like a dream, and can run in the show ring just for the sake of running – full of fun and spirit. This is the dog that will make you proud, but will have to skip a breeding here and there because there is an important show coming up. The puppies that are produced by this dog (if any) are kept back by the breeder in hopes for the next show star, or given to show enthusiast friends to raise. Less promising puppies are sold, of course.
Second, there is the breeding dog
. This is a nice, large, good natured German Shepherd that has no good chances to shine in the show ring because of her size, or minor faults in her structure, but she produces large healthy litters of beautiful puppies. She is trained and titled, and is shown on occasion, but does not have to be in top condition for each major show. She is the engine that keeps the kennel going, because the money earned by selling the puppies from this dog are used for promoting the show dog, raising and training her offspring, going to shows and buying equipment.
Third, there is the performance dog
. This is an ugly little German Shepherd that bites like hell and will awe people at the show during the courage test. Attempts to improve on her structure are not too successful because all puppies with their mother’s drive are about just as ugly as she is. This dog is also not bred much, because a lot of her puppies are too much to handle for the average pet owner family who wants to watch a football game on Saturday instead of training their dog in bitework in the rain.
And last but not least, there are those dear-to-our-heart dogs that are not a part of the breeding program but are kept anyway, usually as house pets
. Retired breeding dogs are often among them, or a puppy that was kept back with high hopes, didn’t work out for one reason or another, but is too dear to be able to part with. Or it may be a rescue – perhaps a dog that cannot be adopted into any normal family.
Then on top of that there are those young dogs
that are kept back in hopes for their bright future in one of the first three categories. The ultimate dream and goal being, of course, the super-dog, one that combines the best characteristics of all three groups: excellent show dog, excellent breeding female, and a hell of a worker. Ever achieving this dream may take a few decades of hard work. In more than 50% of the cases these hopefuls either join group number four, or are sold/given away as pets because one of so many things that could go wrong did actually go wrong (a hip that is not perfect, or an elbow; soft ear, missing tooth, not enough drive, too tall, etc).
So, this is something to think about for those who are under the impression that a successful German Shepherd breeder makes tons of money, and easy too. Out of the number of dogs that you keep, feed, vet, and show, only one-quarter will actually be the ones that bring any return. Most of which will be spent back on raising, treating when sick, showing, and promoting other dogs.
Consider that it is normal practice to invite a handler from Germany to handle your dogs at a show and pay all his/her expenses: plane ticket, hotel, meals, drinks (do you know how much Germans drink?). Consider paying $6,000 to educate a young dog abroad. A young dog that may never produce a single puppy. Consider that 8 German Shepherds living in (or even visiting on occasion) your home will inevitably cause it such damage that an expensive renovation will be in order.
Consider that you will have to work 90-hour weeks with no weekends. And that every single puppy you produce will be expected to be perfect by his or her new owners. Are you still interested in becoming a German Shepherd breeder? Then please give us a call. We have a very promising puppy for you!
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