Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Erie PA
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I am not commenting about the person/kennel in this post but more the situation because this situation is becoming more widespread within the breed and I personally see it as rather alarming. When a breeder is newer to the breed and just starting out and trying to build a foundation for a breeding program, it would be expected that the breeder would wait until the dogs are 2 years old and can get their final clearances, the breeder has time to ammass knowledge about the dogs and the lines and that the dogs have time to reach mental and physical maturity so you know what you are really working with. We do also have this as part of the GRCA's COE and while that is not a set of rules, it is more of a guideline, one would hope that someone who is hoping to start a line would be mindful of those guidelines. This is not always the case.
It was that at one time a breeder would maybe "prove" a young male dog who had all his prelims in order when he was close to 2 years old by breeding him to one of their own girls. This would be done by someone who has a lot of experience in the breed and someone who is well versed with the dogs that they are working with. While this may seem like a bit of a double standard of sorts, a male dog doesn't have to deal with the pregnancy and raise a litter. All of a sudden, there is now a great rush to breed girls under the age of 2 years old and some are citing that it is "safer" for the girls when they are younger and thus less prone to pyometra, uterine inertia and other breeding problems. Breeders are using information from reproductive specialists to try to justify these breeding practices because the repros say it is safer to breed them younger rather than waiting until they are older. However, the repros are not saying to ignore the parent clubs recommendations on clearances and other things. While an accidental breeding can certainly happen and has happened to most breeders once, one has to start to question when a breeder has multiple "accidental breedings".
I was recently on a committee with the GRCA to revisit the requirements for our Outstanding Sire and Dam program. The major reason for the GRCA looking into this was complaints from other members as to the early breeding of our goldens. When looking at results online and because I am also the GRCA's conformation statistician, I have seen dogs as young as 10 mos old siring litters of puppies and I have also seen girls at about 18-20 mos old giving birth to litters(so they were 16-18 mos old when they were bred). Sorry, I don't agree with this practice and I would never condone the behavior. It takes goldens a while to mentally mature and that is also part of the reason that the COE suggests waiting until the dogs are over 2 years old before breeding them besides the fact that they need final clearances and need to be given time to physically mature, as well so that you can really make accurate breeding decisions instead of just breeding to a stud dog dujour. Asking one of my girls to be a mom before they are 2 years old is just not something that I personally am at all comfortable with. Being pregnant and raising a litter is a lot of stress on the girls and they need both mental and physical maturity to do the job well, as well as a lot of support from the breeder. How those puppies turn out has a lot to do with the job that mom does with raising them. Some of my girls haven't been bred until they were closer to 3 and some over 3 because I did not feel they were ready to be mom's. All of these things are considerations that a breeder needs to look at before deciding to breed one of their girls.
Thankfully, in this situation, her girls did go on to get their final clearances. However, that is not always the case. I do know of a male dog who was bred multiple times at around 10 mos old and without having done any prelims. He did not clear his hips and has a littermate that did not clear her heart. But, there are now all these puppies on the ground.......so now what????
I can assure you that it has nothing to do with jealousy on the part of other breeders and rather an expectation that we all do what is best for the dogs themselves and you will find that most reputable breeders do adhere to the GRCA's COE pretty closely. When someone who has very little experience in the breed or with breeding all of a sudden appears to be throwing caution to the wind, so to speak, no-you won't be hearing wonderful things about them from their peers and it is not something that we as breeders take lightly at all(saying something that could be construed as negative against a fellow breeder) So, one then has to ask yourself-while the dogs may have clearances now, do you want to support this type of breeder? A tough question and probably a little more than what you had bargained for with your post. Just because someone is showing their dogs, does not make them a reputable breeder. There are a lot of different elements that need to be there to be considered before someone is deemed a reputable breeder.