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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. :D

Thanks so much!
 

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I love that Avatar pic! Welcome to the forum, and I'm so sorry about the heartbreak you have to go through in your job. I'm glad you are trying to get as much exposure to dogs and activities as you can - you are on the right track. I really respect the good GSD breeders, who work and shed sweat, tears and blood to produce the best examples of the breed - very challenging to consistently produce good dogs when the bloodlines are so infused with health and temperament issues, as you witness regularly in you work.

I think what a breeder of GSDs needs to remember is that the GSD is a versatile working dog, that can be an active police or military working dog, a SAR dog, a champion Agility dog, a top Schutzhund dog, and also a wonderful, reliable, family dog that is a take-anywhere, meet-anyone dog. Most people like yourself see the family pets that don't even cut it as pets, and the heartbreak that brings, and vow to do better - issue is, that only seeing the 'pet' part and only breeding for the 'pet' part is only breeding but 1/10 of what the GSD is. So really important for a future breeder to get involved in the working dog world and get intimately familiar with the other 9/10. Helps the breeder see deep within the psychological makeup of the dog, and understand how different dogs act and react in times of stress, physical and mental, how they adapt to new situations, etc . . . that helps the breeder find those gems among hundreds that should be bred to carry on the legacy of the GSD.

There are some great stickies in the breeding section - best thing to do is to start reading through them. Much of it might be over your head to start, but with more reading it will start to give some really good insights into why so many GSDs are being put down for aggression and health issues, and why a dog that the standard describes as "full of self-confidence" and "fearless" has in general become known among the general public as being skittish.

So good luck with your plans! If you are not already familiar with the different types and lines of GSDs, then that is another area to start to learn and become an expert before you start breeding.

Even our puppy/first-time-owner section has some good info on that, if you want to take a look:
http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/welcome-gsd-faqs-first-time-owner/179460-different-flavors-german-shepherds.html
 

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What a sweet picture!

I think you are off to a good start by joining a GSD club. Is this a regional offshoot of the GSDCA? Being active in the breed club and volunteering to work on committees and at shows is a great way to get yourself out there and learn everything there is about GSDs. I have found networking with breeders on Facebook to be very helpful when looking for a quality puppy, as well.

Good luck! I'll be looking for more photos of your pup. ;)
 

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IMO the best breeders are those that work their GSD and breeding is just something they do along the way. You need knowledge and you get knowledge by doing. I don't mean breeding. I mean by training, working, spending time around good dogs, and doing real stuff with your dogs. Until you know good dogs, it is next to impossible to make sound breeding decisions. You will also find that over the years, the more dogs you own, the more you work, the more experience you gain, that you will look at your first dogs much differently.

When I was looking for my first GSD I told the breeder that I was interested in breeding some day. She didn't freak, but then the climate was different back then. She was also German so had a different mind set about breeding. I never bred that dog. Didn't breed the second, third or forth. Took me a long time to find that special dog that I felt would contribute to the breed.

So, take your time, never lower your standards just to sell puppies and don't expect your first dog to be that special dog.
 

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IMO the best breeders are those that work their GSD and breeding is just something they do along the way. You need knowledge and you get knowledge by doing. I don't mean breeding. I mean by training, working, spending time around good dogs, and doing real stuff with your dogs. Until you know good dogs, it is next to impossible to make sound breeding decisions. You will also find that over the years, the more dogs you own, the more you work, the more experience you gain, that you will look at your first dogs much differently.

When I was looking for my first GSD I told the breeder that I was interested in breeding some day. She didn't freak, but then the climate was different back then. She was also German so had a different mind set about breeding. I never bred that dog. Didn't breed the second, third or forth. Took me a long time to find that special dog that I felt would contribute to the breed.

So, take your time, never lower your standards just to sell puppies and don't expect your first dog to be that special dog.
I think that is a really unfortunate choice of words. While my first dog my not have been breedworthy he was special -in a lot of ways. Don't really think a dog has to be breedworthy or a schutzhund dog to be special
 

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I disagree, in the context of the thread it makes perfect sense. Why do you think Lisa is saying that first dogs aren't special? That is not what she's saying, she's saying that for most people their first dog is not their *foundation* dog for *breeding*. For me and you that is also true.
 

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Just because you don't breed a dog -does not mean that it isn't special-She was equating breeding a dog with it being special its not-my opinion
 

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I guess we agree to disagree then. The thread is about finding a BREEDING dog, a foundation bitch. Obviously dogs are special regardless but that's not what the OP is asking about.
 

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I think the point is not special enough to breed. There is such a small percentage of dogs that should be bred, that, yes, they most certainly are special when you find them.

Ang
 

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I think the point is not special enough to breed. There is such a small percentage of dogs that should be bred, that, yes, they most certainly are special when you find them.

Ang
This.
All our pets are special to us. But few make the grade to be a foundation bitch or stud for your future kennel.

I have 9 dogs here, rescued dogs, all extremely special to us. But being rescued, being altered, etc., they are not breed-worthy, they are pets.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Boomer is definitely special, and my first (not family) GSD. All my dogs are special. But breeding special? Not at all. (I actually had someone ask me if I planned on breeding Boomer because he has pretty coloring. They didn't think the paralysis thing was a big deal, and that it was a shame I neutered him ASAP) Thank you for all the input and expertise, please keep it coming!

I should clarify that if my future dogs will always be my family first, competition dogs next, then breeding dogs only if they do a good enough job in the first 2 areas. If my first dog is not exceptional enough that her breeding would benefit the GSD, I would not breed her, period. I'm hoping that with enough research I can maximize that possibility, but still unsure how to bring that up with the kennel. Can you have a non-breeding contract re-written if the dog show potential? I'm under the impression that dogs are given a non-breeding contract for a reason so I'm uncomfortable with this. I want to be straightforward with the breeder so that they can help me find the right dog, a working dog who is also family friendly and social that may be breeding material.
 

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I should clarify that if my future dogs will always be my family first, competition dogs next, then breeding dogs only if they do a good enough job in the first 2 areas. If my first dog is not exceptional enough that her breeding would benefit the GSD, I would not breed her, period. I'm hoping that with enough research I can maximize that possibility, but still unsure how to bring that up with the kennel. Can you have a non-breeding contract re-written if the dog show potential? I'm under the impression that dogs are given a non-breeding contract for a reason so I'm uncomfortable with this. I want to be straightforward with the breeder so that they can help me find the right dog, a working dog who is also family friendly and social that may be breeding material.
I believe some breeders who have non-breeding contracts and sell limited registration will lift that and switch to full registration once the dog is of a certain age and attains certain health certificates and/or titles, so yes this is possible and does happen. You can also just get full registration from the get-go. This is what I have done, as I am just not comfortable with someone else limiting what I can do with my dog. Now to date I have not bred, even my dogs that were purchase with no limits and full registration. I like to have that choice though, and not have to jump through someone else's hoops in order to get restrictions lifted later on, but I find that at least in the USA I seem to be in the minority and a lot of people will insist a breeder is not reputable *unless* they are selling limited registration. I am of the opinion that if a breeder does not like something about me or how they think I will treat the dog it is their right not to sell me a dog but once I buy a dog it is mine and I will decide what I can and cannot do with it.
 

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I think that many problems with the breed come from breeders who do not know what they are breeding because they do not prove their dogs against other great dogs.

If you are interested in being involved in tracking, obedience and agility, my advice is to buy the best dog you can find and become very active in those avenues. Become really competitive. You will learn so much more about the breed by doing and being involved. You will see and compete against great examples of the breed and you will be known for your passion. Along the way you will have your chance to make your mark on the breed. It is your active involvement in the breed that will make the difference.
 

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If you are interested in being involved in tracking, obedience and agility, my advice is to buy the best dog you can find and become very active in those avenues. Become really competitive. You will learn so much more about the breed by doing and being involved. You will see and compete against great examples of the breed and you will be known for your passion.
Exactly this.

Just from the bit I have done, I learned SO much that I never could have without actually being there. I'm not a breeder and I don't really compete anymore, but once you get out there and SEE the dogs, in training and in trialing, you get a series of "aha" moments that you can build upon for the rest of your career in dogs. May I ask how old you are?

My suggestion would be this: Get your first well-bred GSD to have fun and learn the ropes with. Don't expect him/her to be your breeding foundation--if works out, great, but don't EXPECT it. He/she is your learning dog. Get involved in every GSD-related event you can. Make connections with other GSD people. Listen, and watch everyone else train. Your goal at this point is education, not breeding.

Hopefully, through all these activities, you will be able to find a mentor. That is really the only way to learn how to become a breeder, IMO. It might be the breeder you got your dog from, or it might not. Some breeders are excited about helping new folks get into the breed, others are more wary of newcomers. If you get out there with your dog and prove that you are dedicated and serious, people are more likely to take you seriously, and you're more likely to find people willing to help.

And thank you for approaching things the RIGHT way!
 

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I am in my mid 20's right now, so I have many years ahead to learn the ropes, and make a positive difference. (I should point out that unlike most people my age I've been out of post-secondary for many years with a well-established career, married in a very stable relationship, and overall stable life. I have lived with, owned, and trained dogs my entire life and I'm on to my 3rd & 4th not family owned dog. I also understand that life will throw you punches and you just have to roll with them!) I have a few friends that I'm learning a lot of basic breeding info from (one breeds Golden Retrievers and one Cavalier King Charles Spaniels). I'm learning a tonne of info from this forum (including what not to do!), local events, trainers, and breeders, including the local GSD club. I'm going into this knowing that the first bitch I bring home may not be breeding quality, but I want to keep the possibility open that she will be. Is it wiser to spay her no matter how she does and just have fun? I would just hate to miss the opportunity if she turns out to be a great foundation girl. That being said, is it wrong to look for a great foundation bitch right away? I'm currently getting Boomer into tracking (other sports are out due to his wheelies) to get a feel for it. Because of the extra work that goes into caring for Boomer, my next dog will not be coming until after Boomer has moved on to bigger and better things (hopefully many years, but there's no shame in planning ahead)
 

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you have some good ideas . Just to comment on this ", is it wrong to look for a great foundation bitch right away" my answer would be yes and no and yes.
The very first thing you need to get is a foundation in understanding the breed , before a foundation breed bitch . There are some great threads on this forum - Ice Berg breeders , one on the Swedish mentality tests , another one on samples of good conformation , genetic obedience , many others .
So what dogs do you like so far?
 
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