"You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage — pleasantly, smilingly, non-apologetically - to say 'no' to other things. And the way you do that is by having a bigger 'yes' burning inside. The enemy of the 'best' is often the 'good.'" -Stephen Covey
Contrary to popular belief, merely breeding two dogs together does not make you a dog breeder. I’m going to ask for forgiveness ahead of time, as this may well offend some of my friends and readers, but it is very likely that you are who I’m talking about when I say you are not a dog breeder. What makes you a breeder is putting the welfare and future of your breed before all else.
Nearly every day I receive inquiries from people looking to buy puppies or adult dogs. While I am flattered that so many people are interested in the dogs I am breeding, I have made a decision over the last year not to sell anymore dogs. I rarely sold dogs in past, but I would sell a puppy or two if I had a large litter. The problem with this is that there are few people I trust with my dogs. When you put blood, sweat and tears into every breeding and invest countless hours, dollars and invest emotionally in your puppies and dogs, the thought of selling them just isn’t appealing. I even cringe at the thought of selling or giving dogs to people I know. Many will say they will never let a dog ruin their relationship with a person. I have to say I disagree. Over the last 20 plus years, I have built quite the list of people who I have trusted with my dogs that will never get another dog from me. It’s sad but many prospective buyers will tell you everything you want to hear. They say the right things, but in actuality they are merely using you to get what they want. Maybe I’m too hard on people. Maybe I hold people to too high of a standard? My kennel slogan is Serious Dogs for Serious People. I live it and I expect everyone else to. Maybe it’s asking too much… In any event, I have a feeling of peace knowing that I am in control of all of my dogs future. I know that they will all eat high quality food every day, have quality insulated houses, get proper medical attention if needed and get always get a fair shot.
What this means for me is that I will have more dogs than is ideal. I’ll need to be more selective with the number of breeding’s I make in order to keep my numbers manageable. Fortunately the ability to breed with frozen semen offers me the convenience of freezing males I want to use for future use. Producing dogs with sustainable quality over the course of many years is not accidental; sometimes it is lucky, but it’s never accidental. Evaluating every single aspect of each dog is imperative. It goes much further than just evaluating their performance. I evaluate everything they do. How they live their lives. Every day is a game test and to earn the right to be bred on my yard you must be a dog I want more of. Not a pedigree I want more of. Over the years my standards have adjusted as I’ve gained more insight as to what the ultimate canine athlete is. It is my firm conviction that every breeder and breed judge should be REQUIRED to watch their breed do the job it was bred to do. If not, how can you call yourself a breeder or a judge? I’m rambling a bit, but these dogs are my passion and if they aren’t yours then please do the animals a favor and find a new hobby.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret. At some point in these dogs, we will all have wanted to quit. We’ve all had the thought of getting out of the dogs cross our mind. Anyone that tells you they haven’t is a liar. The daily grind of feeding, cleaning and exercising your dogs... The heartbreak of losing a good dog… The disappointment of a prospect you had high hopes for that didn’t quite make the cut… The unexpected vet expenses at the worst possible times… Or merely the fact that you cannot go on a normal vacation without inconveniencing someone to care for your dogs while you are gone… These things wear on us all. For some, the sacrifices aren’t worth the reward. The life of a dog-man has a way of culling those that don’t have these dogs running through their veins. The discipline and perseverance that you learn by going through the daily grind of properly maintaining a yard of dogs will carry over into every other part of your life. You know that when your back is against the wall, and everything is going wrong and all you want to do is quit, you know that you’ve got what it takes to keep going. Think about the power that that gives you in your life. It indubitably changes who you are.