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How to Choose a Breeder

BY STEVE WOLFSON

What makes one breeder stand out from the others? What is the criteria that makes one breeder more desirable to buy a puppy from than another? Is there a list of qualifications that would permit a prospective puppy buyer to check when confronted with these important questions?

There is no ready made list to refer to when buying a pup, but perhaps we could establish some important points to focus on.

KNOWLEDGE of the BREED

Possessing an in-depth knowledge of the breed is one of the most important factors that divides the influential breeders from the mediocre ones. Many breeders are involved with their breed for 1530 years and still don't know very much about what they produce. Anyone can read from the standard and proclaim knowledge. All it takes is the ability to read! However, knowing the true character of the breed, the reasons it was developed and knowing how to mix and correctly match bloodlines to produce better offspring than the parents, takes many years of in-depth study. Perhaps a lifetime!

If the pup you are considering is a Rottweiler, asking what the difference between Doberman character and Rottweiler character would surely give interesting results. Being able to articulate comparisons between other breeds indicates in-depth knowledge. Asking why the breeder has chosen to become a breeder of their particular type of dog should be responded with an answer that elicits confidence in their knowledge. A response of "I like the way they look", or "for the money I can make" should send you immediately to someone else.

The responsible buyer looks for an intelligent answer, such as " I was impressed by the character of the breed, it's stable temperament and it's ability to deal with it's environment". If the breeder stumbles over your question or appears uncomfortable with your inquiry, steer clear.

TRACK RECORD

A breeder's track record is a good barometer of dedication. Just as a stud dog's offspring (track record) can be used to "prove" his worthiness, so can a breeder's list of accomplishments "prove " their worthiness.

Has the breeder attained any accomplishments with the dogs they have produced? Just producing puppies for the sake of numbers indicates that quantity may be the goal, not quality. If you want a dog for Schutzhund or Obedience then contact a breeder that has successfully produced this type of performance dog. If you want only conformation then go to a breeder of conformation dogs. There are even some who have successfully combined both.

When someone is applying for their judge's license, one AKC requirement is to have at least bred 4 litters before granting them a license. I think this is a valid question for a prospective puppy buyer to ask. It takes at least 4 litters to get a basic understanding of the breed. Knowing the difficulty of breeding specific traits into your dogs can only be appreciated through trial and error.

Prefer the breeder who demands more from their dogs than just numbers. Someone who at least from time to time exhibits their dogs in conformation shows or obedience trials. This type of breeder is not afraid of "proofing their progeny". Getting outside opinions of their dogs puts the breeding program to the test. Without this valuable tool, how can any breeder know for sure what they are breeding performs the task for which the breed was intended? Competition makes better dogs!

DEDICATION

"Five year rule". Novice puppy buyers should look for a breeder who has several years of experience to back up their breeding program. Many breeders and exhibitors stay involved for only 5 years. Because of the difficulty in successful breeding, most would-be breeders encounter roadblocks and detours which they find discouraging. This first encounter with disappointment leads to a quick departure out of dogs. Usually these people lasted 5 years or less in the breed. Only dedicated veterans who love what they do can sustain the emotional roller coaster ride and heartbreaks of breeding.

Dedication makes a solid foundation for a breeder. The ones who stay in for the long haul know that they cannot make a quick buck, but involve themselves because they enjoy the trials and tribulations that breeding gives them. Longevity helps them weather the disappointments and makes them appreciate the sometimes fractional gains they will get in their breeding programs.

Dedication allows the breeder to see their breed in a realistic light unhampered by false claims and achievements that the short term novice has not arrived at yet. After time and money has been invested the smart breeder develops a goal for which they strive to achieve. Find a dedicated breeder who has outlasted the "Five Year Wonders"

GOALS

Setting a goal provides the focus by which a breeding program can develop. All of the above mentioned steps help administer a reasonable program. Without this goal, no breeder can develop the type of dog they envision. I have seen many breeders use stud dogs of varied types, perhaps searching for magic to happen, and each time the progeny they get from these litters look different. Such divergent variations are a reflection of a disorganized breeding program.

The breeders with a vision of what they want will strive to produce dogs that look similar, if not alike. Consistency in progeny exemplifies a strong, well thought out breeding program. Of course sticking to a vision is not without problems, but over the long haul success will prevail. Seek the breeders that have a goal! Just producing puppies does not make one a breeder!

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Country of Origin: Germany - Developed from the Roman war dogs nearly 1800 years ago. Called lions.

Character: This breed is brave, very loyal, obedient, protective, watchful, and strong. It will risk life and limb to defend its family.

Temperment: If properly socialized, a Rottweiler makes a good playmate for children and gets along well with cats and other household animals. This is all contingent on whether the dog has had positive experiences with them when young, however.

Coat: Short, thick, and coarse outer layer with a thick under layer. It must always be black with brown markings. Occasionally there are long-haired varieties or there may be a white chest marking, but these traits are considered undesirable.

Care When it is shedding, use a rubber glove to remove dead hairs. The ears must be kept clean, and the claws must be kept short.

Colour: Black/tan

Comments: Known for his clean, quiet, and obedient nature. Works willingly and happily for owners they are bonded with, if positive techniques are used. Requires firm, fair, and consistent discipline. Can outsmart owners. ,

Purposes: Family Pet, Protection, Schutzhund, Watch Dog

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