Best Family

I made the following suggestion to the SBTCA National Specialty Committee that I am currently serving on  –

There should be an extra nontraditional class at the national specialty called the “best family” or similar where you have to enter a minimum of three generations, preferably four.

The purpose would be to show the direction the breeder has taken over the generations. It would be a non-regular class so that only perhaps one of the three or four entries would be required to be entered in a regular class in order to participate. At least 2 of a three generation entry or 3 of a 4 generation entry must be bred by the person entering.

Maybe not offer every year but maybe every few years to give people time to be able to meet the conditions of participation. If breeders are working together this isn’t so daunting.

I can see where this would be very helpful to get a bigger picture on how we are doing as a whole in this country as far as making good breeding choices. Are we really improving? Sometimes I think not. Sometimes it seems we are struggling and not working together. 

The judging would encompass mostly type but also structure and how the dogs meet the standard. The focus would be on consistency and improvement.

 It also could just be presented as a showcase not a competition – a prelude to a seminar. Can you imagine seeing 4 generations in a ring from 5 breeders? Especially if they were working together?

I have always thought that breeders in this country needed to work together more. If we share similar goals then why AREN’T we working together? How can a breeder such as myself who can’t keep a lot of dogs or who spends so much money on each litter move forward very easily? Without a larger number of resources its not possible. Perhaps that is why in this country we do not see a lot of improvement and also why finding the right stud seems so daunting.


Who would ever know?

In the days prior to Facebook we had Bullbreeds Online. Before that Yahoo groups. Prior to that there was Compuserve chat rooms. Even before that, before the internet, people actually called on the telephone to speak to one another. The phones usually were attached to walls or at least a base unit was. Those who did rescue could have ‘telephone tree’ calls to arrange assistance to the dogs, the breeders, the owners. People actually SPOKE, in real works, out loud or sometimes even in person. HORRORS! You mean people actually looked one another in the eye and had conversations? Yes, my young readers. This is how it was ‘in the old days’ before FB.

When you have to look a person in the eye to speak it makes it more difficult to tell lies. Don’t get me wrong – there are those who are especially talented in this area who can still do this. Well seasoned at bending the truth, some people can make the world sound like just about anything they desire. Sometimes people lie for the sport of lying and sometimes they are ashamed of their actions and guilt makes them lie. Sometimes they feel no shame, and lie because its what they feel is expected of them. Lies simply flow easily out of their mouths any time they speak.

In dogs, here is the problem with being dishonest. There is always somebody paying attention who knows you are not truthful. Today’s blog entry is about breeders who routinely tell lies and think they get away with it. I want to begin by telling you that I have never in my life been associated with so many wonderful people who are passionate about a hobby they spend 24/7 living/breathing/enjoying. In contrast to that, I also have never met so many cold hearted fake egotistical sociopaths either. How can these opposing groups continue in harmony doing the same hobby? Well, my theory is that many of the passionate happy positive people aren’t aware of the other type – mainly because why would you seek that out? Sometimes it is best/easier to ignore those miserable, cold hearted, selfish, controlling, shit stirrers. Sometimes that’s all you can do. Today I am blogging because I am sick to death of those types and I feel strongly they are why breeders and dog show folk have such a negative reputation with the rest of the population and also why the few doing purebreed rescue get so burned out and disgusted. The loudest people get the attention. The angry loud few are what people remember most. And on top of that, when a person who normally is NOT like that gets fed up and becomes angry, loud and attention seeking – that’s what they will be remembered for as well. Thats a shame. What should be remembered – what SHOULD be spoken about are the others – those who ruin it for everyone. It’s those people who make us ALL look bad. I can totally understand why so many people, especially in rescue, HATE breeders. I get that!

Here is what I know as someone who has been devoted to the Staffordshire Bull Terrier in both rescue, re-home, fundraising, volunteer work, breeding, mentoring and educating – people tell me things. I listen. Now I will speak.

  • I know of a breeder who left a dog she bred knowingly in a kill shelter.
  • I know of a breeder who has had dogs they bred returned to them and chose to  euthanized rather than take the time to train/socialize/rehome the dogs.
  • I know of a breeder who euthanized a dog that was returned and then lied and told people it was placed in a wonderful home.
  • I know of this same breeder who has done this routinely.
  • I know of breeders who import so many dogs then sell them on like one might buy shoes.
  • I know of breeders who are pyramid sales type breeders – you buy a puppy and sign a contract stating the Stafford must be shown (maybe even by them, maybe for a handling fee), bred from and puppies given back to the breeder and that then you must carry on in the same manner…and on and on and on.
  • I know of breeders who would just as well breed on the 1st heat just as easily as taking 7 litters from a bitch.
  • I know of breeders whose dogs live in kennel runs on abandoned properties not where anyone lives and the dogs are visited once daily for a scoop of kibble and some water.
  • I know breeders who routinely keep non refundable deposits no matter why the puppy didn’t go to that home – even when its the breeder who turns the buyers down.
  • I know a breeder who makes their buyers use their stud dogs and charge the stud fees anyway.
  • I know a breeder who charged the breeder of their stud dog a stud fee even after being given free Staffords from the same breeder in the past.
  • I know breeders who lie about health testing.
  • I know breeders who lie about puppy enrichment protocols they claim to use but don’t.
  • I know breeders who care more about ribbons, specialty wins or how many champions they have bred than they care about the lives those dogs lead.
  • I know breeders who think they are the center of the universe and that all others are below them and must respect anything they say no matter how absurd their words are.
  • Sadly, I also know breeders who are hoarders and get in over their heads and cannot find a way out but are not able to ask for help.
  • I know breeders who lack so much confidence that they need a pat on the back for anything they say or do in order to feel okay and accepted.
  • I know breeders who collect semen like some collect coupons.
  • I know breeders who collect dogs like some collect coupons.
  • I know breeders who pay their bills by selling puppies but wouldn’t ever admit that they need the money and the puppies are how they earn it.
  • I know breeders whose actual self worth is based upon dog show wins.
  • I know breeders whose puppies are born and raised in stalls or basements, mostly unattended.
  • I know some breeders who may read this list and not see themselves on it.

I know a lot of things and I also know that for the most part, nobody really cares. Knowing all these things makes me sad if I think about them. In today’s world of having all your ‘friends’ made by a click of a button on FB, telling lies seems to be much easier. After all, who would ever know?

Consider the source

When we began to get involved in pure bred dogs we realized that everyone had an opinion and they weren’t shy about speaking out about it. Suddenly you couldn’t go anyplace with your pure bred dog without some ‘expert’ chatting you up about their thoughts on your dog.

Some people had to tell you the ‘correct way to train’, some simply told you about your breed as if they invented it, some had warnings about your breed, and some had unkind words about your breeder. The most interesting spoken opinions to me were other owners of my breed simply blurting out their conformation opinions of my dog.

There are several types falling into this category. The most blatant walk up to you and begin their critique, criticisms right off the bat…usually without even a proper introduction or a smile. Maybe you are in a class and they assume since they have your breed and do not know who you are that you must need their opinion. They are usually highly critical of every detail. Usually these types have on the end of their own lead what to them is the perfect example of the breed. Other type silently evaluate your dog from a distance and once you turn your back their diarrhea mouths are off and running fast and furiously trashing the dog, you and your dogs breeder. Some are combinations of these and some are even so obnoxious and forward they grab your dog and pry open its mouth to inspect the bite without so much as a request to check. Yes, this did happen to me.

One thing they all have in common is ego. These people are oblivious that their actions are neither requested nor warranted. They are rude. You haven’t paid for their opinions. You aren’t entered into a conformation show under them to judge your dog and offer their opinions. These people don’t even care if the dog in question was sold as a show dog or if it was sold as a sports dog – to them they feel strongly that you must hear their opinion and value it.

These people are somehow finding self worth in everything they can offer the purebreed dog world in their ‘usually incorrect’ opinions and rarely are they experts at much. Rarely are they involved in much beyond breeding or bragging. They seem to have much to say about nothing.

Any of this sounding familiar to you? If you own a purebred dog I’m guessing it has happened to you too.

When it has happened to me, and when I hear about it happening to my puppy buyers I usually respond with consider the source. Let it go. Reply with a polite ‘thank you for offering your unrequested opinion on my dog’ and move on.


Our 2018 Crufts Experience

Breeders have many goals when they begin their journey with their chosen breed. For us our goal is to always promote what we felt was the perfect Staffordshire Bull Terrier for US – we don’t place personal value on the success or failures in a show ring but rather we appreciate each experience for what it is. For some breeders or owners who show their dogs a ribbon and a brag is all it means to them. They center their own personal self worth on the opinions of others. That’s never been the case for us. Showing and performing with our Staffords is something we do for the enjoyment and experience alone.

We wanted to be able to show our own home bred dogs at several big venues – attending parent club National Specialty shows, Eukanuba National Dog show, Westminster KC, UK CH shows and Crufts! We can now say we have done all of that! Bucket list dreams can be check off!

We recently returned from showing Marina at Crufts in Birmingham England where she was entered in the Open bitch class. There were 33 bitches in her class. Many of them were UK Champions and almost all were well worthy of being considered top in the breed. It is our opinion that even the worst Staffords in the rings on that green carpet were far closer to our breed standard than most of the top Staffords in the USA. Looking around at the 100’s of Staffords qualified and entered that day it was difficult to fault the majority of them, especially in fitness and temperament.

Proudly, Marina held her own. She looked like she belonged…and she did belong. Marina has qualified at all but one qualifying show she was entered in here at home. This is possibly a record as the most Crufts qualified American bred Stafford. If nothing else this shows consistency. In fact, we have bred four Staffords who have qualified for Crufts at least once. We don’t regard this achievement as a personal measure of self worth, but rather as a measure of success in meeting the goals we set for ourselves when we decided to breed Staffords. In this respect we have done all that we set out to accomplish. If we stop today, we feel we have been a success.

Marina enjoyed the time on the green carpet immensely, “boofing” and carrying on, wagging and posing for all ringside. She was a crowd favorite for sure. Our bitch judge on the day was Paul Stanway and he was an excellent judge. We felt we got our moneys worth for sure. He did write down her number which is a good sign, but we did not place. That’s totally fine with us considering the high standards he was faced with selecting from. The bitches who did place were well worthy! Below are some photos from the day….one which we will never forget.

Photo by Linda McCulloch

Photo by Olga Kruglova

Photo by Olga Kruglova