Disclaimer: If you are easily offended by sheer honesty, or you think me having my own opinions is "being negative", then this is not the place for you, and I suggest you leave and head elsewhere. I call a spade a spade, and I don't sugarcoat anything.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Disreputable Breeder vs. Reputable Breeder

Well, as I described earlier today, I have been in a coversation with someone who is a USDA licensed breeder. I am actually beginning to feel sorry for this person. I don't think she knows what makes a breeder responsible vs. what makes a breeder irresponsible. She constantly calls herself a responsible breeder just because she is USDA licensed. But there is more to breeding than being able to put a male and female together. I've tried over and over to explain to this person what makes a responsible breeder responsible. She has some pretty warped ideas about how to go about breeding responsibly. Already, just from a few sentences, I can tell she is not a responsible breeder. I am trying hard to keep it clean and friendly. But the more she posts, the more irresponsible she sounds. It's really sad! And I'm not even supposed to be talking about this shit with anyone! Not my job anymore! But in my video, I gave my opinion, now I am prepared to stand by it and explain why. Some of the passages this person said gave her away immediately as a puppymiller. They are the same excuses I always heard from puppymillers and backyard breeders. For example, I mentioned why should someone pay high prices for mixed breeds when they can get a good one in a shelter for $200. Her answer was:

"I've never seen a maltipoo, or a morkie in a shelter and I don't think you have either."

She doesn't know what I've seen and what I haven't. I see ads for people giving away these mutts every day. They may or may not end up in shelters, but they do end up going to more than their original home. In fact, just the other day, I saw someone offer a yorkie/dachshund cross on Craigslist. And frankly, I bet this breeder does not even screen potential new homes carefully. Another excuse she's used, when talking about AKC vs. ACA:

"As far as ACK, this org. allows both inbreeding and line breeding. Now isn't that promoting backyard breeding, or puppy milling?"

Some very good breeders do line-breed, or inbreed. That's how to get dogs to breed true to type. with few, or no, throwbacks. That's why so many designer mongrels look different from one another and have totally different temperaments from each other. I don't recommend line breeding or inbreeding unless you really know what you are doing. That is, you have studied the lines in your dogs carefully. It can be done, and has been done with some success. But this person seems to have no idea of what makes a registry reputable. She thinks linebreeding or inbreeding makes a breeder a puppymill or backyard breeder. She couldn't be more wrong. Next, when I asked her if she does any genetic tests on her dogs, her response was:
"I don't purchase adult dogs to breed so I don't have to run any genetic tests on them. I only keep pups from my own stock to breed in the future. You talk as if you have the experience and you have very little if no experience with breeding dogs. You've read too many show ring books, or talked to too many show ring people to the point where some of the snob is rubbing off on you. All dog breeders, if they've been breeding dogs long enough will have experience with genetic defects."

I don't think this person is a vet or a canine geneticist, so I doubt she knows whether or not her dogs have any health problems. Right away in the first sentence, that's the same as saying "No, I am not a responsible breeder." Actually, I was not trying to be snobby. I'm actually the nicest person she's ever going to meet that will tell her all this stuff in no uncertain terms. Were she to go into some place like the Pluba forums, or the Craigslist pet forums, she would be bulldozed down, called a troll, called every name in the book, yelled at from all angles, and believe me, none of them would be as nice to her. But frankly, this whole paragraph looks like one of the biggest excuses puppymillers use. My response to her was:
"Yes you do have to run genetic tests on your dogs. Whether you buy them as puppies or not. Otherwise you are not a responsible breeder. You can say you are experienced and responsible until the second coming of Christ, it doesn't make it so. I did talk to show breeders when I used to breed, and I learned the right way to do things, and most, if not all of, my pups went to new homes with no problems because I studied the parents, grandparents and all my dogs' relations."

Well, in another scenario, I discussed show breeders spending years researching their breed and producing parents' pedigrees. This is how they gain experience. Well, her response was:
"You hit the nail right on the head. They know their business because they've been doing it for so long. The key words are DOING IF FOR SO LONG. You've done a lot of research I guess, but research isn't experience. Anyone can breed dogs, but not everyone is good at it. I know my business because I've been doing it for so long."

But there is much more to it than that. Remember I said earlier that I saw some of her chihuahuas in one of her videos? Remember I said they didn't look like they should? Well, this was my response to her. I admit it may sound a bit harsh, but it was the best way I could describe what she is doing.
"If you've been doing it so well for so long, howcome your chihuahuas look like crap? You should try going to shows and seeing how a real chihuahua should look and breed for that, instead of giving in to this puppymill-refugee TV-commercial hype. I did. My Vegas, I was told, was good enough to be shown. The only reason he wasn't shown and finished is because I decided to get out of showing and breeding, due to personal reasons."

So far, she hasn't responded to that. I don't think she will really. I believe I may have seen the last of her. Well, she called mixed breed breeders "ethical", and saying that "If there's genetic problems in the dog's line no matter if it's purebred or hybrid it has a chance of receiving the defective gene. English bulldogs are a genetic train wreck." My response to that was:
"Well, the job of the ethical breeder is to breed AWAY from those genetic defects, and produce puppies that are as healthfully sound as possible. Why breed mixed breeds? And then charge astronomical prices for them, and mislead the public into thinking that they are "more healthy" than the well-bred purebreeds? Or that they shed less? Most mongrel breeders do that, when the truth is, you really have no idea if those pups shed, unless you bred 2 different breeds that don't shed. Then, what's the point? Why would I pay $1000 for a mixed maltese and poodle, when I could adopt one at a shelter for no more than $200. Or get a PURE maltese, or poodle, for $1000 from a good breeder, who knows all about the puppy's background?"

Well, her response to me was:
"Why buy a maltese if you you want a maltipoo. Why get a yorkie if you want a morkie? Why pay 5,000.00 for a couch when you can get one for 500.00? Why pay 200,000 for a car when you can buy one for 13,000? People want what they want. If it's a hybrid they want then they'll pay what they want to get it. I breed for temperament, pet quality, not for show. And hell yes, I make a profit!!!! I know the background of my dogs. All of my purebred dogs have pedigrees. All of my hybrids are from breeding two registered purebreds together. I know all of my mutt's background."
Sadly, there is one passage in her paragraph that is wholly correct. If a person really wants something, they will stop at nothing to get it. I always tell that to reputable breeders that say "never buy from a puppymill, backyard breeder or pet shop" and then turn around and say "I would never sell a puppy to you!" That just does not make any sense to me. It's kinda hypocritical if you ask me. How are responsible breeders going to keep buyers from going to less than ethical sources to purchase a pet, if they're going to refuse to sell to them? That's another thing I don't like about show breeders! Well, my response to her was:
"Have you met all the dogs in all your dogs' backgrounds as far back as the past 3 generations? That would be pretty difficult to do if you had more than 4 or 5 breeding pairs, but surely not impossible. Do you have all their OFA and CERF test results? That's the only real way to tell if your dog is healthy, and has no genetic defects it can pass down to the puppies. Just looking at them tells you nothing really."

So far, she has declined to respond. I got the test results for Groucho's parents, somewhere in my sis's trunk! LOL! Groucho and Odessa have some of the same lines. Well, she said ACA will register hybrids, so apparently she uses ACA. I had to ask her:
"You think ACA is reputable? More so than AKC? Where is ACA's shows? How many people who show dogs use ACA?"

If I were to look at an ACA registered puppy, I would have to question their background, simply because ACA registers any dog, pure or mixed, with no proof of that dog's lineage. I don't trust any breeders who use ACA as their primary registry. Nor APRI, nor Continental KC. I've seen dogs from an APRI show, and they were laughable! They were ungroomed, filthy-looking, disgusting representatives of their breed. In short, they were a joke! The difference between an APRI show and an AKC show is like the difference between going to an opera or going to a rock concert. At an AKC show, the dogs are well-groomed and presentable, while the dogs at the APRI show, well, it's more like a beer-and-pretzel, t-shirt and jeans type affair. Her response to me was:
"Yes, I do think ACA is reputable. I don't know where ACA's show are. I'm not about showing dogs, I'm about breeding them and registering them, and ACA is a reputable registry. I breed and sell dogs. I make a profit. from these dogs just as thousands and thousands of other dog breeders do, just as your show ring dog breeders do. Don't tell me show dog breeders don't charge high sky prices for their dogs either. Breeding rights, fees...a poodle would cost at least 5,000.00. ???"

She doesn't want to show? Fine! But at least go with good-quality parents so the pups look like they are supposed to! Like I said before, I saw her chihuahuas, and they looked crappy! My response to her was:
"When you pay for a show dog, you are basically paying for years of generation research, accurate and up-to-date health testing, careful breeding. Show breeders do not just breed to whatever they think looks cute. Their goal is to improve the breed, physically and genetically. I'm not trying to sound snobby, but that's the way the game goes. Sure they charge high prices for their pups, but you can be sure you are getting a good quality, sound puppy from them because they will provide proof."
As of yet, she hasn't responded. Personally, I have never made anything in breeding. My dogs were never bred that much. I broke even and that was it. If you ask me there is one thing AKC should do and that is encourage reputable breeders to share their knowledge. Do you know how hard it really is to get a good mentor?! That was where I got stuck. So I had to kindof teach myself. I know the CFA (cat registry) has a directory where you can find a good mentor. I don't see why AKC doesn't do the same. It would cut down on a lot of unethical breeders!

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