Since I am looking for a breeder at the moment I am checking all the important things about breeders I can find. Mostly I am sure now to differ a good from a bad breeder. A dream of mine would be to find a fluffy, what is about to never happen here anyways... still one can hope.
Now I wonder what you guys would think about a breeder who does not breed show accurate corgis but let's say intentional fluffy ones or maybe not 'correct' colors ones. Would that bee a bad breeder? Or would you think it's okay when they would inform directly that they do it for hobby and that their dogs are not to be used for show because they are not allowed in color or coat?
(Let's say they are faithful and also look for health and character in their breeding)
I am really interested in your opinion on this :)
I think choosing a breeder is very much a personal choice and you, yourself, need to weigh the options. For example, some people will only purchase a puppy from a breeder that actively shows their dogs because conformation, strict health checks and/or temperament are extremely important to them. Others choose a breeder based on just health checks/guarantees, temperament or what the parent dogs are involved in. It really depends on what you feel is important to have in your future pup.
For me, I didn't really find conformation as important. I was open to getting a pup from either show stock or working stock, as long as health guarantees were in place and the parents were proven healthy and free of genetic conditions. In the end, I chose a breeder whose corgis are working stock and live (and herd!) on a beautiful farm. However, I also made sure that the breeder could help me choose a pup with the qualities I required (gentle, loving, submissive rather than dominant) and that she would be a healthy pup. I'm happy to say that my Ellie is everything I had hoped for and then some, hehe. :)
I agree with Jen. Choosing a breeder is all up to you, don't let someone else decide that for you. I personally think that as long as a person treats their dogs well, does proper temperament and health testing, makes sure their dogs have all they need, is a great breeder-whether they breed show quality, unstandard or even "designer breeds".
The breeder I have picked out for when I finally get to bring a puppy home breeds a designer breed (blue merle "Pems" by crossing a Cardigan and a Pembroke, but that's fine by me), she treats her dogs well and is very informative, helpful, quick to respond, and a nice woman all around.... Most would say she's not reputable, and that's fine-they don't have to get a puppy from her, but I am.
The one thing I would not budge on is proper health testing-I just see it as wise to see what you're getting into as much as possible.
I kind of had that same issue, show quality or hobby/work dog breeder. And the big thing i noticed is, while a show dog breeder will generally do alot more tests they will also charge you alot more. Plus my personal taste for a dog is one that looks unique, so ended up going with a hobby breeder. She owns a ranch out of South Dakota, and breeds a couple breeds, the parents are work dogs and she breeds more for the enjoyment of endless puppies and just the good feeling she gets when she sees a puppy that came from her go into a good happy home.
So that worked out well for me, the pup was affordable and had some unique markings but is also being well socialized and trained to small degree before i ever get her.
So i would say that the only true bad breeder is a puppy mill, other wise it just depends on what you're looking for and what you feel is a good price to pay. The big thing i would make sure on is that both parents are pedigreed/registered, at least that way there is no confusion on if the pups are pure bred dogs.
Good luck in your search for fluffy, its a shame they are as rare as they are.
I guess I disagree with the other posters. Any breeder who is breeding purely for looks is not a responsible breeder IMO. I often see these BYB touting that they breed for temperament instead of looks, insinuating that's all a show breeder cares about. But then the BYB has a kennel full of mismarks, fluffs, and "designer" dogs -- so which breeder is breeding for looks again??? I have also yet to see any BYB that does any sort of health testing other than "the vet says she's healthy."
IMO a bitch should only be bred with the intention of furthering the breed according to the standard. I just don't understand people that say "I don't care about comformation". There is more to it than just looks - comformation greatly affects how the dog moves, how long it can run, will it be sound jumping, fall apart as it ages, etc. It's not just for a "pretty" dog. I have seen breeders use a fluff or a mismark in the case of a dog who otherwise has excellent structure and temperament, which I think is fine. I agree in overlooking a small cosmetic issue in favor of a well built dog, but not breeding that dog purely for its cosmetic fault.
I think in general I just don't agree with people breeding purely for pets. That is not doing anything to further the breed or reduce the amount of unwanted dogs in shelters.
I am not a fan of breeders who DON'T breed to standards. A good, responsible, dedicated breeder ONLY breeds to better the breed. I have seen first-hand what irresponsible breeders can do to a dog. Most of my dogs are shelter dogs, one puppy mill rescue, and one well bred corgi. Personally, if they aren't breeding to standard, then you should beware. Of course, a fluffy can pop up here or there, or a mismark, but to intentionally breed to produce this offspring is wrong in my opinion.
I have a comment on this. I agree with breeding to a breed standard and also breeding for a job (herding in the case of corgis). Breeding to the standard may not always produce a dog that is best able to work. For instance, cardigans should have mildly outward facing front paws, but if that trait is too severe it may cause injury on a farm, agility circuit, etc.
Fluffs and coat mismarks can happen in most any litter. Though now there a genetic test for fluffy coats, I'm not sure how long it will remain accidental. My issue with focusing on these traits is, what might they not be paying attention to in the parents genetic makeup to get a litter of all fluffs? or all merles?
I wouldn't buy a pup from a breeder that focuses on IMHO trivial characteristics. I want a pup that is clear of genetic disease that they can test for, sound structure, and a good temperament. From that point, pick a pup whose personality suits you and your family. Color and coat type should come last when picking a new family member, especially if they will primarily be a pet. (I personally wanted a tri-color normal coat brown-eyed pup. We got a fluffy heterchromatic merle because, in that litter, Kaylee was the best suited personality- and energy-wise to us. I don't regret the decision.)
When I was looking for my pup I decided that brains and health were more important to me than looks. I started by looking for breeders who bred to the standard and showed, but also had dogs who were titled in obedience, herding or agility. If a breeder did not test eyes, hips and VonW then I crossed them off my list. I knew I would be paying more and accepted that. Becca's breeder shows but also does herding, tracking and obedience. I was matched with a pup that suited my needs and went through an interview process. If after the interview I was not a match with Becca, I would have gone back on the waiting list and waited for a better match. I also have Becca's breeder as a kind of mentor as we go through the training process. She has helped me find trainers and advised me on how to deal with a brainy pup. I don't think I would get that from a BYB.
Fluffies happen, mismarks happen, but I don't believe that breeding should occur to make it happen. If a someone tries to get mutations how much attention are they paying to potential genetic issues?
I don't care if a breeder shows or not. I DO want a breeder who:
1) Knows enough about the family tree several generations back (and that family tree's offspring) to know if certain diseases which have a genetic base but can't be tested for exist in a line (such as certain kinds of cancer).
2) Knows enough about conformation to be able to tell if a dog is structurally sound or not, point out the weaknesses in her bitch and tell me how the dog she chose will help balance out those weaknesses.
3) Stands by her pups, offers limited registration (no breeding rights) unless she can be assured the person taking a pup for breeding purposes meets the qualifications listed, and will take back any pup for life no questions asked.
4) Understands proper breed temperament and can vouch for the mental soundness and suitability for purpose of the temperament of her dogs.
5) Tests for vWb (which is a recessive bleeding disorder VERY common in Corgis) and has eyes tested, and gets hip x-rays and knows enough about Corgi hips to decide which are sound for breeding.
6) Chooses a dog who complements the bitch, not the dog who happens to be in her backyard or nearby.
None of those things requires someone to show. Now, if I were looking for, say, a Beagle I could find some really good Beagle breeders who breed for hunting who would meet all my criteria and not show. In fact, with Beagles most show breeders would NOT meet my criteria because they are not breeding for temperament suited to the task (but that's another story).
But when it comes to Corgis, the honest truth is most breeders who meet my criteria DO show. A tiny handful compete at high levels of agility and don't do too much breed ring stuff. There are a handful of hobby breeders or farm breeders who meet the criteria, but they are very few.
To the best of my knowledge, all purebred Pems fall within the correct colors; you might get a mismark, or the color fault known as a "Bluey" (not blue merle, but a dilute color where the black appears to have a gun-metal blue cast). So any odd colors virtually guarantee another breed was mixed in somewhere.
I would never choose a breeder of any breed whose primary breeding criteria was color. In Pems, I would not pick a breeder who intentionally bred fluffs (a breeder who made a cross knowing a few fluffs might show up is ok, but not one who is specifically breeding FOR fluffs). And I would not pick one who is trying to get blue merles or any other color, because again the blue merle gene does not exist in the Pem gene pool and so that would be an outcross. We now know that the blue merle gene, when doubled up, has some very deleterious health consequences, so intentionally adding it to the gene pool of a breed where it does NOT exist (and thereby creating the risk of an accidental double-merle breeding when that risk was previously impossible) is not being very responsible, IMO. And I say that as someone who loves the look of blue merles.
If someone outcrosses for a very good reason (adding healthy genes to a breed with an overly narrow gene pool, creating great working dogs, etc) and follows all the criteria above, that is fine. People who breed solely for the pet market though rarely meet all the above criteria. And most designer crosses are bred just for the pet market.
I became a believer in using breeders that breed to the standards and especially test for genetic problems the hard way. I got my first corgi, Sparty, from a hobby breeder and he was the best dog for me ever!! However, he was also highly allergic to almost everything. After hundreds of dollars in bills we finally got him on a monthly allergy shot that gave him a good life. When we decided on a second corgi we went to another hobby breeder and got Buffy. She turned out to be the sweetet little dog, just loved everybody and only wanted to please unlike Sparty who enjoyed being a bit of a devil (with a big grin). Unfortunately at about age 3 she started having numerous problems with her legs and then her liver. Eventually we had a corgi that was in a lot of pain and had to be pushed in a buggy. Then after several incidents requiring hospitalization she finally died due to a failed liver. At this point we had invested thousands of dollars in our corgis and still our little sweetheart died at only 6 years old. I had met a local breeder at a local dog show and called her to see if I could be on a wait list for a puppy. I knew I would want another female and because Sparty was so active I wanted a more laid back one. She just happened to have an older (4 months) puppy that she thought would fit our situation well so we went and met Izzy. My other corgis only cost $200 and $250 ,izzy was $800. She is a sweetheart, eager to please and has never cost us a penny more than her regular vet visits. When I think of how difficult it was to watch Buffy's decline, it was so unfair, I realize that is why I would rather pay more up front. My husband, the more practical one, sees that she cost a lot less in the long run. These are the reasons that I don't want to take that chance again. You might as well rescue if you are willing to take that chance, trust me.
Well that line of thinking definitely isn't followed in the Cardigan community. Many breeders in the EU/UK are very anti-fluffy and do everything in their power to eliminate it from their breeding programs. There are a few breeders in the US who do have fluffs dotting their pedigrees and it creates a very... delicate subject for discussion. Similar to the ee-red gene!
There are Cardi breeders using fluffs in their programs; the gene pool is very small and you can't get rid of everything. You can DNA test for fluffs, but most breeders are not trying to weed it out completely; they might breed a fluff-factored to a fluff-free so they get no fluffs, but there are good breeders who will breed a fluff-carrier to a fluff-carrier if the cross is otherwise good.
Most of the gene pools are narrow enough already. I'm not sure I'd like to see aggressive breeding away from the fluff carrier gene. Who knows what good genes might be riding along in those bloodlines.
No I am definitely in agreement with you; one of my favourite lines is from Jon Kimes and his dogs, many of whom are glamour-coated and descended (if not directly) from fluffs, are gorgeous. But in general, as I was reading the Show-Cardi List group on Facebook, there were a LOT of EU and UK breeders who were vehemently against doing fluff-carrier x fluff-carrier. Similar to their thinking w.r.t. pinks. Others from the same region were stating the same reasons as you - if it means that some beautiful, sound dogs with no adverse health effects could come of it, then why not? There were some who were just completely opposed to the idea of bringing a fluff into their programs. Very interesting!
One of those defending their decision to eliminate any and all fluffs from their programs said that the gene pool really is not nearly as poor as people make it out to be (even out here in the EU) and that there is no reason to bring in fluff into their lines. They were asking if the American breeders (among them, Mr. Kimes) were somehow suffering from a lack of proper dogs to choose from, and that's why they resorted to fluffs. It got a bit awkward, let me tell you!