DOG BREEDERS



Talk about a challenge! If you are really serious about your dream of becoming a top quality dog breeder and have no interest in breeding your dog "just once, just for fun", then you need to know a typical scenario describing a breeder's activities and investments. We'll begin by assuming that you will be in this for the long haul... fifteen or twenty years. That's how long it can take to really see how your breeding program, how YOUR selective breeding decisions, have resulted in better dogs than you started with. The goal should be to achieve the Breed Standard; but understand you'll not reach that goal. The closer to the breed standard the better! So far, no one has bred the "Perfect Dog".

First, examine your motives thoroughly. Is this something you've been thinking about for a long time or could it be more of a passing interest? Are you getting involved because you really like being around animals, really like the

responsibility of caring for them? Or, as many first-time breeders seem to be motivated, do you expect to make a load of money and supplement your income? If money is your motive, the odds are sky high that you won't be in this breeding business three years from now. If your primary drive emanates from the love of the animal and because you find fulfillment in spending time and effort with your canine friends, there’s a good chance you’ll be doing this for many enjoyable years.

Once you are committed be sure that you select a breed that is consistent with your personal and situational parameters. If you live in the city, a small breed would be best for obvious reasons. If you are living in Florida, you might not select heavy coated breeds such as the Saint Bernard. If you live on a ranch or have access to acres of private land, sight hounds, retrievers and large breeds may be a good choice. Once you have selected the breed you want to be committed to, study all you can about them. Know the Breed Standard by heart, and take it to heart because THAT is your goal. Every breeding decision should be made in the light of answering this question: "Will breeding this sire and dam produce pups that will conform even better to the Breed Standard?"

Talk to a lot of breeders; look at Pedigree charts; study the "Dogs For Sale" want adds to assess the market in your area. Get some good books on breeding and breed standards and spend time at the dog shows. You will begin to get a feel for the business of dog breeding and showing. You will soon find out who is important in the breed's human sphere of influence and discover “what the judges are looking for" in the breed. Now, this does not mean that you must be a conformist and have to have just one certain line of dogs or certain "look" within that breed. You decide what is important to you regarding how you think the breed should look, always using the Breed Standard as your guide. Write your goals and your own standards down. Develop a "Kennel Philosophy"; be able to defend your philosophy, and stick with it.

Costs and Investments: The expense of operating even a small breeding kennel is a big consideration that simply should never be underestimated when considering whether or not to get into this business seriously. Are you going to have to feed cheap, grain-based foods and look for bargain deals when it comes to feeding your dogs? Will their housing be optimal? Do you have a veterinarian you can trust to assist you and who may allow a monthly payment policy if you have sudden and unbudgeted expenses? How about insurance costs and advertising and phone bills related to the business of breeding dogs?

asked my veterinary receptionist to make a list of expenses she generally incurs during the routine running of her breeding business. Ginger and her husband operate a high quality kennel and have done very well in the breeding and showing arenas. I don't mean by "very well" that they have made bundles of money! I refer to their consistency of plan, personal satisfaction in doing what they do, and positive feedback they have gotten in seeing their pups go on to happy owners... and success in the show ring. Plus there is tremendous gratification when a buyer calls you back a year after you sell them a pup and tells you how happy they are with their dog.

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