ETHICAL BREEDING AND PERPETUATION OF THE BREEDS
Copyright Melissa Hartley 2014
The existence of specific breeds of dogs is an important part of the genetic health of the species (adding to genetic diversity) and also an important part of human history and human sociology. Therefore, unless you think that these things are not important and that all breeds should go extinct, you should know that your support of the work of ethical breeders is important to the continuing existence and health of the breeds. To argue, as some have, that no breeders should engage in perpetuating the breeds until there are "no more dogs in rescue" is a completely unrealistic standard for two reasons: First, since a female dog is not likely able to produce puppies after approximately seven years of age, a moratorium on breeding for only seven years would result in the complete extinction of all specific breeds of dogs. Second, it is not a realistic goal to think that we will ever be able to eliminate all dogs from rescue as we have not even been able to do this with our own species where millions of children languish in orphanages and permanent foster care while people continue to have children of their own. Dogs do not end up in rescue because there are “too many of them.” Dogs end up in rescue due to monetary and/or personal reasons and circumstances of the owners and/or because of behavior or health issues of the dogs. Also, due to either ignorance or profit-motive, dogs in rescue come from unethical breeders who do not take responsibility for the dogs they bring into the world. Another source of dogs in rescue is from the non-purposeful breeding of dogs (accidental) who are not spayed or neutered and also not under constant owner supervision.
If you would allow me, I would like to take a moment to give you information on what you will need to look for to determine if someone is a good, ethical breeder. An ethical breeder will be doing what is required to protect the breed as it moves into the future and ensure that you will be purchasing a healthy puppy.
If you, like me, love your breed and want it to be around for centuries to come and be healthier with each passing decade and look the way the developers of the breed intended, and therefore respect the history of the breed, then you will want to support a breeder with those same goals. Many breeders do not do what is best for the breed either out of ignorance or because doing what is right eliminates their ability to make a profit. They make excuses as to why they don't do what is best. An ethical breeder makes sacrifices both in monetary profit and time to ensure they put the interest of the breed and each individual puppy before their own interest.
Here are the MINIMUM things that a ethical, good breeder does:
A good, ethical breeder gets all mandatory health certifications on both the female and the male that are using for breeding. These mandatory certifications are listed on the Canine Health Information Center website. Here is the page for your breed: http://www.caninehealthinfo.org/brdreqs.html?breed=WE
Getting these health certifications on all dogs to be bred and making good decisions based on those certifications ensures that common genetic diseases found in the breed will be eliminated through good breeding practices and that your puppy will be the healthiest that it can possibly be. This often means you will pay a little more for a puppy up front to help cover those costs but it will save you a lot of money in the long run in veterinary expenses in contrast to if your puppy is born with one of these diseases which is quite common in poorly bred dogs. These diseases do not generally show up until the dog is several years old so the only way to ensure a healthy puppy is through good genetic testing of the parents. Good breeders also look for issues such as allergies and will eliminate dogs from their breeding program to select against any problems.
A good, ethical breeder gets third-party non-stakeholder expert opinions on their breeding dogs, both the female and male that they intend to potentially breed. What many people do not know is that in order to get someone who is trained in structural health and quality and the fundamental characteristics of the breed and who also is truly non-biased (meaning they are not an owner or friend of the owner of the dog, or someone being paid directly by you like a hired dog professional), the dog must be entered into dog shows to be professionally evaluated. The only purpose of a dog show to have a trained professional evaluate your dog for worthiness of inheritable traits, particularly structural heath, which has profound effects on the long term health of the dogs especially on arthritis and other structural related problems. Dog shows are not a beauty contest! They are “breed stock certification.” All efforts are made so that potential judge’s biases are not in effect. Farm animal people show their animals for the exact same purpose. So, within the ethical framework of dog breeding, a person should not breed a dog without proving in front of trained professionals that their dog is of good enough quality to be breed, and therefore be of benefit to the long term quality of the breed, and this proof comes when the dog has obtained the title of “Champion.” (No further dog show accomplishments are required for meeting ethical requirements, although dog enthusiast will often show their dogs beyond the title for personal reasons not required to benefit the breed.)
And lastly and most importantly, good breeders also take back any and all puppies they produce if things do not work out in the home so none of them ever end up in shelters or in rescue! In fact, ethical breeders will require a buyer to sign a contract that mandates the return of the puppy to them in a case of owner surrender to protect the puppy against an unfortunate outcome. The ethical breeder will then take responsibility to find that relinquished dog a new good home and address whatever problems, if there are any, in the dog may have caused that dog to be surrender back to the breeder.
All good knowledgeable breeders that care about the health of the puppies they produce and the long term overall health of the breed do these things. You will pay a little more up front for a quality puppy but you will pay less in the long run due to the typically decreased lifetime health care cost that comes with a well bred puppy. Usually an ethically bred puppy is $1000.00-$2000.00, depending on the breed. If that price is too high for you, you should adopt a rescue of your breed whose adoption fees usually range from $0.00-350.00. It is better to provide a rescue with a wonderful home than give your money to an unethical breeder who is ruining the health of the breed and, due to their business practices or ignorance of the above information, is producing dogs that end up in rescue in the first place. Unethical for-profit breeders also know just the kind of things to say to make it seem like they are ethical, like offering money back guarantees on unhealthy puppies (but generally requiring the return of the puppy knowing you will never part with a puppy you have fallen in love with) or similar ploys they know they will never need to follow through on. They may also forge documents making it seem like they have completed the ethical requirements so buyer beware! Contact the “national breed club” of the breed you are interested in to get guidance on ethical breeders in your area.
Please feel free to ask any additional questions you may have about ethical quality dog breeding.
Why do we breed Weimaraners?
Boarding & Behavior
Sindar Kennel does not ship puppies. New owners are required to pick up your puppy in person.
SABINE x SUMMIT
SABINE x ROBBIE
AGNES x MAX (Pictures and more info coming week of Aug 10 or earlier.)
Sindar Kennel is named for the Sindar Elves in J.R.R. Tolkien's The Silmarillion...his Masterpiece. All of our litters are named for great pieces of literature to honor the great contributions of Tolkein and others like him.
ARRIVING SOON! August 2015 The Dune Litter
August 2012 The David Copperfield (as in Charles Dickens) Litter
February 2011 The Silmarillion Litter
Our goal is to produce one litter every one to two years.