Piper at 6 months with Teddi
What that word means to me, as a hobby breeder.
Breeding a good dog is like creating a work of art. Our clay is to research a hidden set of genes (Genotype) and combine what we see (Phenotype), looking to cross fault and guessing which grandparent will surface in that little ball of fuzz. The written breed standard of the ideal always in mind, we breed for a better shoulder here and a harder coat there, for working ability and great show charisma combined a personality you can live with long after they retire, and most important, a temperament good enough to be awarded to a great companion home, as many will not mature to be breeding or show quality.
It is the heartbreak of eliminating from breeding a favorite who produces even one health problem, or fails a genetic screening, no matter how beautiful otherwise, or how much they have won.
It is admiring tiny fat puppies and wondering how they will grow. Kissing their faces until their noses wrinkle and wanting them to stay little forever, while conversely you just can't wait until they are six months old and making their debut in the show ring.
It can mean staying up day and night for a week to nurse sick puppies, when things can and do go so awfully wrong, suffering with them every minute, and the finality of losing one.
Then just once in a rare while, when breeding for good dogs, you get by happenstance a great dog, a super dog!
Walking into the show ring with your creation and filled with pride, showing that dog not just to a judge, but to the other breeders gathered at ringside and perhaps winning, knowing others will understand that you have succeeded in achieving your dream. Those are the moments a hobby breeder lives for!
Going back home with the very same dog with which you went to the show, win or lose, the ego intact, just as warm of a lump in bed, just as quick retrieving the tennis ball. Just another day, another dog show.
The best win of my career was a first place in the Terrier Group for Karlee's fifth major to finish her Championship. It was from the "Bred by Exhibitor" Class. The dog show class reserved for breeders. I was so very proud to be her owner handler, but I was even more proud to be her breeder!
And now Gabi continues the line started years ago with my first border Sara. Gabi's great great grand sire Chad, age fifteen is asleep at my feet as I write this. He is un groomed for months and looks like an old mop, But he still screams to go when I load the car for a dog show, claiming he never asked to retire. I love him no less because I did not breed him, as he is another's creation, or because he has long been neutered, but I also know that when he is gone, he will live on at my house in more than just my memory.
So, I am proud to say I am a dog breeder.
As with any responsible breeder, I am committed to keeping track of every puppy I produce for it's entire lifetime, helping it's owners though any problems and always willing to take them back at any age if the need arises.
Because I breed sparingly and for myself, Puppies are rarely available.