I have long been an advocate for rescue, taking in dogs that need a second … or third or fourth … chance at a new home. However, I also respect those owners who decide that, for their lifestyle and family, a predictable and purpose-bred dog is the better choice. IOW, they know what the size of the dog is going to be as an adult, what type of temperament it will have and the grooming requirements of a specific breed. They will also have that breeder behind them — and the dog — for the life of the dog.
I came across this recent posting on FB and wanted to share it …
“I have been helping a friend find a puppy. She wants a specific breed, for a specific purpose, with a specific temperament. I have found her several responsible breeders who I think would have puppies that would fit all of her criteria. Then she says to me, “I just want you to know that I am not spending $1,000 on a dog. Not when so many need homes.” And you know, if that was the end of what she said, and she wanted help finding a rescue dog, I would have been all about helping her. But she is still not opposed to buying a puppy… just not one for $1,000. So, at first, it didn’t really register what she said, but as I thought about it, I became more and more offended. Because basically what she said to me was that as a responsible breeder, my dogs are not worth any more than Joe-shmoe’s down the block… that all the time, effort, and money that I have put into health testing, temperament testing, training, proving, and selecting my dogs for breeding has no value. I have to say, this really got under my skin. Maybe it’s because I have driven my girls as far as CA to breed to the most perfect stud dog that I could find… or that I just spent over $2,000 on progesterone tests, and I still don’t have a litter to show for it… or maybe it’s because I have proven my dog’s over and over again, and it just plain pissed me off that someone doesn’t see the value in that.
So, what do you get for a $1,000 puppy? Proven temperament and trainability… mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, and great-grand parents for many generations are trained and temperament tested- and they have been to a million dog shows, earning titles to prove it all. Proven health… mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, and great grand parents for many generations have had their hips, elbows, knees, eyes, heart, & thyroid tested, they are clear of all genetic disease that I can possibly know of. They are to breed standard… which may not mean a lot to you, but it should. It’s what keeps a Rottweiler from looking like a Black and Tan Coonhound, or a Bernese Mountain dog. It’s what maintains structure and soundness, and what makes a breed a breed. You also get me. You get a knowledgeable breeder and expert in your breed. You can call me day or night, and even on holidays. I am there for you through all your joys and frustrations, sickness and health. I will do anything I need to do to make sure that owning one of my puppies is the most wonderful experience of your life. You have the peace of mind knowing that no matter what ever happens to you, your dog, your best friend, has a safe place to live out the rest of his life.
So what about that $400 puppy out of the paper? You get a puppy with unknown temperament, health and type. You get nothing else. You can potentially get a dog genetically predisposed to fears and aggression, a dog with debilitating health issues, a dog who will never be able to fulfill the goals that you have set out for him. And if you ever needed to return that dog (life can sometimes throw you a curve ball), that person will not take your 5- or 8- or 10-year old dog back … you will be stuck putting your dog up for adoption or euthanizing him.
So, who’s making money? I have never actually figured it out, but I would guess that I lose about $1,000/puppy. I don’t breed dogs to make money. I breed dogs because I love my breed and I believe that there are wonderful people out there who should have the opportunity to own wonderful dogs. The person selling the $400 puppy is making a profit of about $350/puppy. That person breeds purely for profit. Oh, I am sure they love their dogs, and their breed, but not enough to be any benefit to anyone other than themselves.
I guess people don’t really understand value. It is not about the price you pay, but what you are getting for that price. And in the end, if what you are getting for $1,000 is not worth anything to you, then by all means, the $400 puppy is a much better value.”
It’s all about choices, folks. If your choice is to open your heart/home to a rescue dog, then I’m behind you 100% and will help you find that perfect match. Conversely, if your selection is a well-bred dog from a responsible breeder, I can respect the thought process and reasoning behind that choice as well. For some, the allure of a dog bred to type goes beyond the health and temperament, connecting one to the rich history and culture of the sturdy mountain dog as a landrace in it’s native country … Tibet.
One Reply to “Choices …”
I say “amen” to this! I own three Fleetfire Timber Lhasa Apsos. I paid without question the price asked (and it really wasn’t much, all things considered). And those “all things” were all the things listed in the article: excellent, proven breeding and temperament, health, assistance that went way above and beyond what you would expect, and the comfort of knowing that there is someone out there who will take my dogs home and love and understand them if something unforeseen happens to me.
My three beautiful, healthy, happy Apsos are without doubt the joy of my life! And they are aging so well, in such good health and are such delights to be around!
The last dog I bought from a “backyard” breeder was a Standard Poodle. I thought we were buying a “good dog” according the the assurances the owners of the bitch gave me. He was certainly beautiful and did come with a pedigree and a registration with AKC. But what I didn’t know then was that he came from a line that had severe seizures, and that the bitch was bred back into that line. When he was only 4 years old, he began having seizures that progressed into horrible Grand Mal Seizures that became uncontrollable despite all the many hundreds, and then thousands of dollars we spent on him. In the end, we gave him back to God, and it was one of the most horrible and heart-breaking decisions I ever had to make. I made a phone call to the folks we bought him from to ask questions during our ordeal, and it was then that they told me that they really didn’t know what they were doing, that the entire litter had developed seizures, and that even their own dog and female pup they had kept from the litter also had GMS. They apologized and said they were sorry for our heartbreak and expense.
And they said they “should have known better” because the sire also had seizures, and they knew it when they bred to him! What unbelievable irresponsibility! I would have gladly paid $1000 for a dog from a proven line, from a responsible breeder. I learned a very hard, expensive and heartbreaking lesson, and I didn’t repeat it.
Thank you, Debbie Rothman, for all your effort at not only improving the Lhasa Apso as a breed, but standing behind all your dogs, and being there, still, when and if I need you. Good breeders are a dying breed and worth every penny they charge!