BEING A BREEDER
There’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 hire the best handlers, read all the right books, and travel in the best circles, but there’s only one thing which earns respect from one’s peers and lasting success as a breeder.
Failure to commit to ethics and excellence explains why so many would-be breeders wander aimlessly from one dead end to another. AKC records reveal that it takes about 5 years before most people give up. Only a handful spurn the short cuts, and making a personal resolution to arrive at their destination, begin to 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. It means SACRIFICE.
Webster’s dictionary gives us some interesting definitions: “To nourish, cherish…to generate, engender...to cause, to occasion…to bring up, to nurse and foster”…and more to the point, “to produce by special selection of parents or progenitors”.
Anyone who puts two animals together for the purpose of producing the young does “generate, engender, cause or occasion”. the propagation of that species breed. Most breeders, thankfully, “nourish, cherish, bring up, nurse and foster”.
Ahhh….but here’s the thing: 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.
....A Breeder is one who sacrifices personal interests, finances, time, friendships, fancy furniture, and deep pile carpeting.
....A Breeder gives up dreams of a long luxurious cruise in favor of turning that all-important specialty show into this year’s vacation.
....A Breeder goes without sleep (but never without coffee) while watching anxiously over the birth process and afterwards, every little sneeze, wiggle or cry.
....A Breeder skips dinner parties because a litter is due or the puppies have to be fed at a certain time. She disregards birth fluids and puts mouth to mouth to save a gasping newborn, literally blowing into a tiny helpless creature that may be the culmination of a lifetime of dreams.
....A Breeder’s lap is a marvelous place where generations of proud and noble champions once snoozed.
....A Breeder’s hands are strong and firm and often spoiled but ever so gentle and sensitive to the thrust of a puppy’s nose.
....A Breeder’s knees are usually arthritic from stooping, bending and lifting puppies, but are strong enough to enable the Breeder to show the “keeper” in shows!
....A Breeder’s shoulders are stooped and often heaped with abuse from competitors but they’re wide enough to support the weight of a thousand defeats and frustrations.
....A Breeder’s arms are always able to wield a mop, support an armful of puppies, or lend a helping hand to a newcomer.
....A Breeder’s ears are wondrous things, strangely shaped (from being pressed against the phone), deaf to criticism yet always fine-tunes to the whimper of a sick pup.
....A Breeder’s eyes are blurred from pedigree research and sometimes blind to her own dog’s shortcomings, and always, always searching for the perfect specimen.
....A Breeder’s brain is foggy on faces but recalls pedigrees faster than a computer. It’s so full of knowledge that sometimes it blows a fuse. It catalogs thousands of good fronts, rears and perfect heads….and buries in her soul the failures and the ones that didn’t turn out.
....A Breeder’s heart is often broken but it beats strongly with everlasting hope and is always in the right place!
Yes…there are breeders, and then, there are BREEDERS
~Barbara J. Andrews September 1989