Sharing Information With Other Breeders Is Vital to Ensuring the Breed’s Future

Breeding dogs can become a habit like coffee in the morning or wine at supper. It can feel like an addiction at times, making us wonder when we can stop, never knowing the answer.

One of the reasons we become so committed is the belief our next litter in the whelping box will, lo and behold, surprise us with the most perfect representation of our breed anyone has ever seen!

Our competitive nature, along with our adoration of our breed, keeps us involved—keeps us searching for that once-in-a-lifetime perfect animal. Along the way we may not realize all the good we have done with our efforts. Those of us who feel that health clearances are important, temperament matters, and the breed standards should be adhered to have provided the best-possible puppy to the many pet buyers who are smart enough to contact reliable, competent breeders. How many of us have gotten calls from owners weeping over the phone because they have recently lost the old dog who provided them 15 years of pure happiness, and begging us for another one just like it?

Mentoring newcomers comes along with the ride, and again we may not realize the impact we have made in the history of our dogs, our breeding programs, and the ones who continue after us.

Recently I was killing time (avoiding going through the mail and dealing with bills due) by reviewing pedigrees of the newest dogs being shown today. It was a rude awakening for me, since I thought I knew most of the Border Terrier pedigrees like the back of my hand. The reality set in that I was only aware of the first few parentages and had little knowledge of the rest. And the rest told stories many newcomers should be aware of.

And so we come to the element whose absence can plague any breeding program, of any breed: communication. It is the key for many situations, whether relationships, occupations, or child-rearing. It is the key to knowing which dog to breed to which bitch when attempting to create the best-possible show dog and the best-possible pet.

Due to the unfortunate problem of occasional gossip and degradation from our competitors, we are all skeptical of sharing negative information about our breeding programs. Yet we are all not infallible, and we all have negative issues with our dogs, along with the many positives.

Speaking openly and honestly about dogs and pedigrees when approached for breeding prospects is crucial for the safety and the future of all breeds.

The AKC has provided a block on each registration paper for breeders to fill in if the dog is not of reproducing quality. When you decide to give buyers the right to continue the legacy of your dogs, it is your duty to make sure they know which pedigrees are suited to yours, and which ones are not. The only way we can accomplish this is if we share information so we do not double-up on problem areas. Of course we love doubling up on the positives—but doubling up on the negatives only creates heartbreak and disappointment.

Negative traits are not the end of the world. Breeding away from them is important, and sharing information is the only way we can do so.

Hugs to yours!

—L.L., Border Terrier Club of America, February 2015 AKC Gazette