ON THE LINE
About Being a BREEDER
BY BARBARA “BJ” ANDREWS
T here’s only one path to success as a breeder and it’s mostly uphill, winding across the rocky terrain of commitment in such a way as to get a lot of people lost. We can set goals by the dozens, be blessed with good looks, good dogs, and a huge bank account. We may read all the right books and travel in the best circles. We can soak up knowledge like a sponge and spew out platitudes by the hour. All of this may bring short term satisfaction, but only one thing earns respect from one’s peers and lasting success as a breeder: It is an unwavering commitment to ethics and excellence. AKC records reveal that it takes about five years before most people give up. Only a handful spurn the shortcuts and, making a personal resolution to arrive at their destination, begin the climb to high ground. Make no mistake—walking the lofty path of commitment is the exact opposite of having one’s head in the clouds! It means being grounded in a realistic obligation to the breed, to the sport, and most of all, to personal standards of integrity. WHAT IS A BREEDER? Webster’s gives us some interesting definitions: “To nourish, cher- ish...to generate, engender...to cause, to occasion...to bring up, to nurse and foster,” and more to the point, “to produce by special selec- tion of parents or progenitors.” Anyone who puts two animals together for the purpose of produc- ing young does “generate, engender, cause” the propagation of that breed. Ahh, but here’s the rub: Only a handful of persons involved in the production of companion animals can be said to “produce by special selection of parents or progenitors.” A Breeder (with a capital “B”) is one who thirsts for knowledge, but never knows it all; one who wrestles with decisions of conscience, convenience, and commitment.
With COVID 19 and shows cancelled, I hope this gentle, but prideful, reminder of who we are, the legendary dogs that enable us, and the people who inspire us will help.
102 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, AUGUST 2020
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