If you think all BYB are "horrible people and abuse dogs" and I deserve to be sworn at for believing otherwise, you're highly misinformed. I am, in no way, condoning or supporting BYB. I do believe that there are an abundance of dogs in shelters, and this world doesn't need more breeder
s. However, to sweep all BYB together in one category as "horrible abusive people" is widely inaccurate. Some breeders that are considered BYB love the breed, treat them very well, give them necessary veterinary attention, etc. You could call them irresponsible as there are already plenty of unwanted dogs out there, and that they don't "truly know the breed". But to go as far as to call most of them "horrible" and "abusive"? Not necessarily true.
I am going to pick on this statement just a little.
There are enough GSDs out there. There are dogs in shelters, yes. But we do need more breeders. We need more good breeders. Breeders who educate themselves on breeding, genetics, the breed, training, and are willing to go the whole nine yards.
It is economics. Supply and demand. The demand is not for adult dogs, not usually. It is for puppies. Just because someone cannot find a puppy right away, does not mean they will go to a shelter and take home an adult dog. Some might. Others will search harder and perhaps wait for a puppy to be born.
Every day that goes by, the breeders who are out there are getting older. Some of us will give it up, some will retire, some will die. But the demand for those puppies are not diminishing. It goes up and down with the state of the union, at least here in the states. I think that sometimes when times are hard the want for puppies in general goes down a little, and rebounds in that people want a formidable dog as a deterrent. When people are nervous about their jobs, or the future, they do not always want to bring home a puppy, or at least they may not want to pay the going rate.
But, for every 1 person who is having a tough time, there are 9 people out there doing ok. And many of those people want puppies. Perhaps if it was more like 30% unemployment it would be a lot different. Even people who are currently working would be more afraid for their positions, and a lot fewer people would be bringing home a new pup.
The short of it is that if younger people who are students of the breed do not step up to the plate and replace those breeders who are getting out it, for the only reason that there are dogs that are unwanted, demand for puppies will increase and the lowest forms of breeders will increase the number of bitches they breed to supply that demand.
I don't have any concrete data, but there are a number of types of breeders. The top breeders, those who breed for show, for sport, or for working dogs supply only a fraction of the dogs out there. Some are larger, with several bitches, and litters per year, many are hobby-breeders who have just a few and maybe a litter in a year or one litter every few years. Not all of the pups will go to show, or sport, or working homes, the remainder will go to pet homes. Let's say they currently provide 20% of the puppies that are born per year.
The vast majority of breeders, the Middle Breeders fall into the category that love their dogs, but are not a top breeder because they either have no goal -- work, show, sport; or they do not pay attention to one or more of the details, like genetics, staying within the standard, health certificates; or they simply had a litter because they wanted their bitch to have pups once, or because the failed to contain her properly; or many of your other red-flags that I am just not thinking of. The people who want a dog for show or sport or working are not going to these people for a puppy. However, the people who want a pet might get one here and having the pup might bring them to a higher level. Learning about the dog, training the dog, etc. How many people here say, "I got my dog from a BYB, and I love the dog, but the next time..." Evenso, let's say that they hold 50% of the market.
The smallest group of breeders, I will call them the Low-Breeders, are those that have huge puppy farms. They have hundreds of dogs in barely sufficient conditions to insufficient conditions to sustain life. They sell through middlemen, pet stores, or internet sites. And they sell a LOT of puppies. I am just pulling numbers out of the air for ease of explanation because the actual percentages do not matter. What matters is what will happen if no new people become breeders. So, doing the math we are theorizing that they supply 30% of the GSD puppies out there. Again, the elite buyers are not going to go to them. Even the people who would go to a middle breeder are not going to purchase from these breeders unless the internet site masks them sufficiently.
And now with AR and HSUS indoctrinating everyone against the act of breeding dogs no matter what the reason, we have fewer people who would probably make good decisions and do an excellent job, willing to go down that path. And as the breeders who have been doing this since the inception of the breed into the states (ok I am exaggerating a little), are going to their reward, if no one comes in with energy and passion and fills those shoes, the 20% will go down to nil. As people who formerly got dogs from middle-breeders and now want dogs from the top breeders, availability from said breeders will decrease, say to 2%, and some of the people who would buy from these will buy from middle breeders.
Middle breeders are pretty static. These are individuals who can handle 1 - 3 litters in a year. Where one might have a second litter, another will have only one or none. Where one has learned their lesson and got their bitch fixed and is removed from the rolls, another thinks it might be fun to let their girl have a litter of puppies. They will continue to supply 50% of the market. If legislation affecting keeping intact pets becomes wide-spread, and if the demonizing of breeders knocks off some of these too this number will go down.
But the number of puppies produced will not. The low breeders will pick up the slack. I really do not know what percentage of the market share these people hold, but I would much rather see people getting pets from people who fail in one or a few ways when working their way around the what-to-look-for-in-a-breeder chart, than to have these scoundrels producing higher percentages of the breed.
The more of these dogs out there, the more the reputation of the GSD, in both health and temperament will go down. While it is nature, and a pup might defy the odds and come out of situations like this relatively unscathed, the chances of serious health and temperament problems from dogs kept in such conditions, and bred over and over, without any consideration to the closeness of the lines, or what ailments are present in the lines, the more will be affected.
I do not think that people should aspire to be a middle breeder, but I think that people should strive to become a top breeder, and I think that we should not make statements like what the world does not need is another breeder. We need good breeders. We need breeders who are willing to learn by doing.