Pet versus Show
When breeding with the intent of bettering the breed, the differences between Pet and Show quality can be quite small, and generally not obvious to the inexperienced eye. The evaluation of puppies is an educated guess based on a number of characteristics, such as body shape and structure, size of the head and muzzle, movement, and attitude.
It is important to remember that the term "pet" quality does not mean there is anything wrong with the puppy. It just means that s/he may not exhibit all of the characteristics necessary to excel in the show ring. On the flip side, purchasing a "show" prospect pup does not guarantee it will turn out to be a good example of the breed standard.
Prior to placing a puppy with you, we will have provided you with a copy of our contract. Please read it carefully prior to purchasing one of our puppies, as this contract is a legally binding document.
Our Pet Puppies
If you purchase a pet puppy, you will enter into a "pet contract" with us, which includes AKC Limited Registration and a spay/neuter agreement. Pet puppies are never to be bred.
AKC Limited Registration
A dog registered with an AKC Limited Registration is purebred and the parents are AKC registered.
Limited Registration is a tool offered by the American Kennel Club to help responsible breeders protect their breeding programs and their puppies. Limited Registration is just like regular registration, except that Limited Registration dogs may not be shown in conformation, and their offspring cannot be AKC registered. They may compete in any other AKC licensed or member events, such as agility, obedience, water work, tracking, rally, etc., and obtain titles in those areas.
Our Show Puppies
There are always far fewer show quality puppies than there are pet quality puppies, so the placement of a show prospect puppy is extremely important to a breeder. You should only purchase a show prospect puppy if you intend to take the steps necessary to fulfill that puppy's potential. Anything less than a full faith effort to do so is not only dishonorable but would be considered a breach of contract.
If you purchase a show prospect puppy, you will enter into a "show contract" with us, which includes a co-ownership agreement. Showing and breeding terms are specified in the contract.
This means that we, the breeders, will be listed on the AKC Registration Certificate along with you, the buyer. The co-ownership agreement is used to give us, as breeders, certain rights pertaining to the showing and breeding of one of our highest quality puppies. Those terms are spelled out in our show contract and will be discussed thoroughly.
Important - If you aren't prepared to handle all of the following, do not get a show dog!
We require a puppy kindergarten course for all of our puppies. For a show prospect, we also require an additional obedience course.
The show prospect puppies that we place will usually have a confident alpha temperament — a desirable trait in a show dog. However, since PWDs are boisterous to begin with, an alpha personality PWD can be a challenge. If not handled properly by the owner, an alpha PWD can become unmanageable.
We do not place a puppy as show prospect if s/he has an unstable temperament. But an intact alpha puppy that is allowed by its owner to "rule the roost" can become a dog that has difficulty obeying and that may develop a tendency to exhibit overly assertive behavior. It is very important with this breed that an owner be willing and able to be a confident leader.
You should be prepared to do your best to "finish" your PWD (attain AKC conformation championship) by the time s/he is three (3) years old. You will be expected to enter her/him in dog conformation shows by the time s/he is eighteen (18) months old, and either show her/him yourself or make the necessary arrangements with a professional handler. In our experience, it is usually easier and quicker to get the required points by using the services of a good professional handler. But many owners enjoy handling their own dogs and do very well at it. In any case, you should be willing and able to make a major time and financial commitment in order to fulfill this term of the contract.
An article with tips for owner handlers:
"Owner Handler Advice" by JP Yousha, edited by Penny Mikeman
Conformation-related topics to consider:
- Critiques -
As a show dog owner, you need to be prepared to take any assessments or comments about your PWD with a grain of salt. Unless you are getting feedback from a professional handler or judge, you should not decide that your PWD isn't show quality because someone says s/he is "too long" or "too small" or "fill-in-the-blank". Regardless of how well-meaning the critiquer might be, the fact of the matter is that most people are not knowledgeable enough to judge the "showability" of a PWD puppy. Of those who are, some may have a hidden agenda behind any "advice" offered. The dog show world is very competitive. We have firsthand experience with "helpful" comments whose sole purpose was to instill doubt about our dog - in our minds as well as others.
- Grooming -
You will need to let your PWD's coat grow long beginning about six months prior to showing her/him, as a show coat is normally much longer than a pet coat. That will mean lots of combing and brushing. Long coats tangle easily and cannot be ignored for more than a few days. If you are unable to provide the necessary coat care yourself, you should be prepared to take your dog to a groomer for a comb-out once a week.
- Travel -
If you live in Texas, you will need to be willing and able to take/send your dog on one or more out-of-state show circuits, as most Texas dog shows do not have majors in PWDs.
- Tough skin / Closed mouth (yours, not the dog's!) -
The show ring is no different than any other field of competition. There will occasionally be misdirection, criticism, snobbishness, jealousy, and sometimes downright hostility. Dog shows are often breeding grounds for gossip, innuendo and petty comments. It is best for a show dog owner to be both a gracious winner and a gracious loser, and to avoid engaging in gossip about anyone.
- Tenacity (last but definitely not least!) -
Very few show prospect puppies "have it all". Some show prospect puppies will take longer to finish than others. Unless you have a very special puppy, there will be a combination of wins and losses along the road to championship. There may be occassional "dry spells" during which it seems that your PWD just can't pick up any points, and it's natural to become discouraged during those times.
In any event, it is important to remember that every show is different - different judges, different performances from the same or different dogs. An owner's level of determination and commitment to the goal are key to the final outcome.
4) Ownership of an Intact Dog/Bitch:
A dog must be intact (not spayed or neutered) to be shown. Having an intact dog is a big responsibility.
- Some doggy day cares require that dogs be spayed/neutered by a certain age in order to use their services. So you may have to hunt around for a facility that doesn't have such a requirement.
- Intact males tend to be more domineering than neutered dogs. Other intact dogs may be threatened by your intact dog, and react negatively. It is important for the owner of an intact male to be a strong leader and know how to deal with an assertive dog.
- An intact female will start coming into season between 5 months and a year of age. She will generally be in season two to three times a year for several weeks at a time. During that time she must be kept inside, going out only on a leash, to avoid unwanted pregnancies.
If you have any intact male dogs yourself, you will need to be vigilant about keeping them away from the female while she's in season. You may even wish to rehome your male(s) during this time for the sake of peace and quiet.
Our contract contains a number of stipulations regarding the breeding of any show quality dog that we place. These include conformation, health, and mate prerequisites.
The price is the same for our pet and show quality puppies.
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