Christmas Eve. I sit here tonight, wondering how it is possible, that Christmas Eve is here already. Where did the year go? How did it go by so fast? Then, I start thinking back on the year, and all of the years events. Wow! It has been a crazy busy year!
This year has been sort of a tough one for me, with multiple injuries, and some health issues, and nearly a week long stay in the hospital, right when I had little puppies at home needing taken care of. That was just a few of the events, which pretty much consumed most of the year.
As I sit and look back at the year, and think about things, I've realized something... I'm not as young as I used to be. I don't know where the years went, but they sure did seem to go by pretty quick! It is really hard for me to believe that I have been raising Golden Retrievers for over 30 years now, and raising Goldendoodles for over 20 years. It just doesn't seem possible.
As the year comes to an end, and I ponder and reflect on this past year, I have decided to make some changes to my breeding program, and work on some other business ventures as well.
I have decided downsize, and possibly retire from breeding the Goldendoodles. This current litter may very well, be my last Goldendoodle puppies. As things stand right now, I still do plan on having an occasional Golden Retriever litter. Times have changed, I am getting older, and sometimes, change is good. I feel it is time to downsize my breeding program, for multiple reasons.
It saddens me in a way, because I have worked so hard to build some amazing bloodlines with my puppies, and I have some amazing dogs, but in other ways, I realize that it is time. I'm tired.
If you are going to raise dogs right, it is SUPER time consuming. Not only is it time consuming, but there is a lot of expense involved in it as well. I have really loved raising the doodles, mine are SO cute and sweet. This year has been tough, because I don't get days off, not even when I am injured or sick. The dogs and puppies need to be cared for, no matter whether you are sick or injured. There were some rough days there, where I could barely walk, but I still had to take care of all of the animals. I kept my phone with me, in case I couldn't get back into my bed by myself, and needed to call for help.
Not only have the health issues helped me to decide that I need to downsize, but other things have as well. There was a big surge of puppy sales through the covid lockdowns. It seems that everyone has decided to become a breeder, and the market is fairly flooded right now. A lot of long time responsible breeders, are quitting right now. They are putting their breeding programs on hold, or retiring. They have put years and years of work, and tons of money, time, and research into their programs, to produce exceptional puppies. They have worked hard to improve bloodlines, and to do everything that they could possibly do to provide healthy puppies, with nice conformations, and wonderful temperaments for many years.
What we have going on now, is something totally different. They call them "flash breeders". They got a puppy and decided to breed them, with very little or no research on what they were doing. I personally know of instances where puppies were sold with a spay/neuter contract, the contract was breeched, and the dog was used for breeding, without the people even knowing what the dogs pedigree was. For all they know, they could have bred it to a dog that it was related to. That can cause a lot of problems for the puppy, down the road. In the same instance, a standard size doodle male, was bred to a mini doodle female. That could have killed that female, but they didn't know any different, and are very fortunate that the mother dog survived it.
I am not sure if these people are raising them, because they think it is a quick easy buck, or if they are doing it, just because they thought it would be fun. I really don't know. But what I do know is this, there is a lot of very careless breeding going on right now, and these people are selling their pups very cheaply, or even giving them away, in order to get them rehomed. They undercut the responsible breeders, and make it so tough on them financially, that they no longer can afford to put all of the time, work, and money, into their responsible breeding programs, which is the reason why many are shutting down their programs.
I've been sitting here pondering a bit, of what that means for the future of breeds such as the Goldendoodle. Many serious and responsible breeders have been discussing the issue. They believe that once these "flash breeders" have a litter or two, they will find out how much work it is, and how expensive it is, and the majority of them will quit breeding.
I am really curious what the next couple of years holds for the dog industry. Considering how long that I have done this, I am very aware of how much much work and expense that it is. It is a LOT of work and a LOT of expense, and if things don't go quite as planned, and there are complications, there is a LOT of stress as well. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out. If the responsible breeders retire, and then the "flash" breeders quit, it could end up with a shortage of puppies, in a couple of years from now. Or, in the case of a few breeds that I have seen in the past, pups could just become a dime a dozen, with a lot of very poorly bred dogs, that have a lot of health and temperament issues. It will be very interesting to see how it all plays out.
Anyways... Because of multiple reasons, I have already spent the last couple of years, down sizing my breeding program, probably mostly because of my health issues, and how much time responsible breeding consumes. I have missed out on a lot of things with family and friends, because when I have puppies about ready to come, or newly born, or ready to go, I work non stop, and can't leave them. Well, I guess I COULD leave them, but I won't, because I don't want to risk the health and/or safety of the puppies or their mother. Like previously stated, I still am planning on having an occasional litter of Golden Retrievers, but will be down sizing and quite possibly retiring from the Goldendoodles. I might be wrong, but I feel that the Golden Retrievers will probably have less careless breeding going on, than the mixed breeds, because of the fact that most people want to know that their Golden Retriever puppies can be AKC registered. In order for that to happen, the breeder would have had to gotten breeding rights with their puppies, with a full AKC registration. A lot of breeders won't sell breeding rights to puppy buyers, unless they are very certain that the person will be a responsible breeder. Most Golden Retriever breeders sell with a limited registration, which would make it impossible to register puppies from those dogs with the AKC, therefore, those puppies wouldn't be quite as likely to sell as easily.
When I was young, and through my lifetime, I have adopted mutts. I was always dragging something home. I had purebreds and mixed breeds as well. But here is the deal, when you get a mutt, you don't know what you are getting. You don't always know how it is going to turn out looking, or what kind of disposition or temperament it will have, or health issues it might be prone to. It is just all sort of a surprise, that you figured out as they grew and matured. I got those mutts for free, when a farmer's dog accidently got bred by the neighbors dogs, or some stray. They were just giving them away. I have also rescued mutts. Those were free too. I am ok with rescuing a free mutt, but if I have a large monetary investment in a dog, a would sorta like to have an idea what I was getting, before I got it.
Well, I suppose that's neither here, nor there. Maybe I am just looking for an excuse to not work quite so hard as I have for the last 30 some years. I am getting sort of tired, and my body hurts a lot more than it used to. The kids are all grown up, and I would like to have a little more freedom, and be a little less tied down, so I can go visit them and spoil my grandkids. I've also got some new things that I want to try to do, and have some new goals, and need to free up a little time, so I can try my hand at those things. I am really looking forward to it! I have really loved my job for a lot of years. I have loved raising the doodles and have loved meeting the people. I thank every one of them, for loving my puppies and giving them awesome homes! Being a dog breeder is not just a job, it is a lifestyle. You have to be very, very devoted, and understand that it will consume your life, if you care enough about the dogs/puppies, to do it right. I will continue on with the Golden Retrievers for now, and my other ventures, but time will tell about the Goldendoodles. I guess we will see what this new chapter of my life brings! I am sorta sad about downsizing and quite possibly retiring from the doodles, but I am pretty excited about getting started with some of my new goals.
As I am winding down my Goldendoodle program, I will be training the few remaining pups and the rehoming fees will reflect the amount of training that I have put into them. I will be retiring the parent dogs, and screening people to find the perfect retirement home for them, where they will be loved and spoiled. The parent dogs will be spayed before they leave, because while most people are very trustworthy and honest, some are not. I will be rehoming the adults and puppies as pets only, with no breeding rights, to try to limit some of the careless breeding practices, and to help ensure that the dogs/puppies will be able to live a very comfortable pet lifestyle, where they are loved and cared for properly. There will be a rehoming fee for all puppies and adult dogs.
Looking to the future, if you decide that you want to add a puppy to your family, and are looking for a breeder, I will give you a few tips for finding a good dog breeder.
Ask them how long that they have been breeding.
Ask them why they chose the breed.
Ask them how many dogs they have, and where they are housed.
Ask them why they chose the particular parent dogs that they have.
Ask them if they know the pedigree of the parent dogs, and ask to see it.
Ask them if they know of any health history of the grandparents, great grandparents, or any other relatives of the parent dogs.
Ask them what their breeding program goals are and what all they are trying to achieve with their breeding program.
Ask them how long they intend to breed. Is this their first and only litter, or are they serious about doing the research and making sure to continue to better their breeding program and bloodlines.
Ask them why they decided to pair up the parents that they have paired up. What traits were they trying to get to compliment each other, or breed away from. Was this the only choice that they had, or was thought put into the pairing.
If they have had previous litters, do they have references or a social media platform where you can see the past puppies and hear what those people have to say about the puppies.
Ask them about how much the puppies are socialized, and by whom. What ages of people or children are handling them, and how often.
Find out what the dog handling experience is of the owner. Is this their first dog? Have they grown up with dogs? Are they a dog trainer? Ask many questions, so that you know what level of dog expertise that they have.
Do they have enough experience with dogs, to offer you lifetime breeder support, for issues that may arise, including behavior, health, or training issues?
Do they offer any type of health guarantee?
What kind of food do they feed? Is it a cheap garbage food? or a high quality food.
Ask them if the dogs/puppies are left alone a lot, and who cares for them if the breeder works outside of the home.
These are just a few of the questions that you should be asking, to ensure that you are getting the puppy of your dreams. If you have further questions, I would be happy to help out.
Well, this post is long enough, so I will close it out by wishing all of you a very Merry Christmas!! Give your pups a Christmas hug from me!