Dog Breeders Discuss Contracts and Co-ownerships

Hear from top show dog breeders about their principles and experiences


I personally take issue with breeders who impose onerous conditions in their contracts for potential show prospects, requiring dogs to be shown to their championship by specified handlers, etc. Bitches brought to us for stud service must be health certified: OFA hips and elbows; CERF, cardiac, thyroid, DM, brucellosis free. The stud fee is paid at the time of breeding with a free second breeding should the initial one not produce a minimum of two saleable puppies. Ridgeless pups are either to be euthanized at birth or not to be AKC registered. They may be sold or given away with a spay/neuter contract only. Dermoid-afflicted pups to be euthanized at birth or operated on at breeder’s expense prior to sale with a spay/neuter contract.

3. Yes, we do sell dogs on co-ownership. There is no contract. A handshake will do. In 40-plus years we have never encountered a problem. However, co-owners, as all other potential puppy owners, are required to make a client application and are interviewed several times with the entire family participating.
We have been able to maintain a relationship with all of our puppy owners for the life of the dog.

4. The stud fee is paid by the bitch’s owner. Puppies are either raised in our home or at the bitch’s premises. We generally sell all the puppies and require puppy rearing expenses back from the bitch’s co-owner.

Henri and Nancy TuthillHenri & Nancy Tuthill
Cumbrian Pointers
Sharpsburg, Md.
1. We have been involved in the Pointer breed starting in 1967 for Henri and 1981 for Nancy. Cumbrian was founded in England by George Holliday in the 1950s. Henri imported six Cumbrian Pointers in the 1960s and early ’70s. When the time came that George was winding down his breeding career, he asked if Henri would like to have use of the Cumbrian name in the US.

Henri: I purchased my first Pointer after owning and exhibiting many Irish Setters. My first Pointer came from Darien Cove and then several others from American kennels such as Richland, Shandown and Tomsueamy. I had some success with these dogs, but they were not quite what I was looking for. I watched a home movie that Mrs. Floyd B. Evans (Tyler’s Showfield) had from Crufts and on that tape was a dog named Cumbrian Stonethorpe Seashore.

Nancy: I became interested in Pointers and bought a puppy of Elhew breeding. I had no idea at the time that show and field Pointers were vastly different, and so I entered the Silver Bay Kennel Club show in 1981, my first AKC show. We were made sport of by some of the other exhibitors. I could have folded up my tent and gone home forever but I told myself I was going to get a good one and come back. I wrote Henri Tuthill about the purchase of a puppy and the rest is history.

We breed one to two litters a year; our last litter is presently 10 months old and we have plans for a fall litter. One of the unique claims we can make is that Henri imported the first black-and-white Pointers to the US to enter the show ring. In the 1960s most Pointers you saw were liver and white and here came these black and whites with big blanket markings. Some judges would actually check the standard to see if they were acceptable.

Ch. Cumbrian Sea Breeze was the first orange-and-white Pointer to win a National Specialty in 1979, but the greatest accomplishment was to breed Ch. Cumbrian Black Pearl. In the able hands of Corky Vroom and with Nat and Gloria Reese as owners, ‘Birdie’ broke the all-time BIS record for Pointers which had stood for 48 years and she was also No. 1 Sporting dog that year.

2. Regarding sales contracts: we have a sales record that accompanies the purchase of every puppy we sell. This sales record states that pet puppies will be spayed or neutered. It also stipulates that puppies sold as show prospects will be guaranteed to be free of any defect that would cause them to not be show quality as they mature and that if they do not turn out as show prospects, we will make sure the buyer gets another puppy to show.

We do not require that the first puppy be returned unless the buyer wants to do so. We do not put “strings” and breeding stipulations on sales; we have seen contracts that are so intimidating that prospective buyers don’t want to make the commitment. We feel that if we screen a buyer and they have good references, we have to put our trust in the person making that commitment. If we strongly feel we want control over a dog that we bred, then we keep it. We feel the same about co-ownerships and we co-own very few dogs. It’s just too much trouble.

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