So I'm here because I want to become a GSD breeder.
I seem to be different from other people in this thread in that I do not yet have a dog worthy of breeding. My 5 y.o.GSD is the first of the reasons I want to start breeding, but it's because he is a very good example of how BYBs, puppy mills, and breeding for appearance only are destroying the GSD. He has a new GSD spinal disease causing congenital hindlimb abnormalities and paralysis as well as cataracts (successfully surgically removed), IBD, and pancreatic insufficiency. He is a phenomenal wheelie dog, but also the poster-dog for kijiji.
The second reason is my career. As a veterinary technician, I see far too many poorly-bred GSDs. Last winter we experienced a heartbreaking month where we euthanized 5 separate GSDs before the age of 6 due to severe aggression or genetic health problems. The final one, I asked my co-workers if they could think of any other breed that is euthanized young more than GSDs, and no one could come up with an answer. Something is seriously wrong here, and something needs to change. I want to do what I can to make a positive impact on the breed that I grew up with.
The number one reason of course is the GSD. I am fascinated that they can be true Jack-of -all-trades (and master of all) dogs. Schutzhund, family companion, SAR, herding, obedience, agility, tracking, flyball, therapy dog, guide dog, or any other job you ask them to do.
This decision was difficult for me because I am a huge rescue advocate, all of my previous and current pets are rescues. However, if I can make a positive impact on the breed perhaps there will be fewer GSDs in rescues.
So lets get down to the point that I need some input on. How do I approach a reputable, responsible breeder and say, "Hey, you don't know me and I don't know you, but GSDs are awesome and I want to purchase a pup from you and oh by the way, I don't want a non-breeding contract," without said breeder deleting the email, hanging up the phone, or slamming the door in my face. Because personally, if I heard me in 20 years that is what I would be tempted to do.
What I am currently doing is trying to is build a erm, furture-breeder-resume. I'm working on getting my current GSD his Canine Good Neighbor certification (he passed the Therepy Dog test, but can not get certified because he does not have total bladder control), as well as starting on tracking. I would like to get him more titles and participation in other events, but his paralysis and wheelchair will keep him from schutzhund, agility, flyball or obedience (shhh, don't tell him there something he can't do), and I think any herding animals would be terrified of his wheels. I recently found a local GSD club that holds regular meetings, various trials and events, as well as participating in public events. I am starting to attend said events, trials and meetings to better gain understanding of what is involved with all the various activities that our dogs love to do, as well as the huge amount of time, love, knowledge, energy and money that goes into a good breeding program. Of course there is also the wealth of information that I can gain from being with a group of GSD breeders. I am also an active member of our city's dog owner's association, and an active participant in anti-BSL groups in Ontario.
I should say that as a breeder I would be most interested in tracking, obediance, agility, and CGN/therapy work. (I love schutzhund, but I'm still not sure how I feel about bite work. I still need to find a good trainer to chat with who has experience in this area) I would want to prove that my dogs are sound in mind and body.
Although I am about 5 years away from purchasing my first quality dog, I want to do everything I can now to make sure I make a few mistakes as possible. This will be something that becomes an enormous part of my life, so I do not feel that I could possibly start planning too soon. I have a few choice breeders picked out (though I have not ruled out import), but before I contact them and scare them off completely I want to know if there is anything else I should be doing to show I'm not some crazy dog lady (or maybe just the right amount of crazy). Also, any other suggestions/nuggets of wisdom anyone can pass on would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks so much!