A BREEDER'S PLEA
The content on this page is intended to show why I am so crazy about dogs, a plea for real interest from buyers and breeders, to show why dog breeding practice exists, to help if you are considering being a breeder yourself, and in general to inspire anybody to do what they do to the best they can and not to settle for mediocrity/complacency. I hope you read it. All of it.
(if not ... see condensed version at bottom of page)
Today as usual I was having a day dreaming moment just contemplating dog breeding and dobermans and genetics.. I started to think about what I know, some facts and statistics and experiences, and some recent experiences with other breeders. I really got to thinking and after I talked about it to my husband (thank goodness he will entertain my wild thoughts) I related the gist of it to a friend. I am so engrossed and so fascinated and so passionate about this particular conversation - it is not a fleeting ideology that I only first thought of today, but something I have deeply cared about my whole life and not attempted to articulate into words until now. So I had to share.
You want to know the reality of breeding? You want to know if you can be a breeder? You want to know if you can trust the breeder you are inquiring about? You want to know if breeding at all is even an ethical or warranted practice when we already have so many dogs flooding our rescues and in need, and even thoughtfully bred dogs with serious problems? ....stop for a moment and consider something deeper than "putting a male and female dog together" and "are they purebred" or why that stuff would ever matter. THIS is why we need REAL breeders, and if you are not at all interested in it then you need not consider breeding or pure bred dogs at all.
As written to my friend with some editing.. "I just had an extremely in depth conversation with Danny explaining some deep speculations in regard to inheritance, genetics, ethicacy, color, health and actual quality of European versus North American bloodlines/dogs/breeders. I seriously seriously wish that we could sit down and have an actual face to face talk about this stuff because I think you would be absolutely blown away by the conclusions able to be drawn based off of fact and actual data and logic. Conclusions so logical and obvious to me but I have heard little to nothing of in the Doberman or dog community about.
People speculate at some of the conclusions but they don't know the how or why it's just their personal bias opinion. What they fail to realize is if their small window of experience truly represents the breed as a whole or if the results are limited to represent their specific sect of population. If they could look at it scientifically they would see much more. Just this weekend at the show talking to another breeder, I was seriously shocked at the complete lack of genetic understanding she has of very simple inheritance rules. Real science. Things I learned when I was 8 years old and obsessed with Gregor Mendel and his studies on pea plants and flowers, the pioneer of genetics and his subsequent Mendelian inheritance theory and the Punnett square. This is from the 1800's how can so called "breeders" miss this in their programs?!
The absolute wealth of information and the inferred conclusions you can draw from matings and predictability and compatibility is a whole new level. The scary truth of it is that breeders who are successful I'm willing to bet are a majority "lucky or chanced" to inherit these genes whereas very little actually know why and how they get what they get. Kudos to the breeders who do know and/or are striving to know.
I'm beyond fascinated by this stuff and have been my whole life. I wish my health didn't hold me back I would have a major formal education behind me in science and could understand this even more. Ideally we could have an entire genome mapped for all dogs of each breed, all we need are geneticists and scientists with time and money and ample amounts of DNA samples. If people cared about it enough on that level there's no limit to what we could find out or improvements able to me made. This is how we even have tests for VWD or some of the other more significant ones. But why isn't it bred out? Selfish uneducated breedings.
There's such an impact we can make I want to shout it from the roof tops and wish people could understand it and find out more- I want to! I probably sound so crazy lol it's just so simple some of it and you couldn't imagine how many breeders do not even barely grasp the basics. Of course it all comes down to nature- mutations occur, completely unpredictable results from a set of very predictable genetics, it's like a DNA coding error, on a cellular molecular level whatever the technical term is, but the odds are so much in our favor even with the remote possibilities of mutations. Also just the variance within predictable genetics itself.
I'm convinced this is a HUGE piece of the breeding puzzle and it is so underestimated and under valued that I am literally shocked. Particularly in dogs. In other species like cows or horses they have it down so much more. Why? My guess is because they're an actual commodity, we depend on them for food, or the opportunity for wealth (think horses worth millions of dollars for example) so those involved are more informed.The serious nature compels those who are involved to take it to the next level. Dog breeders down play their roles so much. They say it's a hobby, many thinking it's wrong or unethical to make a living at it. Regardless actual monetary figures, it's wrong to breed dogs just to breed dogs but to better the breed and to substantially improve what we have- increase lifespan, eliminate disease, improve temperament and refine/develop instincts and desirable traits and behaviors, etc- definitely yes we should "make money" or receive significant enough compensation for. Money should not be the driving force though, just a natural bi-product, with the actual love of dogs as our companions being the primary force.
This is the missing link in breeders- they need a scientific education, a real driving fascination, and complete compassion and moral fortitude. With this we can move mountains. You don't need to be a rocket scientist, I'm not, but just the simple desire to know more and to be better. We need as many people like that to be as involved as they can. I promise it is few and far between, many existing breeders would "throw in their towel" and some who have these skills and ideals would step up and start contributing, or start contributing better. I want to make a true impact maybe it's one dog or one person but I hope it's at least one that will carry this in turn to one more person or dog, and so forth."
I believe that we are in fact capable to learn and know all things, and that we should seek after these things. I am not perfect and don't expect myself to be any day in the immediate future. I think we will have eternity to work on it, and in theory if you have eternity - at some point you will have a perfect knowledge. So why not start working toward it now? ...why aimlessly breed dogs when you can work toward a functional ideal and celebrate the individualism that still remains therein? Or better yet, why aimlessly do anything? Your job, what you eat, how you speak to others, etc. I truly believe there is an exact parallel to what I explained about dog breeding toward humans and society. I don't believe in "arranged selective breedings" for people of course, or that genetics and science is the answer to everything (sometimes science just cannot explain), but the parallel is that whatever sphere of interest or aptitude that you have, and particularly in the sphere of human compassion to all one another, we have the opportunity and responsibility to strive toward all that is best and right in life.
So think about it. If this (dogs and betterment of dogs) is your passion and fascination, and you're willing to learn and strive to be better, whether on a small or grand scale, then we need you. If you have an appreciation for this philosophy and just like dogs, then support these kinds of people. If you do not - find something else that is in line with your values, make a difference and support that area. Do not settle to be complacent.
...if you prefer the simple side of things or want more of a straight forward answer, here is a simple flow chart and link to determine if you should be involved in the breeding of dogs or supporting the practice.
The things we despise about dog breeding (over population, lack of responsibility or commitment, exclusive focus on show stature or working ability and blatant disregard to actual companionship, maltreatment to dogs, greed, actual problems and issues in breeds themselves, etc) would be eliminated if people followed the above ideals AND really consider the flow chart below as well as a link to the AKC's advice in this area.
*The very last statement in the chart can be misunderstood, "If you are doing it right, you will not make any money breeding dogs." I want to dispel the myth very carefully and note that "if you are doing it right" - you may gain some, you may lose some, you cannot rely on breeding dogs as a source of income but you would do well to charge appropriate fair prices for your services and to be resourceful, at which point you may break even or profit or lose depending on all the factors involved.
Some factors that may skew the finances of a litter: litter size, litter health, expenses involved acquiring the breeding dog(s) in question and raising them, qualifying them for breeding including shows, trials, health testing, your particular time and investment to your education and dogs and puppies and buyers both prospective and approved, the actual supplies, equipment, training, registration, entrance fees, the travel and coordination for stud service when necessary, the time and involvement and cost if applicable from other breeders and professionals and sources that impart this necessary knowledge to us, fuel prices, veterinary prices, etc all these things considered and more.
**One last other disclaimer: purchasing dogs "from the internet." I advertise my kennel and my services through webpages on the internet and reach out via social medias etc. A great deal can be learned "on the internet" and many connections can be formed. If you purchase a puppy from me, although I have a website and maybe you "found me" from my website or validated much of your choice on my dogs "from the internet," you are NOT purchasing a dog "from the internet." ....websites or listings that merely act as listings with "click to purchase" and little to no involvement with the actual person behind the listing/website would be considered "purchasing from the internet" and not a reputable or endorsed source. There is nothing wrong with a breeder that has a website and corresponds via internet - it is not to be replaced with real life correspondence and verification, but it is actually a very good thing since "nowadays" we pretty much use internet for everything and it can reach and educate a lot of people.