Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Hump and Dump Dog Breeders

For the pure destruction of the dog, puppy mills cannot begin to compete with "hump and dump" hobby breeders who crank out two, three or four litters a year, perhaps keeping one dog out of every 10 or 12 produced, and never working any of them.

Of course the "hump and dump" crowd never recognize themselves in the description. According to them, it's the "puppy mill" and "backyard breeders" that are wrecking working dogs.

In fact, in most cases, dog breeds have been wrecked by show ring aficionados who pay for their show ring hobby by engaging in "hump and dump" dog breeding to defray the expense of traveling around the country to show their dogs and collect rosettes.

Are you a "hump and dump" dog breeder? Maybe. Or as Jeff Foxworthy so memorably puts it, You might be a redneck if ....

  1. If you think breeding is a "sport," you might be a "hump and dump" dog breeder;

  2. If you bred more puppies last year than the number of days you actually worked your dogs in the field, you might be a "hump and dump dog breeder";

  3. If you have an "available" dog on your web site or posted to a list, and you are breeding another litter, you might be a "hump and dump" dog breeder;

  4. If you have been in your breed of dogs for less than five years and are breeding a litter, you might be a "hump and dump" dog breeder;

  5. If you seem to have a permanent "puppy for sale" posting on any of the boards, you might be a "hump and dump" dog breeder;

  6. If your web site gives instructions on how to air-freight a dog across the country, you might be a "hump and dump" dog breeder;

  7. If you have regularly advertised puppies for sale in a magazine, in the newspaper, or on a "pets for sale" web site, you might be a "hump and dump" dog breeder.

  8. If you have a PayPal link on your web site so people can buy puppies quickly, you might be a "hump and dump" dog breeder;

  9. If you have a web sit that sells dogs, but do not have a prominent link to a rescue organization you might be a hump and dump dog breeder.

  10. If you have "kennel reduction" sales in which your goal is to dump all the older dogs that are no longer in the running for ribbons or are no longer of use to you as studs dogs and breeding bitches, you might be a hump and dump breeder.

Scored more than one on the above test? To quote comedian Bill Engvall, Here's your sign.



Anonymous said...

Isn't it amazing how few of these breeders have a link to a rescue organization? Almost none! The reason: rescue is competition.

Now think about that ... these breeders say they make no money from breeding dogs, but they are worried about "competition"? How does that work?

Look at the web sites of Club Presidents and board members. How many have links to rescue? A hat tip to this site which always has!

Dave S.

Anonymous said...

"The reason: rescue is competition."

That's nonsense. I ran a breed rescue for three years here in Northern California (Sheltie Rescue) and responsible breeders were alway supportive, often sending potential puppy buyers to me if an adult dog would be a better fit for the situation and ALWAYS mentioning rescue to someone looking for a Sheltie.

The good breeders I know don't fit any of the hump-and-dump categories, but I don't know any of them who have links to rescue on their Web sites. They'll all take back their own dogs, though, and that's a lifelong guarantee.

A good breeder doesn't worry about competition: She has a waiting list before she breeds and turns away many more people than she will ever have dogs for.

The person who co-owns my dogs only grudgingly puts bench championships on them. Her sport is field work, both field trials and hunt tests, as well as honestly working over her dogs. She and her husband put together their life savings to buy property where they could train and work their retrievers every day. (Which they do, despite her job as a economics professor and his as the CFO of a high-tech company.)

I do recognize that show breeders have made many breeds into a pretty shadows of good working dogs, but that's not true in all breeds.

I can mostly speak to the breed I know best, of course.

The percentage of flatcoated retrievers (my breed) who can still do a day's field work is very high, by international desire of the people who love the breed. By comparison, the golden retriever (like the Labrador) has split into working/show lines. There may be champion goldens or Labs who are all-age qualified retrievers or even good companion hunters, but I don't think there are many relative to the numbers of Labs and goldens around.

But ... it can be argued that the real "work" of the Labrador and Golden these days is suburban family pet. Flatcoat owners still largely insist on versatile working dogs.

That's what attracted me to the breed, in fact. I love a smart, hard-working dog with lots of natural drive to do the work he was bred for. Owning dogs like these requires some lifestyle adjustments on my part, to be sure. They are not just "black goldens." The trade-offs are worth it when I'm with my dogs and they're working.

PBurns said...

An interesting converation, and so I did a little web work this morning to see what's up.

First stop was http://www.toplisted.net where I looked at a lot of Jack Russell Terrier and Parson Russell terrier web sites and found no links to rescue, but quite a lot to "NextDay pets" and the like.

Thinking maybe I had fallen into a ghetto, I checked out some top breeders in the AKC, UKC and JRTCA and found the same. So maybe terrier breedes are scum.

I went to http://www.flatcoat.com and found no links to rescue. There are not many flatcoats out there, however, so let's try shelties.

The sheltie owners seem to be the same as the terrier breeds, based on a review of the ads and links at http://www.sheltiesonline.com/breeders-directory.php#coastal -- lots of links to "Our Boy," "Our Girls," "Available" etc, but no links to rescue.

If breeders are supporting rescue, it's not on their web sites.
I suspect the way most support rescue is that they send the folks that live too far away or who do not want to pay $600 or $1,000 for a dog to rescue.

OK, so folks do not appear to be putting a link to rescue off of their breeder web sites. Could that change? Could that be made into a new convention? Dave may have the element of a good idea, and I can think of no better campaign or a more perfect venue for such a campaign that www.petconnection.com It seems to me that one of those little bits of free code called a "widget" for breed rescue could be created. I know such things exist for all breed rescues, but I have not seen one for a breed-specific rescue. And, of course, every web site builder knows how to make a button. A small idea, but perhaps a good one? Maybe this is a missing idea to inject into the mandatory spay-neuter conversation?


Anonymous said...

i like the sites where a "kennel reduction" is posted yet they are breeding another litter!

HTTrainer said...

One of the worst phrases any breeder can use is "to improve the breed". For some reason, and I can only guess why (nudge, nudge), this phrase qualifies any hump & dump/hobby/backyard breeder as a geneticist because they have studied the breed. More likely these breeders see a stud and want to be the first in bed. Ah, canine groupies bitches in heat vicariously enjoying life in the back room of the kennel. And while they are racing into this back room they say with a straight face that they only have select, planned breedings.
If they're breeding to improve a breed why are there so many sick dogs, dogs with recessive genes gone wild and no answers in sight. These breeders say we have to give more to research on cancer. How about a little home grown research; stop breeding and see if you have any sick dogs in that litter.
How many breeders fight tooth and nail defending their litter when a vet says that a puppy should never have been bred and the new puppy owners should return the puppy for a full refund?
As for rescue, good breeders will take their dogs back, they write clauses to that effect in their contracts. But there are instances where life can and does get in the way.
Too bad there are people who walk away from veterinary bills rather than treat their "beloved" pet; this is a crime and a burden for rescue groups.
As many rescue groups are tax exempt organizations that eagerly seek donations you would think that a breeder with all cylinders firing would donate some of their profits to their breed's rescue to cover some of the expenses.
Cave Canem is still an apt phrase for with the dog come many obligations and responsibilities.
More later.

Pit bull NM said...

Great post, Patrick. Indeed, it is a very important and interesting conversation.

In my opinion, rescues and breeders are in competition, simply because there are only so many homes wanting a new animal. I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing, and in fact could be used to both parties benefit. That said, it is dissapointing any time irresponsible or selfish decisions are made to place or sell a dog.

Now, the better recues, like the best homes and breeders, are going to have a level of patience and discretion when it comes to their decisions. But let's not fool ourselves, there are also ulterior motives active in rescue as well. To some, rescue is just as much a numbers game as breeding for income. As for crummy owners, well, we all know that some folks shouldn't keep animals of any breed or species.

Excluding the unsavory and unreachable elements in dogs, the problem lies with the lack of co-operation between the two groups; which seems to be the jist of this comment thread. The reality is that rescue groups may not always have the "right dog" for a potential adopter, and the same can certainly be said for those looking to breeders. With respect and maturity can come satisfaction whenever a dog ends up in an appropriate home; especially if good matches are increased with cooperation.

I find it important to note that if cooperation between rescues and breeders is important to improving the lives of dogs, then this problem goes both ways: some rescue groups claim to respect the practices of the responsible breeder, but how many rescue websites link to breeder's pages?

Aside: HTTrainer, I have more respect for those that acknowledge the need to first maintain a breed; seems that improvement is code for taking a breed in any direction.


Anonymous said...

The Flat-coated Retriever Society of America's website is not at flatcoat.com. That URL was purchased by a breeder many,many years ago, and is rarely updated.

The FCRSA's site is at http://www.fcrsainc.org/ , or www.flatcoat.us . Rescue is prominently featured on the sidebar.

Jolanta Jeanneney said...

Oh My God Patrick - I am a "hump and dump" breeder as I failed one of your criteria :-( Do you have a sticker that I could put on my website http://borntotrackpuppies.blogspot.com/ ;-)

Well, seriously now, I agree with you on many points, but what your site is lacking is the presentation of positive, constructive and educational approaches to breeding. Your numerous posts on various aspects of the purebred dogs breeding have so much negativity and intensity -- I am sure that people who should be reading them tuned out a long time ago. Not a good thing.

Jolanta Jeanneney

PBurns said...

If you read, you see I gave you one. But not multiple. And, pray tell, which one did you fail?


Jolanta Jeanneney said...

I don't have a link to a rescue club.

Jolanta Jeanneney

sfox said...

A quick run through my bookmarks-

Collie Club of America


Chelsea Collies


American Working Collie Association


The Lassie Network- at bottom of page


PBurns said...

Ah well Jolanta, that's easy to fix. You're not opposed to rescue are you? Of course not! Put up a link -- it's a permanent way to help dogs that need help. Lots of good Dachshund rescues. You can even put in a Google search for the link, such as >> http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=dachshund+rescue&aq=f&oq=


HTTrainer said...

Back again:
Reply to Pit Bull NM: Yes, improving the breed can take an improvement in any direction. I think it's a catch all phrase or an excuse that breeders use to justify their dogs' championships and to compensate when their experiments go awry.
Maintaining the breed is another story because using the AKC or KC guidelines is what many people think has gotten us to where we are today. We may not be able to save some breeds because the coefficiency of inbreeding is too great and is now working against the dogs with each succeeding generation. Out crossings may not help because some breeds that once were readily mixed to maintain "hybrid vigor" may now be carrying recessive genes that are fatal to the breed. I read in several books that you cannot breed 2 Manx cats together because they carry a fatal recessive gene and such a breeding is the kiss of death to the litter. Do we want that to happen to our dogs?
Terrierman's postings about the BBC documentary, the goings on at Crufts, the ruination of working and field dogs and the proclamations from the AKC should be reason enough for people who are truly concerned for their breed to question authority and say this nonsense must stop. For the smartest nation in the world not to find a solution to this problem is unconscionable.

Lisa Paddock said...

"Striving to Improve the Breed" is the legend that appears on the pedigrees generated by the breeders of my first Scottish terrier, a heartbreakingly wonderful dog born of champions created by these breeders of 30+ years experience in the show ring. That dog has been sick with a wide array of problems--some of them unquestionably hereditary--all his life, a fact vehemently denied by his breeders, who have gone to great lengths to silence me. Nothing doing. I thank these people for providing me with this much-loved dog, one who has inspired my endeavors as a breed health activist. I am nonetheless motivated by the twin fears that I will lose not only my heart dog but also the hope of ever finding another like him. What a conundrum!

Lisa in Cape May County, NJ

TeamDog said...

There was a genetic (at least I THINK it was genetic) disease in collies, PRA, an eye disease that (I think, if I remember correctly(, would lead to blindness. With careful breeding, it is a rare sight (no pun intended) nowadays. Yes, "improving the breed" is possible. And, like another poster stated, you look at breeding very negatively. What about the people that want to adopt a puppy? Where do they go?

PBurns said...

TeamDogs this is pretty close to typing. You **think** there might have been a genetic eye problem in collies, but now it's all taken care of? Try again and use the Google. Also, you do not "adopt" puppies from breeders -- you BUY them. Not that any part of your comment actually addresses the points made in this post. ** Sigh ** I would really be nice if people in this country would take up reading again.