Dog Breeders Discuss Contracts and Co-ownerships

Hear from top show dog breeders about their principles and experiences


1. Please tell us about your kennel in 50-100 words. When did you start, how many litters/puppies did you produce last year/this year/the last 10 years, what do you feel is your biggest claim to fame?
2. Do you use a sales contract when selling puppies and/or offering stud services? Could you please briefly outline what your contracts stipulate?
3. Do you sell any dogs on co-ownership contracts? Has this been mostly a good experience? What are the most common problems with co-ownerships?
4. If you co-breed, what are the usual terms?

Dominic CarotaDominic P. Carota & DR. Stephen F. Sipperly
Hallam Hall Pharaoh Hounds
Selkirk, N.Y.
1. We started breeding Pharaoh Hounds in 1998. Usually, we produce one litter annually but some years we’ve produced two. Greatest claims to fame: Breeders of the First Pharaoh Hound to be a Federally Certified Crisis Response Dog. Breeders and owners of the record holder for most all-breed Best in Shows won by an American-bred Pharaoh Hound. Breeders and co-owners of the record holder for the highest number of Best in Fields in American Kennel Club lure coursing.

2. All puppies are sold with a contract. Companion-quality puppies are sold on a spay/neuter contract and AKC Limited Registration. All contracts outline what is expected relative to care of the new dog. Specific return language is included in the event the owners cannot keep their new dog. Further, a legal remedy is outlined in the event of a contractual dispute as well as the jurisdiction of any legal action arising out of a “failure to perform” under the terms of the contract.

3. All show-quality dogs are sold on a co-ownership contract. This has been mostly a good experience as each party knows and acknowledges what is expected of them under the terms of the contract. Problems occur with a contract where wording is ambiguous. Be as specific as possible as to what is expected under each aspect of the contract.

4. We do not normally co-breed litters.

Gay DunlapGay Dunlap
Gleanngay Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers
Gilbert, Ariz.
1. My first Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, purchased in 1970, was Innisfree’s Annie Sullivan. She became foundation bitch extraordinaire, producing foundation stock for many Wheaten kennels. Over the last 10 years I have bred or co-bred 17 litters, two of them in 2009, one in 2010 and another this year. As a breeder, my chief claim to fame, even more than Annie Sullivan winning the breed’s first BIS (remaining its only one for many years), is that I bred the top-producing Wheaten sire and No. 2 top-producing Terrier sire of all time (Ch. Ttarb The Brat being No. 1), Ch. Gleanngay Holliday. ‘Doc’ produced 126 champions before his death in 1992 at age 16. His semen was collected 25 years ago when he was 12. So Doc lives on … his newest champion, Gleanngay Who’s Your Daddy, finished at Santa Barbara in August with four majors.

2. Yes. I try to hold my contracts to a single page. We have a strong market for Wheaten pups so that I can pick and choose my owners. I require that pups receive a complete examination by a licensed vet within 48 hours of purchase. Most important is the stipulation dealing with the required annual health testing (CBC, Chem Screen, Complete Urinalysis, Microalbunuria test) on all pups. I state that if this is not honored, or the pup receives yearly booster vaccines in violation of my recommendation, that any health guarantees will be considered null and void. Those sold as pets are required to be neutered. I state that they are to be returned to me in the event an owner is unable to continue ownership. And lastly, that I be advised of any health issues, physical abnormalities and/or the death of the animal.

3. All of my show bitch prospects were sold in co-ownership until recently. Now, as a judge, I find it too limiting, especially if a handler is to show the bitch. I do require that these bitches be placed in a co-lease when they are bred and until the pups are whelped so that I am included as the breeder of record. I have never asked to co-own show prospect dogs, but my contract does require that I have a say in approving bitches sent to them for breeding. I have rarely had a problem with co-ownerships, but then I am very fussy about choosing my buyers. If I sense there might be trouble down the road, I simply don’t sell! I feel problems are most likely to arise when breeders talk a desperate buyer into taking a show dog when all they really wanted was a pet. I have never succumbed to this tactic.

My stud contracts are very straightforward and simple, once I have determined that the bitch has been health tested regularly and has CERF and OFA numbers. I must also feel comfortable with the bitch’s pedigree and be pleased with her phenotype. Here again, I require that the bitch’s owner use my health agreement (or one similar) with the sale of all puppies. I have never taken a puppy in lieu of a stud fee.

4. I ask that the co-breeder follow the format and terms of my contracts for the sale of each pup. I expect to choose the sire for her first two litters and ask for two pups back from the bitch or the proceeds from the sale of two pups. Additionally, I expect my kennel name to be part of the pups’ registered name, if I so choose.

Patty KananPatricia “Patty” Kanan
Torlundy (and Courtlore) Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
Santa Ynez, Calif.
1. I (Patty Kanan of Torlundy) have bred Cavaliers since 1992. My breeding partner, Cindy Huggins, has been breeding Cavaliers since the late ’70s. We co-bred our first litter in the mid ’90s. We consider ourselves a mid- to small-sized kennel with an average of 15 to 20 dogs, including geriatrics, puppies and adults. We breed an average of two litters a year, with dogs that reside with us full time. On the whole, we only co-own bitches placed with individuals we mentor in the breed. Our goal is to breed what we view as “breeding stock,” meaning dogs that will produce consistently. We breed with consideration for correct type, size, pigment, structure, temperament and health. Yes, health. Breeding stock and show dogs are useless if they are not healthy and long lived.

2. We do use a stud contract and a sales contract for both show and pet puppies. For show we mostly work with a specific group of breeders all over the country, both new and experienced. Our agreements with each are specific to the individual and the dog involved.

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