Chapter 5
How To Know The Best Source For Your Dog
Show Line Breeders. Show line breeders are focused on producing dogs that come as close as possible to the breed standard. A breed standard is the written description of what the perfect dog of the breed looks like. Show line breeders typically produce dogs from a line of Champions, which means that the dog's ancestors have won an award for matching the breed standard. Show line dogs are typically far more expensive than companion or pet dogs, and show line breeders may be much more selective about to whom they sell their puppies. If you want to enter your dog in dog shows, a show line breeder is the most likely source for producing a dog that will perform well. These breeders select dogs that match the breed standard as closely as possible hoping to produce puppies that, when they grow up, will match the breed standard as closely as possible. Many show line breeders are responsible breeders and check their dogs for health and genetic problems. However, some show line breeders are so focused on producing high-quality puppies that will perform well in confirmation that they ignore potential health issues or Wright's Coefficient of Inbreeding just to get a good-looking dog. Beware of show line breeders that don't test their dogs with the OFA or CERF. These dogs may be unhealthy due to excessive inbreeding. Even if you don't want to show dogs, you may want to consider a show line breeder for your companion dog. By getting a show line dog, you are relatively assured that your new dog will match the breed standard as closely as possible. If you get a Labrador Retriever from a show line breeder, for example, you'll probably get a dog around 23 inches at the withers, that weighs around 70 pounds and has an active, energetic temperament. If you get a Labrador Retriever from another source, you're less assured of the dog's full-grown size and temperament. Show line breeders may also sell companion dogs at a rate much lower than they charge for their show dogs. Some litters produce one or more puppies that aren't appropriate for showing because they fail to conform closely enough to the breed standard in some way. In other cases, a show line breeder may keep a promising puppy, only to find that when the dog reaches early adulthood that it isn't tall enough or isn't appropriate for showing in some other way. Some show line breeders may even offer adult champions as companion animals when they're finished breeding and ready to retire. In any of these cases, show line breeders may sell a dog as a companion animal for a significantly reduced price compared to what a promising puppy would cost. When you contact a show line breeder about getting a dog, ask for information on the dog's pedigree. Look for Champion dogs in the line. Show line breeders that also show their own dogs are even more likely to produce quality show dogs because they are better acquainted what the judges like and what shows well- then breeds for it. But always keep in mind that you want to avoid inbreeding as much as possible as it results in an increased risk of genetic health problems for the dogs. Beware of pedigrees with the same dog in more than one position as this is a sure sign of inbreeding. It's much better to see different kennel names on the pedigree. There are disadvantages to working with a show-line breeder. Show-line breeders are more likely to produce dogs with exaggerated features simply to satisfy a breed standard. This may include snouts that are so short they can cause breathing problems, as well as other health-related issues. Show-line breeders are also some of the most expensive dog breeders in the dog world. A dog that has come from a Championship line may be intended for showing professionally, and show-line breeders charge significantly for this pedigree. If you don't intend to show the dog, the prices of show-line dogs may not be justifiable. Show-line breeders may also be overly selective when placing their dogs in homes. Some show-line breeders may not consider owners who don't intend to show the dogs. Other breeders may require extensive screening and interview processes in order to acquire one of their dogs. It's generally a good sign when a breeder requests information about a potential owner before selling a dog, but owners who want to avoid this process may find that show line breeders require so much information it becomes intrusive. Some show-line breeders may also be ribbon-collectors that are actually a commercial breeder in disguise. These people may feel that the more ribbons their dogs have, the more they can sell, and not care as much about the quality of dogs beyond getting the most possible money for the puppies. Beware of show line breeders that aren't actively invested in their dogs' success, and instead, collect ribbons just to sell more dogs. In general, the show line breeders that are merely puppy mills in disguise still have the same characteristics of puppy mills. Beware of show line breeders that always have litters available, or breeders that are breeding more than one or two breeds. Make sure to check for health certifications, and closely examine the pedigree for inbreeding. If you notice anything that resembles the puppy mill warning signs, you may want to move on and select another breeder to reduce the chance of getting a dog with undiagnosed genetic issues.