Expanding on the idea of buying a show dog, or raising a show dog is the importance to know what a show dog actually is structurally and what defines breed type. I know this seems like an obvious point to make, but is it really? I mean, we tell people to go to breeders and buy a 'quality' dog to realize their show dog dreams and then we hear of so many more who after months or years, proclaim indignantly, 'That breeder sold me a PET!' I challenge you all to ask yourselves why is that happening? Why are we telling these folks to go to a 'reputable breeder', but it is practically unheard of to tell them to get a copy of their breed standard, read it, study it and make every effort to understand it before pulling out your wallet...?
It is reasonable to speculate a lot of purchasers who are starting out with their first dogs, really do not have much knowledge of their chosen breeds standard to begin with. This is a fundamental gap in the research process when looking This standard is after all the blueprint for the breed, and defines the breeds most important aspects. As we all know interpretation of these standards can be varied and widespread, but even a basic knowledge of the standard can go a long way.
I know a lot of people think a good 'show dog' just comes out that way, and some do. However, a LOT don't, those dogs are very simply... made. The making of that dog does not end with it's arrival in the whelping box either. It's just the tip of the proverbial iceberg...
We get a lot of people, who come to us and say, 'I want a dog just like yours!'. We tell them, sure you can have one, if you go through all the work we do to get it. While most eagerly nod their heads, they really have no idea what we are saying when we make that statement.
Building a show dog, or any confident, outgoing dog who think life is an adventure for their taking is more than getting a dog that is responsibly well bred, and taking it out for a car ride to the local doggie park daily. This kind of dog takes time and dedication, daily. One must pay attention to everything from correct nutrition, and daily training and handling, to regular grooming. Add to this a keen eye for correct growth and development along with responsible medical management (including such things as chiropractic care), and then toss in socialization as another key component, as providing a structured and broad spectrum program for socialization is invaluable. Development of the mind is a make or break deal, make no mistake. All of this, ladies and gents, all starts from the time that puppy is whelped and goes on well into adulthood.
One of the greatest challenges of breeders is to communicate and effectively 'train' owners, both old and new, on the vital aspects of their recommended regimen for raising said puppy through to adulthood. Eagerness of owners is often quickly flattened by what can quickly be perceived as a monumental challenge. For those of us who think of this as second nature, it can be hard to communicate the message of what is needed without overwhelming our 'people'. We tend to minimize the sharing of our knowledge and experience, or reserve it mainly for moments when it is requested and hope the messages sent will be dutifully received.
All in all, this is a process, and the result of continual work and effort. We are lucky here that we can make it a team effort with all of us involved. We also devote a great deal of time and energy in not only the vetting of our puppy people, but also in the development of the puppy from the time it leaves our home and into its adult life as well. We are 'hands on' breeders, we feel the investment is worth it for the quality of life of the dog and the owner in the long run. This comes with plenty of challenges, but for the most part, it is well worth it. ETA: If people wonder what they get when buying from a responsible, credible breeder, this is a big part of it. Or at least it should be.