this is a collection of interesting articles/comments/quotes about breeders

  1. from

    A reader who knows me sent a copy of What Is A Breeder which he said was “all over the internet” and he provided links to several dog breeder sites.

    Updated March 2016 – Nov. 2015 |

    Barbara J. Andrews, Editor-In-Chief

    I was flattered, until I went to those sites.  Most said “author unknown” but several took credit. Annoyed, I rifled though the filing cabinets and found a yellowed copy that had run in The Dog Newspaper back in the 80s and another that was published in the original Canine Chronicle newspaper, and later in Kennel Review Magazine.  Then, memories flooding back because it was my husband who had inspired me to write it, I reached up to the top library shelf and retrieved The World Of The Akita – T.F.H. publications © 1996 and yep, there it was in “Chapter Eight – Breeding The Best”.

     I sat there lost in thought, aching for Bill Andrews who made being “a good breeder” possible; his support, his intuitiveness about which bitch to keep and his strong arms to hold me when I cried over a lost puppy.  I think about how others are struggling with their own dreams and genetic puzzles and the pups that didn’t turn out.  If this old article helps you stay the path, I’m happy to share it provided my husband is credited for the inspiration.  The Dedication is to all the true breeders for whom it was written.


    There’s only one path to success as a breeder and it’s mostly uphill, winding across the rocky terrain of commitment in such a way as to get a lot of people lost. We can set goals by the dozens, be blessed with good looks, good dogs and a huge bank account. We may hire the best handlers, read all the right books, and travel in the best circles. We can soak up knowledge like a sponge and spew out platitudes by the hour. All may bring short term satisfaction but there’s only one thing which earns respect from one’s peers and lasting success as a breeder. It’s not elusive, it’s not a mystery. It’s the foundation of every worthwhile seminar, every book on genetics, and it’s in my opening sentence.

    Failure to commit to ethics and excellence explains why so many would-be breeders wander aimlessly from one dead end to another. AKC records reveal that it takes about five years before most people give up. Only a handful spurn the short cuts, and making a personal resolution to arrive at their destination, begin the climb to high ground.

    Make no mistake – walking the lofty path of commitment is the exact opposite of having one’s head in the clouds! It means being grounded in a realistic obligation to the breed, to the sport, and most of all, to personal standards of integrity. It means sacrifice.

     Many years ago, I wrote this for Kennel Review, America’s premier dog magazine. It was picked up and reprinted by several other publications so I suppose it pretty well explains what commitment means to real dog people.


    Webster’s gives us some interesting definitions: “To nourish, cherish…to generate, engender…to cause, to occasion…to bring up, to nurse and foster,” and more to the point, “to produce by special selection of parents or progenitors.”

    Anyone who puts two animals together for the purpose of producing young does “generate, engender, cause, or occasion” the propagation of that species or breed. Most breeders, thankfully, “nourish, cherish, bring up, nurse, and foster.”

    Ahh, but here’s the rub: Only a handful of persons involved in the production of companion animals can be said to “produce by special selection of parents or progenitors.” A Breeder (with a capital “B”) is one who thirsts for knowledge but never knows it all, one who wrestles with decisions of conscience, convenience, and commitment.

    A Breeder is one who sacrifices personal interests, finances, time, friendships, fancy furniture, and deep pile carpeting. A breeder gives up dreams of a long, luxurious cruise in favor of turning that all-important specialty show into this year’s vacation.

    The Breeder goes without sleep (but never without coffee) while watching anxiously over the birth process, and afterwards, every little sneeze, wiggle, or cry. The Breeder skips dinner parties because a litter is due or the puppies have to be fed at eight. He or she disregards birth fluids and puts mouth to mouth to save a gasping newborn, literally blowing life into a tiny, helpless creature that may be the culmination of a lifetime of dreams.

    A Breeder’s lap is a marvelous place where generations of proud and noble champions once snoozed. A Breeder’s hands are strong and firm and often soiled but ever so gentle and sensitive to the thrust of a puppy’s nose. A Breeder’s knees are usually arthritic from stooping, bending, and lifting puppies but are strong enough to enable the Breeder to show the “keeper” in Sweeps!

    A Breeder’s shoulders are stooped and often heaped with abuse from competitors but they’re wide enough to support the weight of a thousand defeats and frustrations. A breeder’s arms are always able to wield a mop, support an armful of puppies, or lend a helping hand to a newcomer.

    A Breeder’s ears are wondrous things, strangely shaped (from being pressed against a phone receiver), deaf to criticism yet always fine-tuned to the whimper of a sick pup. A Breeder’s eyes are blurred from pedigree research and sometimes blind to his own dog’s shortcomings, but they are ever so keen to the competition’s faults and are always, always searching for the perfect specimen.

    A Breeder’s brain is foggy on faces, but recalls pedigrees faster than an IBM. It’s so full of knowledge that sometimes it blows a fuse. It catalogs thousands of good fronts, hocky rears, and perfect heads… and buries in the soul the failures and the ones that didn’t turn out.

    The Breeder’s heart is often broken but it beats strongly with hope everlasting – and it’s always in the right place!

    Oh yes, there are breeders, and then, there are Breeders.

    ~ Barbara J. (bj) Andrews ©  September 1989

  2. Finally, all breeders will produce defects if they breed long enough. Those who tell you that they do not produce defects have either stopped breeding, breed hardly at all or are being economical with the truth. There is no crime in producing a defect. The crime, if any, lies in what you do about a defect. If you bury yours quickly and keep quiet about it, and I do the same with mine, then sooner or later we may use each other’s dogs and pay the penalty for not having been honest with one another and with the breed we probably profess to love. Dr Malcolm Willis