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Old 08-21-2008, 02:45 PM
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Hello Chazzers! I've been lurking the forums for a little while now in hopes of better educating myself on the aspects of dog ownership and ethics, and I'm happy to say that I've scooped up a veritable florabunda of information on the threads here. Now for a rant about myself, my intentions, and the inevitable question to follow:

Myself and my husband own a home with a good size back yard, and we lead an active lifestyle. Growing up, my mother was the type to buy or adopt a puppy because it was "cute," and when the work and "cuteness" inevitably wore out, there was always an excuse to get rid of her animals. It always broke my heart. This happened with a GSD, a GSD/Rottie mix, a Chi, a Shih-tzu, a Lab, a Min-Pin, and 3 cats. Truly disgusting. It's amazing to think of even having TIME to acquire and "dispose" of that many animals in a ~15 year span. Long story-short, I always swore to myself that I would never do that to an animal as long as I lived, and that I would only become a pet owner when I was totally prepared for the responsability that comes in tow.

That said, when I met my husband, he already had a 2 year-old Manx cat living comfortably with him, and while I never found myself to be much of a cat person, it became difficult not to love her as unconditionally as she loved us. While I ached for the companionship of a dog, we were living in an apartment at the time and I didn't want to be unfair to my new pooch by limiting his space that way. We rescued another cat at the local shelter instead, and she's been a wonderful addition to our home (albeit terribly shy, she's really come a long way in the few years we've had her).

Fast forward to now. We've owned our home for almost two years now, and I've spent several months searching for the perfect breed for me. I'd narrowed my list down to a few select breeds around the same time my husband and I took a trip down to Texas to see his biological father on his farm (they'd been estranged since my husband was four years old). It was an incredibly happy reunion for the two of them, and to my delight, what should await on that 400 acre farm but 4 adult Great Pyrenees (one of the breeds I was secretly pining for) and an Australian Cattle Dog. While my husband spent some quality time getting to know his dad again, I spent some quality time with the pack, and it all but sealed the deal for me. They were absolutely glorious animals, with a temperment that fit the breed standard to a T. Noble, elegant, contemplating, calm...the perfect fit for me. Two of his four Pyrs are what he referred to as "retired," as they were both 9 years old and spent most of their time in or around the barn or out laying with the goats. The other two Pyrs are his actively working stock, and it was amazing to see them go from loving, gentle giants to police on the takedown at the sound of a coyote on the mountain. It was truly an amazing experience to see these dogs WORK as they were intended to work--protecting the livestock, while at the same time maintaining such a gentle demeanor to myself and my husband once we were introduced.

Now onto the good stuff ...My father-in-law inevitably learned of my love for the breed and offered to save me the pup of my choice from his next litter. I spoke at length with him about the process; how he chooses his bitch, how he supervises whelping, provides veterinary care, etc. to get a good idea of it. He takes the top-working bitch from his group (temperment is also taken into consideration) once she is 3-4 years old and breeds her to the top-working dog from another farmer. He and the other farmer then raise them to work on their respective farms, splitting the litter. He does not inbreed brothers to sisters and pups to parents, although I will admit not having the exact details on how he chooses which farmer's stock to breed from at this point.

My question to you seasoned folks is this: Do you feel it would be ethically wrong of me to acquire a pup from his next litter from him, given that the dogs are not conformation shown, even though they have proven to be excellent working dogs? This isn't something I would consider at all if the pups were being sold in any fashion whatsoever, but since there will be a litter born regardless of my choice, what are your thoughts?

I will also add that I realize a pup from a working line and a pup from a pet-quality line will generally differ in overall temperment, and I am willing to accept the responsability and extra training and exercise that goes along with that difference in the long run.

Thanks for listening to my long-winded back story. Your opinions (yes, I'm SERIOUS!) are welcome and appreciated.
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Old 08-21-2008, 03:01 PM
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Welcome to the forum, I hope you stick around as I'd love to have an active Pyr owner on the board!

For me working a dog for it's intended purpose is as good as conformation so long as the dogs who are bred excel at what they do. What I do think he MUST do in order for you to consider him a good, ethical breeder is to have all the breeding dogs screened for common genetic disorders in the Pyr breed. So for a Pyr I'd assume the common large dog things like Hip Dysplasia, elbow Dysplasia, luxating patella and other than that I'm not sure what is generally tested in them, perhaps Thyroid.

To me if a breeder does not do that they are a definite no for me!

I am also curious about how he goes about socializing his dogs, since yours is (I'm assuming) not going to live outside on a farm guarding the flock and will be having to interact with tons of people coming and going in the house and in public. So it's important that even though the pup will be very young when he has it, it's important he too is socializing him with as many people, sounds and situations as possible.

If for one reason or another he does not prove to be the breeder for you, don't fret! We can help you to find some good breeders or at least give you some contacts of ones we think may be good for you to check out yourself.

Now, I'd love to see pics of your kitties
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Old 08-21-2008, 03:22 PM
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Assuming they are sound (as in healthy, with no major problems in the lines, and preferably health-tested) as well as good workers, I don't think there's an ethical problem with that. Conformation breeding has actually altered a lot of breeds from their "natural" look that they had as workers; the working version is older and just as legitimate as the show version of a breed. Assuming they are healthy, you like the parents, and you like the way he does things, I don't think there's a problem. Besides, he's family. Perhaps the best question, since you know him personally, is how do you feel about getting a puppy from him?
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Old 08-21-2008, 03:36 PM
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I would definitely just do as much research on this guy as you can. Does he do health tests on the bitches he breeds? Do the people with the stud do health tests on their lines? How often does he breed? How does he handle the pups as far as socializing, beginning house training, etc etc...

I have a border collie mix who's father was from working lines. His stupid owners brought in an unaltered female Sheltie/lab and were surprised when the two tied I'm sure... My Bamm Bamm has a lot of the working border collie look to him in the way he's built etc etc. I love BCs and have found that I will never ever have a BC from a conformation showing line. I just don't like they way they're built. I'd much rather see a BC from working lines as I prefer the look and I prefer the herding drive and their eagerness to work. So... as far as conformation lines vs working lines... it's all in your preference and what you are looking for.

Welcome to the forum. Look forward to getting to know you better.
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Old 08-21-2008, 04:07 PM
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As requested, Maxy, these are my girls:

http://s403.photobucket.com/albums/p...t=IMG_0002.jpg

http://s403.photobucket.com/albums/p...t=IMG_0001.jpg

The first is Karma, the Manx, and the second is Kizzy. I love them dearly, and their favorite game of the moment is "Stalk the String."

As far as researching the breeder, well...he's my father-in-law. So far there's not a lot of internet dirt on 'im, at least. He doesn't breed for anyone but himself and other farmers who are using the dogs for farm work. He truly is a wonderful, kind-hearted man, and I feel that I can trust him at his word when it comes to his dogs. With that in mind, it also presents more of a delicate situation for me as compared to a breeder I don't know personally. For example, I do have feelings to keep in mind and I would like to be careful not to offend him during my grilling-sessions. I'm doing my best to ask questions a little at a time so as not to come off as a haughty unappreciative doggy-snob, if ya get my drift. I'm trying to be as creative in my wording as possible while still gathering information. For instance, while he does provide regular veterinary care, and he has spent over $5,000 on his ACD following an accident, you likely won't see him with eye-exam results for each of his dogs. He is what I would call a stereotypically country farmer. If one of his dogs isn't performing well, or seems to be "off" in any way, he will take them to the vet and money is no object in finding the root of the problem. But for him, it's a purely "can they do the job, and do it well" mindset. I seriously doubt he has OFA tested his dogs, and likely judges their working quality on pure build and demonstrated ability.

On the socializing dilemma--This was the first thing that crossed my mind, and I asked him about it. The only socializing these pups get is through his friends and family in the area, and taking them with him on errands into town. He does not do any deliberate socialization (that is--purely for the sake of it), however he does make a point to take them with him whenever he needs to leave the house when they're young.

While this isn't an ideal situation from birth through 8 weeks of age, I work in a nursing home. A nursing home in need of a community dog, to be exact. I feel it would be a fantastic setting for daily socializing of the pup, not to mention a joy for the old folks and a great way for me to keep an eye on him all day long while he's learning the ins and outs of things. Is heavy socialization beginning at 8 weeks too late, in your opinions? If I choose not to accept one of his pups, I will also need to find a way of gently explaining why I went out and bought a Pyr from a breeder instead of just taking one of his pups.

Thank you for the advice and welcome-words, they're greatly appreciated and I hope to be around for a long time to come.

Last edited by Dawni; 08-21-2008 at 04:10 PM. Reason: Edited to switch to linked images instead of imbedded.
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Old 08-21-2008, 04:34 PM
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I'd not take a purebred pup aside from rescue, from any source without health testing on the parents. Minimum hips eyes and thyroid...and if that breed has inherent issues I'd want those too. esp not a Giant breed...no way.
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Old 08-21-2008, 04:35 PM
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Skittledoo, Bamm's a beautiful dog, I like BC's as well. It's a riot to watch them in action. And sorry for the huge images in the previous post, folks, I'm still learning the ropes on resizing.



That's better.
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Old 08-21-2008, 04:41 PM
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Cute kitties! I have 2 as well.
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Old 08-21-2008, 05:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HoundedByHounds View Post
I'd not take a purebred pup aside from rescue, from any source without health testing on the parents. Minimum hips eyes and thyroid...and if that breed has inherent issues I'd want those too. esp not a Giant breed...no way.
From what I've gathered so far, the consensus on Pyr problems leads with HD. Depending on the source, some mention eye and skin problems, and some don't mention them at all. I wonder if any of the skin problems (such as hot spots) are more grooming/environmentally related?

Ugh, I wouldn't have such a hard time with this decision if I didn't know the pups would be coming into existence regardless of my choice. 'Course it doesn't help that it's family, either...

Quote:
Originally Posted by HoundedByHounds View Post
Cute kitties! I have 2 as well.
Thanks!
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Old 08-21-2008, 05:35 PM
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It must be hard since it's family. Would you be willing to adopt if you found a purebred pup in a shelter/rescue? That would give you an excuse of sorts "well I wanted to rescue a homeless animal..." but I understand if you want the certainty that comes along with knowing your dog's parents. Although without testing you cannot be certain of their health any more than with a shelter dog unless he has had none of these problems in the dogs parents, grand parents, greats etc. on both sides. It's just my opinion, maybe people more experienced with working lines would know more, I just would never be comfortable going to a breeder who did not health test. If you are willing to look into rescue if you tell me your State I can look and see if I can find any purebred pups in your area.
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