I’m often asked to recommend breeders. Most of these requests are from well-meaning people that are interested in obtaining the best dog possible. While I’m flattered that they look to me as someone whose opinion they can trust, unfortunately I must give them the bad news that I do not provide breeder recommendations. Most people find this strange. Certainly, there must be some breeders that I believe are consistently breeding a high percentage of quality American Pit Bull Terriers? People whose work I admire and deem high quality, professional and trustworthy? The answer is while yes there are some breeders whose work I respect, what I am looking for in a dog may or may not be what you are looking for in a dog.
Obtaining a new dog is a very personal thing. Due diligence is a critical component in the decision-making process when selecting your next dog. There are many questions that you should ask yourself prior to getting a dog and only you can answer them. Everyone’s situation and needs are different. The first question you must ask yourself is if you are willing to commit the next 8-15 years providing this new dog with everything it needs to maximize it’s potential. You see the far majority of people do not need an American Pit Bull Terrier. They are in love with the idea of owning the greatest breed on earth. The reality is they are not prepared for the responsibility that comes along with it. The next question to ask is what is your goal for the new dog. Are you looking for a pet? For a show dog? For a performance dog? For a future brood prospect? All of the above? These are critical questions that require honest answers. They will help you narrow down your list of prospective breeders.
My most important criteria when selecting a breeder is finding someone who is honest. As stewards of the breed we need to shun those who do not represent the honesty that we seek in our dogs. Every dog a breeder produces is a result of their breeding decisions and moral integrity. As a Dogman and a breeder you can acquire experience and skills over time but honor and principles are innate to the core. I do not care how great their dogs are, if they are scumbags, liars or exaggerators don’t waste your time with them.
My next piece of advice is to forget about the pedigrees at this point. The first thing novices ask is how the dog is bred. For the life of me I will never understand why this question is so popular. There is an old saying that the pedigree does not make the dog, the dog makes the pedigree. It is so true. Find the good dogs and the pedigrees will follow. Unless you are an experienced Dogman with first-hand experience with the majority of the dogs and their siblings within a pedigree it really doesn’t matter anyway. You will lack the intimate knowledge of the pedigree to take advantage of it. Find an honest breeder, breeding honest dogs that consistently kick-ass in whatever arena you are looking to compete in and become a student of that family of dogs. The best dogs aren’t bred by simply pairing together names on a pedigree. They are bred by experienced, highly selective breeders with a standard that each dog must meet in order to earn the right to be bred. These breeders use decades of first-hand experience evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of the family, and pair dogs together with breed improvement in mind. Many amateur breeders will send you a pedigree and try to justify breeding two non-accomplished dogs together because of the accomplishments of their ancestors. Trying to make money and popularity off someone else’s blood, sweat and tears. Selling you their low percentage experiments. This should be an immediate red flag.
The best breeders with the highest percentages will always be smaller, private breeders who keep and use what they breed. They have the facilities to properly raise and evaluate full litters from birth to maturity. It is nearly impossible to be a great breeder if their living situation only allows for owning a couple of dogs. A serious breeder must have enough dogs to allow for proper selection. This is the reason NFL training camp rosters start at 90 players and throughout the pre-season the roster is narrowed down to 53 players. Selection is required for competition. If a breeder is trying to sell you a dog and they only own three or four dogs, this should be another red flag. Top breeders do not rely on third party information to tell them how good their dogs are. They put in the work personally developing their dogs and objectively identifying where each individual dog is strong and where it is weak. They look for consistencies and outliers and use these fine details to make breeding decisions. They breed for themselves with the goal of improving their quality each generation. These breeders aren’t motivated by money and they are very difficult to get a dog from. They usually breed much less than most because they only breed when they need more dogs. Not when they need more dogs to sell. They are much harder to find than the popular, mass-producing breeders who market themselves with alluring pictures, videos and embellishments. However, with patience, persistence and a decent bullshit radar you will find the good breeders and if it is meant to be it will be worth the wait.