URGENT: More breeders are needed!
Warning: controversial post! We recently had a massive hoo-ha over a proposed TV programme about people wanting to ‘make money by breeding from their dogs’. I do not want to cause a sensation in writing this, but I feel I must write about this topic.
We do not have enough RESPONSIBLE dog breeders in this country. This causes massive heartache to dog owners and wannabe dog owners. It also leads to thousands of unhealthy, poorly-bred dogs. And a huge market for unscrupulous, money-grabbing people who breed commercially. Finally, it drives the existence and persistence of rescue centres, where dogs are dumped unceremoniously on a daily basis.
Where there is a market, there will be puppies
The Kennel Club registered 250,000 puppies last year, including pedigree and crossbreeds. Isn’t that an amazing figure? We want puppies! Last year everybody wanted a dog, but of course we soon run out – see my post on why dogs are not toilet paper.
We do absolutely adore dogs in this country and they are a massive part of our lifestyle and culture. Sadly, dogs don’t live as long as we do, so we are likely to own multiple dogs in our lifetimes. We also want more than one, because we are greedy consumers! Although not everyone is lucky enough to have five like me. So there is an enormous market for dogs and this will not go away.
Go to a rescue
I see endless people on social media moaning about dog breeders and telling people to ‘get from a rescue’. Rescue centres are heroic and I applaud them all. I love the work they do and particularly the way they vet new homes. However, I do know that new homes often don’t work out and the dog ends up going to multiple homes before ending up in their ‘forever home’. Poor dog.
The Sunday Times issued an article this week about Lockdown puppies being dumped, just as we knew they would be. “Hundreds of “lockdown puppies” that were purchased in the pandemic are being sold online or handed to rescue centres, only months after the owners had taken them home.”
Disillusioned buyers say they are unable to cope with their dog’s lifestyle or have found it too difficult to juggle work and a puppy. One person, selling a six-month-old collie-spaniel cross for £1,500, writes: “Unfortunately, due to work commitments now we are no longer able to give him the loving and care he requires and deserves.” Heartbreaking, I’m sure you’ll agree.
People see rescue centres as being like shops. You go along and choose a dog from the ones available and take it home straight away. Then you try it out and see if you like it. If not, you simply take it back to the shop. We have successfully introduced Lucy’s Law, to exert controls over commercial breeding and stop ‘third party selling’ ie selling dogs in pet shops. But what is the difference between buying from a pet shop and buying from a rescue centre? Not that much, if you think about it.
Let me ask you a question: How many of my puppies do you think have ended up in rescue? Yeah you’re right, none. Why do you think that is? Because for me, breeding is a lifelong commitment. When one of the owners from my second litter rang me a few months ago, I guessed it was bad news. He cried, I cried. That dog was so loved, for all of his eight years. Of course that owner will be having another one from me, fingers crossed.
Responsible breeders will consider the health of their puppies to be a priority, which increases the probability that they will go on to live long and happy lives.
When I began my breeding journey over a decade ago, I knew I wanted to be a responsible breeder, to ‘do it right’. I had experience of my mum’s breeding and knew about health testing. My ethos right from the start was ‘Beautiful Border Collies, bred for better temperament and health’. That is what I do and who I am. I’m proud to say that my puppies are pretty healthy, with currently 51/54 alive and living happy lives. My first litter will be 11 years old tomorrow.
The Kennel Club provide a huge amount of advice and support to first time breeders. Unfortunately, people don’t realise that this should be their first port of call.
I am extremely proud to be a registered Kennel Club Assured Breeder. Only 5% of the puppies registered last year were bred by an Assured Breeder. It’s a scheme with rigorous standards, including an inspection every 3 years. Unfortunately, last year the Kennel Club closed to new applicants during the pandemic and when they re-opened they had 300 applicants. I believe we should be demanding an increase in the places available on this scheme.
If you are hoping for just one litter from your dog, you can still breed responsibly. After you have read the Kennel Club advice and done the relevant health tests, you are ready to go.
My no 1 piece of advice? Get a mentor, someone who has done some breeding and can provide support and information.
Please CONTACT ME if you want to know more about me and my dogs? And feel free to COMMENT if you want to tell me what you think.
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