I don't want a show dog, I just want a pet
Article by Joanna Kimball of Ruffly Speaking Photography
This is one of the most pervasive sentiments that puppy buyers, especially
families, express when they're looking for a dog. What they really mean, of
course, is that they don't want a show BREEDER – don't want to pay the high
price they think show breeders charge, don't want to go through the
often-invasive interview process, and think that they're getting a better deal
or a real bargain because they can get a Lab for $300 or a Shepherd for
I want you to change your mind. I want you to not only realize the benefits
of buying a show-bred dog, I want you to INSIST on a show-bred dog. And I want
you to realize that the cheap dog is really the one that's the rip-off. And then
I want you to go be obnoxious and, when your workmate says she's getting a puppy
because her neighbor, who raises them, will give her one for free, or when your
brother-in-law announces that they're buying a goldendoodle for the kids, I want
you to launch yourself into their solar plexus and steal their wallets and their
If I ask you why you want a Maltese, or a Lab, or a Leonberger, or a Cardigan, I would bet you're not going to talk about how much you like their color. You're going to tell me things about personality, ability (to perform a specific task), relationships with other animals or humans, size, coat,temperament, and so on. You'll describe playing ball, or how affectionate you've heard that they are, or how well they get along with kids.
The things you will be looking for aren't the things that describe just"dog"; they'll be the things that make this particular breed unique and unlike other breeds.
That's where people have made the right
the most hideously bred one can still be a great dog – but it will not be a good Shepherd, or good Puli, or a good Cardigan. You will not get the specialized abilities, tendencies, or talents of the breed.
If you don't NEED those special abilities or the predictability of a particular breed, you should not be buying a dog at all. You should go rescue one. That way you're saving a life and not putting money in pockets where it does not belong.
If you want a purebred and you know that a rescue is not going to fit the bill, the absolute WORST thing you can do
is assume that a name equals anything. They really are nothing more than name plates on cars. What matters is whether the engineering and design and service department back up the name plate, so you have some expectation that you're walking away with more than a label.
Keeping a group of dogs looking and acting like their breed is hard, HARD work. If you do not get the impression that the breeder you're considering is working that hard, is that dedicated to the breed, is struggling to produce dogs that are more than a breed name, you are getting no bargain; you are only getting ripped off.