Editor's Page: Restoring the Good Name of Breeders

If not for the dedication of breeders, dog shows would soon grind to a halt and there would be no progress made from generation to generation in improving our breeds.

By Allan Reznik | October 23, 2013

Allan Reznik Dogs in Review

Welcome to our annual Breeders Issue. As a group, our best breeders seem to shun the spotlight, preferring to devote themselves to the art and science of producing great dogs with a minimum of fanfare. They leave it to proud owners, talented handlers and generous backers to see that worthy dogs are noticed and receive their rightful due in the show ring. Yet ours is a sport where out of sight often means out of mind. Humility has its place but knowledgeable breeders must be appreciated and recognized for the fundamental contribution they make. If not for the dedication of breeders, dog shows would soon grind to a halt and there would be no progress made from generation to generation in improving our breeds.

What a challenge it has become to pursue our passion in a peaceful and respectful way. Just a couple of decades ago, owning an AKC-registered dog was a point of pride. When the media had a question about purebred dogs, the American Kennel Club was the undisputed, go-to source. People aspired to own an AKC-registered dog because it represented a mark of quality. Established breeders entrusted promising newcomers with a good puppy to learn on, appreciating the value of educating the next generation of breeder-exhibitors.

With the advent of the computer age, all those good messages got watered down. Anyone with a laptop could start their own private registry — for designer crossbreds, wolf hybrids, "breeds in formation" and whatever else could make them a buck. In a colossal case of information overload, reputable registries and bogus ones became interchangeable to many. A pedigree is, after all, nothing but a family tree. If you have a family of mongrels, breed Flossy to Tiger, and know the names of their parents and grandparents, you can create a pedigree. Is it worth the paper it's printed on? Of course not. But how many naive buyers will know enough to ask?

The animal rights zealots, with their transparent agendas, saw good breeders as easy targets. More confusion was created in the public's mind. There was no distinction made between the most scurrilous puppy mill and the most highly respected breeder. If a litter of puppies was the outcome, then you were the enemy. Good breeders have always taken responsibility for dogs of their breed that fell on hard times, long before the term "rescue" came into vogue. Breed parent clubs are also the primary fundraisers for important medical breakthroughs that benefit pet buyers as well as breeder-exhibitors. Yet these facts are conveniently overlooked by the animal rights fanatics who have made consumers feel guilty for wanting to purchase a well-bred, well-socialized puppy.

Perusing the breeder ads in this issue, one message is clear: Great dogs don't come about by accident. Dedicated breeders spare no expense to produce dogs that will be a credit to their breed and to the pet and show homes that will cherish them for a lifetime. With that dog comes the experience and wisdom of a breeder who will guide a buyer for years to come, always just a phone call or email away. Let's share that news at Meet the Breeds events, as we work to restore the fine reputation of good breeders.

 

From the October 2013 issue of Dogs in Review magazine. Purchase the October 2013 digital back issue or subscribe to receive 12 months of Dogs in Review magazine.

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