We believe that with the creation of life comes responsibilities. Our primary reason for breeding, aside for our love of Norwich Terriers, is to breed better dogs. We take the utmost care and great pride in our breeding program. We very carefully consider temperament, health, genealogy and what will best represent the kennel club's written standard for our breed. From the litters we breed we plan to keep a puppy to show and perhaps breed one day to further our own breed line, if this puppy meets all our expectations.
We also believe that responsible breeders must participate in the forum of dog shows so they can reasonably assess their own stock, and that of others. You can not see faults in your own dogs if you have nothing to compare them with. Showing dogs is not just about competing and winning but about comparison and education so that ultimately a breeder can do what is best for the breed.
We consider our commitment to genetic health testing crucial to the well being of not only our own breed line, but the breed as a whole. We believe that the hallmark of a responsible breeder is if the breeder does genetic testing. Beware of anyone telling you that short legged terriers don't have any problems. Dogs are not perfect. The science that is available today permits us to make educated breeding decisions to breed better dogs. How can you know that your dogs do not have any problems if you have not tested them?
We strongly believe that Responsible Breeders, as a minimum, must:
Seeing that you are going to live with your puppy for many years to come, likely longer than the period that you will own your next car, it is well worth the time and effort to ensure that you are getting the quality that you expect. Take the time to get to know your breeder, and the breeder to know you, to make sure you get the right temperament dog for your lifestyle.
Here are a few web sites that deal with helping you find a Responsible Breeder. I do not advocate that any one is more correct than the other, rather use it as a resource to help you decide what you think would be the qualities of the breeder you want to deal with. Read on and I will tell you more specifically what I would consider as important.
Our Top 4 Warning Bells not to pursue getting a puppy from a prospective breeder:
If the aim of breeding dogs is to improve the stock then one of the responsibilities of breeders is to exhibit their stock in a forum where they can see and be seen. Only by showing others what we have can we objectively assess our own stock and compare it to other lines. Dog shows provide such a forum. Dog shows are where breeders and other enthusiasts come together and exchange ideas, educate one another and gain practical knowledge and information on their breeds. It’s not just about showing to win.
Foremost, we go to dog shows to be judged. However, people who assume that championships and show wins are guarantees of quality are only partially correct. Paramount to good breeding is health and genetics. Pedigrees alone don’t tell you much with regard to improving breeding lines unless a number of other factors are known including: colour; weight; congenital deformities in the litters; dimensions of skull and muzzle; familial diseases and temperament of dam and sire.
The simple reason why breeders should exhibit their dogs is so that they can objectively assess their and other’s breeding stock. You can not reasonably assess your breeding stock if you have nothing to compare it to. You must physically examine the other dogs. Pictures, videos and text articles outlining standards that are all valuable components to learning but can not replace the real McCoy. Picture and video can hide as much as they highlight. You can not truly know about structure and balance or gaiting from reading a book. You have to see it and feel it yourself. Grooming and expert handling also hide faults that can not be discovered without the opportunity to actually go over the dog yourself. You will not be able to tell your show puppies from the companion puppies. More important is that you will be better aware of what the breed standard means if for no one else than your self.
Dog shows provide an opportunity for breeders to meet other breeders. There is much to learn from others experience. Consider a medical issue that your line has been fortunate enough to not experience and all of a sudden it becomes an issue. Other breeders may have the knowledge that your experiences simply has not come across and save you your valuable time and effort. There is always another viewpoint to hear and incorporate, or condemn, in your own breeding program.
Dog shows are where breeders showcase their stud dogs. At a show you can meet a potential sire, get your hands on the dog and assess it for yourself. You can hear first hand from the breeder or his agent on how the stud dog has been producing. The conversation inevitably leads to valuable points of view that enhance your breed education. The pictures you have seen and word of mouth that you have heard may not do the stud dog justice. Now you can see for yourself.
Dog shows also provide an opportunity for the breeder to showcase their breeding stock. This is essential for other breeders so that they can do their own comparison. Showing your dogs is also advertising for your kennel. It brings awareness to the public and is educational for breed awareness.
A tell tale sign of a breeder who breeds in isolation or with little regard for the betterment of the breed are those pedigrees that indicate few, if any, champions, especially from the breeders stock. Pedigrees without champions may suggest a motive for breeding other than for betterment of the breed.
Let’s not forget the judge at the dog show. The judge’s comments can be an education if you are interested. Some judges are willing to point out your dog’s attributes and faults if you ask. Here is another experienced, educated eye to view our dog’s structure and movement.
Perhaps best of all, dog shows bring people together with the passion of the dog fancy. It is an opportunity for socialization of both you and your dogs. It is an opportunity to network. It is an opportunity to broaden your mind and your breeding education by asking questions.
Conclusion: If breeders don’t participate in the forum of dog shows they cannot reasonably assess their own stock, let alone others. They will be unable to see faults in their own dogs since they have nothing to compare with. They will have to guess on potential stud dogs suitability for their breeding or simply use outside studs blindly. Showing dogs is not just about competing and winning but about comparison and education and ultimately doing what is best for the breed.