Actually, dog breeding is like a lot of other life pursuits some lucky people do it without either skill or experience and make it look easy, and others spend virtually all of their spare time learning about their breed, training their dogs, planning litters to improve what they have, and devoting their attention to eradicating serious genetic problems in their lines. The former folks consider themselves fortunate to make a few dollars selling pups to friends and neighbors and through classified ads; the latter consider themselves fortunate if they dont lose a boatload of money in the process.
Still want to join the dog show fancy? Here are some tips from our breeders panel.
Breed mentors are very helpful to newcomers. Mentors should be open minded, willing to share information, willing to see those they help surpass them. Mentors should advise people, not dictate to them. They should NOT imprint their opinions on the people they are mentoring. They SHOULD encourage the novice to learn as much as possible about the breed, and ask the novice to express their views. The mentor should encourage the novice to speak to as many breeders as possible, and to formulate his own understanding of the breed standard. The goal is an individual who is knowledgeable, well-rounded, open-minded, and who can contribute to the sport and breed.
Mentoring good potential contributors for any breed is difficult.
Many people will show casual interest in German Shepherds, but most can not make it their lifes primary interest. The German Shepherd Dog is a multi-functional breed that should be preserved through selective breeding for function as well as form. It should remain a large dog (not giant breed) with a sound body and the proper temperament and vitality to be useful in different tasks. This is no small task for a casual puppy producer, and the lack of selective breeding is evident.
Based on pedigree knowledge and long based knowledge of working/service/sporting German Shepherds, we make a serious effort to place the high drive puppies from high energy, high drive parents into the homes of people currently involved (or newcomers with detailed and realistic goals) in performance activities or service work.
Buyers interested in showing in conformation are presented with the difference between the AKC conformation ring and German-style conformation showing. Puppies with the attributes for succeeding in these rings are placed into the appropriate homes to maximize their owners success.
We utilize limited AKC registration for people who lack history of involvement in any dog oriented activity. We can later change the limited registration status to full registration if all certifications and titles are obtained. It is a common occurrence for well intentioned buyers to realize their limitations and not be able to fulfill their goals.
Dog shows and performance events are addictive. Pet people are normally impressed by the beauty or the trainability of the German Shepherd Dog. They realize that a good shepherd is predictable around the whole family, including children. And soon, the curiosity manifests itself into wanting to own and train a dog like the one that so impressed them.
Buyers must not be sold on a performance or activity at the time of sale of the puppy. People who involve themselves naturally in dogs are the most likely to stay with the breed and become great ambassadors of the German Shepherd Dog. Natural progression into dog activities will occur if it truly exists in the heart of the person. The door to enter into the larger World of Dogs, is always open.
To get started in a breed, one needs to find a good breeder to help. A contract is the best way to be sure that all parties understand what is expected of them. I sell every puppy, show or pet, with a contract so that everyone knows what is expected of them. As for finding a good breeder, a person needs to find one who is dedicated to the breed and not his wallet.
A long time friend (who currently does not even own a dog) told me he had a quick and easy way to find out if a person is a reputable breeder: ask him if he makes money breeding dogs. If he says yes, he is not a good breeder! If he laughs and says I wish, he is probably a trustworthy person who is in it for the love of the breed and not financial rewards.
Those who are dedicated to a breed are going to be very picky about who gets one of their puppies. They are also going to do the required health testing. They should be members of the national parent club for their breed. If a newcomer comes to me about breeding stock, I will thoroughly check him out before selling, even with a co-ownership.
In my opinion, an individual should have a couple of years under his belt before having puppies unless he is working in conjunction with an experienced breeder.
I feel it is my responsibility to mentor and train the future responsible breeders.
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