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Discussion Starter #1
I'm not entirely sure if this is the right section or not, but... I've been looking for a Shepherd for awhile, I have lots of experience training/working dogs, but the time has never been right to get a new Shepherd. It is now (yay :D)

I came across the option to Co-own, and I was just curious to know more about it. Some Breeders I've looked into do co-owning, is it something, if I'm approved that's worth doing? As a Breeder, what's your opinion on it? From my understanding, it's taking a puppy that the breeder wants rights too, and basically fostering/raising/training/titling the puppy for the breeder.... Or something of that nature.

Any good/bad experiences with it?
Do you know of any breeders to look into who do it?

Thanks!
 

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Different breeders do it for different reasons. You really have to talk to the specific breeder to know what they expect from a co-own.
 

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Rush:

Speaking for myself and how crazy I am about my attachments to my dogs, I could never have a dog like that. My GSD is mine. He's all mine, and no one else can have him or co-own him, and no one else can tell me what he gets to do or not do. To me, it would be like co-owning a baby. I would suggest if you want to own one, that you own it completely and all the way.
 

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Rush:

Speaking for myself and how crazy I am about my attachments to my dogs, I could never have a dog like that. My GSD is mine. He's all mine, and no one else can have him or co-own him, and no one else can tell me what he gets to do or not do. To me, it would be like co-owning a baby. I would suggest if you want to own one, that you own it completely and all the way.
I completely agree with this.
 

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Outside of breeding rights, why on earth would anyone take a puppy and put all that work into it only to have someone else retain partial ownership? Is the other person at least paying a significant portion of the care and training costs, since you are doing all the work?

I can imagine some might think they'll get pick of the litter and get the "best" puppy (one that might not have been sold otherwise), but in reality there are SO many nice dogs out there, you can find just as nice a pup that you can own outright.

I've heard of co-ownerships done for breeding dogs, and I've seen foster programs where the breeder holds back females and places them with owners but retains the right to breed the dog once a year and whelp/raise the pups at their facility.
 

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Not a breeder, but like anything else it will depend on having the right partner. I know when a horse is co-owned, costs are split. I would assume the same for dogs?
 

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I know when a horse is co-owned, costs are split. I would assume the same for dogs?
In my experience...nope.

The person in possession of the dog is responsible for all care of the dog with no monetary assistance from the co-owners unless otherwise agreed upon.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Is it a myth with co-owning, in exchange for all the work/original breeder retaining rights you ultimately get the pup for free?

This is why I'm so up in the air with this. I do not want to put all this work into a dog, and then have the breeder tell me what to do with it. (On top of paying a hefty price for it)

But at the same time, I think it's a fair trade off if in exchange for the price of the dog, you work/title it, and the breeder keeps breeding rights.
Knowing me, I'll spoil any dog I have rotten regardless, and despite what paper says I'll always consider it to be "my" dog.
 

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I've seen it in a few scenarios....

* The dog was purchased by two people, already an accomplished/titled dog, purchase for breeding. Maybe each person could not afford the dog on their own, so they pool and "share" the dog, each doing litters with their own kennel or splitting the kennel names on the litters.

* Someone wants to try their hand at training, handling, and/or competing with a dog, may not be ready to fully commit to owning the dog (like say a teenager working with a breeder as a mentor), and it's easier for paperwork/entries to have the trainer/handler listed as an owner so you don't always have to go back to the breeder/original owner to sign everything.

* A breeder is selling a dog with "strings attached", as in, they will not transfer full ownership until the new owner has "proven" something, like a show CH, some sort of title, etc. If the dog is a good prospect for something, and the breeder wants to ensure that the owner will follow through, the dog might be co-owned first.



I personally have not and will not do it. I assume full responsibility for my dogs' costs and will not buy a dog I cannot afford on my own. Also I want full control over MY dogs and do not buy dogs unless they are registered in full to me only (sometimes I list my husband as a co-owner, sometimes not). I've seen it go bad enough times to not consider it for myself. I've seen friends become enemies slandering each others' names. Not worth it, IMO. I do not automatically write off breeders that co-own, I just don't enter into that sort of relationship myself.
 

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Is it a myth with co-owning, in exchange for all the work/original breeder retaining rights you ultimately get the pup for free?

This is why I'm so up in the air with this. I do not want to put all this work into a dog, and then have the breeder tell me what to do with it. (On top of paying a hefty price for it)
It totally depends on the arrangement with the breeder.

If you don't want strings attached, then don't do it. Save up to buy the dog you want and own it in full.
 

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Is it a myth with co-owning, in exchange for all the work/original breeder retaining rights you ultimately get the pup for free?

This is why I'm so up in the air with this. I do not want to put all this work into a dog, and then have the breeder tell me what to do with it. (On top of paying a hefty price for it)

But at the same time, I think it's a fair trade off if in exchange for the price of the dog, you work/title it, and the breeder keeps breeding rights.
Knowing me, I'll spoil any dog I have rotten regardless, and despite what paper says I'll always consider it to be "my" dog.
I really don't see how it's a fair trade off. The purchase price is the cheapest part of owning the dog. It's a drop in the bucket compared to what you'll pay to raise, train, and title the dog. Not to mention, the breeder would have to really know and trust you to have the experience to do that in the first place, otherwise there's no benefit in it for them.
 

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Are there any breeders here who have co-owned a dog? What were the stipulations? Would you sell a dog and keep co-ownership? What would be your stipulations?
 

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I really don't see how it's a fair trade off. The purchase price is the cheapest part of owning the dog. It's a drop in the bucket compared to what you'll pay to raise, train, and title the dog. Not to mention, the breeder would have to really know and trust you to have the experience to do that in the first place, otherwise there's no benefit in it for them.
I've also seen some people argue about the purchase price being the hardest thing to come up with. I've had one or two friends choose co-owning because they couldn't afford to buy the dog themselves, but that didn't stop them from giving it life long care/feeding ect... Sometimes I suppose it's just the "large upfront sums" that trip people up? Or at least, that's one angle to it anyhow.
 

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But a lot of breeders co-own because the dog is going to be titled or bred, and those things cost a lot more money than the purchase price of the dog.
 

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I would never co-own. Ozzy is MY baby. Mine. Anyone tries to change that, they'll risk having their eyeballs clawed out of their sockets. I can't fathom someone telling me what I could or couldn't do with him. I couldn't share ownership of what I view as my furry child.
 

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I co-own my Schipperke with his breeder. She "gave" me the dog, and I pay all of his bills. Since she knows more about his bloodlines and what would and would not be a good choice for breeding partners than I do, she gets to decide when he is bred and to what dogs. She also gets to "raise" a puppy from her breeding without actually having to raise it, as she already has 2 males and didn't need a 3rd one at the house. We have been friends a long time, and will continue to be friends even if the puppy doesn't work out.
 

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I know a few people doing this. It allows them to get a chip into the game by sharing the initial cost. It works if you know someone well enough, but I've seen the worse come out in people when money's on the line.
 

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I don't think co-owning is the way to go for most people. Where it can be valuable is if someone wants to break into showing, titling, and mainly breeding with the help of someone to share the costs and serve as a mentor.

I've done it 3 times.. well, I guess when Isis goes home today that will count as #4... for breeding purposes. The agreements varied somewhat based on the situation, but in all cases it was set up to where the co-owner got the pup for free or at a significantly reduced cost and from there was responsible for all care of the dog, and had certain health testing and training/titling requirements to meet in a specified timeframe (the costs of some of which were split between us). Later if the dog was bred, litters would be split in an agreed upon manner. What that manner was also varied from situation to situation.

In one case, the dog didn't pass OFA hips, so was spayed and signed over to the co-owner in full and is her dog. In the other case, the dog passed health testing and got her BH, but the owner was unable to find the time to put into training in order to title the dog further, so didn't meet the title requirements within the specified timeframe. By the contract we could have repossessed the dog if we'd wanted to as the co-owner didn't live up to her end of the bargain, but of course we didn't. No excuse to pull a dog from a very good home. So again the dog was spayed and signed over to the co-owner in full and is her dog with no hard feelings. Stuff happens.

In the case that did work out for breeding, Eris, the co-owner initially wanted to become a breeder but with a lot of help and mentoring to get started. The agreement was written that we would split litters... one for her, one for us, one for her, one for us... with whoever was the breeder of record for that particular litter being responsible for the costs of that litter, and having ownership of all of the pups and thus getting all of the proceeds. Somewhere during the years between puppyhood and becoming a broodbitch, the co-owner realized she didn't want to really be a breeder in that sense after all so things were unofficially amended to be 50/50 on each litter. We split the costs, split the work, and split the pups/proceeds. We're now entering into a similar co-own agreement with the same person, though terms will probably be slightly different, for puppy Isis.

From the breeder's perspective, the advantages are clear. Being able to retain guaranteed access to dogs for breeding (provided the dog turns out breedworthy of course), without having to keep all those dogs themselves and find the time to train and title them all. There are risks of course if the co-owner doesn't follow through, but that's where being selective in who is chosen as a co-owner comes into play.

From the buyer/co-owner perspective, I really don't see any benefits to most co-owns unless as in our cases the person wants to breed in some fashion, with help and mentorship from someone they know and can trust to have only the best interests of the dog and breeding decisions regarding the dog in mind, and also having someone to share costs, work, and responsibility with.

Our co-own attempts have worked out reasonably well. Even though a couple failed, they did so amicably. No hard feelings or drama or any of the horror stories I've heard of with other co-owns going south. And the one that did work out worked out very well for everyone. But they are certainly not something to enter into lightly without a lot of thought and discussion and making sure it is really best for both parties, and the dog.

Having lived and learned, I'd never co-own again with someone I didn't already know very well and know I could work with in this capacity, who wasn't an experienced handler with a proven track record so I could be assured the dog would be getting trained and titled, or who didn't live locally so I could get to know the dog well myself (in the case of Eris and Isis the co-owner trains in our club).
 

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Excellent post. Thanks for expanding on this. While it is not something I'd be inclined to do, it would be helpful for others who might be.
 

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I don't have a problem with Co-owning a dog. I figure if you trust your breeder enough to get the puppy, and the breeder trusts you enough to give the puppy then you can usually work out some kind of agreement. Personally I would consider a Co-own because it might allow me to get a puppy out of my normal price point. I'm interested in training and titling anyway, so those requirement wouldn't be too taxing. I know over the life of the dog it's a drop in the bucket...but $1500 goes a long way that first year...

Many good level trainers are given pups by different breeding kennels as a co-own situation. The advantage to the breeder being that the dog gets worked in a nationally recognized level which is good PR for the kennel, and the competitor gets a quality pup with no strings attached. Pup doesn't work out...goes back to the kennel.

Another advantage I've seen to entering into a co-own is when the buyer wants a particular pup (usually in the interest of future breeding/competition) and that pup is also one that the breeder would be interested in retaining for the program. So maybe the breeder, who is reluctant to lose control and rights to the puppy, enters into a co-own, so they can retain some rights but allows the buyer to actually take the pup.

The only additional benefit I've seen is that (like it or not) breeders seem to be more invested in helping people with dogs that they Co-own. I'm not saying that they wouldn't help their other puppy buyers...but because they are usually more interested in the outcome of a puppy intended for their breeding program they're more likely to form a closer relationship with those people.
 
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