Why are commercial breeders my business?

Endless debate ensues when discussing the various grey areas surrounding the issue of "commercial breeders". One person's top breeder is another person's puppy mill. There is a line, however, that when crossed, pretty much defines a breeder as "commercial".

It is the line that you cross when, instead of working to support your breed, you ask it to support you. There are many good reasons for breeding purebred dogs. Paying the mortgage isn't one of them.

The standard statement of defense used is that "if breeders don't produce puppies to satisfy the market demand, people will go to pet stores."

Let them. My breeding program averages five or six puppies a year. In that time I field about 200 calls from buyers seeking pets. It's too bad, but nowhere is it written, "thou shalt have a Schnauzer puppy". You can't always get what you want and I'll be damned if I'll sacrifice my breed on the altar of consumer demand. Following that lucrative temptation has devastated every breed it has touched. The damage caused to the Cocker, Poodle, German Shepherd Dog and so many others is awaiting our newly-popular breeds unless concerned breeders speak out against the activities of those who'd lead us down the same road.

Like every serious breeder, I spend a lot of time with my own dogs and my own clients. I'm busy with club work showing, grooming and life in general. My free time is generally spoken for in phone calls and correspondence with my peers and newcomers that I mentor. If commercial breeders were just an irritating element that resided in the studbook stats and internet "pups for bucks" websites, that would be one thing. It might even be argued that their activities are none of my business. But it becomes my business when the results of their activities begin sucking up my time and energy.

I'm sick of it - sick of watching bitches producing streams of unregistered litters and fielding calls from buyers who will wait forever for their papers. I'm tired of explaining to people that their "written guarantee" was more sales gimmick than consumer protection - that it was designed to expire before health problems were likely to occur. I'm fed up with sharing my advice and experience to help these people because the breeder they bought from is too busy cashing cheques to return their calls.

A few years ago a professional handler made the statement in conversation that "If it takes a kennel 150 puppies to produce that one 'great one' - it's worth it". I disagree. Such people aren't breeders - they're gamblers. Their breeding programs require all the skill and intellect of a Saturday afternoon bingo player. In the end, the losses in gambling always outweigh the rewards.

Those who argue that the superiority of their lines, their facilities, etc. justify breeding a dozen bitches they could barely finish remind me of an old W.C. Fields joke.

Fields asks a woman if she'd sleep with him for a million dollars. When she replies in the affirmative, he then asks, "Then will you sleep with me for $25?"
"Certainly not!" she retorts, "Just what do you think I am?!"
Fields replies, "We've already established what you are my dear - now we're just haggling over the price..."

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