I feel like there’s been a lot of hating on breeders and breed registries lately. Certainly, some of it is justified. Purebred dogs are, unfortunately, stuck in a bottleneck of health issues and behavioral problems. There are dogs who are conformationally unsound being put up as Best of Breed. Then there is the unwitting public believing that their dog will be perfect and amazing simply due to his pedigreed parentage.
For the most part, people want dogs as pets. They’re not looking for conformation champions, disc dog daredevils, or full-time livestock guardians. They want a companion. A friend. A walking buddy. Someone to come home to after a long day and snuggle on the couch with. So why is it that so many reputable breeders spend time in the show ring, at performance events, and evaluate the instincts of their dogs if most of the pups from those dogs are just going to warm spots on the couch?
Doesn’t everyone want a dog who’s physically and temperamentally sound? Regardless of your ambitions for your dog, I’m pretty sure everyone wants a dog who is comfortable around people. One who’s not afraid of new places or things. A dog who you can trust to be around children (supervised!) and who doesn’t bark like a raving lunatic when he sees another dog. We all want dogs who are confident in the situations we know they’re going to experience in their lives. It’s also important that our dogs don’t break down physically over time. It’s a lot harder to have a walking or running buddy who gets sore after a half mile or tears his ACL by the time he’s two years old.
By taking the time to evaluate their dogs’ structure and temperamental durability; reputable breeders help ensure the next generation will be full of stable, reliable dogs. Dogs who, along with being conformationally correct and able to perform in various venues, will make great pets. However, if you don’t evaluate your stock (and have unbiased persons do the same), you run a higher risk of problems in the offspring. Dogs with faulty temperaments or poor structure. Fear biters. Dogs with hip dysplasia. Companions who are difficult to live with and expensive to care for.
Titles (whether on the front end or the back end of the dog’s name) are, of course, no guarantee of greatness. Risa is a fine example of that. She’s far from temperamentally sound yet she has several titles in various performance events. I don’t think anyone, myself included, would consider her a dog that should be bred (she’s spayed anyway). There’s just too high a likelihood that a dog like her would pass on her anxieties to her offspring. And, really, no one wants to live with a dog like Risa. It’s hard and the average person doesn’t want that kind of project.
So why is it important for breeders to breed for dogs who can do the job they were bred for? Why is it important for these dogs to have proper structure? Why should they have to prove their mettle in the ring? Because the general public wants pets who they can live with. And you don’t get that just by tossing structure and temperament out the window and breeding “for pets only.”