Backyard Breeders.... Who are They?

Jan 31, 2012

Backyard Breeders.... Who are They?

What does this title mean?

´╗┐These are the people, who purchase a "purebred" dog with (most likely) AKC or "America's Pet Registry, Inc." papers who think that their animal is a good candidate for breeding. The reasoning usually goes like this: "I want my children to experience a mother giving birth and caring for her offspring." Or, "We think our dog is so wonderful, she should have puppies so that other people can have a wonderful dog too." Perhaps they say, "I'd like my in-tact male to experience __." Whatever the reason, it's not a GOOD ENOUGH reason.

Backyard Breeders do not test for potential genetic diseases, general health screenings, or the establishment of documented certification (examples: AKC conformation championship titles, agility and obedience titles, working titles, etc.). They are the folks that think they can actually MAKE MONEY off breeding their animals! Let me tell you, if you are a reputable breeder, by the time you get your dog trained, titled, health and genetically-sound certified, you are already "in the hole." Now, you then, in order to breed to a very good candidate, will do specific pedigree research to find the best possible breeding (to improve your breed) mate. Any dog that is proven in the ring (whether it be conformation, working, agility, obedience, etc.) is not going to be inexpensive to breed to. And THEN, you have the pregnancy and the related health maintenance (you must supplement the bitch, exercise her regularly, etc.), the whole preparation for the whelping, the actual whelping (you must be ready for complications!), and the chores of taking care of a litter properly (figure on at least 8 weeks of 3 hrs of chores daily). YOU DO NOT MAKE MONEY BREEDING ANIMALS. ANYONE WHO TELLS YOU THEY DO, IS NOT BEING HONEST. The only reason to breed our purebreds is to maintain and improve the quality of our dogs. And, even in today's economy and with all the unwanted animals at shelters, I have to question the validity of this for even the small, reputable breeder.

These backyard breeders breed different purebreds together to create a mix that they feel will be "cute," or "easy to sell." OUR PUREBRED DOGS HAVE BEEN AROUND FOR HUNDREDS OF YEARS. Their bloodlines have been improved and maintained for the purpose of QUALITY and HEALTH. You cannot possibly know enough about your two separate (or more) breeds and their past genetic struggles or lines of improvement (or detriment) to know what you are doing in mixing the two!!! It is a pathetic attempt at making money and feeling personally "creative."

I really feel that people forget that purebreds, no matter what breed they are, have been created for a purpose. They were created to perform jobs. If you truly take this into consideration, you would only leave the breeding to the experts. They make it their LIFE to breed the best and most suitable dogs--for the reasons they were created in the first place. They do countless acts of volunteer work for their breed's organizations, they spend countless hours training and maintaining their dogs... they spend large amounts of money showing and competing. When their dogs are bred, they do extensive interviews with potential purchasing candidates, only to "approve" the appropriate homes. They STRONGLY encourage buyers to involve their animals in activities most geared towards their innate drives and talents. They offer guidance throughout the life of the animal they are selling, and try to involve the buyer in joining pertinent organizations for their breed.

Sad Story

A client of mine lives next door to a family who, in the beginning of their "friendship," owned three dogs. Two older ones (both NOT fixed), and then a new German Shepherd puppy, purchased from a "reputable breeder." When I met them socially, this pup was about 6 months old. He was clearly unfocused, ill-behaved (no structure, no training), and still in-tact. They complained to me, as a trainer, about his running away, not complying to their (inconsistent) commands, etc...I asked them when they were going to neuter him. Their reply was that they thought they might "breed him." That, "he is out of wonderful German bloodlines," and that they "wanted him to experience one breeding before fixing him." I gave them my "speech" (above) and information, and they, of course, remained undeterred. These same people kept their new, "prized" big boy in a 6X6 enclosure, along with a (debilitated) in-tact 12 yr old female Collie (who was in heat when I met them) and an older (smaller) breed for 10 hours at a day. About 6 months ago, they purchased another purebred German Shepherd from a "reputable breeder." She too has "wonderful bloodlines" (like they would know ANYTHING about bloodlines) and they want to breed the two shepherds to "make some money." They also believe that they shouldn't "let these wonderful bloodlines go to waste." Meanwhile, these same people do not work, train, compete with, exercise, or properly confine these animals. All the dogs are running free around the neighborhood, no collars or I.D. tags on them, defecating and urinating on the adjoining properties, uncontrolled and unbalanced. Not to mention the fact that they could BREED with any other free in-tact animal! AND THESE PEOPLE ARE SOON TO HAVE A LITTER. Scary, huh? It makes me ill.

A little statistical information for you

Presently, there are approximately 74.8 million dogs in the United States. In 1997, the last year for the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy to prepare a report, of the 3500 shelters actually reported as existing in the U.S., only 1000 reported their euthanasia records. This survey calculated that, of the 4.3 million animals documented, 2.7 million animals were euthanized. 56% (of those 2.7 million) were dogs. Currently it is estimated that there approximately 9.6 million animals are euthanized annually in the United States. These are alarming numbers, don't you agree? Picture the dogs that are left there--confused and alone. I have two clients in particular that were ONE WEEK from being put to sleep. They are the BEST dogs you would ever know! It breaks my heart.

The reason I am so (obviously) passionate about this issue is that I deal with the aftermath of it all...needless to say, I was HAPPY to see that The Obamas chose a purebred instead of a "designer dog"; and further - they adopted him.