Rehoming Retired Show Dogs.

I was going to make my first post something lighthearted and funny, since that seems to be what most people want to read.  I even took some pictures for it.   Then I realized that there is at least one thing  that’s been bugging me enough to want to talk about.


So, unfortunately, the lighthearted, goofy and funny is going to have to wait at least a little while.  You can find that post in the picture forum on dogforums if that’s what you want, though.


Every once in a while I run across someone who is condemning any breeder who rehomes adult dogs, after having finished them (put a conformation or working title on them) and used them in their breeding program.   The nature of that condemnation always seems to be about the same as is used for anyone who rehomes an animal: “You had them for years, and now you’re throwing them away.”


It always bemuses me, because those same people want a breeder who breeds between once every other year and twice a year (max),  and has a limited number of dogs in their home.   They also want someone who is ‘striving to better the breed’,  has a good reputation, and shows and titles the dogs they breed.  Okay, great.

Except that doesn’t work.

Even if you start with two bitches and use a stud dog or dogs,  and keep only a single puppy per litter (or even every other litter) you have somewhere between 7 within 5 years (don’t forget the original two!).  Then what?  What are your options?  Do you keep breeding dogs who are now 7+ years old?  Wouldn’t help with the ‘bettering the breed’ aspect, and it wouldn’t be fair for the senior dogs.  Do you keep the older dogs and keep the program moving with new ones,  and just let your numbers explode by keeping a puppy or two every year?   How much attention is that retired dog now getting in a houseful of puppies and dogs being shown (with travel and expense associated with both)?  Do you *stop* breeding? How far are you going to get over a matter of 5 or 6 litters, or a few generations?


I have a retired show dog.  I have a part-time retired show and current stud dog.  Their breeder didn’t throw them away.  Their breeder put them in a home where they would get time, attention, and a chance to be normal dogs, in a normal household.  Now, I’m not saying show dogs aren’t pets -at all- but at some point the dogs are in fact better off somewhere, where they get the time, energy, attention, focus, and aren’t part of a huge pack.


And the breeders?  They get to go on breeding, which is actually what we want them to be doing for breeds we love.  The implication that the breeders don’t love their dogs, don’t cry, don’t miss them, is baloney.  I’m not saying all do, of course, but the ones I’ve dealt with sure as heck haven’t forgotten the dogs they rehomed.  They’ve just recognized that for the good for their breeding program *and* the good of the individual dogs they needed to go to another home.


So, you know.  Condemn it if you want, but think carefully about your logic in doing so and reassess what exactly it is you consider a reputable breeder.   Pick what matters – keeping the dog for life, or an active breeding program,  active in showing and trialing, a good reputation and a vision they’re striving for.   The two are contradictory enough that you’re going to be hard pressed to find both, if it’s possible at all.

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