New to Chaz (with a question, of course)

Discussion in 'The Breeding Ground' started by Dawni, Aug 21, 2008.

  1. Dawni

    Dawni New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hello Chazzers! I've been lurking the forums for a little while now in hopes of better educating myself on the aspects of dog ownership and ethics, and I'm happy to say that I've scooped up a veritable florabunda of information on the threads here. Now for a rant about myself, my intentions, and the inevitable question to follow:

    Myself and my husband own a home with a good size back yard, and we lead an active lifestyle. Growing up, my mother was the type to buy or adopt a puppy because it was "cute," and when the work and "cuteness" inevitably wore out, there was always an excuse to get rid of her animals. It always broke my heart. This happened with a GSD, a GSD/Rottie mix, a Chi, a Shih-tzu, a Lab, a Min-Pin, and 3 cats. Truly disgusting. It's amazing to think of even having TIME to acquire and "dispose" of that many animals in a ~15 year span. Long story-short, I always swore to myself that I would never do that to an animal as long as I lived, and that I would only become a pet owner when I was totally prepared for the responsability that comes in tow.

    That said, when I met my husband, he already had a 2 year-old Manx cat living comfortably with him, and while I never found myself to be much of a cat person, it became difficult not to love her as unconditionally as she loved us. While I ached for the companionship of a dog, we were living in an apartment at the time and I didn't want to be unfair to my new pooch by limiting his space that way. We rescued another cat at the local shelter instead, and she's been a wonderful addition to our home (albeit terribly shy, she's really come a long way in the few years we've had her).

    Fast forward to now. We've owned our home for almost two years now, and I've spent several months searching for the perfect breed for me. I'd narrowed my list down to a few select breeds around the same time my husband and I took a trip down to Texas to see his biological father on his farm (they'd been estranged since my husband was four years old). It was an incredibly happy reunion for the two of them, and to my delight, what should await on that 400 acre farm but 4 adult Great Pyrenees (one of the breeds I was secretly pining for) and an Australian Cattle Dog. While my husband spent some quality time getting to know his dad again, I spent some quality time with the pack, and it all but sealed the deal for me. They were absolutely glorious animals, with a temperment that fit the breed standard to a T. Noble, elegant, contemplating, calm...the perfect fit for me. Two of his four Pyrs are what he referred to as "retired," as they were both 9 years old and spent most of their time in or around the barn or out laying with the goats. The other two Pyrs are his actively working stock, and it was amazing to see them go from loving, gentle giants to police on the takedown at the sound of a coyote on the mountain. It was truly an amazing experience to see these dogs WORK as they were intended to work--protecting the livestock, while at the same time maintaining such a gentle demeanor to myself and my husband once we were introduced.

    Now onto the good stuff :p ...My father-in-law inevitably learned of my love for the breed and offered to save me the pup of my choice from his next litter. I spoke at length with him about the process; how he chooses his bitch, how he supervises whelping, provides veterinary care, etc. to get a good idea of it. He takes the top-working bitch from his group (temperment is also taken into consideration) once she is 3-4 years old and breeds her to the top-working dog from another farmer. He and the other farmer then raise them to work on their respective farms, splitting the litter. He does not inbreed brothers to sisters and pups to parents, although I will admit not having the exact details on how he chooses which farmer's stock to breed from at this point.

    My question to you seasoned folks is this: Do you feel it would be ethically wrong of me to acquire a pup from his next litter from him, given that the dogs are not conformation shown, even though they have proven to be excellent working dogs? This isn't something I would consider at all if the pups were being sold in any fashion whatsoever, but since there will be a litter born regardless of my choice, what are your thoughts?

    I will also add that I realize a pup from a working line and a pup from a pet-quality line will generally differ in overall temperment, and I am willing to accept the responsability and extra training and exercise that goes along with that difference in the long run.

    Thanks for listening to my long-winded back story. Your opinions (yes, I'm SERIOUS!) are welcome and appreciated. :popcorn:
     
  2. Maxy24

    Maxy24 Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2006
    Messages:
    8,070
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    Cats, Dog, Leopard Gecko, Gerbils, Fish, African C
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Welcome to the forum, I hope you stick around as I'd love to have an active Pyr owner on the board!

    For me working a dog for it's intended purpose is as good as conformation so long as the dogs who are bred excel at what they do. What I do think he MUST do in order for you to consider him a good, ethical breeder is to have all the breeding dogs screened for common genetic disorders in the Pyr breed. So for a Pyr I'd assume the common large dog things like Hip Dysplasia, elbow Dysplasia, luxating patella and other than that I'm not sure what is generally tested in them, perhaps Thyroid.

    To me if a breeder does not do that they are a definite no for me!

    I am also curious about how he goes about socializing his dogs, since yours is (I'm assuming) not going to live outside on a farm guarding the flock and will be having to interact with tons of people coming and going in the house and in public. So it's important that even though the pup will be very young when he has it, it's important he too is socializing him with as many people, sounds and situations as possible.

    If for one reason or another he does not prove to be the breeder for you, don't fret! We can help you to find some good breeders or at least give you some contacts of ones we think may be good for you to check out yourself.

    Now, I'd love to see pics of your kitties :D
     
  3. Lilavati

    Lilavati Arbitrary and Capricious

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2007
    Messages:
    7,644
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Occupation:
    Way too many!
    Location:
    Alexandria, VA
    Home Page:
    Assuming they are sound (as in healthy, with no major problems in the lines, and preferably health-tested) as well as good workers, I don't think there's an ethical problem with that. Conformation breeding has actually altered a lot of breeds from their "natural" look that they had as workers; the working version is older and just as legitimate as the show version of a breed. Assuming they are healthy, you like the parents, and you like the way he does things, I don't think there's a problem. Besides, he's family. Perhaps the best question, since you know him personally, is how do you feel about getting a puppy from him?
     
  4. skittledoo

    skittledoo Crazy naked dog lady

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2007
    Messages:
    13,667
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    Dog Trainer CPDT-KA
    Location:
    Fredericksburg
    I would definitely just do as much research on this guy as you can. Does he do health tests on the bitches he breeds? Do the people with the stud do health tests on their lines? How often does he breed? How does he handle the pups as far as socializing, beginning house training, etc etc...

    I have a border collie mix who's father was from working lines. His stupid owners brought in an unaltered female Sheltie/lab and were surprised when the two tied I'm sure... My Bamm Bamm has a lot of the working border collie look to him in the way he's built etc etc. I love BCs and have found that I will never ever have a BC from a conformation showing line. I just don't like they way they're built. I'd much rather see a BC from working lines as I prefer the look and I prefer the herding drive and their eagerness to work. So... as far as conformation lines vs working lines... it's all in your preference and what you are looking for.

    Welcome to the forum. Look forward to getting to know you better. :)
     
  5. Dawni

    Dawni New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    As requested, Maxy, these are my girls:

    http://s403.photobucket.com/albums/pp120/Dawni4148/?action=view&current=IMG_0002.jpg

    http://s403.photobucket.com/albums/pp120/Dawni4148/?action=view&current=IMG_0001.jpg

    The first is Karma, the Manx, and the second is Kizzy. I love them dearly, and their favorite game of the moment is "Stalk the String."

    As far as researching the breeder, well...he's my father-in-law. So far there's not a lot of internet dirt on 'im, at least. :p He doesn't breed for anyone but himself and other farmers who are using the dogs for farm work. He truly is a wonderful, kind-hearted man, and I feel that I can trust him at his word when it comes to his dogs. With that in mind, it also presents more of a delicate situation for me as compared to a breeder I don't know personally. For example, I do have feelings to keep in mind and I would like to be careful not to offend him during my grilling-sessions. I'm doing my best to ask questions a little at a time so as not to come off as a haughty unappreciative doggy-snob, if ya get my drift. I'm trying to be as creative in my wording as possible while still gathering information. For instance, while he does provide regular veterinary care, and he has spent over $5,000 on his ACD following an accident, you likely won't see him with eye-exam results for each of his dogs. He is what I would call a stereotypically country farmer. If one of his dogs isn't performing well, or seems to be "off" in any way, he will take them to the vet and money is no object in finding the root of the problem. But for him, it's a purely "can they do the job, and do it well" mindset. I seriously doubt he has OFA tested his dogs, and likely judges their working quality on pure build and demonstrated ability.

    On the socializing dilemma--This was the first thing that crossed my mind, and I asked him about it. The only socializing these pups get is through his friends and family in the area, and taking them with him on errands into town. He does not do any deliberate socialization (that is--purely for the sake of it), however he does make a point to take them with him whenever he needs to leave the house when they're young.

    While this isn't an ideal situation from birth through 8 weeks of age, I work in a nursing home. A nursing home in need of a community dog, to be exact. I feel it would be a fantastic setting for daily socializing of the pup, not to mention a joy for the old folks and a great way for me to keep an eye on him all day long while he's learning the ins and outs of things. Is heavy socialization beginning at 8 weeks too late, in your opinions? If I choose not to accept one of his pups, I will also need to find a way of gently explaining why I went out and bought a Pyr from a breeder instead of just taking one of his pups.

    Thank you for the advice and welcome-words, they're greatly appreciated and I hope to be around for a long time to come.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2008
  6. HoundedByHounds

    HoundedByHounds Oh, it's *you*

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2007
    Messages:
    8,415
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    4 dogs, 2 cats
    Location:
    N Texas, USA
    Home Page:
    I'd not take a purebred pup aside from rescue, from any source without health testing on the parents. Minimum hips eyes and thyroid...and if that breed has inherent issues I'd want those too. esp not a Giant breed...no way.
     
  7. Dawni

    Dawni New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Skittledoo, Bamm's a beautiful dog, I like BC's as well. It's a riot to watch them in action. And sorry for the huge images in the previous post, folks, I'm still learning the ropes on resizing.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    That's better. :)
     
  8. HoundedByHounds

    HoundedByHounds Oh, it's *you*

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2007
    Messages:
    8,415
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    4 dogs, 2 cats
    Location:
    N Texas, USA
    Home Page:
    Cute kitties! I have 2 as well.
     
  9. Dawni

    Dawni New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    From what I've gathered so far, the consensus on Pyr problems leads with HD. Depending on the source, some mention eye and skin problems, and some don't mention them at all. I wonder if any of the skin problems (such as hot spots) are more grooming/environmentally related?

    Ugh, I wouldn't have such a hard time with this decision if I didn't know the pups would be coming into existence regardless of my choice. 'Course it doesn't help that it's family, either...

    Thanks!
     
  10. Maxy24

    Maxy24 Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2006
    Messages:
    8,070
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    Cats, Dog, Leopard Gecko, Gerbils, Fish, African C
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    It must be hard since it's family. Would you be willing to adopt if you found a purebred pup in a shelter/rescue? That would give you an excuse of sorts "well I wanted to rescue a homeless animal..." but I understand if you want the certainty that comes along with knowing your dog's parents. Although without testing you cannot be certain of their health any more than with a shelter dog unless he has had none of these problems in the dogs parents, grand parents, greats etc. on both sides. It's just my opinion, maybe people more experienced with working lines would know more, I just would never be comfortable going to a breeder who did not health test. If you are willing to look into rescue if you tell me your State I can look and see if I can find any purebred pups in your area.
     
  11. Dawni

    Dawni New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Thanks for your insight on this. The rescue option was actually my first inclination, but taking into account my two cats (he would have to already be used to being around small animals, as I don't want to take any chances) as well as the fact that I want to bring him to work with me (with the elderly, no less) I don't know that I'd feel comfortable not knowing the background of the dog.

    I've already contacted the breed club and they've sent me some information, as well as a number to call for breeder references. I was surprised there was only one number to call in the packet, however, and that's to a home address to boot. It seemed odd to me...I haven't called yet, but I suppose I should. I live in central Oklahoma if anyone has any good information to share, PM's are welcome.
     
  12. DogstarAcademy

    DogstarAcademy New Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2008
    Messages:
    504
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    Malcolm, Kaylee, Rittie, Lizzie & Indy
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    Home Page:
    You might also contact SPIN - I know there's some Pyr rescue people up your way.
     
  13. Jynx

    Jynx New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2005
    Messages:
    1,071
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    9 + fish
    Location:
    CT
    my 2 cents may not be popular,,however,,even tho your FIL may not be the 'perfect" breeder..He's most likely doing more than most of your byb's out there.

    He's working his dogs, his dogs are cared for, they seem to have longevity (9 years old for a pyr is pretty darn good especially one who's worked)..

    I think if you like their temperaments, and want one,,why not go for it?

    has he mentioned if any of his previous puppies have had any major health concerns? I'd most likely ask that.

    I guess the only thing I can see in problems down the road,,if something genetic showed up, would this affect the relationship within the family? I think he may be put off if you did go elsewhere to get a pyr,,and that is certainly your choice on where you want to get a dog from.

    For myself,,if I had a good gut feeling about it,,I'd go with it and take one..And if your close by,,volunteer to socialize with the puppies prior to bringing one home..
    Good luck with your decision
    Diane
     
  14. Jynx

    Jynx New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2005
    Messages:
    1,071
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    9 + fish
    Location:
    CT
    oh and I just forgot to add,,,puppies are a crapshoot no matter WHERE they come from.
    diane
     
  15. TheWonderPuppies

    TheWonderPuppies Pres. Of Gutter Club.....

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2005
    Messages:
    1,142
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    1 dog one bearded dragon
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    Also as being at the OKC animal shelter a lot they constantly have pyrs in and out of the humane society
     
  16. Sch3Dana

    Sch3Dana Workin' Dog

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2008
    Messages:
    391
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    If a dog is seriously worked, that can be considered a breed/health test in and of itself to some extent. A dog with serious orthopedic problems, especially from a large breed like a pyr, is unlikely to perform acceptably at any kind of work demanding mileage. The fact that he is waiting a long time to breed his females gives health problems plenty of time to surface. An x-ray of hips might give you an added peace of mind, but I would never compare his breeding program to a back yard breeder- it sounds like he really cares about what he does and has a reasonable plan for breeding. You might sit down with him and talk about your concerns. Ask him about dogs that end up with orthopedic problems or other health issues, especially in the history of the parents of your potential pup. Every breeder of large breeds should be seeing some issues if they breed enough. But since most of his dogs stay local, he should have a pretty good idea which dogs have produced which problems. You might also see some aged relatives to see how they are holding up. In some ways this is more information than you will get with health screenings. There are plenty of serious issues that do not show up on the standard test but that you can see with your own eyes if your progeny and stud choices are local.
     
  17. bubbatd

    bubbatd Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2004
    Messages:
    64,812
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Being in the family , you can really keep tabs closer than another breeder . If the pup is free to you , would you feel comfortable asking him if you could have the dam's and sire's hip checked ?? I hope that you are close enough ( distance wise ) to help with the early weeks . Sounds like you have time before commitment . I'd suggest getting the book " How To Raise A Puppy You Can Live With " ...it would be most helpful to you ! BTW , welcome and let us know !!! Personally I wonder why there are so many Pyr in shelters and rescue groups !!! We're overloaded here ! I think they're lovely .... but will stick to a smaller likeness .... Goldens .
     
  18. Lizmo

    Lizmo Water Junkie

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2006
    Messages:
    17,300
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    2
    Location:
    AL
    I may have missed this, but are the parents health tested?

    Other than that, everything else I have read, I would say "yes" he sounds like a good source to get your pup. I much prefer a breed that was ment for working, to work rather than show.

    If he doesn't health test, I would be very hesitant to purchase a pup from him.

    Good luck! Pyrs are beautiful dogs! :)
     
  19. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2007
    Messages:
    6,403
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    Two dogs, three cats
    Location:
    Central Texas
    I think he sounds like a decent breeder. My problem would be, will a dog bred to work all day be suited to your lifestyle? I don't know much about pyrs, which is why I'm asking, maybe someone else can advise about that. It just seems to me that a farm/livestock protection lifestyle is a very different lifestyle than living in a home. Maybe I'm wrong??
     
  20. Dawni

    Dawni New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Thanks for all the replies! I live about 5 hours away from him, so it would definitely be possible for me to go down a couple of weekends a month to help with socializing. Unfortunately it's not quite close enough to manage more than that for the time being.

    Grammy--thanks for the book advice, I've been a book-reading loon over the past few months, one more certainly won't hurt. :)

    Lizzybeth--I was hesitant regarding the working v.s. "pet" temperment as well, until I spent some time with the dogs. Generally working dogs have a sharper temperment about them and can tend toward the more stubborn end of the spectrum, but the dam-to-be's personality was darling, and she responded relatively reliably to basic obedience (even for a pyr). :p

    I've had some time to think about it, and while I'm still awaiting some information from other breeders, I think I'll do a little more investigating on my next trip to FIL's place. Hopefully I'll get to meet some more relatives (of the dogs, that is) and get a little more detail in person. I'll be sure and keep you all updated. :)
     

Share This Page