377 – New Dog Breeders Offer Hope for the Future

New Dog Breeders Offer Hope for the Future

Purebred dogs need more, new, young breeders. This is the consensus opinion of our top experts in the field. Preserving our breeds and encouraging more participation in our sports requires the energy and enthusiasm of youth.

So, I reached out to the Pure Dog Talk listener community to find some of these folks. This was my conversation with Sam and Curtis Brown about the breeding program they are developing in Bull Terriers (bonus, a teaser for our “rare breeds month” in April!).

This was an outstanding conversation that gave me hope for the future. Enjoy the podcast! A couple of excerpts are below.

Continue striving for better

Curtis: “I’m the one with the puppies all day and I’m the one doing multiple C-sections by myself, which I never would have seen myself doing, and delivering puppies. So, it’s difficult in that aspect. But when it comes right down to why we continue to breed, for me there are two reasons.

“The joy on the faces of the families when we get to send companion puppies home with them has always been a remarkable thing. Companion puppies that people just love forever. Our Delicious bull terrier family of everybody to who we sent puppies follows us on Facebook and continuously posts pictures of their dogs as they grow and we get to kind of see them grow.

“You’re like ‘well maybe we should have kept that one in hindsight,’ maybe next time we’ll think of it differently before we put it in a pet home. But as we go on and as we continue to breed obviously we want to continue to breed better dogs … even if we have an amazing dog or an amazing bitch like the one who we just had win the grand futurity at our Silverwood show this past year … we still want to continue to strive to breed better dogs, not only for our breed but for the betterment of our breed. … preservation breeding, continuing to do things and enhance the breed the best that we can, not just in type but the temperaments and everything.

“So that’s why I think when we continue to breed. Not just take … that one dog and then just run it until you win Westminster … or whatever the case may be. We have to continue to create the next best thing. … we go to the Silverwood specialty show and a lot of people are showing dogs that we’ve seen in the ring many, many years over and we’re the ones there with all of these young puppies …”

Family affair

Sam: “It’s an incredible journey … you’re going to make some concessions in your personal life. Mostly sleep … but you’re also going to go all over the world you’re going to meet incredible people … we have friends that are closer than our extended family in dogs. … when you’re breeding you know you’re really doing something that’s very special. It’s not only special to you, but it’s special for those families that are going to be getting dogs from you …

“…it’s great for kids … we do everything as a family. We go to the shows as a family. We raise the puppies as a family. We do the chores as a family. It is something that a family can do, that’s not in an agricultural area. You can raise a litter of puppies in the suburbs, it’s not a big deal … it’s something that you can sort of instill some of those 4H type lessons into your kids. We always advocate for responsible breeding … but I think it’s a positive thing and it’s definitely a family thing, at least for us, that everybody can be involved in. My kids, they’ve bottle-fed puppies and they clean up after dogs. I think that’s really important stuff when it comes to our sport. I heard Pat Trotter say at one point ‘You know it’s great to run around to get ribbons but someone’s gotta be doing the cleaning up and the breeding’ and that’s kind of where we’re at with it.”

326 – Preserving Our Breeds. What can WE do? Discussion pt. 1

Preserving Our Breeds. What can WE do?

Pure Dog Talk’s host Laura Reeves moderates a Saturday Symposium panel discussion at the Rogue Valley Kennel Club show on the topic of “Preserving Our Breeds. What can WE do?” This is part one of the discussion. Part two will post next week.

Panelists are Ed Thomason, professional handler and noted breeder of American Staffordshire Terriers; Michelle Santana, AKC Breeder of the Year of Doberman Pinschers; and, Fran Stephens, Saint Bernard breeder-judge and AKC delegate for Puyallup Valley Dog Fanciers.

The panelists discuss a recent presentation (watch the entire presentation here) to the delegate body by Bill Shelton and Doug Johnson among other areas of interest in which purebred dog fanciers can promote their breeds and purebred dogs in general.

“Tell our story”

“We have fallen into hiding the fact that we’re breeders,” Thomason said.

“Don’t be afraid to say I breed purebred dogs because I’m want to know what I’m going to get,” Stephens said.

“We have allowed doodle breeders to become a fad,” Thomason said. “You go underground because you have more dogs than you’re supposed to. But on social media, you can promote your breed, your breeding program without telling where you live.

The pet puppy market is a billion dollar industry. Not saying leave here and be puppy mills. Market being manipulated by doodle breeders and rescues. We don’t share our stories. We have to or this ain’t going to be here.”

Education is critical

Santana discussed her goal of educating John Q Public.

“I picked a random pet Doberman social page,” Santana said. “Thousands of people who own a companion Doberman. They need education. Any time I come across an educational article I share to that page. Spay/neuter as an example. Just pick one site that doesn’t get a broad spectrum of education and share to that page. We need to spread this information to people not in our circle. We’re myopic. We can talk to ourselves all we want. But we need to reach out to these people outside our circle.”

Stephens noted that there is a vast market for dogs in this country that is largely being filled by doodle breeders and rescue imports.

“There are plenty of people wanting dogs,” Stephens said. “It’s how we reach them. How we talk to them.”

Join us next week for Part 2 of the discussion!!

306 – Bill Shelton on Positive Messaging in Purebred Dogs

Bill Shelton on Positive Messaging in Purebred Dogs

Bill Shelton imparts his wisdom in part one of a three-part series from a wide-ranging conversation about positive messaging in purebred dogs.

People respond to positive messages, Shelton said, which will allow us to change perceptions within the general public. Words like preservation and purpose bred dogs change the paradigm of purebred that can have negative connotation.

“Look what shelters have done,” Shelton said. “They used to be known as the dog pound and mongrels. Look at it today, shelter, rescue, adoption. What fabulous words they use. We still use all these draconian words like kennel, breeders and purebred. They are accurate, but we need to move past them. Even the boarding industry has recognized the anthropomorphized words and have day care and stylists instead of kennel runs and groomers.”

We as breeders and exhibitors have the responsibility to take back the conversation and can’t rely exclusively on the American Kennel Club to do the work for us, Shelton noted.

“I don’t use the word responsible any more because 30 people have a different understanding of what that means,” Shelton said. “Purpose bred means that not only are the dogs bred for intellect and the way they look and predictability, they are bred intentionally by people who care about them.”

The term preservation breeder opens up the opportunity for conversation in the community, Shelton said.

“The paradigm has to change,” Shelton said. “We’ve focused so much on dog shows, that we began to believe that is the most important thing. What’s really important is that you and I as dog breeders supply the demand of happy, healthy family companions.”


“As breeders, we are taking accountability,” Shelton said. “We are the ones taking responsibility from cradle to grave. The rescue started in the halls of the AKC and parent clubs. This is one of the reasons we find only five percent identifiable purebreds in shelters.”

We have to assimilate different perspectives rather than pushing against them, Shelton said. We need not to demean people but rather encourage them to understand what preservation breeders are doing, including producing quantitative predictability of health.

Learn more: 23 – Our Breeds are Endangered: Preservation Breeding-Bill Shelton