Friday, March 5, 2010


So you go to the famous kennel that breeds all the famous dogs and you inquire about purchasing one of their famous show puppies. One in particular catches your eye and you tell the famous breeder that you would very much like to purchase that puppy. The famous breeder chuckles and tells you, “You and everyone else would like to own that puppy!” The famous breeder tells you, “Maybe…..just maybe, I might consider selling her to you on a co-ownership.” Co-ownership……what is that, you wonder?!

Pick up one of the German Shepherd Dog Reviews magazines. Turn to the back pages where it shows the pictures and names of the dogs and their owners winning at different shows across the country. Now take another look at the names of the owners. Many, many of these dogs you will notice are owned by more than one person and sometimes up to four or five people. You’ll see this time and time again by some of the most well known kennels and breeders names in the country. Just what is this about?

Co-ownerships have been around for years. In the simplest of terms, what it means is that the breeder has something that you want, but he’s not willing to sell it to you outright. He still wants a part ownership on the animal. Now there are all different types of co-ownerships available. They really can be anything the breeder and you decide on.

Perhaps the price of the puppy is too expensive for your budget right now, but you would really like to own him. This is when a co-ownership can be rewarding for the buyer because many times the breeder reduces the original asking price in favor of a co-ownership.

Many times the breeder has bred a beautiful dog that he can’t keep and show himself for one reason or another. Perhaps he has too many dogs already. Maybe he’s campaigning other dogs right now and needs to concentrate on finishing their championships. But now he has another top quality puppy that he wants to be shown. This is when he might consider a co-ownership on this puppy. He doesn’t want to let it go outright because he may want puppies back from the dog to keep his bloodlines going in his kennel. He may take the puppies back and sell them to make money to show his other dogs. Then again, he may be a silent co-owner where he doesn’t take anything back but keeps his name on the dog in case the co-owner can no longer keep the animal. Or he just wants the notoriety that comes with owning a superstar. Sometimes if a male is co-owned, the stud services are split, but this is rare unless both the co-owners are helping foot the bill to campaign the dog.

Co-ownerships can become “sticky” if the two parties are not operating from the same level of integrity. One might get greedy and not live up to their part of the co-ownership. Lawsuits are not unheard of when dealing with unscrupulous co-owners. Make sure everything is laid out in a contract and that both parties understand their level of responsibility. If on the other hand you find yourself a great co-owner, you may form lasting friendships where everyone is happy.
Most of the time when a dog is co-owned, the person who didn’t breed the dog but is buying the dog has physical possession of the animal. So at least they get to enjoy their investment. There are others who don’t have physical possession of the animal and are an owner by name only even though they are helping foot the bill. Some people just do it for the prestige of having their name on a champion. There are many different ways of co-owning a dog. It’s up to you and the breeder to decide what it is that you both want from this type of ownership.

I only co-owned three dogs in my lifetime. In fact my very first show dog I co-owned with his breeder. She was great to deal with and gave me many tips about what I should and shouldn’t do. She was a very intelligent (Cornell educated) woman. She knew that I was just a novice, but she liked me because she knew I was going to do what she was looking for with her young dog. Because of the co-ownership that I had on this dog, it opened up so many doors for me. I got to meet some of the “elite” of the breed. She used to tell me all the time. “Barbara, when you own a stud dog, you’re going to hear all sorts of comments and see all sorts of jealousy. When they start up with their tongues wagging, just blame it all on me (meaning her). Besides German Shepherds, she also bred a toy breed, which was the ones that she concentrated more on in the show ring. So she didn’t care what the Shepherd people would say because she had her main focus on another breed, so that’s why she told me to blame everything on her.

Many years down the line I co-owned another male with two judges. They too were excellent to deal with. I only kept my name on this champion and helped write his Review ads. Otherwise, they had full ownership of him and directed his career the way that they saw fit.

For every wonderful co-ownership experience, there can also be some true horror stories. One of the parties doesn’t live up to their side of the bargain. Know the people that you’re dealing with. Check around inquiring about their reputation. What has other peoples experience been like dealing with this breeder? Remember if he/she looks or acts like a snake, then rest assured, they probably are a snake!

Know exactly what’s expected of you before you sign your name on that dotted line on the contract paper. Many times the breeder will reduce the original price of the puppy in exchange for puppies back, or a puppy back, and sometimes even whole litters back. Sometimes the co-ownership will end once they get back the puppy or puppies that they want. Other times the co-ownership lasts for the lifetime of the dog. When you think about all the puppies that you are expected to give back to the breeder, the original price no longer looks too expensive!

Co-ownerships can be a rewarding experience for those that are involved in this type of transaction. The breeder is happy that you are showing his dog. You’re happy that you have a good dog to show. In this instance, it is a win-win type of situation. If on the other hand you come across those who have no moral compass, seek help from the Parent Club, the AKC, legal council or all three if need be!

Taken from the book: "How to Solve Your People Problems: Dealing with Your Difficult Relationships"....Interacting with people brings problems with people. The closer the contact, the greater the potential for conflict. In How to Solve Your People Problems, Dr. Alan Godwin shares biblical, practical principles to help readers avoid conflict when possible and handle difficult encounters constructively. The key to healthy, growing relationships is successfully handling differences. Dr. Godwin gives readers the tools and the framework to:

* benefit from every relationship
* handle conflict with grace, reason, and flexibility
* change problem situations into positive encounters
* reduce conflict situations
* successfully deal with unreasonable people

This valuable resource will help readers successfully live and work with others, know how to implement conflict resolution, negotiate problem areas, and create positive connections even when people disagree.

My rating: "How to Solve your People Problems (book): (4), co-ownerships: (1-4)!

1 comment:

  1. I hope every newbie and a few old
    timers read this.