Since Buddy Holly’s exciting win at Westminster, PBGV breeders like myself have seen a big increase in inquiries about the availability of puppies. I know that many breeders are feeling overwhelmed by the number of people reaching out and I can imagine that many potential PBGV owners are disappointed to learn that puppies are not readily available. We all have different procedures for handling requests for information, but there are some things about dog breeding in general and rare breeds in particular that may be helpful for potential dog owners to know.
- Female dogs are only fertile for a few days out of the year and we have no control over when that is. This means we don’t always know when we may have litters born. We can’t promise puppies at a convenient time for your (or our) schedule. Dogs also don’t get pregnant as easily as animal-rights groups would have you believe. Just because we plan a litter doesn’t mean that we will have one. This is especially true in rare breeds where coordinating breeding plans often means long distance travel or shipping fresh chilled or frozen semen.
- We aren’t making money breeding PBGVs and most of us lose a lot of money every time we breed a litter. We are breeding because we love our dogs and our breed. Puppy costs may seem high, but they don’t reflect the true cost of things like vet care, breeding expenses, and the huge amount of time that goes into raising puppies. Everything has gotten a lot more expensive in the past three years and cutting costs by providing a lesser quality of care for our mom and puppies isn’t an option for us. Caring for a dog is also expensive, so if puppy prices seem too high it’s important to consider the cost of things like food, training, grooming, and vet care.
- Raising a litter takes a lot of time, and for many of us that time has to be found in addition to working, caring for other dogs, and many other responsibilities. Breeders have a right to set boundaries as to their availability and how they like to be contacted. Some people may like having phone conversations about their dogs, but others (like me) find phone calls to be obtrusive and uncomfortable. I’m happy to answer questions by email and to share educational information on social media, but really if you value long talks on the phone, I am not the right breeder for you.
- Many small scale breeders are raising puppies in the living spaces of our homes. Most of us our happy to share photos, videos, and updates on a reasonable schedule, but breeders and their families do have a right to privacy. Some people may have a setup that allows for things like 24 hour live-streaming of puppy cams, but expecting that when the litter is living in my bedroom is just creepy and weird.
- We take breed preservation really seriously. You should expect to sign a contract when you buy a PBGV puppy that will stipulate that the puppy be returned to the breeder if you can’t keep them at any point in their life. There will almost definitely be restrictions on how or if the puppy can be bred. The application process will most likely include a reference check and you may be asked to agree to a background check. This may feel invasive, but please understand that there are dishonest people who will try to mislead breeders in order to acquire rare breed dogs for commercial breeding programs and preservation breeders want to keep this from happening.
- Most of us are primarily breeding for ourselves and plan to keep one or more puppies from each litter. Sometimes it takes a while to determine who will stay, which means that we don’t always know if puppies will be available until litters are 8 or more weeks old. It’s very unlikely that a buyer will get to choose which puppy in a litter that they want.
- PBGVs are a rare breed, with only about 100 registered each year in the US. Most breeders get many more applications than we will ever have puppies for. Everyone has their own system for determining priority, but it likely won’t be first come first served. For myself, I prioritize homes where the puppy is likely to have a job such as competing in hunt tests or dog sports or doing therapy dogs visits. I also give preference to previous PBGV owners. Just because a puppy isn’t available for you in a litter doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with you or your application.
- The PBGV breeder community is small and most of us know each other. If a PBGV breeder refers you to another breeder, there’s a good chance that they are sending you to someone they know well and trust. This also means that if you have had a PBGV in the past, most of us are going to reach out to the breeder of that dog before placing a puppy with you, even if you don’t specifically list them as a reference. We don’t all do things exactly the same way, but there is more than one good way to raise puppies.
- You will be taken much more seriously by most breeders if you have spent time around PBGVs in person. This may take some initiative and travel on your part. Dog shows can be a place to see PBGVs, but there may not be any entered at a lot of shows and the ones that are there may not be shown by their owners. Supported entries or specialty shows are likely to have larger entries and more opportunity to interact with owners and breeders than most shows will. (Shameless plug #1- next year’s National Specialty will be held from April 2-9, 2024 in Wilmington, Ohio. Shameless plug #2 the Mid New Jersey PBGV Association has 2 specialty shows in North Branch, NJ on September 7, 2023.) PBGVCA hunt tests are a great place to see a lot of them in a relaxed environment. (Shameless plug #3 Mid NJ PBGV Association also has a hunt test in Carlisle, PA from November 3-5, 2023)
- The PBGV Club of America has a rescue program, but it’s extremely unlikely that you will find a PBGV available in rescue. A quick search of Petfinder shows a lot of mixed breed dogs that are misrepresented as PBGVs, because unfortunately rescue groups will claim to have rare breed dogs as a marketing tool. If you want to adopt a mixed breed shelter dog, that’s great, but claiming that your mixed breed dog is a PBGV is lying and lying is never ok. No matter who you are, no matter what the circumstances, lying is never ok. PBGV mixes are virtually non-existent, as there simply aren’t stray PBGVs running around making mixed breeds. Yes, a few known oops breeding have happened to breeders over the years, but the resulting puppies rarely look like PBGVs.
This isn’t meant to scare anyone away from learning more about PBGVs- they really are great little dogs and are worth the wait, but finding the perfect PBGV for your lifestyle is likely to require some time and effort. For more information, please visit the PBGV Club of America.