Getting into breeding

krissy

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#1
I know we've got some breeders on the forum, and I'm just wondering what got you into it in the first place?

As sort of a bit of context for why I'm asking....

I'm not seriously thinking about breeding any time soon. However, I'm curious about it, and I'm not ruling it out as a possibility *maybe* one day. Here's the thing. I don't really care for conformation (though if I had a dog that enjoyed it and didn't think it was death I probably would have some fun with it), and within my breed lure coursing is the sport to prove your dogs. I have nothing against lure coursing (I think it looks like a lot of fun for the dogs and it is impressive to watch), but my main sport is agility and I don't particularly want to risk injury on the lure coursing field. Naturally then, my default is to not really have an interest in breeding.

That said, what I DO have a very keen interest in is the breed and preservation of the breed. The majority of greyhounds you see are retired racers. Which is amazing and I have a retired racer myself, and I'm involved with my local adoption group. But racing is declining. I don't suggest I know a lot about the racing industry or what is happening with it right now, but I do have a concern that if racing actually ends it will be a huge population of greyhounds lost as far as companions go.

There are greyhound breeders out there of course, but most of the really well established ones that I know of are... well they've been doing it for awhile. :) I'm not really sure what the next generation of breeders is looking like. It's something I intend to ask my breeder about since she'll know more. But I figure the next generation has to come from somewhere and you have to start learning at some point... no one was born knowing about breeding great dogs.

Anyway, it's just some thoughts that have been percolating around my head. I'm not sure it's something I ever actually want to do. But I'm curious what got others started. Were you interested in breeding specifically... or like me was it just an interest in your breed? Did you have to get into conformation or performance or were you already doing those things?

ETA: If I did decide to breed I would of course first title the dog(s) in question in conformation and field trials, as well as agility, and health test. I intend to be a very good breeder if I elect to do it. My point was just that those aren't my natural interests and I don't particularly participate in them at this time when I have no plans to breed.
 
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#2
Conformation is important in agility, lure coursing, etc. The reason for conformation is to prove your breeding stock and have them judged against their peers. (I am referring to AKC where you need to have competition in the same breed)

Then you have breed appropriate health testing.

But IMO, not all dogs used in breeding have to have a conformation title. I am aware that some breeds have a different look to what is in the ring to what is in the field. But I prefer breeds that can do both in the same dog. There are a myriad of reasons that a breedable dog does not have a CH.

So really, what I am beating around the bush to say is breeding is hard, a crapshoot and sometimes you do not get what you expect from 2 very nice matching dogs. It is very expensive, and many times heartbreaking. Trust me.

You will worry an insane amount about your bitch the whole time she is bred. You will worry about everything you bring into your house, the people who visit. You will worry about what you even mop your floors with if it may hurt your bitch or developing puppies. Then when she is close, there is a new set of worries. Then when active labor starts there is even more worry. Then when puppies are here, you will not even want to walk into petsmart to get dog food because of the sesspool of diseases that can come home on your shoes. You will have spent thousands of dollars on one litter, the gamble of genetics, then you have potential buyers who complain about the cost of your puppies.
 

Elrohwen

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#3
I've considered it. Watson has been bred twice now, and I took a puppy, so that was basically as easy as it gets to breed your dog. Haha. I did none of the work (beyond showing him and getting his health testing done) and I got a puppy out of it. I knew I wanted a female, and I knew I would probably do conformation and sports anyway, so I thought about whether I wanted to breed and decided that I'm not interested right now. It just seems so hard and I know so little, and how would I work 50 hours a week and raise a litter? But I am keeping it in mind for the future. I love my breed, but they are rare and we need a new generation of breeders if it will continue. At some point I might be part of that next generation.

Out of the "newer" breeders I know (doing it for 5-10 years), many had one or two litters and then stopped, because it was so much work and time. Once they got their keeper puppies out of it, they didn't really want to do it again for a while. That's the type of breeder I would probably be. They're important, and they breed nice dogs, but you also need those people who are going to stick it out for 40 years and raise tons of dogs and really have a line and improve it and shape the breed for the future. I have a lot of respect for those people but it's not for me.
 

Beanie

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#4
I think how you start is find a mentor you really trust.
I can tell you while I've been looking for my next dog, I have contacted people I do not know and have never been in the same circles with, and when I tell them where my dogs come from, they are very very happy to not only tell me what they have brewing but also refer me to other people. People know my breeder and the lines I have and having that relationship established has made my life easier. It is also how I got Payton on a full contract - more or less my breeder said "I have a buyer who wants this one and she wants him on full registration, no co-own" and the breeder said "okee-doke!"

As to why I'm considering breeding, it's because there aren't many breeders out there actually producing nice, all-around dogs. The split between show and working has gotten more pronounced just in the ten years I have had Auggie. There's also a real lack of breeders putting their dogs on sheep. If I want a nice, all-around dog who has the structure to succeed in ANY ring I take him in - show or agility or herding - as well as the drive and temperament to work when asked, it kinda looks like I'm going to have to produce it myself.

I agree there are a lot of reasons a dog who is considered breedable might not have a CH. Payton does not and unless I send him out with a handler he probably will not. In my ideal world I would want him to have the CH, and in the future, other dogs I will pursue it. Is it my main interest? NOPE, confo sounds horribly boring to me actually, but I will do it to achieve the full picture I'm looking for.
There's also the argument against confo, where what is being put up may not actually be a form-follows-function structure (or even what's actually in the standard.) This isn't 100% untrue in shelties although I don't feel it has gotten to the extreme, where a well structured dog will not win. So I don't feel, for working dogs, conformation is necessarily a means to show your dog is appropriately built for the expected work, whatever that might be. In a working breed, I like the CH, but I really like the sport/working titles more. If a dog has good structure when I put my hands on it, the health testing is correct, and they are doing well in sports, I don't mind the missing CH.
ALL THAT SAID I still prefer titles from both arenas, and the show/working split makes me sad so I really just don't feel like the majority of shelties specifically couldn't/shouldn't have both... at least right now. Ring trends may change and so too might my feelings on the subject.

In a way I think the only reason most people really get into confo is to prove breedability - so I don't think many people are into it when they don't breed or aren't somehow involved with people who want to breed said animal (breeder has asked them to show so they can breed the dog later.) I think mostly it's younger kids who get into showing just because they want to show dogs, not working to prove breedability, because I don't think kids think like that LOL. But I also think they probably get a lot of dogs from that second group so the end result is kind of the same.





Also get dogs. So much easier than having bitches.
 

Elrohwen

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#5
I think how you start is find a mentor you really trust.
I can tell you while I've been looking for my next dog, I have contacted people I do not know and have never been in the same circles with, and when I tell them where my dogs come from, they are very very happy to not only tell me what they have brewing but also refer me to other people. People know my breeder and the lines I have and having that relationship established has made my life easier. It is also how I got Payton on a full contract - more or less my breeder said "I have a buyer who wants this one and she wants him on full registration, no co-own" and the breeder said "okee-doke!"
So much this. I went to a few people to get my first dog, and convince them of why I was a good owner, but now I could go to almost anybody and they would be happy to work with me and provide me with a breeding/show quality dog.

ALL THAT SAID I still prefer titles from both arenas, and the show/working split makes me sad so I really just don't feel like the majority of shelties specifically couldn't/shouldn't have both... at least right now. Ring trends may change and so too might my feelings on the subject.
I feel the same about my breed. There is no real split, so a nicely built dog from anybody's lines should be able to achieve a CH. And it's really not hard in my breed at all. In other breeds it takes a certain type of dog and a ton of training and showing and I can see why people would skip it or not even want it. But in my breed it's not that hard, just get your dog out there and get the CH if you're going to breed it. There are special circumstances of course, those will always happen, but in my breed a CH isn't usually that much to ask.

In a way I think the only reason most people really get into confo is to prove breedability - so I don't think many people are into it when they don't breed or aren't somehow involved with people who want to breed said animal (breeder has asked them to show so they can breed the dog later.) I think mostly it's younger kids who get into showing just because they want to show dogs, not working to prove breedability, because I don't think kids think like that LOL. But I also think they probably get a lot of dogs from that second group so the end result is kind of the same.
Also agree. I know very few people who show their dogs and don't have any intention of breeding. Showing is just not that much fun on its own. Some people really seem to enjoy it, but even they are always showing their next breeding dog. I plan to show Hazel, but if she doesn't do well I'll just quit because I don't have any plans to breed her and it's not that important vs the other stuff I want to do with her

Also get dogs. So much easier than having bitches.
100% yes. haha
 

Kat09Tails

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#6
When I got into papillons no one was really interested in the following points which were very important to me.
Temperament - everyone told me their dogs were sweet and friendly but the dogs I met in reality weren't really what I would consider great family dogs. They were sharp, shy, and nervous.
Health or health testing - I actually had breeders tell me people health tested dogs to make up for poor breed type.
Selling a quality dog to someone who wasn't all that interested in conformation showing or sending a dog off on a campaign with a handler.
Actually living with their dogs as full time family pets first. Not in kennels or lab boxes.
Breeding a beautiful dog who was also completely healthy and suitable as a pet.

So - since no one was interested in me succeeding I decided to take the leap on my own to see if I can improve upon what I was finding which was beautiful basket cases or poorly typed really sturdy but shy dogs.

It really doesn't take a ton of generations to select to a better dog in a closed registry, it also doesn't take a ton of generations to throw it all to crap.

It's a work in progress but so far - I am liking where this is going.

 
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#7
Also get dogs. So much easier than having bitches.
I don't know if this was tongue in cheek or serious, but I'm going to disagree on this point.

Give me some good females to start a program with any day. I can find exceptional males that might fit their traits and pay a fee for stud and get 10 puppies to choose from for the next generation.

Or you own a male, that is probably just mediocre and nobody but you is going to want to breed to it anyway. At least nobody that is serious about the breed. Nobody is going to "lease" you their good producing female on an unknown mediocre dog because it's just going to wasted a heat cycle and the odds that you male and female that are compatible to really create a good future generation are small.

Or you do actually have an exceptional male and you find a female to breed to, agree to lease her or get a pick puppy. Now you've got 1 puppy you're basing your next generation plans on. I don't like those odds especially if it's another male.

Of course there are thousands of "breeders" that just have nice dogs and produce nothing of note
 

crazedACD

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#8
Sometimes you kind of learn to like those sports :). I'm working at this kennel doing a bit of retriever work and I never ever thought I'd even consider being interested in field trials and hunt tests..but it's building and I might like to some day! Same with conformation, I never thought I'd be interested but tried it once I got a purebred pup that was put together nicely. I intended for it to just be ring/event experience but I got a little into the sport too. I like showing in it, until I hit a losing streak and then I get frustrated and quit for a while :p. It's a lot like gambling.

I think I could get into most dog sports that I had access to resources for :). I don't think a breeder needs to get into all the sports just to breed some dogs, but a general focus is good? A little work and a little play, lure coursing, dogs have good structure and type, and some good agility titles? I wouldn't be ashamed to breed from that! Breeding isn't always about breeding the best to the best, there are so many factors to consider.

Actually living with their dogs as full time family pets first. Not in kennels or lab boxes.
Veering off topic :).
It seems to me, the big time show breeding people all do kennels or crates for their dogs. They have a lot of dogs, not enough space or time, and the dogs suffer. The people that have a handful of dogs, show as a hobby, their dogs are good. The people with big operations, with nice kennels and staff, their dogs are good. I don't even really mind dogs in an actual kennel that get out and get exercised but so many people just have them crated around the house.
I worked for a woman that showed Whippets..they lived in two per plastic crate in her grooming shop. Pottied once a day. One dog in her house. I interviewed for a job working with show poodles... :eek: borderline hoarder, more dogs than furniture, lived in stacked crates. Worked with a woman that had Labs and Chins. Kenneled always. Worked with a woman that had show Chis..she lived above a garage filled with stacked hamster type cages of dogs. Worked with another woman that had showed Papillons, that one kept two or three kennels at our work filled with them (like 5 or 6 paps per kennel) and they lived there. I talked to someone about Bull Terriers at a show once and she said she had like 25 of them at her house but they were all kept crated and they couldn't be out together.
I don't love that culture and I don't think it helps you figure out which dogs are just good..dogs? Which are easy to live with or whatever you are looking for?
 

Finkie_Mom

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#9
Basically, I wanted to start producing Finkies that come from titled parents (not just a Ch title, but some sport/therapy work/something) that I felt continued to have appropriate prey drive and structure (health testing too) that would allow them to do what they were bred for (basically run around in the woods for 8 hours a day over sometimes rough terrain).

I've only had one litter. We lost 3 out of 5 puppies, Bubbles (dam) almost died, and it was just a nightmare of a whelping. Anything that could have gone wrong pretty much did. I almost lost my Bubby. I was up all night for weeks with the puppies and her, I had to take time off of work, had to have people check in when I did go back to work, etc.

Now, the puppies who survived are amazing. I love them and truly believe they are better in many ways than their sire/dam. Which is the point. Jari loves to work with me in agility and obedience, but still has not lost his drive to tree/hunt, and I love his structure and temperament. We will title in agility and probably at least rally, and if I get really lucky (no majors to be found around here...), he'll get his Ch soon-ish as our specialty is close to me in October.

I don't want to have tons of dogs. I want to train and compete with each and every dog I own. I love having them in my house (and not in crates as much as possible) so I really don't want to breed again until I want another puppy. Since I want another breed next, the need for a Finkie puppy for myself won't happen for another 10 years really. I may end up breeding another litter next year, but I would be selling all the puppies.

Oh and I also do NOT like conformation. Mostly because it's impossible to get points around here. So I either have to make them myself or would have to beg others to show this way. Or travel to others, which I don't have the funds/time for right now. Plus agility is way more fun anyway :p
 

Stingr69

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#10
When I got into papillons no one was really interested in the following points which were very important to me.
Temperament - everyone told me their dogs were sweet and friendly but the dogs I met in reality weren't really what I would consider great family dogs. They were sharp, shy, and nervous.
Health or health testing - I actually had breeders tell me people health tested dogs to make up for poor breed type.
Selling a quality dog to someone who wasn't all that interested in conformation showing or sending a dog off on a campaign with a handler.
Actually living with their dogs as full time family pets first. Not in kennels or lab boxes.
Breeding a beautiful dog who was also completely healthy and suitable as a pet.

So - since no one was interested in me succeeding I decided to take the leap on my own to see if I can improve upon what I was finding which was beautiful basket cases or poorly typed really sturdy but shy dogs.

It really doesn't take a ton of generations to select to a better dog in a closed registry, it also doesn't take a ton of generations to throw it all to crap.

It's a work in progress but so far - I am liking where this is going.

Beautiful Pap you have there!

As for your frustration in finding a breeder that you could work with, I know how VERY hard that is to accomplish. Lots of emails, applications, phone calls, dead ends and driving all over the country. Been there, done that, understand it better now.

The breeders that are truly into breeding for "bettering the breed" are not going to hand over the best looking/temperament etc examples to companion homes. That is not why they are breeders. They will have the best pups confirmed by expert judges in the ring and then use the confirmed animals to mate with other confirmed examples in an effort to produce even better examples. This improves the future available breeding stock. That is the only way to improve the breed. The puppies that are produced along side the confirmation animals that do not have ALL of the desirable conforming traits are made available to companion homes on a spay/neuter agreement so the future breeding stock is not compromised. The breeder will look very hard for suitable homes for the "companion" pups. For this type of breeder, it is never about making money, it is a labor of love for the breed.

Obviously there are other types of breeders with different goals.
 

Dogdragoness

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#11
I've considered it. Watson has been bred twice now, and I took a puppy, so that was basically as easy as it gets to breed your dog. Haha. I did none of the work (beyond showing him and getting his health testing done) and I got a puppy out of it. I knew I wanted a female, and I knew I would probably do conformation and sports anyway, so I thought about whether I wanted to breed and decided that I'm not interested right now. It just seems so hard and I know so little, and how would I work 50 hours a week and raise a litter? But I am keeping it in mind for the future. I love my breed, but they are rare and we need a new generation of breeders if it will continue. At some point I might be part of that next generation.

Out of the "newer" breeders I know (doing it for 5-10 years), many had one or two litters and then stopped, because it was so much work and time. Once they got their keeper puppies out of it, they didn't really want to do it again for a while. That's the type of breeder I would probably be. They're important, and they breed nice dogs, but you also need those people who are going to stick it out for 40 years and raise tons of dogs and really have a line and improve it and shape the breed for the future. I have a lot of respect for those people but it's not for me.
I am in the same boat, everyone is telling me that nextdog should be a female so I can control where the puppies go, but I dont know if I have the time (or my anxiety will allow me LOL) to deal with a preggo bitch and puppies, also between / before she is bred, have to deal with the heat cycles, Lincoln's issues when she is in heat, the risk if pyometra ... etc ... LOL. I might just contact the breeder I plan to get next puppy from and say I want a male instead of a female lmao.
 

Kat09Tails

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#12
Beautiful Pap you have there!

As for your frustration in finding a breeder that you could work with, I know how VERY hard that is to accomplish. Lots of emails, applications, phone calls, dead ends and driving all over the country. Been there, done that, understand it better now.

The breeders that are truly into breeding for "bettering the breed" are not going to hand over the best looking/temperament etc examples to companion homes. That is not why they are breeders. They will have the best pups confirmed by expert judges in the ring and then use the confirmed animals to mate with other confirmed examples in an effort to produce even better examples. This improves the future available breeding stock. That is the only way to improve the breed. The puppies that are produced along side the confirmation animals that do not have ALL of the desirable conforming traits are made available to companion homes on a spay/neuter agreement so the future breeding stock is not compromised. The breeder will look very hard for suitable homes for the "companion" pups. For this type of breeder, it is never about making money, it is a labor of love for the breed.

Obviously there are other types of breeders with different goals.
Thanks, I am pretty happy with her-she's not perfect but she is closer to what I am after. She is unlikely to ever grace a ring again though as I see absolutely no value in it anymore. These experts are rarely that - temperament, train-ability, or health is worth no points - and frequently type accounts less than the name on the other end of the leash. You are right - I have had a hard time finding someone to work with - mostly because I don't care about ribbons or titles - so I decided to forge my own way.

The rest of what you wrote I'll just claim I don't believe it for reasons that are too long for a net forum nor do I think it's an ethical way forward for a companion breed. Again, it's why I decided to forge my own way and breed my own.
 

Dogdragoness

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#13
Thanks, I am pretty happy with her-she's not perfect but she is closer to what I am after. She is unlikely to ever grace a ring again though as I see absolutely no value in it anymore. These experts are rarely that - temperament, train-ability, or health is worth no points - and frequently type accounts less than the name on the other end of the leash. You are right - I have had a hard time finding someone to work with - mostly because I don't care about ribbons or titles - so I decided to forge my own way.

The rest of what you wrote I'll just claim I don't believe it for reasons that are too long for a net forum nor do I think it's an ethical way forward for a companion breed. Again, it's why I decided to forge my own way and breed my own.
I agree, breed how you want to breed and produce what you want to produce.
 

samshine

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#14
The one common element for dedicated breeders is that they fell in love with their breed and they want to be a part of its future. They want to preserve the breed and keep it going in the right direction. They want to produce the best examples of the breed that they possibly can.

It is great to be involved in dog sports, and there you can learn a lot of general dog knowledge. To learn the ins and outs of your breed, you really need to tap into the conformation world. Once you are networked in with a wide range of breeders, you learn so much. What genetic issues are running through the breed, which lines are known to carry what, what health issues to watch out for, etc. Also what structural issues are going on. In my breed right now, we have a big problem with front assemblies being set on too far forward, and upper arms that are vertical instead of angled to put the elbow below the withers. I don't have this problem in my dogs so I need to be careful to not introduce it.

You're not going to learn this stuff if you aren't involved in conformation. And there is always more to learn.

The other thing conformation does is keep uniformity in the breed. We've all seen examples of purebred dogs that look nothing like their breed standard. Without a way of comparing dogs, what you end up with is every breeder doing their own version of the breed.

And on the dog vs. bitch question, it is much easier to get a good quality male than a female. Breeders are keeping the best bitches for themselves or somebody with a proven track record. One way to prove yourself is to get a male, and spend a couple years showing him and learning about the breed and meeting other breeders. At that point you will have a better idea of what you are really looking for in a bitch and a good chance of being able to buy what you want. Just don't plan on getting a bitch to breed to your boy, it seldom works out that way. Buy the best you can, and when she grows up find the very best match for her in a stud. Chances are it won't be your male.
 
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joce

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#15
That show breeder hoarder home that someone mentioned does not have to be though. I have seen that!! See it in rescue and the show crowd.

It's next to impossible to get into Dobermans without someone to walk you through it and I did not get a answer back from anyone in state. No one. Not anyone still in our local club. It sucked. Then I get my pup and he gets an ear injury. Ugh. One day I do hope to show. Not sure on ever breeding dobes. So much politics and I'm just still a mess over it all.

Husbands thinking of getting into corgis but not pembrokes this time. He wants cardis! What?! So I don't even know what he needs to do. He talked to several breeders who were throwing puppies at him. Show or can they just do agility herding matches etc. I want real working dogs. We are getting sheep and ducks etc. We have a huge specialty right around the corner here a couple times a year. Much easier to find breeders willing to help with the corgis. But he even mentioned the hoarder breeder thing when looking. I do not have room in this house to have six plus dogs like I did at our old one kenneled or not.
 

Dogdragoness

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#16
That show breeder hoarder home that someone mentioned does not have to be though. I have seen that!! See it in rescue and the show crowd.

It's next to impossible to get into Dobermans without someone to walk you through it and I did not get a answer back from anyone in state. No one. Not anyone still in our local club. It sucked. Then I get my pup and he gets an ear injury. Ugh. One day I do hope to show. Not sure on ever breeding dobes. So much politics and I'm just still a mess over it all.

Husbands thinking of getting into corgis but not pembrokes this time. He wants cardis! What?! So I don't even know what he needs to do. He talked to several breeders who were throwing puppies at him. Show or can they just do agility herding matches etc. I want real working dogs. We are getting sheep and ducks etc. We have a huge specialty right around the corner here a couple times a year. Much easier to find breeders willing to help with the corgis. But he even mentioned the hoarder breeder thing when looking. I do not have room in this house to have six plus dogs like I did at our old one kenneled or not.
Get a MAS! they still retain the herding instinct of their foundation breed, the aussie, and they are so so versatile! if you wanted to also do sports with them as well as use them on the farm, you could! And there are a lot of breeders who still instinct test and even work their stock on their own farms :)

I herd cattle with mine, his mother did sheep and goats!
 

joce

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#17
Get a MAS! they still retain the herding instinct of their foundation breed, the aussie, and they are so so versatile! if you wanted to also do sports with them as well as use them on the farm, you could! And there are a lot of breeders who still instinct test and even work their stock on their own farms :)

I herd cattle with mine, his mother did sheep and goats!
I really like cattle dogs and would stick with them but he liked our gizmo who was a pembroke and talking to breeders thinks a cardi will be good. I love anything in the herding group! Blitz our cattle dog is all go and no off which has turned him off the breed. Wish I could show him others. Blitz was a rescue and has some border collie maybe in there. But he is set on corgis.

Dobes are always gonna be my breed! Though I'd take a lab lol!

Though good god looking at pics here sometimes I've wanted every breed there is at some point!
 

Dogdragoness

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Location
Gillett/Flower Mound TX
#18
I really like cattle dogs and would stick with them but he liked our gizmo who was a pembroke and talking to breeders thinks a cardi will be good. I love anything in the herding group! Blitz our cattle dog is all go and no off which has turned him off the breed. Wish I could show him others. Blitz was a rescue and has some border collie maybe in there. But he is set on corgis.

Dobes are always gonna be my breed! Though I'd take a lab lol!

Though good god looking at pics here sometimes I've wanted every breed there is at some point!
LOL I have probably wanted every breed at some point. Luckily I am still rather young and have a lot of time hahaha, though I will likely always have one MAS at least.
 
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