So well known breeder calls me yesterday as the night before we got cut off in our conversation as one of her bitches started whelping a litter. We chatted about the new litter. I asked her about the older litter of two pups and her other litter by her Select Champion bitch bred to a top Select Champion male. She tells me that she sold the whole litter except for one she still has. “Oh I thought to myself, well that’s great.” I asked her what show homes some of her better ones went to. Her reply to me was, “What show homes? There all went in to pet homes!” “What do you mean you sold all of those pups into pet homes?” I questioned her. She said. “Barbara there is no show people knocking on my door to buy show puppies!” I’m thinking to myself, “How could this be with two superior parents?” Now this isn’t the first time that she has told me this. And she’s not alone. Another breeder friend tells me the same thing about her Select Bitches puppies. Her puppies sit and they sit with her until finally she’s left with several six month old puppies and she finds it harder to sell them now that they’ve lost their entire fluffy puppy coat.
So it got me to thinking, why are these breeders (or any breeders for that matter) spending literally thousands of dollars in preparation for a breeding when it really doesn’t matter anyway? If you don’t have the show homes for your show puppies to go into, why spend all that money on doing a breeding like this? Why not just breed to a local dog that’s a nice representative of the breed and save yourself money and the aggravation of looking for show homes for your puppies? If all of your puppies are going into pet homes anyway, then why not breed locally?
These breeders aren’t isolated cases. I hear this time and time again. People are not looking to buy show puppies. They’re not looking to pay more money for them. They are not looking to put the work into conditioning and showing them. They just want a loyal companion for their families. To compound and make matters worse, I read and hear that some breeders plan to stop showing all together.
Most breeders tell you that they breed for themselves. But ultimately most of their litters will go into pet homes. It’s just impossible to keep all of the good ones in any litter until they grow up. And who would want to anyway?
I would venture to say that famous stud dogs are being used less and less compared to just a few short years ago. Are breeders breeding any less? I don’t know. I believe the pet market will still be there for awhile, but I know that the show dog market is dwindling. There was a time when the better known breeders had their show puppies spoken for before they were even born. But even they are no longer hearing that familiar knock on their door.
I remember so many years ago in the German Shepherd Dog Review where people would take out two page ads on a new litter that they were advertising. I’ll never forget some breeder had pictures of all his top puppies from his litter displayed on those pages. I don’t remember who the litter was out of or who the breeder was, but let me tell you those puppies were breathtaking. I bet he had people knocking his doors down to buy one. I was a small breeder, but if I put an ad in the Review, I never had a problem selling my show quality puppies. Even if I owned now the same top quality bitch as I did then, I don’t think I’d have anyone lining up outside of my door. The times they have changed!
So it certainly isn’t the lack of well bred litters that are available. It’s the lack of interest in those well bred litters. It’s just the lack of interest PERIOD! I’m going to venture to say, it’s not just in the show dog community. I had someone recently say to me (non-show dog person), that he honestly could say that he knows very few happy people today. “How sad is that” I thought to myself. But you know what, when I stopped to think about it, he wasn’t too far off the mark. So this atmosphere of the doldrums doesn’t just exist in the show dog world community. It’s something in the air. I guess it would be selfish of us to ask people to “lighten up, buy yourself a show quality puppy when they can barely pay their mortgages. Spend your money from your already overly abused checking account to show her. Take out a loan to breed her. Can’t sell her puppies into show homes? “Sorry “ain’t” my problem.”
You know each generation always says that they’re glad that they lived in the times that they lived in. I don’t know if that will hold true for this generation or not. It’s yet to be seen. A friend and I were just talking about this last night. We both concluded that we lived in some of the best times in the show dog community……the 70’s and 80’s. The entries were huge. The crowds were thick with multi-generations of top breeders. The Review kept you entertained all month long until the next one made its appearance in your mail box. There was no internet, but we kept AT&T happy and wealthy calling coast to coast to our breeder friends. The dog show parties were abundant. A match show could be found most ever other week-end. Dog clubs were active. I loved the era that I came from in the dog show community.
So I don’t know how many of you reading this has people knocking your doors down to get one of your show quality puppies. I truly wonder how much longer they’ll be a market for those well bred show quality puppies. Will show puppies become a thing of the past? Will all puppies born go into pet homes? Will the champion stud dogs be left to wonder why he's not "entertaining the ladies" any longer?
My rating: The importance of breeding to a champion show dog: (1 - 4), Availability of show quality puppies: (4), Availability of show homes: (1 - 2)