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MORE on Preserving Our Breeds. What can WE do?

Today we have more lively conversation. Pure Dog Talk’s host Laura Reeves moderates part 2 of a Saturday Symposium panel discussion at the Rogue Valley Kennel Club show on the topic of “Preserving Our Breeds. What can WE do?”

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 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.

Reach out to the community

“Quit blaming other people,” Reeves said. “WE need to step up and not just on Facebook, all social media is important. All breeders are on the same side. We don’t have to like how other people breed. We can help them do better. Help them improve.”

Thomason agreed. “Some of the greatest breeders in this country that ever bred dogs kept and housed over 100 dogs. Why wouldn’t we help these commercial breeders breed better dogs.

“We don’t breed enough dogs. It’s as simple as that,” Thomason said.

Go out in public with your dogs

Stephens related her all breed club’s struggle to get club members to come share their dogs at the Washington state fair on Labor Day weekend.

“We have a barn and booth space from PVDF,” Stephens said. “We see *hundreds of thousands* of people, families with children. come to see the dogs… It’s like pulling teeth to get club members to come. Go, take your dogs to public events. Put your dogs out in public so people can see you. Then breed more dogs.”

Audience member Ray Brinlee, who started showing dogs in 1959, noted that the ’73 oil embargo is what brought on dog show clusters in order to save gas. “It was a terrible mistake,” Brinlee said. “Dog shows need to serve the community.”

Just Be NICE!

An audience member, Rebecca, recounted her own efforts to educate clients who hire her for behavioral training of their dogs.

“When I recommend they come to a show and talk to people, the breeders start with why they shouldn’t own this breed,” Rebecca said. “It took *15* years to talk someone into selling me a show dog. It frustrates me that my clients go to people with no health testing on their dogs because those people are nice to them. It’s sad that we have to tell people to make friends in other breeds and get a thick skin. Hardest thing to be a new person, and you don’t know who you can go to…”

“The main thing we need to keep in mind,” Stephens said, “is we have to keep breeding our dogs. Our breeds. If we don’t, they’ll go away. It’s as simple as that. Deciding to spay/neuter everything not in your control is detrimental to the breed. The dog may have a fault you don’t want, but may have good qualities from your line that can complement someone else’s lines. We have shot ourselves in the foot by spay/neuter more than 50% of our litters.”

Borzoi breeder Kristina Terra ended the discussion with a positive idea. When members of the public as if one of her dogs is a rescue, she replies “No! In fact she hasn’t had a bad second in her life. And neither has her mother or grandmother…”

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1 Comment

  1. Larry Jay Kye on 10/03/2019 at 3:38 PM

    The Doberman is in trouble health-wise and temperament. We are losing the breed because the Doberman is losing the appeal as a working dog and losing the working people. In the USA you have 1/3 of the Dobermans pass a simple WAE which requires no grip at least in Germany they have a real breed survey that requires the dogs to pass a real breed survey before breeding takes place. The ZTP is the German Breed Survey which requires an attack out of the blind and a courage test with grips. Wonder why we have all these fear biters with bad temperament. My point is we must first have standards before breeding takes place. First, as a breed club, you must expect people to meet the standards. In America, its all about the money and we are losing the breed anyone can breed even z factor dogs. Once the temperament is gone it is gone from the gene pool. You can’t breed sub-standard and expect to meet the standard. Because a dog meets the AKC standard doesn’t mean its a junkyard killer. Dobermans have to pass a BH and an international temperament test before they can even go to the IGP sports field.
    We have DCM issues which I’ve seen as young a 2 years drop dead. I believe the Doberman Diversity program or EMBARK is having success with low COI I have a girl who is going on 13 years which has a COI of 28. This is very encouraging and maybe we are on to something with these COI numbers. I certainly hope so. I don’t breed anymore but I have seen the breed decline since the 1970s! In America, you have about 40 IPO 3 Dobermans. This should alarm the breed clubs DPCA & UDC which I’m a member of both.

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