"Dog-breeding must be the work of a dog lover, and cannot be a profession, as is the case with other animals, and a means of acquiring bread and butter. If it once becomes that, then it will be dog-dealing that has nothing more to do with serious dog breeding." -Captain Max von Stephanitz
As far back as I can remember there have been phonies who call themselves dog breeders just because they made a few breeding’s. I’ve always refused to call these people dog breeders. Much like anything else in life worth having, you have to earn the right to be called a dog breeder. Anything less and you are nothing more than a “dog dealer”. Dog dealers run rampant in our breed. Today, true dog breeders are as much an endangered species as are true representatives of our magnificent breed.
Dog Dealers are totally contingent on the market. If there is one thing I’d like everyone to remember when it comes to buying dogs, it’s this: “WHO you obtain your dog from is much more important than anything else.” WHO! WHO! WHO! I can’t stress this enough. When you get a dog from someone, you are investing in those persons breeding decisions. When people stop worrying so much about pedigrees or spending as little money as possible to obtain a dog and start focusing on quality and the people behind the dogs, these dog dealers will start to disappear. A dog dealer’s main objective is profit. When they cease profiting on their dogs because there is no demand, they will stand the line just like most of their dogs would when pushed.
The few true dog breeders that are still around today are here because they are passionate about their dogs. They breed dogs regardless of the market conditions because profits and space aren’t concerns. A true breeder’s number one goal will always be breed improvement; not profits. True breeders do not worry about space because they have made sacrifices to their lifestyle in order to safely and responsibly keep entire litters of pups. They make the necessary life decisions to set themselves up for success. They aren’t living in urban environments with crates in basements. They aren’t selling or giving away ½ to ¾ of their litters because of space. True breeders keep almost entire litters so that they can personally evaluate their dogs. Without firsthand evaluation, how can you accurately evaluate your breedings? True breeders do not bloodline jump from generation to generation. True breeders build a family of dogs by breeding only the best of the best from their own stock. When the rare occasion arises in which they NEED to introduce some new TRAITS (notice I said traits, not blood) to their dogs, they painstakingly search for the perfect dog to add to their gene pool. True breeders realize that haphazardly adding the wrong dog to their gene pool can set them back many years. True dog breeders don’t breed by chance. They make a few select breeding’s per year based on years of experience that they believe will produce the best dogs possible, dogs that are better than their parents. Not everyone can buy a puppy or dog from a true dog breeder. True dog breeders invest massive amounts of time, money and passion into their dogs. Their dogs are priceless. If you are lucky enough to receive a dog from a true breeder your percentage of getting a high quality animal is very good. Along with that high quality animal, you will also get someone with decades of experience ready and willing to help you and your dog succeed. Someone who has hands on experience with nearly every one of your dog’s ancestors and their littermates for four or more generations!
I’ll leave you with another quote from Captain Max Von Stephanitz which nicely summarizes the danger dog dealers pose to all working breeds. Captain Max Von Stephanitz was a German dog breeder who is credited with having developed the German Shepherd Dog in the late 1800’s.
"The dog bred as business is no longer bred for his service to the breed, but for his market value. The direction of the breed then is dictated by the desires of the market, usually novices to the breed, who knows nor cares (nothing) of the weal and woes of the breed, knows nothing of the value or aptitude for work… he often only has eyes for imposing, remarkable and even a ruffling swashbuckler." -Captain Max von Stephanitz
Here is a brief checklist to help you differentiate between true dog breeders and the everyday dog dealer.