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For the love of the breed.

Posted by debbie on 10/24/2013
FOR THE LOVE OF THE BREED. Why did you choose that breed ? We all would have different answers to that question. Big, small, tall, short. long nose, short flat nose on and on. I particularity like the flat nose types. Chows and Pekingese breeds. We all are attracted to a certain look. After serving a dedicated 20 years to the beautiful AKC Chow Chow breed, I have been asked why that breed? It's an interesting story. I didn't pick the breed but my daughter did. We were driving in Southern California and my 12 year old daughter saw a stray Chow walking down sidewalk. I was driving so I didn't pay much attention to the dog. My daughter said, “Mom look at that dog. It's a Chow! I want a dog like that one.” Several months later we saw a litter of Chow pups about 10 weeks old and fell in love with one little ball of fur. We did it all wrong. We did no research on this breed to see if this breed was right for our lives and family. No research on the breeds temperament, personality, or grooming needs. Or weather or not he would get along with the cat or other dogs. All we knew is we all loved this red ball of fur. As time went on we fell in love with his aloof personality and adorable traits. We bought another one and now had a red and black set. I don't recommend buying a dog this way but luckily it worked out for us. We loved Chows. We lost our beloved first Chow to a heart murmur and wanted another one. We wanted another red Chow. After researching this time we found a breeder that raised SHOW Chows and had one for sale. The stipulation was if we took this pup he would have to be shown at AKC dog shows. What did that mean ? We didn't have a clue. We were now living in Montana and found the closest AKC Dog Show was in Spokane Washington. We went to see what all this fuss was about. I was like a kid on Christmas morning. I was so excited to know that there was going to be Chows at this show. Beautiful Chow's! The show was full of every dog breed you could think of. All of them beautiful and groomed to the hilts. We found the area where the Chows were being groomed in anticipation for their 2 minutes in the ring. We watched the exhibitors show their dogs in the ring. We saw how only a few collected ribbons and the others just walked out of the ring. I thought they should all get ribbons but I had allot to learn in the coming years. Well, I had seen enough. I thought to myself “I can do this and I want a SHOW dog.” Yes, I was bit by the dog show bug. Long story short I bought the Show puppy. I took handling classes at my closest kennel club a hour and a half away and attended every Saturday morning. Then stood in front of the grocery stores and Napa Auto Parts so he would get use to people and especially men. Asking everyone to please pet my dog. Socializing a young Chow is very important. I went to many dog shows and took home many ribbons. We built a kennel and purchased the first of 5 camper trailers. Each one bigger and better then the last one. Next, we were buying bigger vehicles because they could carry more size 400 crates...sound familiar? And of course, adding more Chows to my line. In a few short 5 years I took my first Best In Show beating 1447 dogs in Richland Washington and winning The Canadian Chow National in addition to Best In Show Puppy at the International Show. Now I was breeding for the very best of my carefully chosen 5 bloodlines to produce the most healthy, well tempered, beautiful Chow I could produce. Being a breeder (or should I say a reputable breeder) is a unbelievable painful undertaking. There is as much pain and sorrow as joy and happiness. A breeder does this because she/he loves their breed and wants to contribute as much to the breed in the future generations as they can. Not every litter is going to be a good one and a good breeder will carefully choose which to keep as a possible show prospects which will be culled to pet homes with but with a spayed/neuter agreement. And with a heavy heart if necessary, the possibility of euthanizing a pup due to major health issues. We all have these misfortunes in our litters but not many breeders will admit it or talk about it. I remember some people in my small town called me to find out how to get into breeding dogs. They had two Rottweilers they wanted to breed to make extra money. I was glad to share with them everything I knew. I said “If you want to make money, you're barking up the wrong tree. Are you prepared to first check your breeding dogs to see if they have any health issues like hip displayisa, elbow displayisa, knee problems, eye problems, etc? That's a big Vet bill right there. All breeds have some health issues they are prone to. You need to check for these and only breed if your dogs are free of these health issues because the parents will pass them on to the pups.” “Now, are you ready for the cost of extra food the bitch will need during her pregnancy? Are you prepared for the cost of a possible C-section that may occur during birthing? That's about a $800.00 vet bill. Yes, this happened to me. Are you prepared for something to go wrong to where you would have to bottle feed or tube the 14 babies around the clock every 3 hours for three weeks? Yes, this one happened to me too. Are you ready to have your heart broke because one or more don't make it or have to be put down due to an outward health reason? Yes, this happened to me. Do you have room to have 14 little eating, pooping, barking bundles of joy in your home? We do live in Montana and you DO have to keep them warm. Are you prepared for the extra costs of puppy food, shots, vet visits? And now the worst, what if you can't find homes for all 14 of them? You will own all of whats left of the litter and they will still be in your house. For the few homes you do find, are you going to do background checks on them? Checking each of them out to ensure a good family environment with a fenced yard for your beloved puppies. Because if you don't you'll drive by one day and find that dog chained to a tree in their front yard and your heart will surly break. What if they can't keep the dog in the future are you prepared to take the dog back? A good breeder would do this. Make money breeding dogs? You would be lucky to break even.” I loved his answer to all the info I shared with him. He said, “I think I'll get them spayed and neutered next week....” So here's to all the reputable breeders who breed the best quality dog for the love of the breed and nothing more. Who endure the most pain and heart ache a person can have. I thank all the breeders of every breed who have taken on this tremendous responsibility because, without them, we wouldn't have all the AKC, UKC CKC and other breeds we have in our world today. Some of these breeds would have become extinct without the breeder. This article is dedicated to my late “ BIS, BISS, CAN, INT'L CH DANCINBEAR TOPGUN O'ROSEWINE” MAVERICK Who earned a standing ovation at the “100 Year of the ACK National Chow Chow Show” in 2006 as the oldest champion dog attending, Maverick was 12 years old. Maverick died at home at 12 yrs of age of natural causes. He passed in his sleep just 3 months after the 100 Year National. You are missed and still loved my Mav Man.