An Open Letter

Dear Prospective Owner/Breeder:

 I think I need to define some of my terminology for you so we are all on the same page. There are three (3) levels of dog breeder: the Commercial Puppy Mill Breeder; the Backyard Family Breeder; and the Professional BREED Breeder.


You know the horror stories about the Commercial Puppy Mills throughout the country, especially in the states of Missouri, Kansas, Tennessee, and Arkansas. The reason for the high concentration in these states would be the availability of acreage--preferably secluded; lower tax base; and lower cost of living (for humans!). These breeders provide minimum care and maintenance, low grade nutrition, and breed a female till she drops! I don't need to give much more on that level, I'm sure.


We can now take the Backyard Family Breeder and break them into 2, possibly 3 categories. (1) Owns a male and a female and they want another puppy "from our dogs who are so special", so they breed. Then, "What do we do now? How do we sell the extra puppies? Oh, yeah, in the newspaper". Unfortunately this family is not experienced in selecting suitable families for these dogs and the dogs can wind up with the Puppy Mill Breeder. (2) Owns a male and a female who they have not neutered and have had an accidental breeding. Again, "What do we do now? How do we sell these puppies? Oh, yeah, in the newspaper". Unfortunately this family is not experienced either in selecting suitable families for these dogs and the dogs can wind up with the Puppy Mill Breeder. (3) Owns a male or two and several females, breeding and selling the "stock" for the income--borderline commercial breeder/puppy mill in their attitude. However, and fortunately, this category of breeder does take excellent care (usually) of their hounds because they are considered to be a source of income. Sometimes puppies from this level of breeder has genetic disorders that was unknown or discounted because of the "income" to be generated. Not enough research or understanding of bloodlines goes hand-in-hand with this breeder, and they do not exhibit for several reasons, (a) they say it is too costly and/or time consuming, or (b) they don't want to know if they have quality dogs or not...they just don't want anyone else's opinion.


I hope it is now obvious what the Professional BREED Breeder is all about. I emphasize BREED because most of us specialize in one breed and do everything possible to improve, strengthen and enhance that breed only. Sure, we do branch out occasionally, and sometimes become known for the quality we produce in two or three breeds; but this is relatively rare. This breeder does show--for many reasons, the primary one being to have another group evaluation of the direction the bloodline is going--the exhibition ring is called the Breed Ring in show parlance for that very reason. Briefly, in the beginning, a "dog show" was a gathering of farmer-hunters with experienced dogs needing to be bred for continuance of their attributes for the hunt. It was a huge brag-fest! For example, John Farmer's male had treed six raccoons and opossums just last spring; Ralph Hunter's female had produced a litter with exceptional hunters with XYZ kills and treeings to their nauseum! wouldn't they be great together? Then the horse people became involved with "beauty shows" for their horses, then their dogs, until finally Dog Shows became a formalized event with each breed having to live up to and be bred to a specific Standard of Excellence.

Have you read the Irish Wolfhound Breed Standard? Does your dog meet or exceed those standards? What are the faults? What are the strong points? What do you want the brood bitch's or stud dog's attributes to be?


Please try not to be annoyed or hurt by my comments. Many years ago, my Mentor asked me one very important question: "Would you be able to put down an entire litter of puppies if you saw a health issue?" In the beginning, I could not answer that question and thank goodness have not had to face it in actuality, but there have been the weaker puppy I could not save and some I felt should not be saved. Can you do that? Can you make that life or death decision? Can you be a responsible "professional" to IMPROVE rather than remain static? How do you do that, can you verbalize your actions to that end? Can you even visualize those actions? How can I help?



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Dixie Howell-Hirsch || (949) 750-4193 || DO NOT TEXT!
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