The best laid plans, however, require updating from time to time. Today’s (dog) world is a much different place than it was when I bred my first litter. In 1988, information about upcoming shows arrived through “snail mail” and litter announcements were placed in club newsletters. Puppy inquiries were made by phone or answered through hand-written letters, and show results (not to mention show photos) took weeks to arrive. Now, in 2021, social media has largely replaced these antiquated forms of communication. Websites offer information about breeders and their dogs, and emails, text messages, and social messaging services have largely replaced both the phone and the need for mail carriers. Online retailers have even made visits to the pet supply stores obso- lete. We now live in a world where life can be lived “virtually.” And this is why activi- ties like dog shows (those that require some degree of planning and actual interaction with other people) are vitally important. The sport of dogs allows us to set goals beyond the desire to check our email and post a few photos—not to mention actu- ally having to leave the house. Dog shows provide a good excuse to get dressed in good clothes (and bad shoes) on a Saturday morning to meet up with other dog people to formulate strategies and makes plans for next weekend—and the next litter. Of course, breeding dogs requires quite a bit more planning than deciding which shows to enter and what to wear. After all, producing the next generation of purebred dogs can be fraught with surprises and should only be carefully considered; thus, the need for planning. However, breeding your own family of dogs can be infinite- ly more rewarding than standing in the pouring rain in the middle of a fairground with a wet ribbon in hand. Providing pure- bred puppies for the world to enjoy offers hope for the future and strengthens our connection to other people who share our commitment to the sport and our passion for the breed(s) we love. Bred-by puppies also introduce novice owner handlers (like you and me) to the possibility of setting our own course as breed custodians. With- out a plan for the future, we might never know the impact we can make on behalf of purebred dog preservation. So, when are you going to breed her?
At the 1990 Westchester Kennel Club dog show, held at Lyndhurst in Tarrytown, New York, Dan Sayers finished his first owner-handled Bred-By Champion. CH Quiet Storm Jersey Sure CD JH received his second major under Judge D. Roy Holloway. Photo by Kerman.
“MY NEW DOG’S VERY EXISTENCE WAS THE RESULT OF DECISIONS I’D MADE AS PART OF A PLAN...”
health of his mother was verified because I’d chosen to test her for disease; the selec- tion of his sire was based on similar test- ing and on a less than scholarly review of both parents’ pedigrees; and the placement of each puppy was based on information gathered by temperament testing as well as through daily observations. Each pup was the result of individual decisions that were, collectively, part of a greater plan. For me, the transition from owner handler to breeder changed the trajectory of my life in dogs. It helped me to realize that pup- pies can be purchased from someone else or they be the result of a series of informed decisions that I’ve made as part of a plan.
Thankfully, I did decide to take the plunge into the whelping box. With no experience whatsoever, I managed to raise a litter of 10 and placed each pup in a lov- ing home—not an easy thing to do with a rare breed in the “olden days.” I also kept a pup of my own that became my first owner-handled champion. That experi- ence was different for me than was finish- ing his dam. It actually “felt” different. After all, my bred-by champion was the result of decisions more carefully made. (I’d purchased his mother simply because I wanted a companion to show. Easy!) My new dog’s very existence was the result of decisions I’d made as part of a plan: The
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