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Hi, I am very interested in becoming a breeder but I would first like to be an apprentice to one some I can find out how the process works and so forth. Does anyone know how I would go about finding a breeder in my area let alone finding one who is willing to take on an apprentice?
 

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first decide if you are more interested in showline or working line? is there a particular venue of competition that interests you most - mondio? conformation? agility? obedience?
Get involved with a local club that hosts such events and meet people. You will meet breeders there who you can network with.
 

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Well, I'd definitely like to train dogs so probably would be more interested in the working line. Do I have to be a part of a club or something to get into events like that or are they open to the public? Sorry, I know it's a stupid question but I really don't know much about things like this.
 

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Why?

what has been your experience to this point ?

the process is easy . Boy dog meet girl dog . Nature takes its course . Pups are born .

that is the easy part .

the real important stuff is first knowing what makes a good GSD. What is good conformation and why is it important.

what is the history - be aware of that this is not one breed - not since the 70's -- sport , show, working , and then specialty groups "ddr" - eastern-block .

in a mentor protege relationship with a breeder you should be prepared to come with some knowledge, some passion, some expectation that you are going to be worth the precious time spent on you .

indicate that you have dedication .

sounds like you know very little so far .

read the ice berg breeders thread for a start.
 

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Well, I'd definitely like to train dogs so probably would be more interested in the working line. Do I have to be a part of a club or something to get into events like that or are they open to the public? Sorry, I know it's a stupid question but I really don't know much about things like this.
What venue do you want to train dogs for? Do you have any previous experience? Have you ever owned a working line shepherd before?

I think you may be putting the cart before the horse, here...
 

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Well I know how to breed animals, that's pretty straight forward. I know that in order to have a great offspring you need to 1: make sure that the parents are both healthy and don't have any genetic diseases or disorders that can be passed down to the offspring and 2: make sure that the parents are not from the same family or closely related. Otherwise you just breed based on your preference. What I'm more concerned about is the business aspect of it and basically how I get your name out there, etc. I have done quite a bit of research on the breeding process and what not but I feel there are just some things you can only learn from experience and that's one of the reasons why I was looking to see if I could find someone that I could apprentice.
 

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Well I know how to breed animals, that's pretty straight forward. I know that in order to have a great offspring you need to 1: make sure that the parents are both healthy and don't have any genetic diseases or disorders that can be passed down to the offspring and 2: make sure that the parents are not from the same family or closely related. Otherwise you just breed based on your preference. What I'm more concerned about is the business aspect of it and basically how I get your name out there, etc. I have done quite a bit of research on the breeding process and what not but I feel there are just some things you can only learn from experience and that's one of the reasons why I was looking to see if I could find someone that I could apprentice.

not entirely true. There are times when linebreeding is a great thing, even a necessary thing. Second, you have to know more than that the parents are healthy. You need to know about as many other dogs in the pedigree as possible, inside and out. Aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. And not just about things that you can test for but cancer, longevity, even if they had allergy issues. Third, you don't breed on your preference until you have narrowed the list to pedigrees that will be a good match for your dog. You want to know which bloodlines are most likely to click well with your dog and what ones to avoid.

The "business aspect" is: if you want a lot of money breeding dogs, start with a whole lot more money and hope you have some left. Yes, you can make a profit in the overall big picture but you're not likely to be able to quit your day job. In the big picture, the money you profited on this litter will just be funneled back into the next one and possibly go up in smoke with one bad event. The end game is that if you are known in the venue you compete in and showcase your dogs' abilities, customers will follow.
 

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Well I know how to breed animals, that's pretty straight forward. I know that in order to have a great offspring you need to 1: make sure that the parents are both healthy and don't have any genetic diseases or disorders that can be passed down to the offspring and 2: make sure that the parents are not from the same family or closely related. Otherwise you just breed based on your preference. What I'm more concerned about is the business aspect of it and basically how I get your name out there, etc. I have done quite a bit of research on the breeding process and what not but I feel there are just some things you can only learn from experience and that's one of the reasons why I was looking to see if I could find someone that I could apprentice.
The highlighted comments are so so so far from reality it is sad. There are tens of dozens of commercial and backyard breeders who flood the market with puppies who have no real knowledge of the breed, no vision of the ideal for which they are striving and absolutely no idea of what they are actually producing other than a dollar amount that the litter will net.

To breed responsibly, respectably and knowledgeably....one has to LEARN about the breed, the types, the history of the dogs who are commonly seen in pedigrees....one has to know what traits are associated with dogs who have been prepotent and bred so much that they are going to show up in a high percentage of dogs today....one has to learn pedigrees, look at dogs training and trialing and learn to recognize traits and where they come from.....one has to train a few dogs and see how the pedigree aspect manifests itself in the live dog in front of you.

One has to understand prepotency, nicks and backmassing. One has to understand the blueprint for the ideal dog and strive to bring together the aspects without overloading some or losing others in an attempt to produce that dog. One has to understand the temperament and health issues common and try to understand where they come from and avoid or overcome them by balance in the pedigree with animals who do not have those issues known in their lines.

And there are some sucessful breeders who believe - and I am NOT a preponent of this - one has to cull undesirable traits!!! In a discussion with a very experienced breeder, about why I would not use a dog with X and Y combined with my female lines, his solution was to cull puppies who did not meet his acceptable temperament criteria at 8 weeks....I breed to avoid producing anything that is so extreme that I would have to make that choice, but others find it acceptable to cull in order to meet their goals.... to me this is a shortcut and shows little concern for the overall health and future of the breed....the genes are still there and this does nothing productive except keep the failures out of the public hands which should not have been produced if the person actually had a passion for the breed rather than for the bottom line.

There is much much much more to breeding than buying a couple of dogs in Europe who have credentials, making up a kennel name and coming up wiht a marketing plan to sell puppies


Lee
 

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Most breeders I've seen do not making a living off selling dogs, the only ones I know of that make a living off dogs at all are the ones that train, and breed, with most of the money coming from training, and most of them have some money to start with. You would first have to prove yourself as a decent trainer and have a remarkable, titled dog before you even think of breeding. No sport dog person is going to buy a dog from a new breeder who has breeding dogs with no titles or training experience. I would imagine show lines are the same way. Anything outside of that would be what most consider back yard breeding and anyone with a male and female dog can do that
 

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I wouldn't call myself a breeder yet, but I have my first litter on the ground right now. This was my process. I grew up with GSD's, and always had a passion for them. When getting out of the military the first thing I did was get a GSD and started training. For a year I apprenticed six days a week for a behaviorist and PPD trainer. I also joined my local IPO club and became a helper. I started reading books on the breed as well as behavior and other things, starting with Max Stephanitz book. I was trying to get an understanding of his idea for the breed. As a helper I got to not just watch dogs but started to see how they worked.I started researching the pedigrees of both the dogs I liked, and the dogs I didn't like. I started to see some common things. I then switched sports and started working different styles of GSD's. I was an on staff decoy for a breeder who has their own training program. Even though I didn't have much to do with their breeding program, I new all their breeding dogs in and out. I had lengthy discussions with them about dogs and pedigrees. Now I don't agree with a lot of how they do things, but I still learned a lot. At this point I'm a decoy for multiple venues. I've worked somewhere between 500-1000 dogs. I've studied pedigrees on a lot of them. Trying to learn what makes them tick. Why they do the things they do. This forum and some of the well respected breeders on here have been a big help. I talk to them, ask opinions. Follow their programs and how they are doing. Research their dogs. All I was doing was gathering information. Trying to decide the types of dogs I wanted to breed. Once I had the right female. I started searching for a male that was enough like her to produce the types of dogs I wanted while being able to strengthen her faults. I spent over a year searching out males. Talking to breeders I respect about the possible match before even contacting the stud owner. I finally found one that I was excited about. Trying to balance health, aggression, off switch, prey , defense, thresholds and so on has been extremely difficult. I have to leave for work, so I'm cutting it short. But as far as making a living off it, I can tell you that I have three litters with my female, I might break even. That's if I don't have any complications.
 

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There is no point in getting your name out until you have something to sell. I like that you want to apprentice, but make sure you find a quality breeder. Stay away from back yard breeders or you will learn nothing. Find a breeder whose dogs and progeny are titled. Work as a kennel helper for two years. Once you have actually taken care of a dozen litters of puppies, then decide if you want to become one. Expect that you will lose money. Not one of my breeder friends makes a profit. The last breeder I bought from does, but has 30 years experience in breeding and IPO. She is also not a close friend which is why I said what I did.
 

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The fact is it will be at least a few years before you set your first breeding and probably won't be the first dog you buy. Ideally here's how it would go. Figure out exactally what venue you will train in and have your breeding stock prove itself in. With gsd its usually IPO. It combines tracking high level obedience and protection. The next step is to find a club that you can go to at least once a week. Then before you even have dog join the club. For a while watch learn and decide if you can make this kind of a time commitment not just the weekly club meeting but spending at least a couple hours every day working your dog getting up to track as well as the financial commitment of paying for club dues extra 1 on 1 sessions and the competitions. If you are still ready for all this, interested and willing then it's time to get a pup. Most likely someone at the club will be glad to help you find a breeder. You need to get your hands on the best possible bitch you can because if you do start breeding she will be your foundation stock. A nice female is hands down the most important thing to be a good breeder at least in my opinion. The bitch will carry your litter and be 50% of the genetic material of the pups and on top of all that she imprints her personality on the pup while raising them for 8 weeks. But before you can breed you need to title the dog make sure she passes all her health clearances and really make the decision of whether or not she is worth breeding. Is she going to make the breed better. If the dog is good and works great has a good temperment and is tittled will have no trouble finding amazing sire that you can breed her with.
As for getting your named out there competition will take care of it. If your bitch is a good worker Pete will want those pups especially when she is paired with a well known high level stud
 

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Well I know how to breed animals, that's pretty straight forward. I know that in order to have a great offspring you need to 1: make sure that the parents are both healthy and don't have any genetic diseases or disorders that can be passed down to the offspring and 2: make sure that the parents are not from the same family or closely related. Otherwise you just breed based on your preference. What I'm more concerned about is the business aspect of it and basically how I get your name out there, etc. I have done quite a bit of research on the breeding process and what not but I feel there are just some things you can only learn from experience and that's one of the reasons why I was looking to see if I could find someone that I could apprentice.
From personal experience, the only breeders that I trust are the ones that actually have a vested interest in raising and training healthy specimens (outside of simple financial incentives). If you're only focused on the business aspect of breeding, I'd say that you're getting into it for the wrong reasons. And while I've never bred any dogs, there seems to be more to it than just finding healthy bitches and sires.

IMHO, you're better off learning about how to train and raise dogs prior to stepping into any sort of breeding role...there are far too many uninformed, money-driven breeders as it is. The last thing the GSD community needs is yet another one of those.
 

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You need to know and understand GSD before you attempt to breed GSD. Get a nice dog, work it, title it, get the health tests, be VERY honest about the dog (no rose colored glasses) and then, MAYBE, breed it. Of course this dog, female, may very likely NOT be the best for breeding so you end up doing the same with the next female. To know the GSD takes years and it is not accomplished through breeding. You should put in the miles before breeding or don't breed.
 

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silentbob "What I'm more concerned about is the business aspect of it and basically how I get your name out there"

this will never , ever, ever, produce one good dog.

you want to talk to an account.

usually a good breeder is so passionately involved , that this is the last of their worries .

even when you have a litter you can't count your chickens before they hatch . So many things could happen.
Fading puppies, parvo, dam accidently getting one underneath her , quarantees honored or even a female sent out to breed and coming up barren . You may get another opportunity to breed to the male -- MAY -- but you are paying twice for the transportation and boarding etc etc.

There isn't much financial reward at the end to worry about it.

if you produce good dogs your reputation will precede you.

if you produce bad dogs your reputation will precede you.

What you do and how you do will put your name out there.

I would find it really difficult to mentor someone who has the wrong priorities.

You need to show your sincere interest in the breed .
 

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Locally to me, there are a few GSD breeders that can't sell their pups because they are not representing themselves in training, trialing or working what they are breeding. They put high price on them to try to be in the same game level as the ones that are actually doing it right.
So, at 8-9 weeks of age, pups are still with the breeder...pups will probably go up in price because there is some training time, vetting invested. But this type of breeder is not going to be sought out when it comes to someone in sport, work or other venue wants a pup. The pups they breed will go to pet homes and then the breeders name won't be known because the pet person won't represent the kennel name by training, titling or working the dog.
The ones that want to train, show, trial, work their dogs will go with the breeder that has a proven program and produces dogs that can excel in the venue that they are interested in. And that breeder will have pups reserved before they are even whelped.
 

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Well I know how to breed animals, that's pretty straight forward. I know that in order to have a great offspring you need to 1: make sure that the parents are both healthy and don't have any genetic diseases or disorders that can be passed down to the offspring and 2: make sure that the parents are not from the same family or closely related. Otherwise you just breed based on your preference. What I'm more concerned about is the business aspect of it and basically how I get your name out there, etc. I have done quite a bit of research on the breeding process and what not but I feel there are just some things you can only learn from experience and that's one of the reasons why I was looking to see if I could find someone that I could apprentice.

I have been a breeder since 1994. I've been 'in' dogs since 1986. Before I even thought about being a breeder I trained my dogs, titled my dogs and learned as much as I could. When I was ready to become a breeder doors opened to help and support me. To mentor me in learning all about what I needed to know. First piece of advice was to know my pedigrees. That didn't mean the pedigrees of my own dogs, but of the dogs out there that had titles, to know the dogs generations behind them. To know the strengths of all these dogs and their faults/weaknesses.


In 32 years of breeding I can't say I ever made any money. It costs money for vet bills, for hotels and eating out in order to go to shows or trials, for health tests that are needed, for good food, for training classes.


If you want to apprentice than you need to start training and titling your dog. Talk to people in the sport you choose and begin learning from them from the start. Don't talk about wanting to breed until you've proven yourself as a trainer who titles your dogs and understands the breed, the breed nuances, the good and the bad about them. There is so much more to breeding than what you've stated. You didn't mention structure or temperament, two very important things you really need to understand.
 

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