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S/O- what is a backyard breeder? - Page 2

post #21 of 72
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Originally Posted by she View Post
That doesn't mean that cross breeds or mutts are healthier, per se, but they are statistically less prone to genetic disease from having a smaller inbreeding coefficient.
Can I have proof of said statistics, please? (Because I don't believe that to be true, unless I just haven't read it yet, in which case I'd welcome some links!)
post #22 of 72
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Of course, you can have a mutt with hip dysplasia (for example), it's just less likely depending on which breed you are comparing.
Sigh.. my German Shepherd/Lab/something else has hip dysplasia.. however I personally know three young Golden Retrievers (all from irresponsible breeders) who have it too.

No one seems to do any real studies on the 'mutts are healthier' theory in dogs, but I am inclined to believe it is somewhat true. In an inbred poulation, outcrossing always has some benefit. In order for many defects to be passed to offspring both parents have to have the gene.
post #23 of 72
reason D makes me crazy.
post #24 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by she View Post

This is different situation than dog breeding for sure. However, this has coloured my view of breeding in general. Some "backyard bred" dogs are the nicest pets I've met, whereas many show bred dogs are too tightly wound to be kept in a house. It's completely a matter of inborn drive of course, the show bred dogs being "hotter" (isn't that the term?). Sometimes it really works out well that Neighbour Joe's really nice dog has puppies with Neighbour Bob's really nice dog - the puppies turn out really nice (in personality)! As far as congenital diseases are concerned, the wider genetic pool of the backyard works in their favour at times.
There are two misconceptions here--that show-bred dogs are "hotter" and that the backyard is better for congenital diseases.

Show-bred dogs are supposed to demonstrate the correct temperament for the breed. So if you've got careless or irresponsible breeders producing easygoing and sleepy Parson or Jack Russells, those dogs may be easier to live with but it's NOT correct for the breed. In general, though, show-bred dogs have very good temperaments--they must. Not only do they live in the houses of the show breeders--even those with kennels still have a bunch of house dogs--they must be able to be handled by multiple strangers in stressful situations and must be able to be trusted with many other dogs. We like to see a dog that's confident, but there's no way a dog that is just "hot" could be successful.

And heavens no, backyard-bred dogs are not healthier. There's a misconception that because the "popular sire" phenomenon has concentrated certain genes in certain lines that show-bred dogs aren't as healthy. In fact, many MORE deleterious genes have been bred out in show-bred dogs than have been bred in. So a show-bred Golden is more likely to get hemangiosarcoma than a terrier mix from a shelter, but much LESS likely to have hip dysplasia, PRA, thyroid disorders, bad elbows, etc.
post #25 of 72
A dog's drive purebred vs not, as I have experienced it, is purely from dogs I have known. If that is the correct temperament for the breed, I'll accept that, but a much milder dog makes for a better family companion. Most dogs are pets, not working animals, and it only seems fair to me that there *are* dogs that have the temperament to make good pets. If the current roster of breeds does not apply and can't be changed, I'm willing to go with dogs that haven't been bred for "correct" temperament ie, mutts, crossbreeds and not-for-show purebreds.

As for the other, genes need to be matched to be expressed. The more faulty genes there are in a closed population, the more it will get expressed. If the population is open, there are fewer opportunities for expression. All I'm saying is that out crossing is good. For dogs, maybe that means a sire that isn't a great champion if he isn't wretched, he brings fresh blood into the pool and all is well. From my experience with Siamese cats: show bred Siamese "wedgies" are unhealthy, temperamental creatures, and traditional Siamese are stable healthy critters. Reason being, the show bred ones have some major genetic bottle necks that have changed them (disfigured I say) from the normal shape they were to the extreme body they have now. Those few males that attributed to the bottle neck had genetic flaws that are being highly expressed in the current population. This includes trouble birthing and smaller litters as well as genetic diseases. The traditional cats on the other hand, although less populous don't have the same bottlenecks and are more genetically diverse.

And I just spent the last 15 minutes trying to find a link to prove what I just said, but only came up with non-referenced articles that said near verbatim the above, so I give up. If dog genetics are so different that cats, than I give up.
post #26 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by she View Post
A dog's drive purebred vs not, as I have experienced it, is purely from dogs I have known. If that is the correct temperament for the breed, I'll accept that, but a much milder dog makes for a better family companion. Most dogs are pets, not working animals, and it only seems fair to me that there *are* dogs that have the temperament to make good pets. If the current roster of breeds does not apply and can't be changed, I'm willing to go with dogs that haven't been bred for "correct" temperament ie, mutts, crossbreeds and not-for-show purebreds.
The answer to this is not to go looking for a breeder who has "gentle, quiet" Jack Russells, or Jack Russell crosses, it's to do your research and choose one of the HUNDREDS of other dogs out there!

It's rare that a breeder needs to "out cross" in their breeding program to acquire certain traits, and as has already been discussed, it's basically an experiment to get the desired effect which means the dogs aren't being bred for pets or for health or for diversity in the line. It's almost always to acquire certain traits, and it's more common among working breeds. It takes GENERATIONS to get any sort of predictability in the pups being created, and many more to even create a new breed.

So if a quiet, reliable, steady family dog is what you want, I suggest you choose wisely, with the help of a professional if possible, because shelter dogs and rescues come with almost zero back ground, zero predictability, and almost zero insight into future health issues. The old argument of mutts being healthier, nicer family dogs instead of those hot inbred show dogs is just beyond flawed.

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As for the other, genes need to be matched to be expressed. The more faulty genes there are in a closed population, the more it will get expressed. If the population is open, there are fewer opportunities for expression.
We aren't talking different species here, just different breeds. The population is open among the pure purebreds AND the mutts. They're aren't separate. It only takes two pure purebreds to make a mutt, and that mutt isn't going to be healthier simply because it has two different parents.

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All I'm saying is that out crossing is good. For dogs, maybe that means a sire that isn't a great champion if he isn't wretched, he brings fresh blood into the pool and all is well.
And you don't need to mix two different breeds together to get the benefits of fresh blood. There's been several discussions in this forum explaining what "line breeding" is and how to do it responsibly. I suggest searching those terms, or googling it, and learning more. Healthier dogs are not created by adding different breeds. Healthier dogs are created by breeding healthy dogs to other healthy dogs. It's really very simple. And even in the cases of breeders selectively out crossing with different breeds, the same precautions are taken regardless of them being different breeds. Just because it's fresh blood doesn't mean you can forgo testing.
post #27 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by she View Post
A dog's drive purebred vs not, as I have experienced it, is purely from dogs I have known. If that is the correct temperament for the breed, I'll accept that, but a much milder dog makes for a better family companion. Most dogs are pets, not working animals, and it only seems fair to me that there *are* dogs that have the temperament to make good pets. If the current roster of breeds does not apply and can't be changed, I'm willing to go with dogs that haven't been bred for "correct" temperament ie, mutts, crossbreeds and not-for-show purebreds.
The current roster of breeds, between the AKC and FCI and UKC, is about 350-400. Each of these has a dedicated group of breeders working to improve health, preserve or improve structure, and preserve the original and correct temperament of the breed. The variety and nuances of personality, temperament, and upkeep means that there really is something for just about everybody.

The problem is that dog ownership in the US has become all about looks and about emotional fulfillment, not about purpose or the job the dog is to do. People want dogs to be furry children, or Disney animals that always behave well and never use their teeth or claws or brains. And they fall in love with looks, and they want whatever dog whose looks they've fallen in love with to be a Paramount Pictures prop.

A typical family decides they want a dog. The dad wants a big strong macho dog; mom says no shedding. The kids love the look of the Airedale. So off they go, looking for an Airedale. The first ten breeders they contact find that they have no experience training dogs, don't want to attending training classes, want to groom the dog themselves because groomers charge too much, and don't have a fenced yard. So the breeders say "This is the wrong dog for you." But the family won't be told that the breed is bad for them, because they want this look; they just keep looking until they'll find some breeder who either cares so little about her dogs that she'll sell to them OR some breeder who cares so little about the breed that she's basically turned them into saddle-marked Golden Retrievers. Neither of those is the correct scenario.

If you want a dog that requires very little training, no grooming, won't challenge you, never bites, can be exercised via an occasional walk, and doesn't need a fence, the best place to get it is at the Gund store. If you can provide at least a couple of those--for example, you are willing to do puppy kindergarten and you will put up a good fence--there are several breeds that really WOULD be ok. But you've got to be willing to go from your requirements to the breed, not the other way around, and you've got to be willing to take the appearance that serves that purpose. You're NOT going to get a Malamute that doesn't need exercise, unless that Malamute has been so bastardized that it would die the first day out in the arctic. And someone who would breed a Mal that would die in the snow has no business breeding Malamutes.

Quote:
As for the other, genes need to be matched to be expressed. The more faulty genes there are in a closed population, the more it will get expressed. If the population is open, there are fewer opportunities for expression. All I'm saying is that out crossing is good. For dogs, maybe that means a sire that isn't a great champion if he isn't wretched, he brings fresh blood into the pool and all is well. From my experience with Siamese cats: show bred Siamese "wedgies" are unhealthy, temperamental creatures, and traditional Siamese are stable healthy critters. Reason being, the show bred ones have some major genetic bottle necks that have changed them (disfigured I say) from the normal shape they were to the extreme body they have now. Those few males that attributed to the bottle neck had genetic flaws that are being highly expressed in the current population. This includes trouble birthing and smaller litters as well as genetic diseases. The traditional cats on the other hand, although less populous don't have the same bottlenecks and are more genetically diverse.

And I just spent the last 15 minutes trying to find a link to prove what I just said, but only came up with non-referenced articles that said near verbatim the above, so I give up. If dog genetics are so different that cats, than I give up.
Here's the way it usually works: Mixed-breed comes into vet. Vet says "I'm so sorry; your dog has osteosarcoma. These things just happen sometimes." Boxer comes into vet. Vet says "I'm so sorry; your dog has osteosarcoma. It's because he's a Boxer." Labeling plays a HUGE part in our perception of purebred health.

The other thing that happens is that people's experience with purebreds tends to be almost exclusively with poorly bred ones. How many actively showing, health-tested, hunt-tested Labs have you ever met? How many World Sieger Shepherds? If all you've ever met are badly bred purebreds, of COURSE you think they're all unhealthy and squirrely--they probably are, because they've been bred for nothing more than an AKC certificate of registration, and with no more care than you'd use in choosing a pair of socks.

There is absolutely no such thing as hybrid vigor in dogs. Hybrid vigor is a term that means that when you breed two TOTALLY unrelated breeds, or even two species, the resulting babies are bigger, taller, stronger, healthier than either parent. So Brahma-Limousin cows, for example, are heartier than either Brahma or Limousin purebreds. In order to take advantage of hybrid vigor, you have to keep breeding the originals--in other words, you don't keep breeding the Brahmousin to each other or they become just another purebred with no advantages; you're constantly producing new ones using the two unrelated breeds.

All purebred dogs are about 150-200 years old, and they all came from the same place (Europe). Aside from a few primitive breeds like the Chow, genetic testing has proven that even the breeds that look old are modern European creations (much to the chagrin of the Ibizan hound people). Until 200 years ago, there was no notion of pure breeding and a closed stud book, so while you had some lines that were relatively pure, the fact is that if it could herd and looked mostly like a corgi it WAS a corgi, and the same dog in another part of England would possibly have been labeled as desirable Shetland Sheepdog breeding stock.

So when you breed a Labrador and a Poodle, you're not accessing any "hybrid vigor." You're putting back together two breeds that were probably freely exchanging genes no more than a couple hundred years ago. The hip dysplasia in Poodles is the same hip dysplasia as is in Labs. The genes for thyroid disorders in Dobermans are the same as the genes for thyroid disorders in Rottweilers. You're right that the genes have to meet to be expressed--and they're quite as likely to meet when you cross-breed as when you breed two purebreds, except in the relatively few breeds that have genuine issues with a few cancers.

Last but not least: There is no body of individuals more dedicated to stamping out canine genetic disease than the ethical purebred breeders. Every year, the purebred clubs donate literally hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund studies to identify genes, they are 90% of the customer base for the genetic testing companies, they are the ones pushing for health registries, they rigidly police their own ranks and disavow anyone who is knowingly breeding unhealthy dogs. I've never met a single cross-breeding breeder who will volunteer their dogs for studies, but it's commonplace in the show world. I have a friend who has driven her Danes hundreds of miles, twice a year, on her own nickel, for years now, just so the researchers can do serial ultrasounds on a related family of dogs. When the call goes out for cheek swabs and blood tests and x-rays and echocardiograms, show breeders consider it their duty to respond--never seen a Puggle breeder do anything of the kind.

I have three dogs in the house, all of which I love dearly. The Cardigans represent the best lines in the US. They have strong, enduring structure, their backs are not too long or too short (won't break down under stress); their teeth have a perfect bite so they'll always be able to eat, even in old age; their front feet turn out no more than 30%, so they won't get arthritis. They've been genetically tested for PRA, heart, hips; I know exactly how long their parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and gg-grandparents lived and what they died of (actually, thanks to the great good health of Cardis, most of those dogs are still alive). I also have a "designer dog," a crossbred Papillon-Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. She has cherry eye, a congenitally deformed jaw, and bowed front legs, and for her whole life I'll have to watch out for glaucoma, epilepsy, spinal disorders, brain disorders, etc., because none of those have ever been tested for, as far as I know, in her generations of puppy-mill ancestors. So from my point of view this is not even close to an argument.
post #28 of 72
Quote:
The current roster of breeds, between the AKC and FCI and UKC, is about 350-400.
This is well and good, but how many of those breeds are commonly available? Of registered breeders, I've got in the surrounding 3-4 provinces maybe 20 breeds. If I include the whole of Canada, maybe 50? I can go count if you would like. If I want a responsible breeder, I have an even more limited choice unless I'm willing to ship from another country (ie the states).

Your typical family example is sad and true, but I've been on the other side. I did my research, I interviewed breeders and was interviewed in turn. I was *matched* to a puppy. Great start? It turned out quite badly actually. I turned my life upside down for that dog to meet *his* needs which were extreme and FAR beyond what a normal dog needs. On the other hand, a cousin had a dog of the same breed, most certainly from a backyard breeder, who had the same temperament but MUCH more moderate and she was a dream. I don't think families need a Gund dog, I think they need one that can adapt to family life while their moderate needs are being met re: grooming, exercise and stimulation. My neighbour has 3 border collies, one was purchased as a puppy, the other two are rescues. He takes them for a hike daily when the weather is good, but other than that their exercise and stimulation is romping around his (fence-less) 3 acres. They are happy and content dogs - and border collies! But his dogs do not conform to the breed standard for temperament, does it matter?

I'm not arguing for hybrid vigor OR out crossing with a different breed. Do your out crossing with a different bloodline, I'm well aware of how few there are in the popular breeds and how closely breeders stick within their own - that's what happens with a closed stud book and popularity contests. Accept a greater variation in appearance of purebreds! It's only been in the last 30 years that the many of the breeds have gotten so extreme in appearance as a fashion. Look at what has happened to bull terriers, bulldogs, heck any brachycephalic breeds, all the retrievers have gotten these wide boxy heads, cocker spaniels have extremely shortened muzzles, the back ends of GSD go without comment. Breed standards leave room for interpretation, they are not recipes for characatures.

The health of mutts comes from not the first cross (although I've seen a quite a bit of temperament moderation) but after a few generations. Of course a cross of two breeds that share the same genetic problem will carry on those issues. The medium brown dog that results from generations of mixed breeding are the most hardy animals there are. Very few genetic problems, and can live long lives as pariah dogs, chock full of parasites even.

I thought it was quite telling in the bobtail boxer experiment that the first few generations after the boxer/ corgi cross that the bitches had exceptional ease in whelping which worsened (returned to normal?) as the generations back to "pure" boxer progressed.

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So if a quiet, reliable, steady family dog is what you want, I suggest you choose wisely, with the help of a professional if possible, because shelter dogs and rescues come with almost zero back ground, zero predictability, and almost zero insight into future health issues. The old argument of mutts being healthier, nicer family dogs instead of those hot inbred show dogs is just beyond flawed.
Actually, I have a new dog. He's a re-homed cross-breed He's doing great, just about perfect, but he still has some growing up to do - he's only 8 months old. He listens well, doesn't require *too much* grooming or *too much* stimulation, good with the cats and the kids. It's quite a shame he's so ugly though.


well this post took just shy of forever with all my interruptions this morning. Sorry my thoughts are scattered and I hope it doesn't read snarky or mad - I'm not, just trying to get it all out.
post #29 of 72
Just posting again to say - I don't agree with designer dog breeding, or crossbreeding for "fun and profit", only that there are issues with the current purebred dog breeding culture. I do believe that results of breeding a "good" dog with another "good" dog of healthy stock (whatever the breed) can be "good family dogs" that can be shared without profit to other families. I don't support indiscriminate breeding of course, homeless pet overpopulation and all.
post #30 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by she View Post
This is well and good, but how many of those breeds are commonly available? Of registered breeders, I've got in the surrounding 3-4 provinces maybe 20 breeds. If I include the whole of Canada, maybe 50? I can go count if you would like. If I want a responsible breeder, I have an even more limited choice unless I'm willing to ship from another country (ie the states).
You're kidding, right? The CKC registers more breeds than the AKC! Over 200. So sure, count them up for me--but I'd be genuinely shocked if there were only 20 breeds in four provinces. It would mean that the CKC is registering a lot of invisible dogs .

And sure, if you want a genuinely rare breed, import! It's not magic. I've done it from Canada to the US (easy peasey), considered doing it from Europe many times and almost certainly will end up doing it at some point in the future. Whether or not you end up spending more money depends on the strength/weakness of the dollar compared to the other currency, but right now with your Canadian dollar trading at roughly ours, you'd be in great shape in terms of buying from the US. When I looked very seriously at purchasing from a couple of countries maybe three years ago, the cost would have been a hundred or so more than buying from the next state. Importing is easy and very rewarding if you are looking for a breed that's more numerous or more developed in another country.

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Your typical family example is sad and true, but I've been on the other side. I did my research, I interviewed breeders and was interviewed in turn. I was *matched* to a puppy. Great start? It turned out quite badly actually. I turned my life upside down for that dog to meet *his* needs which were extreme and FAR beyond what a normal dog needs. On the other hand, a cousin had a dog of the same breed, most certainly from a backyard breeder, who had the same temperament but MUCH more moderate and she was a dream.
Did you return the dog? No breeder wants that. We want good placements. We want you to return the dog if you or the dog are not happy. That's one of the fundamental qualifications for being a good breeder, that we take back any one of our dogs without question. Of course there are variations in temperament within a breed, which is exactly why we want you to give the dog back before you start to hate it.

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I don't think families need a Gund dog, I think they need one that can adapt to family life while their moderate needs are being met re: grooming, exercise and stimulation. My neighbour has 3 border collies, one was purchased as a puppy, the other two are rescues. He takes them for a hike daily when the weather is good, but other than that their exercise and stimulation is romping around his (fence-less) 3 acres. They are happy and content dogs - and border collies! But his dogs do not conform to the breed standard for temperament, does it matter?
You're asking me to be happy that someone lets dogs wander around their place? Sorry, no go.

For your more fundamental question, of whether breeds should have a standard of temperament and ability and personality, even of that personality makes them less than a perfect fit in the let-the-dogs-wander never-train low-commitment dog owning lifestyle, YES.

I freely and happily admit that I am much more on the side of the dogs in most situations than I am on the side of the people. I adore dogs and am passionate about not wasting them. I do not want them to be useless. So I would feel strongly that a person breeding PBGVs that don't dig and bark is doing nobody any favors--the world does not need more generic dogs. If you want to glory in the beauty and hunting genius of a PBGV, get one that acts and thinks like its breed, not one that acts and thinks like a Labrador or acts and thinks like a Pug. Go get a Pug! Go get a Lab! Don't insist that somebody breed you a PBGV with half its brain cells turned off!

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I'm not arguing for hybrid vigor OR out crossing with a different breed. Do your out crossing with a different bloodline, I'm well aware of how few there are in the popular breeds and how closely breeders stick within their own - that's what happens with a closed stud book and popularity contests. Accept a greater variation in appearance of purebreds! It's only been in the last 30 years that the many of the breeds have gotten so extreme in appearance as a fashion. Look at what has happened to bull terriers, bulldogs, heck any brachycephalic breeds, all the retrievers have gotten these wide boxy heads, cocker spaniels have extremely shortened muzzles, the back ends of GSD go without comment. Breed standards leave room for interpretation, they are not recipes for characatures.
If you want a Cocker Spaniel with a longer muzzle, go get an English. Nobody's forcing you to buy the more extreme Yanks.

What you're talking about is not outcrossing. I can, and have, successfully outcross without losing type. You're talking about throwing out consistency of type, at which point it's useless to have a standard at all.

I have no problem with you saying that you think that X breed has gone down the toilet. Let's have a discussion about that; I may even agree with you. But you're saying that the reason X breed has gone down the toilet is because of the way purebred dogs are bred, period, and that's just totally wrong. I can show you an overwhelming number of breeds where the way we put dogs together has preserved and improved health and structure, to your one legitimate example (German Shepherds, which I agree are in the tank). To prove your point with the other breeds, you need to show me where a) type has radically changed in the last 50 or so years, and b) where that change impacts longevity or quality of life. Because it's fine with me to "stylize" a dog if that doesn't mean the dog is hurt.

In terms of your accusations that dogs have changed in 30 years, here's some examples:

1980 American Cocker Spaniel Best in Show (whelped 1978);http://www.versatilecockers.com/Memory.htm (scroll down to "Termite")
1980s Bull Terrier head: http://www.trahernbt.com/images/headeighty.jpg
1919 Boston Terriers and French Bulldog (brachycephalic): http://designerbostons.homestead.com...op_157x100.jpg
1980 Labrador Retriever: http://www.servantslabradors.com/vanny.htm

You cannot tell me that any of those dogs wouldn't win now. The type is actually wonderful for the show ring of 2008.


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The health of mutts comes from not the first cross (although I've seen a quite a bit of temperament moderation) but after a few generations. Of course a cross of two breeds that share the same genetic problem will carry on those issues. The medium brown dog that results from generations of mixed breeding are the most hardy animals there are. Very few genetic problems, and can live long lives as pariah dogs, chock full of parasites even.
The health of pariah dogs is NOT the result of generations of mixed breeding. It's the result of natural selection. So yes, I will absolutely say that if we throw dogs out in the streets and don't feed them, after sixty years the dogs we pull back in will probably be more resistant to disease. They won't necessarily be genetically healthier, since things like cataracts and hip dysplasia don't cripple a dog until after it has reproduced. But they will be better at living on crap food and they'll have better hunting/scavenging instincts.

But that's NOT what mixed-breed breeders are doing. There is absolutely no reason that 20 generations of mixed breeding should produce a healthier dog.

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I thought it was quite telling in the bobtail boxer experiment that the first few generations after the boxer/ corgi cross that the bitches had exceptional ease in whelping which worsened (returned to normal?) as the generations back to "pure" boxer progressed.
Not surprising at all. Look at the bodies and heads--they're like bullets, and the breeding bitches have big 'ol Corgi butts. It's not that they're mixed, it's that they're an easy whelping shape.
post #31 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by she View Post
Just posting again to say - I don't agree with designer dog breeding, or crossbreeding for "fun and profit", only that there are issues with the current purebred dog breeding culture. I do believe that results of breeding a "good" dog with another "good" dog of healthy stock (whatever the breed) can be "good family dogs" that can be shared without profit to other families. I don't support indiscriminate breeding of course, homeless pet overpopulation and all.
Sure--here are the baseline requirements for a good breeder:

1) Both parents have predictable and inheritable temperaments and abilities, so there are no surprises in the litter that make them unsuitable for family life.
2) Both parents OFA or Penn Hip hips, heart (must be echocardiogram, and a 24-hr Holter monitor if there's Boxer in the background), thyroid, elbows, patellas, etc.; checked for PRA, Addison’s, and Cushings, any weird diseases that could possibly be in the genetic background (storage diseases, syringomyelia, etc.) and has no epilepsy in the pedigree for at least 3-4 generations.
3) If there are two or more purebreds being crossed, breeder has been breeding ALL breeds as purebreds for long enough to truly understand the pedigrees he or she is getting into.
4) The breeder does not use his own studs more than a minority of the time, but travels to find the best stud for the girl.
5) The breeder is MAKING NO MONEY on these dogs, and can prove it.
6) The breeder is constantly involved in peer-reviewed activities like conformation showing, obedience, agility, hunting, sled dog, etc.
7) The breeder makes any owner sign a written contract, and insists on taking the dog back if any time in its lifetime it cannot stay with the purchaser.

So there you go. The health testing alone is going to run that person a grand per dog, but it is absolutely, absolutely necessary if you are going to be breeding healthy dogs.

I renew my challenge: show me any mixed-breed breeder who is meeting these seven requirements and selling puppies to the public as "family dogs." The bear-dog, coyote-dog, sled-dog, boar-dog people are crossing breeds, but they follow all seven requirements and they don't sell their dogs as family pets.
post #32 of 72
thanks for pointing out those seven qualifications because i think they are very informative.

as a lay person who doesn't know much about breeding other than that good breeders really 'vet' their potential 'buyers' and also will take animals back and often ask for them to be spayed/neutered, it's good to see a number of other factors to ask about.

we're not in the market for a dog or any sort of pet, but if we were, and we wanted to go this route instead of some form of rescue. . .well, anway it's informative.
post #33 of 72
I'm glad it's helpful.

Now remember, the health tests required depend on the breed (if you're breeding mixed-breeds, they apply to all involved breeds). One good way to find out which health tests are considered normal for your breed is to go to http://www.caninehealthinfo.org/breeds.html and see if your breed is listed; if it is not, try to find one of its close relatives and then ask your breeder what health tests are considered standard within the breed.
post #34 of 72
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You're asking me to be happy that someone lets dogs wander around their place? Sorry, no go.
I did not say that these dogs were unsupervised. I feel like you are disagreeing with me out of spite alone. These dogs are altered, exceedingly well trained and supervised, what could possibly be the problem?

I live in a very low population area, the province has 730 000 people, the four Atlantic provinces have just 2 mil. Good responsible ethical breeders are not commonplace, a population this size doesn't hold many of them. There are breeders, sure, are they responsible? Hardly any of them. How many breeders actually show their dogs? You *would* be surprised by how few, but they have to travel out of province to do so. These are separated entities that we are talking about "breeders" and "good breeders" and then there are "potential breeders". I looked into Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs for awhile, found a "breeder" in Alberta, not really - they just own a bitch, but she's registered in the CKC!

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Because it's fine with me to "stylize" a dog if that doesn't mean the dog is hurt.
I disagree, it's not fine with me at all, not if "stylizing" a breed reduces it's already small genetic pool and possibly creates more health problems - not that inbreeding(linebreeding) causes health problems but it magnifies what problems are there. It's this systematic linebreeding that focused all the health problems these dogs currently have in the first place. The very health problems that are costing so much in lives and money to fix. When an animal doesn't have the simple ability to naturally mate and birth, that's messed up. It's not only the shape of the dogs, loss of fertility is a side effect of a high inbreeding coefficient - beagles, mice, rats, cats, it doesn't matter which mammal. It's inbreeding depression, it affect males and females in every respect of reproduction from the act of mating, conception, gestation, birth, lactation and rearing.

I worked in a vet clinic for a little while - not a great amount of experience but it is what it is. I did NOT see a single mix breed with a strange health problem. They had hip dysplasia, some cancer, they ate weird things, they had accidents, but no deformities, diseases of the blood or immune system - none of the strange and exotic health problems exhibited by the purebreds. And I will still accept that they WILL happen in the mix breed population none the less, but this is not the result of culling or survival of the fittest, it's just so darn RARE.


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If you want a Cocker Spaniel with a longer muzzle, go get an English. Nobody's forcing you to buy the more extreme Yanks.
I would choose an English over an American in a heart beat, and it wouldn't be a decision solely based on muzzle length. I'm hearing this a lot, "don't like this breed? Get that one. Too long a coat? Get this one instead." It's really not that simple. I've been researching breeds for years now, and am fairly open to looks (hey, I ended up with an ugly dog), and have come to the conclusion that not one single breed is right for my family, at least not one that cost inside of 2 grand and would not have to be shipped sight unseen. I was left with the task of finding The Dog for our family, and I did it.

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Did you return the dog?
Tried to, yes. Didn't work out, got a helluva chewing out for my trouble. I will defend her as a Good Breeder, she had other issues at play, it was not entirely her fault. I still tried other options, and got told various and sometimes contradicting advice from many Dog People.

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Sure--here are the baseline requirements for a good breeder:

1) Both parents have predictable and inheritable temperaments and abilities, so there are no surprises in the litter that make them unsuitable for family life.
2) Both parents OFA or Penn Hip hips, heart (must be echocardiogram, and a 24-hr Holter monitor if there's Boxer in the background), thyroid, elbows, patellas, etc.; checked for PRA, Addison’s, and Cushings, any weird diseases that could possibly be in the genetic background (storage diseases, syringomyelia, etc.) and has no epilepsy in the pedigree for at least 3-4 generations.
3) If there are two or more purebreds being crossed, breeder has been breeding ALL breeds as purebreds for long enough to truly understand the pedigrees he or she is getting into.
4) The breeder does not use his own studs more than a minority of the time, but travels to find the best stud for the girl.
5) The breeder is MAKING NO MONEY on these dogs, and can prove it.
6) The breeder is constantly involved in peer-reviewed activities like conformation showing, obedience, agility, hunting, sled dog, etc.
7) The breeder makes any owner sign a written contract, and insists on taking the dog back if any time in its lifetime it cannot stay with the purchaser.

So there you go. The health testing alone is going to run that person a grand per dog, but it is absolutely, absolutely necessary if you are going to be breeding healthy dogs.

I renew my challenge: show me any mixed-breed breeder who is meeting these seven requirements and selling puppies to the public as "family dogs." The bear-dog, coyote-dog, sled-dog, boar-dog people are crossing breeds, but they follow all seven requirements and they don't sell their dogs as family pets.
I'm not defending people who are trying to make quick bucks off their intact dogs, so I'm not sure where this venom is coming from, frankly. I just don't think that "backyard" breeders are necessarily deserving of demonization based on your judgment alone. I feel that some of them are every bit as ethical as they can be. And no, I don't know anybody who passes your test, because I probably would have bought a dog from them! We do share one big criteria: 5) The breeder is MAKING NO MONEY on these dogs, and can prove it. so I don't believe we are really that far from each other.
post #35 of 72
Maybe "casual breeder" is more descriptive than "backyard breeder"?

"Casual" emphasizes the lack of research, showing, health testing, etc.
post #36 of 72
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Originally Posted by she View Post

I live in a very low population area, the province has 730 000 people, the four Atlantic provinces have just 2 mil. Good responsible ethical breeders are not commonplace, a population this size doesn't hold many of them. There are breeders, sure, are they responsible? Hardly any of them. How many breeders actually show their dogs? You *would* be surprised by how few, but they have to travel out of province to do so. These are separated entities that we are talking about "breeders" and "good breeders" and then there are "potential breeders". I looked into Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs for awhile, found a "breeder" in Alberta, not really - they just own a bitch, but she's registered in the CKC!
Good breeders are never commonplace. But there are MANY good breeders in Canada. There are hundreds of breed clubs, thousands of breeders, thousands of dogs being shown. Did you contact the breed clubs of the purebreds you were looking for? Good breeders don't look any different from the houses and people you see on a normal suburban street; very few have big acreages or many dogs.

Of course you didn't find many Swissie breeders in Canada--they're the rarest CKC breed. There are probably only a few dozen of them in the entire country. But that breeder in Alberta may have been wonderful; you don't have to own lots of dogs to be a good breeder and there's no reason she has to own a male. If she brings in semen or travels down to the US, she could have a wonderful litter for you.

Look, I know Canadian breeders. I bought a dog in Quebec. Most of my friends go north to show in Canada, there is a free exchange of genes going across the border. So I have a hard time, since I KNOW they exist and have talked with them and eaten lunch with them, hearing that there are no good Canadian breeders. And yes, good breeders travel out of province. Good US breeders travel too.

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I would choose an English over an American in a heart beat, and it wouldn't be a decision solely based on muzzle length. I'm hearing this a lot, "don't like this breed? Get that one. Too long a coat? Get this one instead." It's really not that simple. I've been researching breeds for years now, and am fairly open to looks (hey, I ended up with an ugly dog), and have come to the conclusion that not one single breed is right for my family, at least not one that cost inside of 2 grand and would not have to be shipped sight unseen. I was left with the task of finding The Dog for our family, and I did it.
OK, tell me what IS the issue? Is it money? Because there I agree. Good breeders are not, and should not be, inexpensive to buy from. Well-bred puppies start at about a thousand for the inexpensive breeds and go up from there; if you're spending thousands per dog MRI-ing all your breeding stock, as the Cavalier people are now trying to do to stamp out syringomyelia, their puppies are not going to be a couple hundred dollars.

But assuming that you are willing to spend $1500 or so, you can choose from the vast majority of AKC and CKC breeds.

If the issue is not money, tell me what it was. I really DO want to understand, because right now what I'm hearing is "It's impossible to go to a good breeder in Canada," and I know that's not right.

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Tried to, yes. Didn't work out, got a helluva chewing out for my trouble. I will defend her as a Good Breeder, she had other issues at play, it was not entirely her fault. I still tried other options, and got told various and sometimes contradicting advice from many Dog People.
Did she refuse to accept the dog? If she did, she should be reported to her breed club. I have never said a word to people returning dogs. I may be thinking many and terrible things, but most good breeders grit their teeth and get the dog back, no matter what mistakes we think the owners may have made. If she actually refused to take the dog back, that's horrible and she should be ashamed of herself.

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And no, I don't know anybody who passes your test, because I probably would have bought a dog from them! We do share one big criteria: 5) The breeder is MAKING NO MONEY on these dogs, and can prove it. so I don't believe we are really that far from each other.
Then you haven't met any good breeders. They DO exist, and they exist in Canada and they exist in the US.

In terms of the health problems you saw, were you seeing well-bred purebreds or badly bred ones? Because I totally agree, there's nothing LESS healthy than a poorly bred purebred. The mixed breeds at least had to be able to stand up straight to get tab A in slot B; the purebreds can have puppies if they have testicles, because some "breeder" will make it happen. That's why we've said over and over that there's nothing about being purebred or being registered that makes a good healthy dog; it's whether two healthy dogs were bred together.
post #37 of 72
The dog culture in Canada is focused in Ontario, Quebec and BC - also the areas of highest population. I'm not saying that good breeders don't exist in Canada! There only may be a handful of them in NB, in which case, if I wanted a well bred purebred from a good breeder in this province, I would then have a very small number of breeds to choose from, you see? I'm specifying in my province because I would have to meet the dogs in person, I won't take a dog sight unseen.

That Swissy "breeder" had yet to have a litter, they had a young female dog with the intention of breeding her in the future, which doesn't prove much about what kind of breeder they were to be. The CKC does have a large number of breeds, but that doesn't necessarily equate breeders or available pups. From what I can tell for the rarer breeds, they are *register-able*, but a search for breeders comes up empty, there are none.

There are a few issues concerning dogs. One IS money, but mostly because I'm unwilling to make such an investment due to past experience which I'm sure you understand. When I've looked at breeds, there is always a major concern: Newfies are great, but I can't get over the drooling and the hair; I love GSDs, but there's the drive (which could have been the biggest problem with x-dog), majorly intimidated by that, and then there's finding one with a back end; I looked at Australian Shepherds, big drive in well bred ones, and Australian Cattle dogs, same drive, plus iffy with kids: Smooth Collies were a contender, big time health issues there, plus major barking and despite claims otherwise, every collie I've known was snappish and awful with kids; I love sighthounds, but know they are not appropriate for our family, so that's fine. I've read a little about English Shepherds and American Farm Collies and some other similar dogs, but again, they were have to be shipped. I won't bore you with all of them. My needs for a dog are pretty easy, a good farm dog - good with kids and other animals, barking when necessary is fine excessively is not, no drooling, manageable coat, reasonable exercise needs (no joggers in the fam), I like a working dog manner - sober, not goofy, calm in the house, medium to large in size....

It was pretty easy to find a rescue dog, it was really just a matter of knowing his history and meeting him. So our needs were easily met in the end. There is quite definitely purebred dogs that would have fit the bill as well, because temperament is individual, of course. But, I'm not a gambler, I am not about to take the chance.

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In terms of the health problems you saw, were you seeing well-bred purebreds or badly bred ones?
I'm really not sure. The poodles and shih tzus FTMP were from puppy mills and had big problems, I saw ONE nice poodle. The terriers, in general, were fine. The collies and GSDs were a mess, medically, but they looked good. Tons of labs, they were 50/50. One Great Dane (a fawn named Oscar), was in there every other month for one reason or another, his ears were badly cropped which may be an indication about his breeder. One dobe (the only one), sad thing, quite young, died from cancer. The Boston was put down d/t illness. There were a few pekes, which were hard to judge under all that hair, but they had issues. The vet raised German Shorthaired Pointers, but I didn't see any of his dogs. I did NOT meet many geriatric p/bs, which is telling. Could be that I did only see a very small % of well bred purebreds, but that kinda proves my other point.

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Did she refuse to accept the dog?
She never outright refused, but continually put us off. Eventually, she stopped returning our calls. Never did try leaving him on her doorstep, didn't have the heart for that.
post #38 of 72
Dude, you need a Cardigan. Ignore the legs; it's just a sawed-off German Shepherd (but the old type, tons of sense, not a lot of crazy drive). They're healthy as horses, they live forever and a day, they have a definite sense of humor but they're calm and good in the house. Fabulous with kids, fabulous with other dogs, they bark (alarm bark) and shed, and their nails grow like crazy, but if you can handle that they fit every single one of your requirements, and have the added bonus that they're on the low end of the purchase-price scale.

We go to NB every summer when we're staying in Maine. So unless you're way way way up there, the breeders in Maine (several very good ones) or the breeders in eastern Ontario would be within reach (not easy reach, but remember for me driving 15 hours for a dog is pretty normal). And if you were willing to ship, there are some breeders up there that are INCREDIBLY well-respected and would be a no-risk ship.
post #39 of 72
I was >< this close to diving for 5 hours to get a corgi mix from a shelter up north, seriously It was probably a Pem, but there was no mistaking those legs. The 10 hour round trip was too daunting in the end.

We are in the southwest of the province, not far from Maine at all. I know they have a lot more dogs than we do, my searches on Petfinder have shown as much.

In a few years when I'm more comfortable about dogs, I may look farther afield but right now DH and I are both pretty traumatized from the last experience and don't know how much of it was our fault. Did we wreck the dog or did he wreck us, is the question. Sometimes, the new pup does something that reminds me of that dog, and it fills me with panic, but even in the last month he's been with us he *has* matured, so the potential is there for him to grow out of these silly behaviours. He is still 10X easier to live with already.
post #40 of 72
I was thinking further on this, this morning, and remembered what dog I really wanted - the kind I had as a kid, as well as everyone who lived in the country. This really quite well expresses why I have the opinion I do about breeders in general. The ubiquitous rural NB country dog is/was a multi-generational collie/shepherd/whatever mix of medium to medium-large size, coat ranged from short shepherd to long collie, was usually a shepherd sable colour if not black, or brown and white. They were healthy as cockroaches, lived to die of extreme old age eating nothing but cheap kibble, soup bones and chicken guts, if they weren't killed by a car (nobody fenced them in). They didn't really have a job like other farm dogs, they kept predators and deer away just with their presence, entertained kids and barked at strangers. Because only "good" dogs were bred, they were incredibly calm, easygoing and loyal. They had collie faces, long narrow stop-less muzzles, prick ears, and expressive eyes.

Do you think I could find one when I was looking? Nope, nobody breeds them anymore because they are "mutts".

hmmm.... after having said all those wonderful things about them, maybe I should round up as many as I can find and develop the Eastcoast Collie
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