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 Post subject: Ethical breeding?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2011 1:34 am 
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Ok, so another question.

Do you believe all breeders should also show their dogs? With the logic that, through their breeding program, they are trying to create the most perfect Cocker specimen possible, and the only way to validate that is through showing?

You would then have to wonder why certain people breed, if they don't show.. leaving their motives suspect. Is it always the bottom dollar?

Would there ever be any other ethical reason to breed, if you never intended to show?

I fear I'm not making a good impression, lol. First asking about reputed puppy mill registries, then asking about breeding with no intent to show. Really, I'm just trying to make up a definition of what a good breeder is in my own head, then decide if I could ever meet those standards.

In any case, it's a matter of opinion, and I'm just curious.. thanks ahead of time.


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 Post subject: Re: Ethical breeding?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2011 3:41 am 
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A few months ago a woman said to me. "Just because you don't show dogs. Does not make you a bad breeder."

I said Fine, but Understand this. The concept behind showing is to evaluate your breeding stock. Evaluate how your dogs measure up to the standard. If you don't show your dogs. How do you know, how they line up to the standard as set forth by The American Spaniel Club. Now of course You could read it and think Ya I like my dogs head, think it's back looks ok, legs look fine to me, etc. But quite honestly, You haven't the slightest idea. So, now you are breeding a bunch of dogs. You don't know what their faults are, what you need to improve on, what even your goal is. What are you breeding at that point? A Field Spaniel, A Sussex Spaniel, A Clumber Spaniel, An English Cocker Spaniel, What? In Theory, the further you get away from the American Cocker Standard, you are no longer breeding them. Right? Just like those people that kept breeding small cockers to each other, Now have really small ones, So instead of trying to fix the fault at the beginning... they just came up with a new breed. "Mini Cocker". :roll Technically, That's how the American Cocker Spaniel became a breed. Now, take an American Cocker Spaniel in an English Cocker ring and see how far you get.

This woman, is now showing dogs. :Clap :bg

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 Post subject: Re: Ethical breeding?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2011 1:01 pm 
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I would like to say this - not all show people are ethical breeders, and not all ethical breeders show their dogs. Now, for those breeders that don't show their dogs - VERY few actually take the time to research the backgrounds behind their dogs to produce high quality dogs, let alone taking into account health testing.

An ethical breeder is more than whether or not a person shows, although in my world, that is part of it. As Rae said, showing your dog is a way of having breeding stock evaluated. The point behind breeding should be to produce as close to perfect as possible within a given breed standard. Unless you have your dog evaluated by others (judges, longtime breeders or handlers, etc), you will never know. Learning the standard includes understanding why things are written the way they are, and what the overall goal of the standard is. Why do we want a Cocker with a certain front end assembly, or a certain head shape? That's part of a good breeder's job. It's more than looks - it's construction. Just like anything, if the dog is not built properly, it won't perform properly. And while not many Cockers hunt these days (although some do!), we should preserve the innate reason for the breed.

Ethical breeders take many things into consideration when planning a breeding. What weaknesses does their bitch have? What do they want to improve through this breeding? When looking at stud dogs, they need to find a dog that can produce what their bitch needs, without bringing in other weaknesses. There’s always going to be some kind of trade off, and each breeder has to determine what they can and can’t live with. There’s a lot to consider, and you need to know an awful lot about the lines you’re working with, to know if things take more than one generation to breed out or whatever.

Ethical breeders think about puppy homes. Do they have people waiting for puppies? What is the probability that they will be able to find homes for all of the puppies OR will they be able to afford and give proper care to several puppies if they can’t all be sold.

Ethical breeders think about health. What testing has been done already, and what testing needs to be done. This is not set in stone, but the absolute bare minimum is CERF for eyes (at least annually) and OFA for hips. Many breeders are also checking knees, thyroid and other things. There are things like DNA tests for certain diseases that would potentially allow breeders to eradicate those issues from the gene pool completely if testing is done and people are honest about results and how they breed using those results.

Ethical breeders ensure that they have time to whelp the litter as well as to socialize the puppies and give them a good head start on life. Puppies should ideally be raised in the home, underfoot (so to speak) so they are used to the noise and activity of a home. The majority of puppies from any given litter will be sold as pets, so they need to be comfortable living as a pet.

I could go on all day about this, as it’s a topic that’s near and dear to my heart. But I think you get my gist. My advice to you is that if you can’t commit to doing things properly, spay and neuter your dogs. It’s more work than you think it will be – it’s not all cute puppies and fun times. Puppies die, bitches die, other bad things happen. Be prepared for all of it.

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 Post subject: Re: Ethical breeding?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2011 5:17 pm 
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Thank you, both Rae and Kelly. :nw You have expressed yourselves better than I ever could. :hp

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 Post subject: Re: Ethical breeding?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2011 6:01 pm 
I have an easy answer to this one. Ditto Kelly!


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 Post subject: Re: Ethical breeding?
PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2011 11:45 am 
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Okay, thanks guys. You did help me understand more about the ethics of breeding.

My dog isn't the type of dog I would breed anyway, she's got some food aggression/excitable urination problems.. but she did introduce me to the Cocker breed and I've fallen in love with her, and them! Maybe in a few years I'll look into it more.

Also, it's good to have that information if I ever want to get a companion for her, so I know what an "ethical" breeder is & would be able to recognize one.


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 Post subject: Re: Ethical breeding?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 8:51 am 
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Just to add something here...

I once knew a woman who was breeding very poor quality cockers. Her puppy buyers were happy with their dogs and the dogs seemed healthy. So she triumphantly told me that she was a good breeder, since these people were happy and the dogs seemed happy too.

They didn't look much like cockers though.

So what is the big deal about the standard? Its not like most people hunt anyway, right?

The problem with breeding with no regard to the standard is that the personality is tied to the look. A springer does not have the same personality as a cocker. Neither does a Rottweiler, or a poodle, or a basset hound. Cockers have a merry step, a sad look to get what they want, they are beggars and thieves, they snuffle into the covers, they like to chase tennis balls, they hide when its bathtime, they are a certain size and their coat needs a lot of care. These are the things that make a cocker a cocker. When a person wants a cocker spaniel, they expect all these things and more. Every cocker is an individual but the basics of personality are in the genes. When you disregard the standard while breeding, which of these charming traits are you also disregarding? Its all connected.

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 Post subject: Re: Ethical breeding?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 11:58 am 
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Quote:
The ethical breeder does not breed only pets.


I breed mainly pets, and I do consider myself ethical. The trouble with ethics is that it can be so subjective and very much in the eye of the beholder. I think a person who breeds only active working dogs and perhaps competes with them in field trials could also turn around to the show breeder and say that only people who breed working dogs are ethical, and argue with some basis that show people are largely breeding dogs only for appearance and actually diminishing original breed standards as so many pure show dogs have lost fitness for function and really aren't proper gundogs or working dogs anymore .

As for breeding without regard for standard, I'm a great believer in market forces...few people are going to pay top $ for a cocker that doesn't look like a cocker or any breed that doesn't look like the breed sought. They will pay top $ for a good looking healthy dog that meets the ideal breed standard and where breeders have done proper health checks on the parents, provide good breeding environment, and who have obvious care for their animals and the homes they go to. I think it's interesting that amongst the most expensive dogs on the market at the moment are the workings dogs, like working sheepdogs, where people will actually bid thousands at auctions for puppies from proven working lines that may have never stepped in a show ring.

I have nothing against show people...I just bought my first show dog and may try my hand. I just don't think ethical breeding is a black and white issue as many people try to make it out to be.


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 Post subject: Re: Ethical breeding?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 6:50 am 
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Where are the pics of your new dog Grace??? :chk

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 Post subject: Re: Ethical breeding?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 7:11 am 
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Sent you a PM Lucy!


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 Post subject: Re: Ethical breeding?
PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2012 11:10 am 
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There was a woman in Lake County Ca. that bred her black cocker female to and her Black English cocker for her breeding program. Oh as the story goes that female came from the same litter as Oprah's cocker. As the parents came in we looked at each other and that was it.


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 Post subject: Re: Ethical breeding?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2014 9:08 am 
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I really liked this article.

<http://www.mycockerspaniel.com/history.htm>

"The once number one spaniel slipped out of the AKC's top ten altogether. Fortunately, the English cocker spaniel has changed little over the years; health disorders and temperament are not so much an issue."

"It appears that "show" cockers suffered most of the effects of poor breeding. Hunters such as Jeff Griffen prefer hunting with field-trial bred cocker spaniels as "show" cockers suffer from "shyness and hysteria to a serious degree."

"To cocker spaniel breeders I offer this challenge. Breed for the love of the breed and breed the cockers we all know and love."


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