After spending many days surfing the web in
search of good web sites that provide some kind of definitions for each of
the "breeder" categories, I found that although most seem to agree in
general "theory" they are still not fully definitive on some of the most
For example, most of them classify anyone that produces a lot of puppies as
a "puppy mill" while unintentionally confusing many Backyard Breeders with
honest Hobby Breeders or even drawing a comparison between
Back Yard Breeder vs. the Responsible Hobby Breeder
without placing sufficient emphasis on the true Reputable Experienced
Breeders (REB) that make up the backbone of most of the breeds that we still
have in existence!
Please take some time to visit a few of these
Due to the varied
descriptions, I decided that it was time to prepare a clear comparison chart
that would list the main characteristics of each category! Hopefully the
breeder matrix listed below will give you an opportunity to better realize
some of the most distinct features within each group.
Please click on the chart to view an enlarged version. To print this version,
please set your printer to landscape..
Although each of the above categories may be helpful, they still don't cover
all of the grey areas that are involved when we choose to discuss the term
definition that I could find for that word was from a speech given by Peggy
Adamson before the Annual Symposium of the "National Dog Owners and Handlers
Association" in February 1969 and published in their newsletter. It has been
reprinted on the Clearview Rottweiller website and is titled "What
is a Breeder". If you have ever wondered whether the person you
purchased your dog from should have the right to wear that title, reading
this entire article will certainly provide you with all of the answers you
could ever hope to understand!
"The breeder is the mainspring of the dog world. Without the breeder,
there would be no dogs. Without the dogs, there would be no kennel
clubs, no dog shows, no judges, no handlers, no trainers, no dog
food companies, no dog publications. Despite their importance, the
breeder represents a very small segment of the dog world, which in
turn, creates the dog business. Furthermore, they are the ones who
seldom, if ever, make a profit, even in the most popular breeds; and
since they cannot take a livelihood from their breeding activites,
they must be able to rely on some other source of income. Why then,
do people ever become Breeders?? A breeder has, in his mind, a
perfect dog that he someday hopes to create. He presses on to breed
his ideal dog, unfettered by desires to be a conformist, or to
pander to the buying public. Like the artist or sculptor, he is
activated by a creative, inner drive which is totally unaffected by
considerations of what will sell or what won't. Unlike the sculptor
however, he is working with living flesh and is constantly fighting
time. He can never put his work away and come back to it later. The
raw material on which he labors is constantly changing - sometimes
for the better, sometimes for the worse; sometimes as a result of
his efforts and sometimes in spite of them. Nature and Time are his
greatest adversaries, yet when he least expects it, they may prove
to be his greatest allies. The sculptor can use the chisel to chip
away at his mistakes, but it may take years for the breeder to see
where he has made a mistake - a mistake which in some cases may
never be remedied. True breeders speak the same language, whatever
their breed. Without the slightest previous communication, they
discover that they think the same way, they have the same ideals and
goals and standards of behavior and the same awareness of
responsibility. Like the Beautiful People in the social world, they
immediately recognize each other - not because they know each
other's names or who they are, but because as kindred spirits they
realise what they are."
Now to further expand on the
characteristics of which we should all be aware, that are prominent within
these various groups, let's take a more detailed look at the
Back Yard Breeder
A large percentage of "purebred" puppies come from these self
proclaimed "breeders" and most of the dogs found in shelters would not
be there if it were not for such people constantly producing "a" litter
of "pets" every now & then!!
One of the main characteristics that these people seem to share is
in their NON (or self made -fake) club affiliation! Most
will not qualify for membership into the real parent club, nor local
chapter because of their irresponsible breeding practices! Some
may have actually been suspended from the AKC and are now using
"generic" registries to provide "papers" for the pups they are peddling!
A few of these people have even gone to the trouble of learning some
"dog people" terminology, just enough to fool you with!!
Don't be fooled by such hype as
DNA testing: all that means is that the person can "prove" the
parentage (sire and dam) of any particular puppy! If they own the
parents or have witnessed the breeding (if their bitch was transported
to the stud) why would they feel that they had to prove who the parents
were? Was the bitch out running loose with other males or could they
have so many dogs housed together that they can't keep track of who got
whom? I would be very concerned in either case.
recent years the explosion of genetic knowledge and technology has
brought genetic science front and center, providing a variety of
products and services that touch the lives-- and pocketbooks-- of
the general public. Dog breeders find themselves faced with
decisions on whether or not to have their dogs DNA tested for
various things. Those letters-- DNA-- are uttered regularly on news
programs and are likely to turn up almost anywhere in your daily
newspaper, with the possible exception of the real estate section.
The problem with all the mass media coverage and subsequent
word-of-mouth between people who suddenly find themselves (or their
dogs) personally connected with the subject, is that misinformation
and misunderstandings abound. This article is an attempt to dispel
some of the misunderstandings which have surfaced.>>
Extreme health testing:
Each breed has its own list of potential genetic diseases. The
Congenital Defects Halted by Only By Selective Breeding
a short chart that you may find helpful. For example, there has
never been a verified case of Collie Eye, Basenji Syndrome, or
Obstructed Breathing (common in dogs like the Boston terrier,
boxer, English bulldog, Pekingese, pug, and brachycephalic breeds)
reported in the Shiloh Shepherd.
Therefore, why would I even want to test my dogs for diseases that they
couldn't possibly even have? Sounds like a bit of a scam to me! The ISSR
(my breed's registry) is actively working with the Shiloh Shepherd
Genetic Task Force to determine the extent & severity of any breed
diseases reported in the Shiloh Shepherd. Please visit
don't forget to read the articles listed on our Learning Center:
Nevertheless BYB's and Puppy Mills often like to make exaggerated
claims in order to impress potential buyers. It's definitely a BUYER
<<Unfortunately, we have yet to establish sound medical guidelines
to determine testing protocols for these conditions. Although
testing for SAS is more reliable in that the absence of a murmur and
a low blood velocity probably clears an animal, there is the
question of the age at which this test should be done to make sure
that the individual really is clear.>>
Fantastic working quality--unless the breeder is or has been
working with, a Reputable Experienced Trainer--how can they possibly
make such claims, especially if none of their dogs are titled? By the
way, if they claim to be "a trainer" be sure to ask for proof regarding
all of the dogs they have titled! BYB's and Puppy Mills will often point
to a few titled dogs in the pedigree, but unless each specific animal
used actually possesses the required traits and has been proven capable
of passing them on to their progeny, that paper means nothing! It may
not even be accurate! Scam artists have been known to falsify titles or
even entire pedigrees just to ensure a quick sale.
<<This directory contains links to online resources featuring the
highest quality informational and educational materials related to
the sporting and working breeds and their owners, breeders, and
trainers. Select your area of interest in the drop down menu below
and click on "GO!" to browse descriptions and links to all of the
web sites publishing information of interest to you.>>
the 52.9 million dogs who live in the United States, approximately 2.9
million of them are killed in shelters annually (AVMA, 1998, and AHA,
1998). Where do all these dogs come from? Puppy mills churn
out 20% of the total number of dogs whelped yearly, and roughly 1% are
the results of feral dogs reproducing on their own. Less than 12%
come from breeders who actively test their stock in conformation,
obedience, and field trials. Backyard breeders, or people who
breed their dogs without testing and certifying their stock, produce
nearly 67% of all the dogs born annually in this country (Gardner,
<<Euthanasia is the single largest cause of death for dogs in the
year 27 million of the animals are born. Five to ten million we
"surplus" and kill. That's about one million per month. These
numbers do not include the millions of dead dogs whose bodies we
scrape off the streets, or the hundreds of thousands of abandoned,
severely neglected or abused ones who
never make it to our shelters to be counted and killed. The five to
ten million figure represents those we "must" kill because they are
Most of these animals are young and healthy; in fact, it is
estimated that a majority are less than one year of age. The problem
is simple: we have too many dogs. Too many for the too few homes
available. The solution we have opted for is to kill the extras.
This solution has been considered acceptable
by default, as though there were no other way to control the crisis.
And we spend over $1 billion every year destroying "man's best
Why is this happening in the United States today? The number one
contributor to the problem is the backyard breeder not the puppy
is a name that has become unpopular and no one wants to admit they
are a backyard breeder. Many people do not even realize they are
part of the problem. This is what I need to address in this post.
The only way to stop
the needless killing of dogs is to stop the needless breeding of
Rescue - Are you a BackYard Breeder?
How do we stop backyard breeders?! Where there is no demand there will be
no supply. If the public stops buying from backyard breeders those
breeders will no longer continue to breed uncertified and unhealthy
animals! They will be put out of business. Remember, the only reason
that they breed their dogs is NOT to do you a favor but instead to make
Sandmark Dobermans - Backyard Breeder page
<<Back yard breeders tend not to breed the best quality dogs. It
is questionable whether they will test the dogs before breeding for
genetic issues. Do you want to support someone who really does not have
the best interest of the breed at heart - though they may think they
2. Puppy Mills, just what are they?? The
Internet seems to be full of horror stories depicting these establishments
as "hell holes" that mass produce puppies for pet shops, or to brokers
that are waiting to stuff them into vans & transport these sickly
puppies to auction houses!!
Welcome To Puppy Mill Fighters!
Yet this is not necessarily so!! Some of the "higher class" operations
have been turned into "Commercial Kennels" that are licensed by the USDA,
yet the genetic quality of the puppies they produce has not changed!
Often the basic BYB will get so excited about the profits they can attain if
only they would produce more puppies, and in turn they too end up becoming
nothing more then a "mill" selling "home raised" "pet quality" puppies of
questionable genetic heritage to the unsuspecting consumer!!
Get the Facts on Puppy Mills
John Q Dog Owner probably thinks of puppy mills as those places exposed on
"20/20" or "Geraldo". They have seen the cameras pan back and forth over
trash, piles of feces, dogs with runny noses and oozing sores, dogs crammed
into shopping carts and tiny coops, rats sharing dirty food bowls and dry
dishes. They've seen the puppy mill owner captured on tape, dirty, barely
articulate, and ignorant of dog care, temperament, genetic health, or proper
nutrition. He's belligerent, too, demanding to be left alone to earn his
But is the television crew simply seeking the sensational and applying these
appalling conditions to the entire dog producing industry? Just what is a
Commercial Breeders: These people are
licensed and continuously inspected by the USDA, yet there is still a vast
contrast regarding the quality they are producing. Many of the present
ones are nothing more then glorified puppy mills, that have "cleaned up"
their act. While others were forced, by the state, into attaining a
license due to the number of dogs that they owned/bred. Some of
these are excellent facilities operated by long time show/performance
professional that should actually be listed under the REB definition!!
formulating these recommendations, committee members spent a year doing
field work that included an open meeting with high volume breeders and
members of the fancy and visits to commercial kennels and the headquarters
of a national pet store chain. Among the findings were:
“Sometimes, the lines between commercial, performance and AKC show
breeders overlap. Most commercial kennels breed strictly for the pet trade,
but during the term of the committee, it was interesting to note that a
couple large commercial kennels regularly produce AKC champions. One
large-scale stock dog kennel produced titleholders in conformation, agility
As the legislation concerning pet ownership & breeding rights
continues to flourish, more Hobby Breeders and honest REB's will be forced
into becoming "Commercial Pet Dealers" in order to retain the right to
continue with their private breeding goals, while others may be lost
to the fancy forever!!
usually only have a few litters per year; they always work with a national
breed club, try to place puppies in optimal home environments, provide
excellent care to their dogs and puppies and have a written contract with
their puppy buyers. They list their litters on their websites, without fear
of the USDA. Dedicated Hobby Breeders are members in good standing
with the parent club for their respective breed. They never attempt to start
"splinter" clubs or "fake" registries, nor would they consider using any of
the "puppy mill" registries now in existence Instead they work hard within
their particular organization in order to help their parent club attain the
goals that have been set for their beloved breed. All
Hobby Breeders have continually worked with, and often are still working
with one or more mentors within their chosen breed!
If they can't answer a question for you, they can certainly refer you
to a real REB that can do it for them!
<<It is an interesting fact that poor quality pups from pet shops
and backyard breeders are usually sold for the same price and
sometimes even more than those purchased from the serious hobby
breeder. All three of the above breeders sell puppies that are AKC
registerable--this is not an assurance of quality or dedication to
the breed. So, the question is: How does one recognize the serious,
dedicated hobby breeder? Prepared below is criteria that you should
require your breeder to meet before you consider purchasing your
purebred dog. Do not be afraid to confront them with these
requirements. It is your RIGHT and you can rest assured that the
dedicated breeder will respond positively and with pride.
Your Breeder should: Belong to a local breed club or a national all-breed club.
Ideally, he or she belongs to several. However, sometimes this is
impossible if there is no local breed club in the area. The reason
for this requirement is that this sort of participation indicates
depth of involvement. This breeder is exposed to other points of
view, learns more about his breed, general dog care, modern breeding
practices and is kept up to date. He is breeding in accordance with
a Code of Ethics. Be involved in showing their dog(s). This means that your
breeder is not breeding in a vacuum. The breeder who does not show
has no idea how good his dogs really are and is deprived of the
opportunity to share information and ideas with others. Showing
provides the competition which encourages breeders to produce better
dogs. The breeder who shows wants to prove how good his dogs are in
competition and is putting his breeding program on the line. He is
not relying on just a pedigree to indicate quality. Even though you
do not want a show dog, you deserve a pet that is the end result of
a carefully planned litter--a pup which received the same care as a
potential champion. The Breeder who is known by others and has a
reputation to uphold will undoubtedly be as careful and honest in
selling you your pet as he is in selling his show dogs.>>
Any person that claims to be a hobby breeder, but does not meet the criteria
listed above is nothing more then a self deluded
oxymoron, a/k/a BYB!
Investigate before you Invest your love & money into that new furbaby!!
link may help you to better understand some of the issues a real Hobby
Breeder must deal with! Even though it was written for my
breed, it can be applied to any breed, just replace the ISSR with the AKC
and compare the fake registries that we have to content with to the
now being used by the Puppy Millers!!
Want to stop the problem of killing 1 Million dogs a month all over
Spay or neuter your pet dog now and tell everyone you know to do the
same and leave the breeding to the people who are doing something to
better the breed.
Then find someone who lives up to all of it and ask them to be your
How many litters does a breeder have to have before being considered an
They should have bred at least one good litter that they can brag on.
This will gain them credibility.
They should have had at least one litter that looked great on paper but
turned out to be a disaster. This will teach humility.
They should have held (God forbid!) at least one deformed puppy and wept
as it slipped into the calm, silent quiet of death. This will provide
the heart to be very careful to do everything possible to not see it
They should have studied the lines and the traits and the greats and the
problems each has produced and read all the books they can get their
hands on. This will give them knowledge.
Last of all, they should have consulted the greats in the breed and
never, never consider themselves to be experienced breeders.Author Unknown
overview of everything that has been discussed thus far, please click on
types of dog breeders. You will also find more great links at the bottom
of this page too!!
5. It is extremely hard to locate a viable description of a
Reputable Experienced Breeder!
Therefore I would like to take some
time here to provide you with a comparison of a REB against all of the
"other types" of breeders that you will run into in your search for your
future companion. REBs have a long term breeding plan and breed only to
preserve and protect the breed in order to establish their own particular
"strain" within that breed, or in rare instances, work many decades towards
developing their own rare breed like:
Joanne Chayni of
had never written an article in my life before this, but from 1975 until
1993 I was the editor. Lynda moved in with us in 1992 and started to help
out. I finally convinced her that she would be a great editor and I bowed
out. I have held an executive position of some kind or another in this club
since I first took on the job of 2nd VP until now.
As of 2002 the FCI has recognized the Berger Blanc Suisse White German
Shepherd Dog Club International, Inc.™.
Please be sure to follow all of the links.
Bragg and his
Seppala Sled Dogs
AT LAST Seppalas have recognition as a breed in their own right,
sponsored by a federally-chartered animal pedigree association, The Working
Canine Association of Canada. By the efforts of two lifelong protectors of
Seppalas, they now have "evolving breed" status with Agriculture and
If you have some extra time on your hands, you may be inclined to do a
google search on
Google Search: Jeffrey Bragg+genetics !! His articles can be found
on all of the best sites, right next to the other greats of our time!!
Tina M. Barber and her special
popularity of these magnificent dogs skyrocketed quickly! It seemed
like, nearly everyone wanted a German Shepherd. This brought the
"backyard breeders" out in droves. They quickly outnumbered the
dedicated conscientious breeders, and "flooded" the market with inferior
quality animals that should never have been bred. The results
from their actions can be seen everywhere. I never intended to "change"
the breed, my goals back then were to preserve the "type" that I
was so in love with. The big, mentally sound, beautiful dogs I
grew up with!
For a complete Bio on Tina and the development of her Shilohs since 1962,
please visit our
It's not about "facilities"
(location)--the best litters often are literally born in a barn. Older
REB's have been around so long they have forgotten more than most Hobby
Breeders will ever have time to learn. Yet you can always recognize
their pedigrees will show a plan!!
You will always be able to spot their
in nearly every generation ... no matter how far back you go!!
Just take a look at the list of "Special
Shilohs" and "honorable
Mention" dogs on Tina's web site!
Please note that Tina originally used the Konigin Kennel prefix from
1962-1974, the Shiloh Shepherds™
kennel name from 1974 until 1990 when the dogs were recognized as a rare
breed and the Zion prefix from 1991 until the present. She thus only had a
period of 16 years to establish the Shiloh prefix.
REBs are always ........
1. Members (in good standing) of their specific (chosen breed)
national/local breed club
2. Have established their own line/strain and have attained a reputation for
those accomplishments (like JC has done with Hoofprint, and the many others
that can be easily identified as the "forerunners" within their particular
3. Are always attending shows/trials/events where they provide seminars,
judging services, or just mentor the future (Hobby) Breeders ;-)
In your search for a Bernese Mountain Dog, please make sure that the
breeder belongs to the national club...The Bernese Mountain Dog Club
of America or a regional berner club. Don't hesitate to ask for
references and please check them.
Select a breeder that you trust!
As a general rule, better known breeders will have a better
reputation for quality, experience and reliability - that's how they
got to be so well recognized.
The genetic background is what made your puppy.
This knowledge takes years and years of breeding experience from
particular genetic lines. Breeders with less experience and pedigree
(family history) knowledge should be mentored by an experienced
breeder with the genetic knowledge in your puppy's pedigree.
Just like everything else in life, whether you are a breeder, a
teacher, a nurse, a doctor, or stay at home mom/dad; there is no
substitute for "experience" and "knowledge"
REB's will research pedigrees to try and improve upon their own dogs
as well as add to the breed as a whole. Responsible breeders have a goal
they breed towards, they do not breed just to see what will be produced.
A REB has a working knowledge of the genetics behind the dogs (colors,
health issues, etc.)
In other words .... a REB is a "pro" PERIOD ... A Hobby Breeder is working
*with* one or more REB's within their breed of choice, so that someday they
may attain that lofty title too ........ the rest are?? Well, you tell me
A true REB will understand things like:
DisequilibriumGenes found on the same chromosome will fail to assort
independently in accordance with Mendelian principles. Such genes
are said to be in a state of linkage disequilibrium. This simple
fact has a devastating effect in artificial selection, since it
means in practice that when a breeder selects for or against any
single-gene trait whatever, whether he is aware of the fact or not
he is also selecting for or against every other gene located on the
same chromosome. This is how genetic defects become rapidly fixed in
inbred populations subjected to artificial selection. Since dogs
have only 78 chromosomes [diploid number) but many thousands of
genes, obviously linkage disequilibrium can be tremendously
influential. Genes that are linked eventually become unlinked over
time [except in certain special situations) through crossing over, a
process whereby chromosome pairs exchange segments of their DNA
structure during meiosis. The unlinking process however, is slow and
unpredictable; it offers little hope of remedying the linkage
disequilibrium problem in a few generations and of course is no help
at all where deleterious alleles have already become fixed.
Purebreed Dog Breeds into the Twenty-First Century; Achieving
Genetic Health for Our Dogs.
assume any breed has reached the peak of its development is as
shortsighted as for a breeder to assume that among his dogs there is
no room for improvement. . . . even if we assume present day
shorthairs are what we want. It will take sound breeding to keep
them up to that level. Breed deterioration due to unwise breeding
has occurred in several breeds.>>
Peas 'n Pups:
<<Breeders are the custodians of their breed's past and future.
"Above all, do no harm" is a primary oath of all medical
professionals. Genetic tests are powerful tools, and their use can
cause significant positive or negative changes. Breeders should be
counseled on how to utilize test results for the best interests of
The Effects of Genetic Testing: Constructive or Destructive
take a moment to read a few words from Dr. Padgett:
You can prevent autosomal recessive [single-gene] genetic diseases
every time you breed if you know what genes your dogs have. Dealing
with polygenic or multifactorial traits is not so straightforward,
but again, if you have the information you need, within a few
generations most of the genes that are severe can be diluted to the
point where they do not make much of an impact.
GDC: But realistically, if I can breed a litter of puppies
free of a particular disease gene for the cost of two DNA tests, one
for each parent, isn't that worth it?
Padgett: It is, of course, for that trait. But every breed
has dozens of diseases, and all dogs are carrying several disease
We have to realize that focusing our attention on tests for single
genes may give us the feeling that we are on the edge of solving the
problem, but the reality is that we will always be dealing with two
sets of as many as five or six disease genes in any two dogs we want
You can breed two phenotypically normal dogs who test genetically
free of PRA and get a litter of puppies with no PRA, but with a
range of other genetic diseases determined precisely by the genes
the parents were carrying.>>
An Interview with Dr. George A. Padgett
"Up to 10 million healthy animals are killed in U.S. pounds and
shelters every year. The killing could easily be prevented by
spaying and neutering.
Euthanasia is the single largest cause of
death for dogs in the U.S. Each
year 27 million of the animals are born. Five to ten million we
classify as "surplus" and kill.
That's about one million per month. These numbers do not
include the millions of dead dogs whose
bodies we scrape off the streets, or
the hundreds of thousands of abandoned,
severely neglected or abused ones
who never make it to our
shelters to be counted and killed. The five to ten
million figure represents those we "must"
kill because they are unwanted.
Most of these animals are young and
healthy; in fact, it is estimated that a
majority are less than one year of age.
The problem is simple: we have too
many dogs. Too many for the too few homes available. The solution we
have opted for is to kill the
extras. This solution has been considered
acceptable by default, as
though there were no other way to control the crisis. And we
spend over $1 billion every year
destroying "man's best friend."
Why is this happening in the United
States today? The number one biggest
contributor to the problem is the
backyard breeder not the puppy mills.
This is a
name that has become unpopular and no one wants to admit they are a
backyard breeder. Many people do not even
realize they are part of the
problem. This is what I need to address in this post. The only way to
stop the needless killing of
dogs is to stop the needless breeding of them.
Every breed of dog recognized by the AKC
has a written standard, a blueprint
of what the dog should look like and act
like. These standards were written
so that all would know what a quality example of the breed is and
strive to produce dogs that meet
or exceed the standard in health, temperament and
appearance. To be sure you are breeding
dogs that meet these standards,
your dogs must be judged by
people who have a lifetime of experience among the
The author of this article
refers to AKC dogs and the importance of breeding to their Breed
In the rare breed world
things are a little different. There seems to be more dissension among the
breed clubs and less likelihood of consistency within the breeders. Many
have chosen one of these breeds in order to avoid the scrutiny of legitimate
REB's within the breed, thus avoiding accountability problems as well as to
just cash in on some extra money.
However, in my breed--the Shiloh Shepherd™,
such BYB's have me (the Breed Founder) to contend with and if they refuse to
conform to the
Licensed Breeders Agreement their only other potential alternative is to
print off their own fake registrations in order to fool some potentially
foolish consumers that have not taken the time to protect their investment
by investigating our breed. We have an extremely powerful club with several
websites that are constantly being expanded with additional
educational articles in order to protect future Shiloh Shepherd™
owners from such dissidents. We also have an
forum that we invite all seekers to join, read, and ask any questions
that they may think of that we have not already answered via the thousands
of informative pages we have made available.
Nevertheless I feel that positive legislation
is important to protect the future welfare of our entire canine population.
Many of the laws that have already been passed have not done much to stop
the puppy millers, nor the BYBs!! However, some have been very
detrimental to the good Hobby Breeders that could be forced to abandon their
former goals. Please be sure to bookmark this page so that you can return to
read part 2 of this article that will deal with the various new
legislation that has already been passed and laws that are now being voted
upon in your area!
We hope to share as much information as we
can, in order to better equip you to make your stand so that you can help
all of us make a difference!
For additional information,
please read these articles: