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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been showing Goldens in obedience since I was a 4-H kid, but now I'd kind of like to try conformation. I'm not looking to get totally involved in it, I have a family and horses to think of so I don't want to be at a show every weekend. I just want to do a few shows a year for fun. Plus I'd like to breed a couple litters if the dog passes clearances, has good conformation, and has the correct disposition. (As a groomer, I've seen all sorts-from overly hyper to bite your arm off for no good reason.) So I want a dog of high enough quality to be worthy of breeding. I want to breed dogs who have health, temperament, AND beauty. However, I'm having trouble locating breeders, especially breeders willing to work with a person like me. I've found one so far, but I'd like to know of others just so I can kind of compare and become familiar with what's normal. So many breeders turn up there nose at me because I'm "not dedicated enough to show a dog enough to get it titled." I want to show for fun and for learning, and to see how my dog stacks up next to others and get other show people's opinions as to whether or not she is good enough to breed. I don't really care about titles, yes they'd be nice, but I don't want to live at dog shows. In other words I want to learn, but I want to have fun while doing it. It seems like these big breeders have lost the "fun" part and are all about win, win, win and anything they breed also has to win, win, win. How are people supposed to get a start in conformation if nobody is willing to sell them a pup? How are we supposed to enjoy it if its all about winning and being at shows away from family all the time? Sorry for the rant. Anyway, I'm located in central IL; does anybody know of any breeders in IL or near IL who might be willing to sell a show pup?
 

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Kate
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How are people supposed to get a start in conformation if nobody is willing to sell them a pup?
I think you have to realize that there is a lot of risk placing a puppy in a home that wants to have full registration in order to breed, but will not commit to showing the dog.

It's not about "winning" for the breeder, there is a concern that if they place a puppy in a home that is basically a pet home - there isn't going to be a lot of control over what happens with that dog in her life.

You're asking for a lot of faith and trust from that breeder.

When you see people backing away or immediately telling you they have no puppies, I think sometimes it's just because they have been burned too much in the past with somebody who has come out of the blue looking for a puppy.

Statements like "I don't care about titles" - I think if you say that to somebody who does care, they are going to be wondering if a dog from their kennel is going to end up being bred to the next door neighbor's golden.

You have to contact the local clubs and put your name and face out there. Meet people halfway.

**** Wish you a lot of luck. There's a lot of good people in Indiana, I think.
 

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I am going to preface this with I am not currently a breeder but hope to someday and I was Lucky enough to come with a built in fabulous breeder who happens to be my mom.

That being said, I originally wanted to be in Tibetan Spaniels. I grew up in Goldens and I know how competitive they are and the small size was also an appeal. I went with my breeder to most of the shows for about a year and a half. She had two bitches and I was there in case they both won their class and had to go back in. I also made sure I sat ring side at the Tibbie ring, getting know conformation, dogs, lines, handlers and breeders. I expressed interest, I filled out applications, these people saw me showing and assisting with goldens after a year and a half I was never even invited to visit a breeders home! So, I got a golden puppy.

One thing I want you to understand is it takes time, money and dedication to compete successfully in goldens. If you are not prepared to go all in, you are going to have a hard time finding a breeder who wants to give you a good foundation bitch. Showing dogs is all about evaluating breeding stock so, yes breeders who compete in this venue want to win. (Though I agree there are some who take it too far) You obviously have an eye for show dogs since that is your goal and the reason they look the way they do is breeders competing in fierce competition that evaluates a dog as breeding stock. No not every show prospect will make it but these breeders are breeding dogs they feel have a real shot. If dogs that have every opportunity, time, money, handlers, etc. sometimes don't make it, what would be the incentive to take a wonderful prospect and place it in a home that you know it will most likely not have the opportunity to succeed? The puppies they produce reflect on them so yes, they have incentive to put their best in homes that are willing to show.

It is kind of like asking for a champion race horse to go trail riding with. All that potential will go to waste.

The term most reputable breeders prefer is "hobby breeder". The hobby is actually competing, not the breeding. To anyone who has been burned before what you are currently saying will be put off because it sound a lot like,"hey I want a bitch on full registration to breed, I might do something with her and I want to get clearances. Really though, I want to make puppies". And, if I have learned anything hanging at shows it's that someone will have a new horror story and the name that goes with it to share with everyone else. They are justifiably cautious.

If you are really interested in a high quality show puppy, be prepared to put in the time, build the relationships, willing to co-own your dog, have stipulations in your contract you have to abide by, and show.

One of the better ways to get started in dogs is to get a boy on a co-own. Breeders are breeding for themselves and programs move forward by bitches so, the pick bitch being available or even lower pick is not common. Boys however tend to be a little easier since there my not be show homes for every nice boy in a litter. Also, boys are usually easier for breeders to accept a inexperienced home with. Also, boys are easier to show. They don't cycle and loose all their coat all the time. If you look at the specials ring (the champions that keep competing) they are overwhelmingly boys.

Showing is expensive. Even do it yourselfers like me don't have it cheap. Sure, I don't pay a handler (yet), but I shudder to think what I have spent in travel, show entries, grooming spaces, dryers, scissors, tables, brushes, and grooming products and I have only been doing this for 2 years. It is not a cheap hobby so if it just for funzies, it is a poor choice as a hobby.

You really may want to rethink your goal. If you want to show, dedicate yourself to showing. If it is just something that seems fun, then get a dog that you can try many different things. AKC conformation is not for the feint of heart and it is no fun when you consistently don't place.

We have what has to be one of the most competitive breeds and probably the most money behind our champions. The estimate I heard from a handler I admire, is for handled dogs a championship takes about $1000 per point and a dog needs 15 point so she was quoting $15000 to show a dog to a championship. Then she said I didn't need her, and I was supper flattered because she was saying that in my 2 years I have picked up the skills and my dogs are nice enough I should be able to get it done myself. I did that by having a good breeder and showing at every show I can go to...that means I vacation at dog shows.;)

Boy, that was all over the place. I hope some or any of that helps. I hope you get whatever you decide you are looking for:D
 

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Kate
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Ironic thing about Tibbies - between my Danny and bringing Jacks home, I looked into Tibbies. And the breeder I really hit it off with (phone and email) set up next to me at the show today. I had a flashback when I saw the name of her kennel emblazoned on her stuff. :)

I think she was ready to put me on a list back then, but I chickened out when I saw somebody actually training one in obedience. :)
 

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I have to say there are other reasons to breed a dog than if it shows well in conformation. There are other venues that can prove a dog worthy of breeding than just conformation. Does the OP compete in other venues?

I am a casual competitor in conformation. I'm in Alaska where don't have a lot of shows and they can be very far apart. So I'm found myself in the casual category. At first I thought I would tear it up. But I have many commitments for work and family, so I make it happen when I can. I'm involved in my GR club and other dog clubs. For me conformation is not my favorite thing to do. I did verbally promise my girl's breeder that I would finish her before breeding her. The way it's going she could be 10 yrs old by then. I'm not that committed to breeding either. Personally I think fishing and hunting are higher to do with my dogs than anything else.
 

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Kate
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I have to say that... I actually do enjoy conformation. I have a whole pack of blue ribbons (although no points yet) from showing this year. I probably have reality waiting to give me a smackdown, but have not walked out of the ring yet without getting a ribbon of some kind. All of that is fluff and fun.

The hilarious thing is I always wondered why conformation people have such a glut of ribbons that they'd do superfluous things with the ribbons (making quilts out of them?! Using them as bookmarks?!!!! Just leaving them behind...). I now understand why!

There is also a lot of camaraderie with a lot of the other show people, not just in goldens, but other breeds as we either take classes together or run into each other shows. I find that people are nice and fun to be around. Good example of that was my set up yesterday - some terrier ladies made room for me in their space. And even shared their power strip and fan with me. And we all were gabbing while I got Bertie ready. :)

When it comes to showing every week - it isn't your whole day blown. Particularly if you limit yourself to just showing in 1-2 hour distances from home.

With obedience trials - you can expect to be at the trial for at least 1-2 hours. It generally was much longer than that though.

With conformation - you look at your show time and generally (unless you win the breed, I guess) - you are packing up and heading home 10-20 minutes after that. I know talking to my guy's breeder and a lot of other people who are/were very serious handlers, they recommend getting there early and watching other handlers and dogs, watching the judges to pick up on what they are looking for, and so on. <- I do that at least 30-40 minutes before we show. But at least as of right now - don't have the desire to stay all day after I've done my part.

The funny thing is I don't have a show this weekend and actually am thinking about doing a drop in UKC show (it's at a place I've trained at, so might be a good idea) rather than stay home. :)

^ Just typing all that as encouragement for people who are thinking about doing conformation, but may be going into it thinking it's going to be a cold mean and expensive world. I'm not a pro handler and I've made mistakes in grooming and in handling (funny ones and expensive ones). And the positives outweigh the negatives.

A lot of the people who are truly negative going into showing - they unfortunately will have a more difficult time of it. You have to be committed to learning and putting your time in if you want to succeed. So for example, grooming - you have to expect to be busy grooming your dog for at least an hour before showing. And watching and learning from people who have been in the business for a very long time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I do show in obedience, which I love. My girl that I purchased as a show prospect is titled in obedience always scoring very high. I got all her clearances and had taken her to Shor'line Golden's Mariner to be bred. I'm sure most people involved in Goldens in IL have heard of Mariner-he is very accomplished and titled in several sports. Anyway, his owner was so impressed with my girl that she wanted to take a puppy from the litter rather than the stud fee. Unfortunately my girl had to be spayed via emergency surgery because she got pyometra. I say this because I believe that Goldens shouldn't necessarily not be bred only because they aren't titled conformation dogs. There are other sports which all require a conformation-sound dog with good disposition. Obviously, Mariner's owner liked my girl-I really don't think she would've wanted a puppy from the litter if my girl wasn't that great. And she has no conformation title. On the flip side, I can totally understand breeders being worried about someone like me breeding their puppy to the neighbor's golden. I don't know how to reassure them that I don't intend to breed the dog to just any dog. That's why I send them Mariner's owner's name as a reference. I also don't intend to breed a dog without passing clearances and who has any major conformation flaws. But I realize anybody could say that and then breed the dog anyway. Its a tough situation.
 

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Kate
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If you have a good contact with Shor'line, why haven't you looked into getting a puppy from her?

There's no argument about there being other reasons to breed a dog... particularly for performance obedience. There's a lot of big names out there who primarily breed based on what a dog can DO. And yes, they do want these dogs to look like goldens as well.

Because you mentioned you wanted a show prospect and were frustrated in your search for a breeder who would work with you and posted in a conformation showing forum.... that is why you have received the responses you have. If you are experienced in the obedience world, you would understand it would be like somebody looking for a puppy from a OTCH litter but not planning to do anything seriously in obedience.

And fwiw.... I know people in obedience who have done very well, been out there a LONG time, and they get puppies from breeders who ask them to show the puppy in conformation as well as obedience. The lady I take privates from has a pup like that and she told the breeder that she's not going the conformation route because she can't do it herself and isn't comfortable sending her dogs out with somebody else.
 

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I do show in obedience, which I love. My girl that I purchased as a show prospect is titled in obedience always scoring very high. I got all her clearances and had taken her to Shor'line Golden's Mariner to be bred. I'm sure most people involved in Goldens in IL have heard of Mariner-he is very accomplished and titled in several sports. Anyway, his owner was so impressed with my girl that she wanted to take a puppy from the litter rather than the stud fee. Unfortunately my girl had to be spayed via emergency surgery because she got pyometra. I say this because I believe that Goldens shouldn't necessarily not be bred only because they aren't titled conformation dogs. There are other sports which all require a conformation-sound dog with good disposition. Obviously, Mariner's owner liked my girl-I really don't think she would've wanted a puppy from the litter if my girl wasn't that great. And she has no conformation title. On the flip side, I can totally understand breeders being worried about someone like me breeding their puppy to the neighbor's golden. I don't know how to reassure them that I don't intend to breed the dog to just any dog. That's why I send them Mariner's owner's name as a reference. I also don't intend to breed a dog without passing clearances and who has any major conformation flaws. But I realize anybody could say that and then breed the dog anyway. Its a tough situation.
It seems like this breeder would be a good start for you - can she recommend any litters for you? Maybe she co-owns a bitch with another breeder or is co-breeding a litter and could get you on a waiting list or two? That's how I ended up with my current show/performance prospect boy puppy. :wave:
 
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