The Overwhelming world of Breeding - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-20-2013, 10:39 AM Thread Starter
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The Overwhelming world of Breeding

I am a 20 year old college Junior, Criminal Justice major. I bought my first GSD this past summer she 7 months old now. I work with her as much as I have time too. I have always loved the breed and want to continue working with them. Upon graduation and completing my BLET (basic law enforcement training) internship I will either join a local department and work toward becoming a K-9 unit or join the military with a MP (military police) MOS, also with the hope of working with dogs. Here is my question how do you break into this world? I have done hundreds of hours of research and it all seem overwhelming and many breeders shut out questions because they view it as competition. For now I am happy with my one GSD, however one day after I have become experienced with working dogs I want to become a reputable breeder. This is a 10 year plan, nothing I will start on tomorrow but I want to have a strong foundation of knowledge and contacts when the day comes. How do serious breeders get started. Especially seeing as how when I was looking for my GSD (to be a family member) almost everyone I contacted had no breeding contracts.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-20-2013, 11:01 AM
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Breeders don't shut people out because they're afraid of "competition". They are more worried about the direction a wannabe breeder is going to take. There are SoOOooOoo many wannabe-breeders out there that think they can just throw any two GSDs together and make money selling puppies. We call these "Backyard Breeders" and they are universally despised by reputable breeders and other serious dog-people. Since you are young and this is only your first GSD, speaking any thoughts of breeding out loud are going to get peoples' hackles up, because they fear yet another BYB is coming down the pike.

However, you sound like you want to do things the right way. Go to SchH or IPO clubs, meet other handlers and breeders, and participate in training with your dog. You will learn a lot just watching and listening, and even more participating. Don't mention your goals of becoming a breeder just yet--if it's a ten year plan, start thinking about breeding in ten years, after you have a decade of knowledge and experience working with dogs. In the meantime, study pedigrees and ask questions about bloodlines, watch different bloodlines work, immerse yourself in the working-dog scene. If you join the military or LE, you can learn a lot through that avenue as well.

Once people have gotten to know you and have learned that you are indeed dedicated to doing things the right way, then you can start talking about possible breeding goals. At that point, you'll find that people will be much more willing to help you with the breeding end of things.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-20-2013, 11:56 AM
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Of all the people that come on here and say that they want to be breeders, you are doing things right! You plan on using your first and young dog as a learning dog and plan on getting HANDS ON experience, covering many years, training and working dogs.

BRAVO!! Wish more people would think the way you do.

As Freestep mentioned, I think that instead of approaching breeders and ask for tips on breaking into the business, you declare your interest in LEARNING about dogs, and gaining experience working and training dogs - that is where good breeders come from, from a background of hands-on experience. If you find that just the world of breeding is overwhelming, wait 'till you get more immersed in the world of training, trialing, and working, LOL.

One of the best ways for you to learn about working dogs would be to become a club helper, or do decoy work for the police - best way to get hands-on experience.

And instead of finding a breeding mentor, try finding a working-dog trainer mentor. For example, A couple of months ago I traveled to a protection dog seminar to work Gryffon with a trainer from Alberta. I've worked with him before, and he is an experienced k9 trainer, and he travels around Canada and the US giving seminars and working with different K9 handlers. He had an apprentice trainer with him - a young man interested in learning about being a working dog trainer/handler. Was traveling around with the trainer to work dogs and learn from him.


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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-20-2013, 12:45 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, I agree i do need hands on experience first. When I tell my 10 year plan that is only on the internet i do not share all that with the people that i interact with about the subject. I would love to work with a club or a kennel. The problem is that i live in a very rural area and attend a college that is about the same so there is no where around. It appears that I i will have to wait until LE or MP school to revive professional training.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-20-2013, 02:32 PM
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I would start now, and every dog you see, anywhere, in person, on the net, at breeder's sites. Everyone that you like, and everyone that you dislike, start looking at pedigrees, look at who was behind that dog, and if there was line breeding, back massing, etc. Try to get a feel for who (what dogs/lines) produces what with respect to temperament, health, and looks.

Definitely do all you can with your current dog, and keep your eyes open for all the things you want to do differently, purchase differently when you go to get your foundation bitch.

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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-20-2013, 03:29 PM Thread Starter
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I dont understand what is meant when I'm being told to watch pedigrees. I know that is he family tree or blood-line but watch it?
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-20-2013, 03:39 PM
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Pedigrees are a huge part of breeding. They provide the "genetic blueprint" so to speak and guide breeders in making proper breeding decisions. Understanding pedigrees involves knowing the dogs in the pedigree, not just their names and accomplisments and what general bloodline they come from, but what mental and physical traits they possessed and passed on to progeny. There are no books or websites that contain all of this information. You gather it by getting experience with dogs, and by talking to reliable sources who have experience. One good way to start doing this, and that you can do now years before you plan to breed, is that when you see a dog you really like or really don't like, inquire into it's pedigree. Over time you will start to see patterns in the sense of common dogs/bloodlines being behind the dogs you like, and other ones often found behind the dogs you dislike. This will get you off to a good start in gathering important knowledge you'll need later for breeding.

That is what Selzer was talking about, and it's very good advice that you can start doing now.

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-20-2013, 04:50 PM
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While the internet is a useful tool, it cannot replace actual live dogs and people in your education. You could start by posting your dog's pedigree here and we can show you some of the traits to look for.

Also, if the schutzhund clubs are too far away, look for any sort of training venue -- obedience, agility, herding, hounds, etc. as you will learn about dogs in general.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-20-2013, 08:38 PM Thread Starter
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How many different bloodlines are there that Germans could hail from. Are there 10 or 20 lines that any dog can be traced back to or are there hundreds?
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-02-2015, 04:04 PM
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I'm late to this. by now you are 22 and 2 years into your 10 year plan. How is it going? Have you learned a lot? Are you still planning on becoming breeder?

I also would love to become a breeder someday, but not until I can better understand this breed. I won't really breed for money; more of to make a good pure line for family pets. In all my studies and the dogs and people I've met, I've never loved any breed more than the GSD. I've seen some real poorly trained ones that were mean, and I've seen some amazing ones.

Growing up I always wanted a GSD but my parents didn't want the hassel of finding a good one. I didn't want a GSD to bring to all the shows, tournaments etc. I just wanted one that I could hike, swim, run, walk downtown or wherever with. And that's exactly what I have now!!

Anyway, someday I will do even more research and try to establish a good line for family GSD's. I would work hard to make sure this line stays clean. I wouldn't do it as a full time job, because I wouldn't want it to become about money. Although I have a feeling it will still feel like a full time job haha But...this is all something that won't happen for years. I still have so much to learn about GSD's and the different lines, as well as health issues.
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