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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know I have been a member here for ages, and rarely post, but I am very shy, and don't much care to have too much info out on the internet. However, I read all new threads every day, and feel just as much a part of SM as you all do!

I wanted to get that out of the way, as I usually only post when I have a question (sorry:blush:).

My question is, can any of you provide me with advice on finding a reputable hunting dog breeder?

I am helping my brother in his puppy search, and know exactly what to look for when looking for a maltese puppy, but what about a hunting dog (I'd rather not say the breed or name of Kennel we're considering, as I wouldn't want my post on here to jeopardize my brother's ability to get a dog from them)?

One particular breeder we have spoken with and are really leaning towards (have already spoken about upcoming available puppies) participates in AKC sanctioned hunting events, and has dogs who win at these events, and is an AKC judge for some of these events as well, but does not participate in conformation. Is participating in confirmation a must for him to be considered reputable? I should also say, I found him through the breed club's breeder list, which, just like the AMA, has a code of ethics which include a minimum age for puppy sales, require spay/neuter contracts, etc (although I do also realize that being a member of any breed club does not automatically make you a good breeder).

Both parents of the litter (9 puppies, wow!) have AKC and UKC champion hunting titles (which go before their official name), I'd rather not say the exact titles though b/c they are breed specific, but is this good enough? My brother is looking for a dog that will hunt and wants it to come from working lines.

The breeder was very upfront with us about their personalities (the fact that they are very high energy, which we are aware of), and invited us to visit his home anytime to see the puppies and his other dogs (he does not have a website), as well as invited my brother to go hunting with him and his dogs as well (he is located within driving distance for a day trip from where we are). He also keeps all his puppies until they are 12 weeks old, which is 4 weeks longer than his breed club requires, in order to space our their vaccinations and give him an opportunity to start socializing them as well as teaching them to hunt.

I feel his prices are very reasonable, and are definitely within the budget my brother is looking to spend (also this breed is not a really popular one).

So, I realize its impossible to judge the character of this breeder without knowing who he is or what he breeds, but is there any missing information I should be asking? Is the fact that he only "works" his dogs and doesn't compete in conformation a big no no? Would it be possible for him to have the winning track record he does, if they weren't to breed standard?

Any insight you can provide is greatly appreciated!!!!

Thanks,

Momma2Rocky
 

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Honestly, this can be a controversial question. In some breeds there are almost two different types: a conformation type and a working type. But based on my experience with breeders of working dogs I would say what is necessary is the commitment and education in the breed not the conformation wins.

Part of the reason we want reputable breeders in Maltese to breed for conformation is that we want someone who is ethical enough to breed toward the goal of producing something that is what they say it is. For example, if someone breeds Maltese, but does not work to produce a gentle mannered affectionate dog with black pigment, a white silky coat and/or a long lovely tail then what are they really producing? Sooner or later the dogs they produce will lack these qualities and no longer be what they are claiming them to be. They may have papers that say they are Maltese, but they will no longer have breed type. And people who acquire puppies from them would be justified in feeling they had not gotten what they went to the breeder expecting.

The other element of showing is the education factor. Going to shows and being involved in breed clubs helps people to learn about the key factors that affect breed health and temperament.

In the end, what you describe is a person who is clearly breeding for a goal--produce the best working dogs he can. While the dogs may not reflect the style of conformation dogs in the ring, hopefully they are keeping true to breed type. Therefore, he is breeding ethically in that regard. He is also active in breeder education by serving in the dog clubs he does.

None of this guarantees he is ethical, but based on what you have said, I would say he has demonstrated the key elements of commitment to the breed.

(By the way, don't be too shy. We would love for you and Rocky to join us more. You don't have to come share too much personal stuff, but there are other ways to get involved here on SM and we appreciate having people around who can help in our quest to educate about what makes an ethical breeder).:thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Honestly, this can be a controversial question. In some breeds there are almost two different types: a conformation type and a working type. But based on my experience with breeders of working dogs I would say what is necessary is the commitment and education in the breed not the conformation wins.

Part of the reason we want reputable breeders in Maltese to breed for conformation is that we want someone who is ethical enough to breed toward the goal of producing something that is what they say it is. For example, if someone breeds Maltese, but does not work to produce a gentle mannered affectionate dog with black pigment, a white silky coat and/or a long lovely tail then what are they really producing? Sooner or later the dogs they produce will lack these qualities and no longer be what they are claiming them to be. They may have papers that say they are Maltese, but they will no longer have breed type. And people who acquire puppies from them would be justified in feeling they had not gotten what they went to the breeder expecting.

The other element of showing is the education factor. Going to shows and being involved in breed clubs helps people to learn about the key factors that affect breed health and temperament.

In the end, what you describe is a person who is clearly breeding for a goal--produce the best working dogs he can. While the dogs may not reflect the style of conformation dogs in the ring, hopefully they are keeping true to breed type. Therefore, he is breeding ethically in that regard. He is also active in breeder education by serving in the dog clubs he does.

None of this guarantees he is ethical, but based on what you have said, I would say he has demonstrated the key elements of commitment to the breed.

(By the way, don't be too shy. We would love for you and Rocky to join us more. You don't have to come share too much personal stuff, but there are other ways to get involved here on SM and we appreciate having people around who can help in our quest to educate about what makes an ethical breeder).:thumbsup:
Thanks so much for your honest answer! I hope I haven't hit too much of a hot button, but would still love to hear all opinions on the matter, as well as any additional things I should be looking for.

I will try to post more, and not be too shy :innocent:.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and opinions, on this topic, and others, I really appreciate it!

Momma2Rocky
 

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Based on what you have said your brother is looking for, the involvement of the breeder in the sport and in his club, the accomplishment of his dogs, his willingness to show off his dogs both in their home environment and in the field, and his concern for the health, socialization, and laying of proper early training foundation for his pups I would say kudos to you and your brother for gathering the important information and kudos to the breeder for his earnest efforts and openess. Now it's about meeting the breeder, meeting the dogs and seeing if the "click" is there between breeder and buyer. Honestly, if I were looking for a hunting dog I would be far more interested in the accomplishments of the dogs in the field than in the show ring. At a national Specialty for a breed like Labrador Retrievers you will find at least as many, if not more, people and dogs involved in companion and performance events as you would in conformation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Based on what you have said your brother is looking for, the involvement of the breeder in the sport and in his club, the accomplishment of his dogs, his willingness to show off his dogs both in their home environment and in the field, and his concern for the health, socialization, and laying of proper early training foundation for his pups I would say kudos to you and your brother for gathering the important information and kudos to the breeder for his earnest efforts and openess. Now it's about meeting the breeder, meeting the dogs and seeing if the "click" is there between breeder and buyer. Honestly, if I were looking for a hunting dog I would be far more interested in the accomplishments of the dogs in the field than in the show ring. At a national Specialty for a breed like Labrador Retrievers you will find at least as many, if not more, people and dogs involved in companion and performance events as you would in conformation.
Thank you very much for your answer Mary! That is sort of the way I was rationalizing it in my head (that if he expects it to "work" it should come from proven lines that "work"), but I just want to be sure I'm not approaching this backwards. I also take some comfort in the fact that he gets them started with socialization and their hunting training, and, he knows my brothers intentions are to use the dog to hunt (and love of course), so if for some reason, one of the potential puppies does not turn out to be skilled in this area, or have the personality for it, etc, he will most likely know it early on, and not match my brother up with that puppy. Thus hopefully ensuring a good match between dog and owner.

I also am confused about something, what is a bench show? I thought it was some type of hunting event, or field trial, but now I think I am incorrect???? I ask because I just read the results, and saw a photo of the breeder he is considering with a dog who won a "bench show" this past weekend in IN. The trophy he is pictured with actually says "King of Show" which I find amusing :).

I really do hope the "click" is there for a puppy, the breeder, and my brother, as especially with a working/hunting dog, the "click" is incredibly important. If not however, I have a good idea I believe of what we need to be looking for, and the search will continue.

Thanks again for all your help, and for reassuring me that we are indeed walking down the correct path.

Momma2Rocky
 

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I think, but may be wrong, that the term "bench show" is a UKC term for conformation show where the dog may be examined on a bench. AKC uses the term "benched show" to mean that all dogs entered will be "benched" and available for the public to view during certain hours on the day of the show. The benching area is really a bench of sorts where each dog has an assigned area to sit or lay down (generally in a crate). There are very few AKC benched shows anymore. Both the International Kennel Club of Chicago and Westminster Kennel Club are benched shows. I'm sorry I can't be more help but we don't have many UKC shows in New England so I'm not very familiar with how they work.
 

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Having dealt with working breeds, a good way to discern if the breeder's knowledge of proper structure is to go through the standard with the breeder and ask how each parent succeeds and fails to meet it. Most working dog breeders want sound dogs to work. Dogs will poor rears and fronts are not as efficient movers, etc. So long as the breeder keeps structure in mind when breeding, I would not have a problem going to them. You may also find others purchasing dogs from the breeder and showing the in conformation. This is something to ask about.
 

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I know nothing about the Working Breed standards and picking out a good Breeder.
Wanted to say how informative and knowledgeable Carina, Mary and Jackie are. I enjoyed your answers.
Good luck Momma2Rocky and hope your brother finds a great dog.
 

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Does your brother want a pet dog or is he going to hunt or show it? If he just wants a pet, there's plenty of cute hunting dogs in rescues and shelters. If he wants a dog to breed, that's a whole 'nother story.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank you all for taking the time to answer my questions and help me learn about the process of evaluating hunting/working dog breeders! Your advice is invaluable to me, and my brother and I will absolutely use it when evaluating breeders.


Thanks!

Momma2Rocky
 

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I know I have been a member here for ages, and rarely post, but I am very shy, and don't much care to have too much info out on the internet. However, I read all new threads every day, and feel just as much a part of SM as you all do!

I wanted to get that out of the way, as I usually only post when I have a question (sorry:blush:).

My question is, can any of you provide me with advice on finding a reputable hunting dog breeder?

I am helping my brother in his puppy search, and know exactly what to look for when looking for a maltese puppy, but what about a hunting dog (I'd rather not say the breed or name of Kennel we're considering, as I wouldn't want my post on here to jeopardize my brother's ability to get a dog from them)?

One particular breeder we have spoken with and are really leaning towards (have already spoken about upcoming available puppies) participates in AKC sanctioned hunting events, and has dogs who win at these events, and is an AKC judge for some of these events as well, but does not participate in conformation. Is participating in confirmation a must for him to be considered reputable? I should also say, I found him through the breed club's breeder list, which, just like the AMA, has a code of ethics which include a minimum age for puppy sales, require spay/neuter contracts, etc (although I do also realize that being a member of any breed club does not automatically make you a good breeder).

Both parents of the litter (9 puppies, wow!) have AKC and UKC champion hunting titles (which go before their official name), I'd rather not say the exact titles though b/c they are breed specific, but is this good enough? My brother is looking for a dog that will hunt and wants it to come from working lines.

The breeder was very upfront with us about their personalities (the fact that they are very high energy, which we are aware of), and invited us to visit his home anytime to see the puppies and his other dogs (he does not have a website), as well as invited my brother to go hunting with him and his dogs as well (he is located within driving distance for a day trip from where we are). He also keeps all his puppies until they are 12 weeks old, which is 4 weeks longer than his breed club requires, in order to space our their vaccinations and give him an opportunity to start socializing them as well as teaching them to hunt.

I feel his prices are very reasonable, and are definitely within the budget my brother is looking to spend (also this breed is not a really popular one).

So, I realize its impossible to judge the character of this breeder without knowing who he is or what he breeds, but is there any missing information I should be asking? Is the fact that he only "works" his dogs and doesn't compete in conformation a big no no? Would it be possible for him to have the winning track record he does, if they weren't to breed standard?

Any insight you can provide is greatly appreciated!!!!

Thanks,

Momma2Rocky
Hi Momma2Rocky :)

I've had many Labradors over the last 25 years and have had experience in both people with conformation type vs field type. What I find, generally is, people that want to hunt (not do field trials) often go to field lines and are later disappointed. The dogs are not bred for conformation, they are bred "ability x abitity" and anytime you breed for one specific trait, you will lose others. (fox breeding proves this point. "friendly fox bred with friendly fox"...became piebald colored fox. Not what they wanted). I've seen many a bad front, rear and everything in between on field line dogs. A dog cannot function for extended hours in a day or extended years in the field, if they do not adhere to the standard and are put together wrong. You can also, not always, but many times, get REALLY high energy dogs from field lines. I personally, wouldn't want to live with one. I'm not saying that all conformation dogs will have great fronts, rears, etc but at least they are trying to better the breed for a total dog, not just for ability.

Many many conformation Labrador breeders hunt with their dogs. These dogs were bred to go out and get birds all day long at a steady, even pace in cold water. They were not bred to high line it out as fast as they can, for a timed event. (this is what is creating the aerodynamic look of the current field Labradors that DO NOT meet the standard) They oftentimes lack correct coat as well. If he is duck hunting, he will NEED a correct coat. I had one without a correct coat and it took her 2hrs to dry out. My current boy has a correct coat and he dries in 15 min. If you are hunting in cold water on a cold day, you will need a correct coat for the dog's comfort and health.

My Labradors have met the standard and could hunt all day long. They have been a joy to live with (except for the shedding which is typical of all short hair dogs) because they were bred to be calm, not hyper. You also need to be very cautious of the recent "white" or "silver" Labradors, if this is the breed you are going for. There is no such thing as either. They ONLY come in yellow, black and chocolate.

Good luck in your brother's quest. I hope he finds the best companion, both for hunting and as a good friend.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hi Momma2Rocky :)

I've had many Labradors over the last 25 years and have had experience in both people with conformation type vs field type. What I find, generally is, people that want to hunt (not do field trials) often go to field lines and are later disappointed. The dogs are not bred for conformation, they are bred "ability x abitity" and anytime you breed for one specific trait, you will lose others. (fox breeding proves this point. "friendly fox bred with friendly fox"...became piebald colored fox. Not what they wanted). I've seen many a bad front, rear and everything in between on field line dogs. A dog cannot function for extended hours in a day or extended years in the field, if they do not adhere to the standard and are put together wrong. You can also, not always, but many times, get REALLY high energy dogs from field lines. I personally, wouldn't want to live with one. I'm not saying that all conformation dogs will have great fronts, rears, etc but at least they are trying to better the breed for a total dog, not just for ability.

Many many conformation Labrador breeders hunt with their dogs. These dogs were bred to go out and get birds all day long at a steady, even pace in cold water. They were not bred to high line it out as fast as they can, for a timed event. (this is what is creating the aerodynamic look of the current field Labradors that DO NOT meet the standard) They oftentimes lack correct coat as well. If he is duck hunting, he will NEED a correct coat. I had one without a correct coat and it took her 2hrs to dry out. My current boy has a correct coat and he dries in 15 min. If you are hunting in cold water on a cold day, you will need a correct coat for the dog's comfort and health.

My Labradors have met the standard and could hunt all day long. They have been a joy to live with (except for the shedding which is typical of all short hair dogs) because they were bred to be calm, not hyper. You also need to be very cautious of the recent "white" or "silver" Labradors, if this is the breed you are going for. There is no such thing as either. They ONLY come in yellow, black and chocolate.

Good luck in your brother's quest. I hope he finds the best companion, both for hunting and as a good friend.
Thank you for this explanation! Everything you said about needing the correct structure for endurance purposes makes perfect sense. The breeder did STRESS over and over that the puppies would mature to be very high energy dogs, which for my brother, is a good thing. He lives in a wooded area where he spends most of his free time hunting and fishing, and wants a dog that can keep up. He also wants a healthy puppy, that fits into its breed standard, with good hips, etc, so asking the right questions, and finding just the right breeder (who works well within their breed standard) is important to him, so I greatly appreciate you insight and sharing of your first hand experience.

While it is not a lab that my brother is looking for, we do plan to follow Jackie's advice and question the breeder we are leaning towards on the standard and what parts of the parents conform to or don't conform to it. Even after speaking twice with the breeder by phone, we've been continuing to research online, and have seen that he does work with a kennel who does participate in conformation shows, so hopefully this is indicative of a good mix between conformation standards and hunting ability. He has invited us to come to his home anytime as well to meet the parents, his other dogs, and the puppies, which obviously we will do. Neither my brother or I are AKC judges or breeders of any type of dog (by any stretch of the imagination), but we have studied the breed standard and have an idea of what to look for, in addition to the characteristics looks wise that my brother is specifically seeking (I guess to compare it to Maltese, it would be like someone who prefers a baby doll face). Again, we are by no means experts, but hopefully know enough to run like the wind if things are that far off standard.

I truly appreciate all the advice and sharing of first hand knowledge! This is unchartered territory for both he and I, and I really want to help him find the best dog possible, so all knowledge and advice shared is really helpful!

Thanks so much!

Momma2Rocky
 
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