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  #1  
Old 07/15/10, 11:56 AM
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Breeding Working Dogs

So, we want to debate reasons and methods of breeding good working dogs, perhaps we can start a thread for that, which can be easily locked when we get out of hand...

So - begin!

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Old 07/15/10, 12:46 PM
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This is a good thread. Maybe we can get a look at what and why people believe what they do.
I myself am shocked to see some AG people, who understand the meaning of breeding and keeping breeds alive, despise companion animal breeders.
What makes a good beef cow or a dairy goat or a calm draft horse is the same thing that makes a good pet. GENES and knowing how to work with them.

I can't handle a working dog. The same way I can't handle having a game cock.
both are chickens but..........

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Old 07/15/10, 01:12 PM
 
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a dog is only as good as the breeder. if the breeder doesn't care then the dogs they produce will be less than the dogs of a breeder that does. it may not be quality at an individual level that suffers but the quantity of there quality. that is their good dogs may be just as good but they will produce a larger volume of culls. but if they don't care eventually they will cease to produce good dogs. caring about the quality you produce simply can't be legislated.

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Old 07/15/10, 01:22 PM
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One thing to keep in mind is that working dogs have a LOT of different jobs and needs for build, temperament, etc. The original thread was about a Great Pyrenees, which is quite different from the German Shepherd thread it was turning into.

For myself, what I've seen over decades of observing the breeding of dogs is that working dogs, such as the German Shepherd, MUST have a different temperament here than their origin. If you have a pet, or even guard dog, as a US citizen, you are expected that the dog not go biting everyone and need a dog that has a calm, stable temperament, one that is very controllable or even more useful as a deterrent than a threat. People really can't afford to have their dog biting, the law suits would be a huge problem, as well as insurance. So, right off the bat we have a different need than the original breed temperament (for police work).

I have an acquaintance in Sweden that is interested in raising and training dogs for police work. He had a lovely white Shepherd (forget the name of the breed atm, sorry) that he was training for Shtz - she was too sharp for him and he let her go to the police department and raised a German Shepherd for that work. I believe it turned out to be dysplastic and he's got a Malinois now. I haven't heard how that pup is. This is a rather limited sample, but in it, I see pretty much the same problems that we have over here with similar breeds - appropriate temperament and soundness.

In my decades of breeding, I found that you can improve the percentage of sound hips in your litters, but you cannot be sure that ALL of your pups will be sound. I also found that hip dysplasia was NOT the most important factor in a good functional dog. I had English Setters when I started out and they had terrible hip problems (35-40 years ago). This was addressed by careful breeding for sound hips. A lovely dog was found that passed that trait on and was quite birdy. He was used until he was in nearly every pedigree, often multiple times. However, in his immediate pedigree was a nasty, crazy bitch. Now the breed temperament is not what it was when I started breeding. For a long time we didn't use him because it just didn't work out, when I saw what the trend was in the breed, I didn't use him because I felt people needed a choice, a bloodline that was a balance to that temperament issue. Many more dogs are abandoned to shelters because of temperament than hips. Many of the ES with iffy or even poor hips were asymptomatic and never lame or perhaps a bit arthritic as they aged (which doesn't have to be from bad hips). I would much rather risk hip problems than have an English Setter with a nasty temperament. That was my choice. Others still use the line I was involved with to improve the temperament of their ES.

I came to dislike the "breed by numbers" mindset. There is a lot more to a dog than its health records. Temperament and character are very hereditary and should be primary when evaluating a breeding animal. Over all vigor is important. Instinct for its purpose and general structure matter a lot. We field tested our show dogs and sold some good personal gun dogs out of our litters. I like to look for overall harmony and balance, for strong movement and breed type as well as soundness. An OFA dog that lacks the breed look, character, temperament, instinct might as well be a pound puppy.

Also, a breeder ought to consider that the majority of their pups will be companion or working animals and breed accordingly. Although I showed and bred some top winning dogs, I never could fully buy into that as being the most important aspect, I was raised by old fashioned dog breeders - my mother and her father both expected a dog to work and perform its function as well as look good. If you have to trade off too many of those things, you need better breeding stock or you are working with a breed that has some real overall problems.

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Old 07/15/10, 02:29 PM
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I myself am shocked to see some AG people, who understand the meaning of breeding and keeping breeds alive, despise companion animal breeders.
Well, it depends on what you mean by "companion". ALL dogs should be good companions, even (especially?) working dogs. Some dogs were bred ONLY to be companions, like the toys, but they should still be bred to standard and for proper health.

But even in breeding the best to the best, you will always get pet quality animals, which I why I don't think we need people exclusively breeding pet quality animals. There are too many dogs in shelters to justify it, IMO. Dogs are not an endangered species.
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Old 07/15/10, 02:30 PM
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Also... I wish everyone could be as wise as GrannyCarol and get a dog based on what they can handle, not on whatever is cute or fashionable at the moment.

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Old 07/15/10, 02:43 PM
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I am not talking about breeding pet quality but breeds that where always breed to be a pet. A good and worthy job for a dog.
Any breed of dog is only 5 to 10 years from extinction
Sure there are Chihuahuas in the shelter but who bred them? who put them there and if they are good tempered how long will a small dog stay there?

It seems that some can't understand that it takes the same care and knowledge to breed a good sound toy breed as it does for a good milk goat. sure a scrub can be milked and it maybe a good one but the odds are more in your favor if there was a breeding plain. Lets stop breeding more pure milk goats and end up milking boars. heck we don't need to be drinking milk anyways! hand me over that gross watery rice milk. =)

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Old 07/15/10, 02:52 PM
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Also... I wish everyone could be as wise as GrannyCarol and get a dog based on what they can handle, not on whatever is cute or fashionable at the moment.
OH I agree!! =)
you would not believe some of the homes I have turned down! Even though I tried to talk them out of the breed I am sure someone will sell them one.
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Old 07/15/10, 03:19 PM
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I am not talking about breeding pet quality but breeds that where always breed to be a pet. A good and worthy job for a dog.
Indeed it is! The toy breeds and some others were developed as pet dogs, and were always meant to be pets. Nothing wrong with breeding for a "pet" temperament in that case!

I just don't like seeing working breeds dumbed down into "pet" temperaments. Show breeders are a big reason for this, though at least they do health testing and don't generally crank dogs out in huge quantities.

Working breeds should remain working breeds, IMO. Like you said tailwagging, if someone can't handle a working breed, don't get a working breed! But people want a GSD or a Rottweiler because they look cool, or they think it's a status symbol, or whatever... so BYB's and puppy mills crank them out and hawk them to the general public.

I don't like it, but the cow's out of the barn.
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Old 07/15/10, 03:19 PM
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It seems that some can't understand that it takes the same care and knowledge to breed a good sound toy breed as it does for a good milk goat.
I have to second tailwagging here. Some breeds you have it (relatively ) easy. If your (working bred) beagle won't run a rabbit, if your border collie wont herd, if your fiest won't go to ground, you're doing it wrong.

But the breeds that are meant as companions...
Lordy how I LOVE a well-bred mini poodle! What awesome, fun little dogs! I'd have one in a heartbeat no matter what DH said if I could find one -but finding one is looking for a needle in a hay stack. The rheumy eyes, the elbow dysplasia, the allergies, the TEETH! I have seen show champions who have the worst mouths by age 5. Even some show breeders, that dog better get it's title young because it is going to fall apart.
And there's actually a name for the syndrome that escapes me, you have a lovely little dog until it matures and then it goes mental.

And then there are other working breeds. How many have posted on here how hard it is to find an ES that was bred from parents that actually lived on a farm. I mean, most well raised pound mutts are good with kids, don't kill the chickens and will bark at coons. It should take more then that to call them a "working farm collie"

And LGDs, most people who have them and breed them have no real need for them and not enough acreage and make too much of a pet out of it anyway. Just cause the miserable beast is barking all night, doesn't mean it's working. Maybe it's just barking. Dogs do that. Ask any pound, or a city dweller.
And to say it MUST be working because we haven't lost whatever in a while ... well, in that case, my beagle keeps away lions. It must be true because I haven't seen any lions.
If you live in an area of 5 to 10 acre lots, your main predator is other people's dogs. Probably, your LGD is not working, because there isn't work for it. Because 99 out of a hundred dogs will bark at another dog, and 95 out of a hundred trespassing dogs will then trespass elsewhere.

Now show me a picture of your LGD taking down a coyote, chasing off a bear, etc, that's different.

I guess what I'm saying is if you're going to call yourself a "working dog breeder" then the beast should not only work, but do it well.
And if you're going to call yourself a "companion dog breeder" health and temperament have to be your mantra, your holy grail.
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  #11  
Old 07/15/10, 03:20 PM
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Also... I wish everyone could be as wise as GrannyCarol and get a dog based on what they can handle, not on whatever is cute or fashionable at the moment.
best quote i heard in a while
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Old 07/15/10, 03:44 PM
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Indeed it is! The toy breeds and some others were developed as pet dogs, and were always meant to be pets. Nothing wrong with breeding for a "pet" temperament in that case!

I just don't like seeing working breeds dumbed down into "pet" temperaments. Show breeders are a big reason for this, though at least they do health testing and don't generally crank dogs out in huge quantities.

Working breeds should remain working breeds, IMO. Like you said tailwagging, if someone can't handle a working breed, don't get a working breed! But people want a GSD or a Rottweiler because they look cool, or they think it's a status symbol, or whatever... so BYB's and puppy mills crank them out and hawk them to the general public.

I don't like it, but the cow's out of the barn.
I see what you saying now LOL I am a bit touchy and passionate about my breeding and my right too do so.
Would I bring a cow in the house? *sigh* most likely I would if it would save it's life.
I have ridden my horse in the house when I was a teenager, does that count?
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  #13  
Old 07/15/10, 03:57 PM
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I agree, it is not a numbers game. It is a quality game...trying to concentrate the genes you desire and bring in the ones you desire without bringing in the undesireable genes. A working dog needs to have the same qualities that appeal to pet owners...a stable temperament and sound body. I will not go much into soundness as that is plain logic...need good hips, elbows, eye sight, etc to do thier job- plus a working dog that has other health issues that will cost is not going to last long on a farm. The difference between the dog suited for working and the companion quality is a matter of degrees. The pup that is not sharp enough to herd the sheep may do fine in the pet home, but it is not the ideal temperament for the breed and should not be bred. The pup with a poor temperament is not suited for companion or working. Yes, someone may take it and make it into a pet, but most likely its life will be cut short when its temperament causes issues and it goes to a shelter or at the very least is kenneled for the rest of its existance. A pet home may tolerate health issues, but that should not be a reason for breeding dogs with them. People want a healthy dog- pet or partner.
When breeding- it is the responsibility of the breeder to assess temperment of breeding dogs and especially puppies. The wrong placement can mean a terrible experience for all...pup, new owner and breeder...and the public. I do temperament testing on my pups for that reason. I will not place a pup that tends to be more dominant or independant into an inexperienced home....I will keep it until the right home comes along. The breeder is responsible for screening homes (and asking the right questions to see through the people who think they are knowledgeable/good trainers, etc when they are actually not prepared for that much dog or would be overbearing to a softer temperamented dog) to be sure the puppy is a good fit. Breeders need to breed for a purpose...companions are not a purpose- there is companions in every litter and at every shelter or on CL. I bred initially for confirmation quality...but realized with my first litter that the number of pups sold for that is few....that is a very small niche. I also wanted a dog that could do what it was intended to do- and my first foundation was not it..so that is what I started working towards and bred it in. But still in each litter, I find dogs that do not have the inate desire to herd...yes, they can be taught....but if taught- that will not trickle down to the following generations. The ones that do have the inate desire are the ones that I would not send to an inexpereinced pet home. They look for direction and need an alpha who will give them that. Yes, I take these dogs out in public and people visit and say- I want a dog just like that. But what they don't know is that dog would not have been what it is if it was developed by the owner and given a job to do. The dog would have been a handful...destructive, annoying and running the house. I refer to my dogs that are good workers with just a look or a word as brats when they are young- they are. They try to outsmart you, they try to do what they want and test you often, they pout or backtalk if they can't have thier way, they are high energy...and many times I have said I will give that dog to the first good home that comes along...until they reach mental maturity and everything comes together- then it would take a good chunk of money to buy them from me- if I would even part with the dog. Good working dogs are 50% breeding (health and desireable temperament), 25% knowledgeable owner and 25% training/working.

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Old 07/15/10, 04:09 PM
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"companions are not a purpose"
would that be for traditional working breeding or are you including toy breeds as well?

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  #15  
Old 07/15/10, 04:16 PM
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A friend of mine used to breed coon hounds for hunting.
Their clientele purchased young dogs, 6-12 months and sometimes older not freshly weaned pups.
They didn't sell puppies as they had to get the dogs started in the field of work they were bred for.
They also gave continued training after purchase and quarantines.
It wasn't a puppy mill. It was a breeding and training facility.

Their dogs were absolutely fantastic animals too!

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Old 07/15/10, 04:24 PM
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I thought the thread was about working dogs I won't get into the toy breeds that were not bred to work (for instance ratting) as they are breeds that are raised for companions and was not the subject of this thread.

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"companions are not a purpose"
would that be for traditional working breeding or are you including toy breeds as well?
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Old 07/15/10, 04:33 PM
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aaaahhhhh not fair! not fair! lol
*TW mumbles "my dogs work too, they can lick your makeup off"*

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Old 07/15/10, 04:50 PM
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LOL So can my cat...so is she a working cat...even though she doesn't catch mice?

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Old 07/15/10, 04:52 PM
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lol You know I make that sound really bad? not family like. With the change of just one word

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Old 07/15/10, 04:57 PM
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Actually you could argue that toys are "working" breeds, and their job is to be companions! Just like with working breeds, toys should be selected for the best temperament for the job.

Seriously, though, a little lap dog can be a godsend for an elderly person living alone, who cannot handle a bigger dog (let alone a working breed). Sometimes the dog is the only thing that keeps them going. In that sense, being a companion is a very important job.

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Old 07/15/10, 05:39 PM
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I got in to breeding dogs because it was hard to find a reasonably priced, well breed, small dog for my son with Asperger (high functioning autistic ). The animal human bond is something amazing!
I started showing because I wanted to breed the best I could, that meaning, I needed the opinion of my peers and judges.

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Old 07/20/10, 01:39 AM
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I have thought about this topic many times and have mixed feelings. I have sympathy for the fact that there are too many dogs in the shelters. At the same time, if a family wants a nice representative of a breed, it seems that they either have to buy the pet quality puppy out of a show litter, pay $1500 for it and sign a contract committing to have it spayed, or take their chances on a pet shop dog. I hate the extremes.

There are a few breeds that I absolutely love and just won't touch now because I can't find a responsible breeder willing to put out a nice, sound, beautiful dog. I would love another Great Dane, Collie or GSD (or maybe one of each ). The Danes are the hardest to find. You either find a backyard breeder that touts some color that's not even legal (brindlequin) or knows nothing about the potential health problems within the breed or someone that produces champions that bite and cost $2500 each. Or, you find a Dane that doesn't even look like one - such as a fawn without a facial mask at all.

I researched GSD's for a long time and gave up. Breeders with American lines swear that the German lines have horrible temperaments and the other way around. You find weird looking GSD's that are either way too tall and lanky or have major roach back/butt.

Anyway, it's very frustrating to me. If someone has a nice representative of any of the above, please ship it to me.

I actually don't have a problem paying a decent amount of money for a good, sound dog but they are hard to find. We actually paid $3000 for a "well bred" leonberger and she was absolutely insane. We poured money into professional training and there was actually something wrong with the dog. It's the only dog I have ever surrendered back to the breeder.

You don't always get what you pay for!

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Old 07/20/10, 09:42 AM
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if a family wants a nice representative of a breed, it seems that they either have to buy the pet quality puppy out of a show litter, pay $1500 for it and sign a contract committing to have it spayed, or take their chances on a pet shop dog. I hate the extremes.
And the middle ground would be what, backyard breeders? I don't think it's necessary to make dogs "affordable" or "easy to find" for the general public. If a nice family simply wants a nice family dog, that's what shelters are for.

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I can't find a responsible breeder willing to put out a nice, sound, beautiful dog. I would love another Great Dane, Collie or GSD (or maybe one of each ). The Danes are the hardest to find. You either find a backyard breeder that touts some color that's not even legal (brindlequin) or knows nothing about the potential health problems within the breed
I think a Great Dane byb must have moved here recently because all of a sudden, craigslist is full of GDs of all ages. They are now a dime a dozen. I don't know whether this is a national trend or a local one.

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I researched GSD's for a long time and gave up. Breeders with American lines swear that the German lines have horrible temperaments and the other way around. You find weird looking GSD's that are either way too tall and lanky or have major roach back/butt. Anyway, it's very frustrating to me. If someone has a nice representative of any of the above, please ship it to me.
I can give you the names of several breeders here in the U.S. that work with European working lines. These dogs look like normal dogs, no roach back or sickle-hocks, and have sound temperament. I have one of such dogs and she's everything I wanted and expected in a GSD. As a "pet" quality pup, she did not cost me a mortgage payment, either.
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Old 07/20/10, 10:44 AM
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If the family wants to gamble on what they get, I say sure go to the pound!!

but the reason for pure breeds on anything (cows chickens sheep goats dogs.....) is to get a better idea of what you are getting health, temperament and size wise.

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Old 07/20/10, 11:45 AM
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If a nice family simply wants a nice family dog, that's what shelters are for.
Ok, maybe I'm tired this morning, but that hit me as just plain arrogant, thoughtless and rude. You can go to the shelter for whatever you want - if I get a dog, I want a sound typical representative of whatever breed I choose. I probably don't want a show dog, I'm done with showing, but I sure don't want my only option to be picking up a dog at the shelter. To be honest, how many of the shelter dogs are there because they AREN'T nice family dogs? Probably the majority of them.

Well, I've already written a book and deleted it. Time to go do the chores and get over being grumpy before I say things I'll regret.
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Old 07/20/10, 01:23 PM
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Granny Carol, it strikes me that way too.
Though I have to add that I've worked and volunteered at shelters and most of the dogs there just need some basic manners. Bad owners, not bad dogs.

I'm with CJB on this.
There is definitely a place for small breeders of HEALTHY animals with the correct temperament for the breed and reasonable prices.
I miss my Golden terribly. His personality was everything you'd expect from a Golden. But I'm hesitant to get another from a rescue because he had nearly EVERY health problem they can have. Bad hips, bad skin, allergies, for a couple of months he grew so fast that we could NOT keep weight on him. Flat out couldn't get him to eat enough and he looked awful. Not to mention he grew too fast for his fur and you could see the pink of his skin. After a couple of months he finally leveled out, but for that time it was embarrassing to have him out. He looked sickly and starved on a diet of 1 pound of raw chicken a day, and a cup of milk & a tablespoon of yogurt over all the kibble we could get him to eat.
But how I miss the way he'd stay busy by bringing me everything he could find, trying to work with his big yellow head on my lap, the way he'd go all soft over baby anything.

So what do I do?
Do I go to a rescue and jump through all their hoops to get another dog with health problems. Actually not get, the way their contracts are I can pay 600 (or more) to basically lease a dog from them, because they keep all rights to it.

Do I go to a show breeder to get something that will look good and be healthy (maybe) but will likely not have that Golden personality I miss so much? That will only cost me 1200.

Do I go to a field trial breeder and get a really active red dog, that will likely be more then I want to handle since I don't field trial?

At this point, most people start wishing and hunting for someone who has a couple of healthy dogs, of good temperament, that the owners take out hunting some weekends and who play with the kids the rest of the time. Someone who tests for hips and you can see and pet the parents and see that they have good skin, etc.
And they don't charge through the roof.

Because you know what, yada, yada yada, "the purchase price is the smallest expense..." Like Hades! Maybe when your average purebred, healthy puppy cost between 250 and 350, but now when, if you can find a healthy 600 puppy its cheap, because most of them (and without even good health clearances or guarantees) are 1200 and up, that's a BIG expense.
That covers vet care for every animal I own for a couple of YEARS. Even with the high priced dog food, I could feed a bigdog for 5, 6 YEARS with that kind of money.

So, what to do?

And then there's the kind of work most people need a dog to do. There are lots of people who (taking Goldens as an example) just want a gun dog for when they go hunting and a pet the rest of the time. It's getting to be you can have either or, not both.

I wanted a working farm dog. I let DD drag a pup out from under her friends shed and hoped. Because by the time this dog is grown, he'll need to guard and not molest a large flock of poultry, and help me keep in line 4 or 5 cows, a half dozen to dozen sheep depending on season, a pair of goats and maybe a horse or two. And I expect him to reign heck on raccoons.
Happily (joyfully, ecstatically) he is showing enough herding instinct that he should be able to do this and has (fingers crossed) been healthy. Though I regularly pray he gets bigger then his mother.

I took a chance that he'd end up "just a pet" because honestly, getting a working bred BC or Cattle dog would be like using a Lamborghini to run to the grocery store and getting a NON-working bred one would have likely landed me a dog with mouthy temperament problems and probably poor health as well.
And if I was going to go with a roll of the dice, at least I didn't pay a thousand dollars and sign a contract for the privilege.
I would have happily (joyfully, ecstatically) spent a couple of hundred on a pup with health guarantees and who's parents, grand parents and greats all did the kind of work I need.

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  #27  
Old 07/20/10, 01:46 PM
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"Back yard breeder" has become such a negative term when, way back say 20-30 years ago, one of the best ways to get a nice, purebred dog was to go with someone that had a nice bitch that they decided to breed to a nice dog.

Over 20 years ago, I bought a nice rough collie. The breeders had one female, found a nice (champion) sire and had them bred. They tested for eye anomoly and had the pups rated. I bought a 0-eyed female (normal eyed). The owner of the sire wanted her as their pick but the dam's owners had already chosen her. Later, they changed their minds and I got the "pick". When the dogs grew out, mine was actually the nicest in conformation of the 8 (breeder evaluated).

All that to say, I took my one very nice bitch, found a nice sire who was also a 0-eyed rough collie and bred them. Once. I sold all the puppies at a reasonable price and on a spay/neuter contract. I followed up with each throughout their life span.

I was a back yard breeder. So sue me. Actually, I would love to find another collie from someone that bred a litter like I did.

It's frustrating that a family can't just decide that they'd like a nice cocker spaniel, or poodle or lab, find a small-time yet conscientious breeder and pay maybe $200-300 for the dog.

I have also noticed that there are tons of GSD's for sale right now. What's with that? Definitely not a dog to breed indiscriminantly. I see Great Danes now and then, as well, but they're almost always merles or blacks. I would like to have a nice, large, typey, fawn male with a great temperament.

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Old 07/20/10, 01:55 PM
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The other bit of misinformation is to say that pound/mutt puppies are healthier. That can be the case but you can certainly get a 1/2 lab and 1/2 GSD with the health problems of each breed.

When we buy a dog, I know that I am getting something with the potential to hurt or even kill a human being - maybe even one of my kids. The dog will be a member of our family, be trusted with livestock (ours and neighbors) and something that we are proud of. We also expect to have the dog for the duration of it's life (10-15 years, breed dependant). For all of that, I don't mind paying a little more but I'm not going to feel guilty for passing on a pound puppy and purchasing a purebred dog.

That said, I have also done rescue and believe that there are appropriate families for both types of dogs, right?

We have a sheltie that is the result of a very deliberate breeding. The puppies were out of a champion bitch and sire (sire was a champion in Japan and the breeding was AI). The pups were supposed to sell for $1500 each. Parents were selected for conformation, health, temperament and working ability. For whatever reason, two of the dogs were oversized so we got a very nice dog for $800. Now $800 is a fair amount of money but we think Duncan was worth it.

I rambleth.

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Old 07/20/10, 02:49 PM
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Also, to be honest, I know more about breeding than 90% of the people I'd buy a pup from, but I can't buy a "nice" pup from a show litter without signing a contract that entirely limits my choices with that puppy. I want to buy a dog, not a contract. I know what I am doing, I am responsible and caring, I'm not going to do something "awful", though I may well breed a litter much like cjb describes, or I may not.

Where would I get a healthy (insert breed here) individual with a great temperament, decent breed type, willing to work at whatever I decide I want a dog for without massive contracts, etc.? I wouldn't mind paying for this pup (though not thousands of dollars), but I want to meet its parents and examine it myself. (I used to evaluate pups for people in another lifetime - not the top of that field, but I certainly studied it and I know what I want to look for.)

I know I don't want a high drive working dog, I want a family pet that will perform a function and stay reasonably sound. I may want another English Setter, I used to breed them and loved the temperament and my son would like to do a bit of bird hunting. I may want a farm type dog to herd my ducks and keep me company. My daughter got a lovely Smooth Collie that didn't turn out to be a show dog (curly tail and overshot), but she was spayed young and leaks. She does have a fabulous temperament, love her dearly. I wouldn't mind a good Smooth Collie and, honestly, I might want to test her for health problems and breed her once to a really good male. I love Standard Poodles (ok, no real USE for one! lol) and I groom dogs, I could do one of those, but the health problems are scary in that breed.

It's gotten to the point that I know too much about dogs to be comfortable getting one. And, oh, a mutt or a crossbreed can and will have as many genetic problems as its parents. It's a myth that bad genes disappear because the parents aren't the same breed! Mostly such dogs are not tested at all before they are bred and much MORE likely to throw problems because no selection has been done against them.

I'm thinking more and more about another dog as my Silkys age and pass away. We lost our old boy a few weeks back, he was 15 and got cancer. He was a great little dog - sire of over 20 Champions, sire of some of the top winning (for numbers of BIS wins) Silkys in the breed, goofy, good with kids, tough little dog. He was, however, dog aggressive as is common in a terrier breed. I've three elderly Silkys left... in the next couple years I expect I'll lose both of the oldest ones. They don't do much except eat and lay around in the sun at this point.

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Old 07/20/10, 03:05 PM
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Well Carol, you breed a nice dane for me and I'll breed a nice smooth collie or english setter for you - agreed?

Anymore, I am drawn to the unusual breeds that just haven't suffered the inbreeding as much. Of course, that makes them very expensive and difficult to find. Irish Terriers have never suffered form over popularity and health problems are very few. English Cockers in the US haven't really taken off so, if you can find one, they're usually nice dogs. Of course, our foray into the highly unusual and very expensive (Leonberger) was a disaster.

I wouldn't mind have a Gordon Setter too. I've heard they're rather headstrong but, again, not very popular so maybe not as ruined as, say, the Irish Setter?

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