The breeding of Puppies and the People behind it.

What to look for when you’re on the search for a puppy?

Exploitation of the consumer

Honestly, buying anything these days can be fraught with issues. Exploitation of the consumer is rampant in every industry. Human nature can sometimes leave a lot to be desired. Elderly grandma’s buying iTunes cards, scam listings online, the Nigerian Prince who emails needing your help. There are plenty of unscrupulous people out there willing to take advantage of an opportunity. I’m going to try and help you when it comes to finding a puppy. This may take a few posts but I hope you'll stay with me and I welcome your feedback.

You may have spent a lot of time working out what breed(s) suit your family. Once you're decided, it's tempting to rush out and get the first one you can find.
Something you may not have considered is WHERE to buy your puppy from. Where that puppy comes from is an important part of how that puppy will turn out. Choosing the right breeder is the very next important step and most people tend to skip it over. This is not the same as picking a new phone or car where the specs are exactly the same, so it doesn't matter what dealership or shopfront you visit.
I want to challenge your beliefs that all breeders are the same and as long as they're 'Registered' that's all the checks you need.
We’re dealing with living creatures. You can do everything else right in your search for a puppy and still get it wrong. There is so much to be heard in what is not said and you need to be able to pick through it.

I’m hoping to convince you that an ANKC Registered dog is the way to go. But it’s also only part of the answer. Welcome to a topic that has so much legislation surrounding it and yet there are still so many traps to avoid: Companion Animal Breeding

 

What's in a name? The 'Register'.

There is a lot of confusion around what is a ‘Registered Breeder’ in Australia, and in fact around the world. 
To start with 'what is a Register?' and how do you get on it? You have Microchip Registers, Council Registers and Pedigree Registers.
Each has a role, but for the love of DoGs, why do they all use the same term? What is meant by the term ‘Registered breeder’ and how do unscrupulous people use the term in a manner which is misleading to the public?

Simply put a Register is a place to store information.

Microchip registers are a beast of a topic and I’m not going to deal with them here. In short, there is no 'National' microchip database, there are a couple of state-government-run registries in some states of Australia, and they don’t all like talking to each other. My advice: get on one or two relevant to your state (or states you visit) and keep your contact info up to date. Okay, maybe it's not a beast of a topic.

Council Registration varies again across the country. Victoria's state government recently overhauled their Animal breeding laws with the Domestic Animals Amendment (Puppy Farm and Pet Shops) Act 2017 and i'm more familiar with it, so i'll use Victoria in these examples. Please note, most states in Australia have implemented/are implementing similar rules and definitions though the terminology is different
Companion Animal Register: All companion animals (cats and dogs) are legally required to be registered in their council. This simply identifies that the dog belongs to you/your address and helps reunite you if your pet is ever found roaming. The register is used in updating the Councils' Animal Management plan (ie Cat curfews, Cats vs Wildlife, Dog parks: numbers and locations, Employment of Rangers, etc). 
Business Register - 'Breeders' who aren't part of the ANKC and have 3+ females are required to register as a breeding ‘business’ and are given a permit or licence depending on state requirements. In Victoria, this has two levels: Domestic Animal Breeder (Council approved) and Commercial Animal Breeder (Minister approved). CoP for the Operation of Breeding and Rearing Businesses (2014)
'Breeders' with 2 females aren't required to register as a breeder anywhere and are termed 'Micro-breeders' under Victorian state legislation.
Small ANKC ‘hobby’ or 'Recreational breeders' (Vic government term) aren’t required to have council breeding permits (unless they have >10 breeding age females) and don't follow the CoP above. The ANKC have their own Rules and Regulations to abide by, which in some instances are stricter than the council rules. These rules and compliance reports are reviewed regularly by Victoria's state government.
Regardless of the title 'Business', 'Commercial', 'Micro' or 'Recreational' breeder, all dogs are to be registered with the council on the companion animal register.

That leaves Pedigree Registries. What exactly are they? When shopping for a puppy, should that be the only criteria? The short answer is No.

 

What is the difference between an ANKC Registered dog/breeder and one who is not?

A Pedigree Register is an official list made up of entries which record the birth and lineage of a dog. That’s is. It is not a measure of quality, morals, ethics or ideals.

In Australia, the ANKC is the only Pedigree Register that is internationally recognised.
The ANKC set national guidelines, Rules and Regs for Purebred, Pedigree, Preservation breeders and dog enthusiasts and cover all things Dog: Canine Health and Welfare, Dog Sports, Dog Shows, Developmental Breeds, International agreements and Breeding. Due to the complexity of government laws in each state and territory, the ANKC allows each State to use those guidelines to build their own Codes, Rules and Regulations under their own branch organisation called Canine Councils (CC’s,) colloquially known as Dogs ACT, Dogs NSW Dogs NT, Dogs QLD, DOGS SA, Dogs Tas, Dogs Victoria and Dogs West. These State CC Rules, Regulations and Codes are built around Government laws and generally set the minimum standard.
Each State CC then allows for specialised Breed Clubs to set further guidelines specific to their breed, whilst still adhering to both Government and Canine Council regulations.

Why register a dog at all? The same reason that you might search your family heritage on ancestry.com.au. To know the history, lineage, bloodlines of your family (the pedigree). To identify traits, characteristics, health issues or diseases, etc.
Registration allows a neutral third party to officially record the lineage of a specific animal. It allows a breeder to record a multi-generation family tree. To make an independent record of what they’ve created for future generations to utilise.

If you intend to breed your dog and do it well, a pedigree registration certificate is essential, both in order to register the offspring of your dog, but fundamentally to research and trace those traits, characteristics, health concerns and diseases behind your dog. Ultimately and ideally, bringing forward the ones you want, and leaving behind the undesirable. To be able to verify the parentage of your dog, and therefore better predict the offspring.

But if you don’t want to breed your dog how helpful is registration? It can aid in proof of ownership along with the microchip registration. But aside from that, registration is just a piece of paper, right? Telling you what you already know. Your dog is a Finnish Lapphund. Yes. and No. Hold that thought.

The same way you don’t know what your Great Great Great Grandfather was like, a registration certificate does not tell you what kind of dog he was. You don’t know if he was mean, friendly, energetic, shy, impatient, a larrikin etc.
It is simply data. It records Name, Sex, DOB, Colour, Microchip, Titles and health results (overseas – ANKC does not include health data yet). It also records the breeders' details.


The unscrupulous annexing of 'Registered'

In the push to close puppy factories, and for the public to have better-bred pets, there have been many education campaign efforts by the likes of pedigree breeders, the RSPCA and various animal rights groups.

Whilst the greatest push for ‘Adopt, don’t shop’ is probably well known, later the fine print often contained a disclaimer along the lines of ‘if you can’t adopt, at least buy from a registered breeder’.
as comments often came from the public that they wanted the predictability of temperament, size, coat and exercise requirements that comes from a purebred/pedigree dog.  

What the RSPCA and Animal Rights groups meant was, “Please find a responsible, ethical, educated, ANKC registered preservation breeder” and not a Backyard or Commercial breeder. Initially ‘Registered’ was enough. But Backyard Breeders, Commercial breeders and Puppy Farms cottoned on and started to use the word ‘Registered’ as well.
Some Commercial operations used the technicality of being ‘registered’ as a domestic/commercial breeding business, which means they got a permit or licence from council/minister approval. The requirements vary by state but have more to do with buildings, kennelling and staffing arrangements than how a puppy is raised.
Backyard Breeders wrongfully use the registration of their pets with council tags or the microchipping of their pets on the microchip register to call themselves ‘registered’. It's not them who is registered. The dog is.
Some people even went so far as to set up an alternate dog breed ‘Register’ because they had been expelled or suspended from the ANKC for breaches of the Codes of conduct or simply didn’t like their rules (The ANKC does not allow the breeding of crossbreeds unless in an approved breed development program and, in a recent example in 2017, the ANKC established a Task Force to uncover fraudulent breeders of French Bulldogs which sent them to the alternate registers in droves). There have been several extra registers over the years. A means for others to call themselves ‘registered’ and deceive the public into thinking they are the 'registered breeder' advocated by the RSPCA, ANKC and animal rights organisations.
Each register is different. Some of them even go so far as to have attached a Code of Ethics, Rules and Guidelines.
Some providers of puppies even managed to infiltrate the ANKC to ‘go legit’ in order to use the ‘registered’ buzzword. Unfortunately, until they’re found out and expelled, they can operate under the radar with the added legitimacy of membership.


You now know that there are several registries and we know they’re not all the same, barely in the same ballpark.
So what is a Registered Breeder? - There are so many individuals, businesses, groups using the term 'Registered Breeder' that it's really lost all meaning. You should now realise that the term ‘registered’ tells you very little and as a Puppy Buyer trying to research to find your puppy, it’s not enough to just ‘Find a Registered Breeder’. You need to probe a lot deeper.

In my opinion, what makes the difference in the quality of the puppy being produced isn’t the registry, it’s the breeder.

A good breeder can make all the difference between a well-bred dog and a dog of the same breed with few of the qualities you expect.
A good breeder will be able to expand on the details of that pedigree and tell you what your puppies ancestors were like, why they chose the parents, and what to expect from your puppy.
A pedigree certificate is just a piece of paper, it takes a good breeder to tell the story written between the lines. 
 

Puppies - Aura x Pate

The second half of 2019 saw us pretty busy. We welcomed Aura and Pates little Icicles on 1st November.
This is probably the easiest litter I've raised, since the Gardians themselves. 
The puppies obviously inherited their calm, happy-go-lucky nature from their mother and settled into their new homes with less than the usual bumps and curveballs.

Aura (Caleebra Gardian Gamora (AI)) was a lovely, sweet mother, who even allowed visitors, similar to her own mum. I caught Anarchy in the whelping box regularly and even Summer, Winter and Dolce were allowed to visit the babies. Aura was a relaxed mum, attentive to her puppies and happy for a tummy rub or a snuggle on the couch when not attending the puppies.

Pate (Lumiturpa Pikku Pate) frozen semen imported from Finland was used for this litter and he brought his own touch of sweetness to the puppies. With double the dose of sweet, they were sweet, cuddly pups, keen on attention from people, but not as demanding as i'm used to. It was quite a nice change.

The Icicles were a litter of 7 and were named for the Looney Tunes
We had 2 Black and Tan males, one with Irish spotting almost in a Border Collie pattern with white feet, tail tip, blaze and half collar, 1 Wolf Sable boy, 2 Domino boys and 2 Domino girls.

All are in their homes.

Puppies - Winter and Summer

Starting with Vader whelping on the 21st June (for Kira at Ehana Kennels) we had a very busy couple of days lined up.

Caleebra Welcomed the Heart Litter (Winter x Aslak) on the 23rd June.

and Summers final litter (Summer x Nikke) on the 26th June.

Heart Litter were named for Marvel characters: 4 boys: Banner, Bucky, Fury and StanLee, 3 girls: Marvel, Valkyrie, Wanda.

 

Banner headed off to NZ, Bucky and Wanda stayed in Victoria, Fury to Sydney, Marvel to Brisbane and StanLee and Valkyrie to South Australia.
By all accounts they settled in very well in their new homes and are keeping owners on their toes.

 

Summers 5 girls were named for Pitch Perfects' Barden Bellas: Aubrey, Beca, Chloe, Cynthia-Rose and Stacie.

Aubrey headed off to Tasmania, Beca to Queensland while Chloe, Cynthia-Rose and Stacie all stayed in Victoria.

First half of 2019 Titles and Awards

My goodness our puppies and their owners have been BUSY!

I was well behind on my news updates and thought i'd "quickly" accrue a list of highlights. It's quite a list.

February

Lexie earns her Neuter Champion Title. She took a bunch of Neuter in Show and Neuter in Group wins along the way too. Her newfound excitement about shows has a lot to do with the awesome treats on offer for really just standing still and trotting in a circle sometimes. Its 'Easy Money' for Lexie. She even enjoys the pamper sessions that go along with it. Except the nail cutting. She opts out of that every time.

March

Lexie earned that elusive last pass to earn her Rally Advanced Title. Lexie gets distracted by the possibilities of rabbits in the bushes that even gusts of wind that rustle the bushes have her ears pricked and Jeanette working double time to bring her back.
She also really enjoys Lure Coursing, and its no wonder when the desire to chase is so strong. We're so proud she finally pulled it together long enough to get that final pass. Way to go.

Eva earnt her Jumping Dog Title. The quiet achievers: Wendy and Eva surprise me with results like this over and over again and i'm so glad that Eva has Wendy and her daughter Kiera who love teaching her and taking her to all these trials and events. 

April

Both Vegas and Jaina earnt their Champion show titles. Vegas once again flew in to Bundaberg for their Easter shows with Kira as i had all the girls (including Kira's girl Vader) at home here in season with mating plans underway for them.
I'd given up on my girls and decided i was going to Bundy this year for sure. So of course the girls finally came into season 2 months later (probably delayed due to our move). So i stayed home and Vegas and Kira went and showed their socks off as well.

Jaina decided to drop her coat but Leah was determined, and pulled off the last needed points for Jaina to earn her title. Of course she's since been out of coat for months, but Leahs not concerned anymore as she's started on Jaina's flyball foundations.

May 

Eva and Wendy were at it again, earning not only an Endurance Title (20km with several stops for a dodgy bike chain or toilet breaks which had them racing to resume their position in the lineup) but also that scary CCD (Obedience) title. Like many of us, the Obedience trialling ring is not frequented by Lappies. Especially mine, who appreciate the chatter that goes along with Rally and either get concerned or switch off when the people aren't allowed to talk to them. Obedience is hard, y'all. But they did it.

June

Kova earnt his title in style, going Runner up Best Exhibit in Group. Over the moon for the Nicole and Kova team. They've been working so hard and this was such a high.
Tawnee earnt a Snooker Dog Agility title. Really this was amazing as she had a litter of pups in April and her comeback from babies was amazing. 
Aslak earnt his Junior Courser (Lure Coursing) Title. He also went on to eventually be crowned Fastest Lappie in Australia in the Battle of the States Lure Coursing Challenge. Way to go Assy.

That wraps up the first half of the year. 
What a list!

Wrap Up for 2018

As the years beginning to wind up, we're planning an interstate move shortly, and my dogs are dropping their coats like they want to live in a nudist colony (in preparation for the hot summer months), i felt i may as well draft the wrap up for the year.

Our dogs were on fire in 2018, competing across Conformation Shows, Rally, Agility, Sled Sports, Flyball and Tricks. Between them they've accrued 17 titles this year and i'm both proud and humbled by the training time and dedication of their owners as well as their commitment to do more with their dogs.  

On the show front, our Lappies have also had an incredible year. From youngsters taking surprise wins, to our show stars being recognised and awarded top honours. Many thanks again to the dedication and hard work of their owners.
There are often many km's travelled and a lot of behind the scenes training for those few minutes in the trial or show ring.
As very bad breeders/owners,  we haven't kept track of all our wins this year, mostly because the results don't really matter as long as we're having a good day out. But there were a couple of notable Best of Breeds against both large and medium entries, and multiple classes in group from our youngsters in particular that just thrill me. Of course we also have a number of wonderful, loved and adored pets keeping their hearts warm and their bodies active. To all of our puppy owners we send a special thank you for the care, love and companionship.  

Titles Earned in 2018
Tawnee  Agility, Sled Sports 4
Eva Rally 3
Vader Show, Lure Coursing, Tricks  3
Winter Show, Lure Coursing 2
Suvi Tricks 1
Dolce Rally 1
Summer Rally 1
Lexie Show 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also we were delighted to have the beautiful Miss Poppy be Delta Therapy certified.  She's a real people pleaser and we think she's going to really enjoy visiting the elderly and helping to brighten their day.