Do you offer Breeding Rights?
I am asked about offering breeding rights quite often. First of all what do people mean by "breeding rights?"
Breeding Rights means the ability for an owner to breed the dog they buy and register the puppies with AKC.
First off, breeding a male and female dog isn't that hard. When a female comes in season, both parties pretty much let mother nature take over and the dogs do their thing.
As a responsible breeder, the hard part is proving that those two dogs should even reproduce in the first place. That is where things like responsibility and ethics and goals, come in to play.
As a pet owner, you know you LOVE your dog and in your eyes, Mr.Man dog is gorgeous and stunning and has the best temperament ever. You know this, because he stands out at the dog park, the beach and when you take him out in public, people cant stop staring. While those things are great and it likely means YOUR Mr.Man Dog is a good canine citizen, it does not mean he should automatically be bred. In addition, just because HE is like this, it doesn't mean he will reproduce his wonderful traits in his offspring.
As a breeder, there are a multitude of traits and factors I weigh in my head about a potential breeding dog. I look at whole litters of dogs from one pairing, look back at the pedigrees, the dogs' health tests, temperament tests and whatever other information I can get, to hopefully make the best prediction for what that potential dog may reproduce.
The next step, is to look at the dog in front of me. While titles aren't the ONLY thing that matter, it is a starting point to proving that a particular dog is worthy of being used in a program... I show my dogs because I want to see how they adhere to the AKC breed Standard, compared to other dogs of their breed. Its extremely hard to look at one's dog and be totally unbiased. Alot of breeders, myself included, tend to nit pick at our dog's faults. Sometimes, its hard to see their virtues. I compete in conformation shows with my dogs, because I want to see them against other dogs in the ring. The whole purpose of dog shows was to choose the best breeding stock. I still believe that is the case. A championship title has merit and it does prove that a dog, who has one, has defeated many dogs of his own breed in order to get it.
Another thing I look at is the dog's health tests and just as importantly a few of the dog's littermates health tests. While science has made testing more available, its not a failsafe and one still cant predict the onset of disease with testing. Testing is a tool for breeders to better understand the dog in front of them. Again, if possible, I like to see the tests from multiple dogs in a litter instead of just one dog as that will give me a better picture of how the dogs reproduce.
Finally, I want to see the dog, and ideally his littermates and parents, perform, be it in Agility, Schutzhund, Obedience, Tracking, Flyball or Dock Diving. I want to see the dog DO more than just sit on the couch or do loose leash walking. For me, one of the most paramount tasks a dog can do is something that the owner has trained it to do. Not only does this prove that the dog is "smart" it also proves that the dog is biddable enough to learn something, retain the information and then perform the behavior on command despite distractions. It also shows that the dog is likely motivated by food or toys and it will work for those items despite being in an environment that might have some temptations. In any type of sport work, you get to higher and higher levels of training and more complicated routines. Of course the owner has 100% to do with the dog's success. The owner also needs to spend time learning to train the dog and investing in their relationship together.
So what does all this have to do with breeding rights?
Well my friends, it has everything to do with breeding rights. Most people want a fantastic, healthy, well tempered pet to share their life with. These dogs may be wonderful ambassadors for the breed and for their families but it doesn't mean they all have to be bred. As a responsible breeder, we need to pick the best of the best. The owners also need to prove that their dog is worthy of reproducing by titling, training and health testing their dogs. I only give breeding rights to puppies I feel are good prospects and owners who are dedicated to doing the work to prove their pup is a good prospect.
And no, I dont charge more for prospects either. All my puppies are the same price, but its the dedication that an owner must prove to me before they get their puppy that will determine whether or not they should get a Show or performance Prospect pup. With all of the work I put in to my litters, I would like to see my puppy owners do the same. Because breeding a male and a female dog is easy, its the work before hand that is really tough.