once in a while we run across
someone who condemns any breeder who rehomes adult dogs, after having finished
showing them (with a conformation or working title) or using them in their
breeding program. The nature of that condemnation always seems to
be about the same as is used for anyone who rehomes an animal: “You had them
for years, and now you’re throwing them away.”
always bemuses us, because those
same people want a breeder who breeds between once every other year and twice a
year (max), and has a limited number of dogs in their home.
They also want someone who is ‘striving to better the breed’, and has a
good reputation for the dogs they breed. Okay, great.
that doesn’t work.
if you start with two bitches and
use a stud dog or dogs, and keep only a single puppy per litter (or even
every other litter) you have somewhere between 7 and 12 dogs within 5 years
(don’t forget the original two!). Then what? What are your
options? Do you keep breeding dogs who are now 7+ years old? That
wouldn’t help with the ‘bettering the breed’ aspect, and it wouldn’t be fair
for the senior dogs. Do you keep the older dogs and keep the program
moving with new ones, and just let your numbers explode by keeping a puppy
or two every year? How much attention is that retired dog now
getting in a houseful of puppies and other adult dogs? Do you stop
breeder will retire an older dog to a
home where they will get time, attention, and a chance to be normal dogs, in a
normal household. Now, we’re not saying that show or breeding dogs aren’t
pets -at all - but at some point the dogs are in fact better off in a home
where they get time, energy, attention, focus, and aren’t part of a huge pack.
And the breeders? They get to go on breeding, which is
actually what we want them to be doing for the breeds that we love. The
implication that the breeders don’t love their dogs, don’t cry, don’t miss
them, is baloney. We’re not saying all do, of course, but the ones we’ve
dealt with sure as heck haven’t forgotten the dogs they rehomed. They’ve
just recognized that for the good for their breeding program, and the good of
the individual dogs, they needed to go to another home.
We love our dogs. We
spend time with them. We are sad when
they leave us. But, as members of a
pack, the amount of attention and focus they get is less than it is when they
are in a household where they are the only dog. We want them to sleep
with you in your bed,
go with you on trips, and love you for all of their remaining days.
So…. Condemn it if you want, but think carefully about
your logic in doing so and reassess what exactly it is you consider a reputable
breeder. Pick what matters – keeping the dog for life, or an active
breeding program, a good reputation and a vision we’re striving
for. The two are contradictory enough that you’re going to be hard
pressed to find both, if it’s possible at all.