
My puppies best interest always comes first. I don't find it hypocritical to not sell for breeding when I breed BECAUSE I spent years researching before I chose to breed. My theory is that I will not place one of our puppies into a situation where they will not receive AT LEAST the level of care we provide for our own. So if the breeder/family doesn't have at least the level of knowledge regarding the breed and breeding that I did when I started breeding then I won't sell them a puppy for breeding. Period. I don't expect any more from my families than I do from myself. I think that is pretty fair. Actually, since I bought my first dogs for breeding I will not go to a breeder that openly hands out full registration/breeding rights to everyone. I want a breeder that is as careful with their puppies as I am with mine. I want to be asked a ton of questions about my intentions. I want to establish a relationship that will push me to be a better breeder. This shows me that the breeder cares about her dogs as well.
And truthfully, I understand that folks set on breeding will go elsewhere - but I don't care. They aren't breeding my dogs and I am not responsible for their actions. I try to educate everyone who e-mails/calls me that wants to breed, as much as they will let me. But I also realize if they go to another breeder they aren't getting the quality, which means they don't really care about breeding quality dogs in the first place, and they also don't have any regard for the temperament, health, ect... of the dog they are bringing into their life. They are going to run into problems at some point in the process and I'd rather have them end up with a male with no testicles, or a dog with a life threatening disease that can't breed so that they hit the road blocks BEFORE they have a litter of puppies. I can tell the difference between someone who has good intentions and needs a little help and the local yahoo that just wants to pop some puppies out. That's just being a good judge of character.
With that said - I gained this view and opinion because I made the mistakes. I sold a couple of dogs to people that left me sleepless for nights. I've missed identifing a nutcase or two (someone who bought and sold 8 dogs in the course of a year and managed to pin a genetic defect on each breeder - I got a dog back that wasn't deaf when she left us and was when she was returned and tests proved they had poked things in her ears to make her that way - another breeder got a dog back that she was told had skin problems and really the person had taken tweezers and plucked the fur out around her eyes). It's made me more choosy about who I sell a dog to. I can't just "sell" them. I personally view each one as my responsibilty for their entire life because I chose to bring them into this world. I won't place a dog in a breeding home that doesn't feel the same way! Because I don't HAVE to. I breed based on a waiting list, and I always have at least a 10 person waiting list. The biggest part of being a great breeder is that people WANT to adopt one of our puppies. I won't breed a litter unless I know I have homes lined up! Again - I don't want to place a dog with someone who doesn't have the same theories.
***Edited By: abbylynne on 4/28/2005 2:41:16 PM*** Reason: add
"As you can see, people like you are actually the ones who ultimately hurting your breed. If you really cared about improving the breed, then you would flood the market with cheap high quality pups with full breeding rights. This way, these dogs will be bred instead of the genetic messes that are being bred now. " ======================================== Where do you come up with that statement??? It's people that are flooding the market with crap that are hurting the breeds. Beside what we've kept ourselves, we've only sold 3 dogs on unlimited registration with breeding rights. 2 of them are just 7 months old.
I also don't sell only to the local area. I've only sold 2 puppies (1 standard and 1 toy) to people that live in the same town and they both show.
You can try and justify what you do however you want, but I sincerely disagree with your view on this subject.
My last post wasn’t directed at you, just breeders in general. And you are right. It’s people that are flooding the market with crap that are hurting the breeds. But that is my point. That is because “crap” is all that is available for them at their price range. What I said is if breeders would flood the market with cheap HIGH QUALITY pups then that will dilute the “crap” out there and will improve the breed as a whole.
lucina - not that I think your view is "wrong" - but don't you think that you are making it really easy for folks to do something that shouldn't be easy? That should be a well thought out decision? Do you explain to the folks that adopt you puppies that spaying/neutering is a good option to pursue as it reduces the risk of cancer and that breeding is hard work?
I don't know enough about your practices to really say I disagree with you - and I agree your reasoning makes sense in some lights. I just couldn't do it. There are so many sneaky, underhanded people out there that don't have good intentions and regardless of the quality of the dog they are breeding, they shouldn't be breeding at all.
I have seen a big rise in low quality breeders with high quality dogs lately. They have gorgeous dogs, but as a breeder they stink. They have no regard for their dog's wellfare, don't give a flying ape about socialization and temperament, and don't have any sense of responsibility towards the puppies they bring into this world. I understand your costs not being able to be met by asking what is an appropriate spay/neuter price - but I personally have found, to do it properly, breeding is not a profitable business. I'm lucky if I can cover my expenses and maybe support my adult dogs.
In a perfect world, not only do I not want to see low quality dogs bred, but I don't want to see uneducated people breeding. I think that the quality of breeders is suffering as much as the quality of the dogs is.
Lucinda, I agree with you. I have only 3 breeding females, and a big demand for my pups ( always a waiting list) There are a lot of breeders in my area and I will not sell to them, because I have been to many of their kennels, and don't like what I see. Over crowding, cages, dirty unkempt dogs, low quality food, rotting teeth if they have any at all, ect ect. I have 3 litters a year and find people will wait to get healthy, well bred, socalized pups, Those that don't want to wait can go somewhere else and take their chances on what they get. No, not all my pups are show quality, but they do come from quality parents. The gene pool will be so limited on good dogs and poor ones will flourish if we always require spay/nuter.
"As you can see, people like you are actually the ones who ultimately hurting your breed. If you really cared about improving the breed, then you would flood the market with cheap high quality pups with full breeding rights."
It doesn't matter if they started out with high-quality puppies. Through the average persons lack of understanding when it comes to genetics, they would ruin it within a few generations. How many BYB's understand color genetics in collies, shelties, daschunds, etc.?
I also don't feel it's my responsibility to provide millers and byb's with dogs for their "operation." I've spent years studying pedigrees, why should they benefit from this? My companion dogs go on a spay/neuter contract and a limited registration, and if potential owners don't like it, there are other breeders to call.
As a rescuer I would hope than any reputable breeder out there selling dogs as PETS would spay and neuter! That's part of being a responsible breeder, not allowing people to breed the dogs!
I have a friend who's a MinPin breeder who spays and neuters PRIOR to sale so her dogs are NEVER bred and her lines aren't ruined! That's a responsible breeder! She chips the dogs in HER name ONLY so that IF they end up in a shelter or rescue they can be returned to her.
If you are a breeder you MUST be responsible for what you put on this earth period. Dogs are dying daily in shelters and if every one was a responsible breeder that wouldn't be happening.
Every dog I have had in rescue either came from a back yard breeder or pet store, there shouldn't be people like me cleaning up the mess of irreponsible people.
I make no money, get no glory and only have to volunteer my time becuase people don't spay and neuter!
Here's a great article that I read today by a trainer I personally know:
North Shore News (by Joan Klucha):
Think carefully before breeding family dog
"OH My God, take your head out of your backside and give it a shake!" is what I wanted to shout at the woman standing in front of me as she asked questions about breeding her dog.
But instead of making a scene I calmly asked her, "So why do you think we need more puppies in an already overpopulated canine world?"
I don't doubt for a second that this woman's dog isn't wonderful in every way. In fact, ask any dog owner about their dog and they will happily go on and on about their dog's quirky habits, latest intellectual achievements or stunning good looks, myself included. But I would never consider breeding any one of my dogs so that others could experience the qualities I love in them by having one of their offspring.
Making a decision to breed one's family dog is not a decision that should be made lightly, if at all. There are many consequences to consider that people who are not professional breeders seem to overlook when they contemplate breeding their dog.
The biggest concern is the addition of puppies into an already overpopulated canine world. Our local shelters are still full of dogs that are smart, quirky and attractive in their own right, looking for good homes. Many of them have been in shelters for months. And sadly, some have been turned into the shelter because the family decided to bring a new puppy into the home and senior Fido, who has devoted almost 10 years to that family, is no longer valued.
As a person wanting to breed a dog, can you justify the possibility of a senior dog being sent to a shelter so a family can take advantage of your new bouncy puppy?
Professional, reputable breeders have waitlists of potential owners and therefore only breed when there is a demand for their dog. The really good ones spend a great deal of time, energy and money scrutinizing the family their pup will be going to, as well as the physical appearance, soundness of temperament, health and structure of their dogs. The meticulousness of their efforts helps guarantee healthy pups and a stable home for life. If problems do arise, many breeders help with medical costs or replace the pup if necessary. And in some cases, if the pup does not work out with the family, the breeder will take it back and find another home for it, at their own expense.
As a person who wants to breed their family dog can you guarantee the health, structure or temperament of your dog, or the dog you wish to breed it with? Do you know if your dog's parental history is free of genetic abnormalities? Health issues such as hip dysplasia or heart problems are difficult to predict even for the professionals. Are you familiar with your dog's pedigree? If the dog you wish to breed to is related in some way there is the potential of producing mentally unstable pups due to inbreeding. What if the family and the pup don't work out - are you willing to take that puppy back and find it a new home, or are you OK with that family dropping the puppy off at a shelter with all the others looking for homes?
What if your dog had a litter of 12 puppies? Are you prepared to feed all those pups until good homes are found or are you going to drop the extras off at the shelter with a smile?
Finally there is a common notion that breeding a male dog will calm him down, or that having a litter of puppies will calm a female dog. The truth of the matter is that spaying and neutering and training can accomplish that.
If you are contemplating breeding your dog, please consider the big picture - not just your own desire to see your dog having puppies.
“I also don't feel it's my responsibility to provide millers and byb's with dogs for their "operation." I've spent years studying pedigrees, why should they benefit from this? My companion dogs go on a spay/neuter contract and a limited registration, and if potential owners don't like it, there are other breeders to call.”
Thank you for making my point so well. I thought the “reputable breeder’s” goal and purpose in breeding is to improve and benefit the breed not for your personal enrichment and ego. I guess I was wrong.
"Reputable" breeder, Lucina? Repute only goes as far as the understanding and value of the people offering that repute up- which in many cases, is completely worthless.
RESPONSIBLE breeders breed to better the breed- they breed because they LOVE their lines and want to impove them! They would NEVER allow someone to breed a pet quality dog of THEIRS. If you don't INSIST on pet purchasers spaying or neutering your pet quality pups (of which 90% of puppies from the BEST lines obviously are to a good eye- and another 5-9% will become as they mature) YOUR line is being diluted and contaminated- YOUR line is ending up in shelters and rescues- YOUR line is helping some miller turn a profit off their suffering. You should be absolutely ASHAMED for trying to dissolve your irresponsibility with your inability to turn a BUCK.
Repute is most often nothing but smoke. Responsiblity is something a person who couldn't care less about where her dogs end up- will NEVER understand.
Breeding done responsibly is NOT a business- and attempting to equate it to one brings your motives to the surface.
lucina msg #8 IP: Logged 12:55:35 PM 4/28/2005 >>In the perfect ideal world you are right, but in reality, it doesn't work like that. I tried to enforce spay/neuter and limited reg before, and had very hard time selling the pups for the reasons I mentioned above. People In my area just wont pay full price for a dog with limited reg or with a spay/neuter restrictions. I can sell them for half the price with these restrictions with no problems, but at that price, I can’t afford to.<<
If you can't afford to breed, then you shouldn't be. You are right though! In a perfect world this type of thing wouldn't even need to be brought up, but you are adding to the problem rather than doing your part to prevent it.
Gi Gi Mom, I hope you do not breed your "rare breed" Mi-Ki that way. It won't be rare for long.
Well put LongDogs4Me, but I don't think Lucina and Gi Gi Mom want to hear it.
I am not a breeder nor will I ever be, but I do see things on the other end of the spectrum from the rescue side. While I understand completely about potential show quality puppies being sold on full registrations, I am of the belief that all pet quality dogs should be sold preferably already altered, but at the very least on spay/neuter contracts (not that they would totally solve the over population, but it does keep your lines from being contaminated down the road). More and more vets are offering pediatric S/Ns and considering the cost of some pet quality dogs out there, the expense can surely be easily recouped. Short of pedicatric altering, I believe the breeder should hold the original registration papers (copy only provided to purchaser at the time of the sale) until the breeder has received written proof by a vet that the s/n was performed.
There will alway be plenty of millers & BYBers out there selling dogs on full registrations with no questions asked to whomever has enough $$$, but a great way to make it known to all potential puppy buyers that you are not one of "those" breeders is to refuse to sell your pet quality dogs without s/n contracts or already altered.
Disclaimer: my theories may, or, may not, have anything to do with reality. LOL