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Abusing the Good Name of Others

The piece below is cross posted from my personal blog, Firelight Reflections.  I share it here because Breeder Members of want puppy buyers to be fully informed and educated so that they can make the best choice in their new hunting companion.

– Lynn Dee Galey, Firelight Setters


A friend called today and asked my thoughts on a litter that has puppies available and ready to go. The litter owner was encouraging him to buy a puppy and told him that the sire was from the famous XX kennel and the dam was from the equally respected ZZ kennel so the pups were going to be great.  My friend understandably was attracted to the litter based on this pedigree since in past years his family had actually purchased from both of the named kennels. After I did a little research and checking I replied that I strongly could not recommend the litter.  My friend was surprised because he knows that I like each of the lines behind the pups.  So, what was the problem?

Kennel ZZ and Kennel XX have both been breeding for many years and they have worked hard to earn their strong reputation.  Earned it through honest, ethical breeding practices and dealings with other breeders and puppy buyers.  The problem here is that the owner of this litter is doing unethical things that the good breeders would never do yet they are bragging and banking on those good names as a sales tool. This litter owner is lying by omission by not telling potential buyers that their sire of the litter has hip dysplasia and failed his OFA xrays: they are perhaps banking on the fact that most buyers would just trust and not check the OFA database where the dog’s dysplastic results are openly listed.  In addition, the mother to the litter was bred at only 10 months of age, she had her litter before turning 1 year old.  IF the breeding was accidental, the ethical thing to do would have been to have the vet spay the female right away to avoid producing pups from this disastrous breeding.  Although the litter owner had been in recent contact with the female’s breeder, they never told them about the litter, knowing that the breeding was in direct violation of the purchase contract signed when buying her as a puppy.

The lesson here for puppy buyers is this: if in order to sell puppies, someone is advertising other breeders kennel names from the pedigree, contact the owners of the kennels being named.  Ask them if they endorse or recommend this breeding. If it is a quality breeding involving their line they will be pleased to talk about why they think it is a good litter and you will hear it straight from the source as to what traits and characteristics their line is expected to contribute. Contact the good breeders whose name is being used, you might also learn that the litter goes against the very reputation they have worked to earn. That someone else is simply trying to profit by using their name.  Honor the names of the good breeders and be an informed buyer.

Note: Since I know that my friends will quickly ask, no, the dogs involved in this situation are not Firelight. Photo is Firelight Gus. 

1 Comment

  1. Avatar photo
    October Setters

    We are writing to add our two cents’ worth about this disturbing situation. We first want to thank Lynn Dee for her thoughtful post on breeding ethics. She has been breeding for a long time so she fully understands the issue about which she speaks.

    “Kennel ZZ” is October Setters. As breeders we do our best to screen buyers and identify bad placements before they occur but we aren’t always successful. In this case we had a detailed discussion of our contractual limitations on breeding and the importance of OFA evaluation of all breeding dogs before we entered into the sales agreement. Specifically that buyers must agree to “breed any dog purchased from October Setters only to a dog that has a passing OFA hip evaluation”. Our decision to allow him to purchase a puppy was based largely on these written assertions:

    “I have arranged for him to be X-Rayed and will get his hip score. If his score is not good I would not consider breeding him at all.”
    “I must reiterate that any breeding involving my dog must be sanctioned by [Breeder xx]. As you rightly point out [my male] may in any case be past his best and if a breeding did not meet best practice including OFA tests then it’s a non-starter.”
    “I have written a letter to [breeder xx] re-affirming my commitment to the [Kennel xx] contract”

    He then proceeded to purchase a puppy from us which he allowed to be bred to his dysplastic male at just nine months of age, blatantly disregarding his contractual obligations with both kennels. This is the most egregious deceit and breech of ethics we’ve seen in our thirty years breeding setters. If nothing else it’s abusive to allow a puppy to whelp a litter at just eleven months of age. This individual should never, ever be entrusted with the care of another dog.

    Cliff and Lisa Weisse / October Setters

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