National Dog Breeder Day - what’s all the howling about?
I am Rebecca the founder of Pupstarts Breeders. We believe that ethical and responsible breeding should be championed and promoted. It is after all, the main way we will truly see improvements in the health and temperament of the puppies being bred, and therefore an improvement in the volume of dogs in rescue. If socially, the negativity around dog breeding was neutralised, and dog breeding was taken seriously as a vocation, then we would see an uplift in standards. The direct result would be that the dogs themselves would benefit.
We are running National Dog Breeder Day to acknowledge all the dedicated breeders out there. All those breeders who live and breathe their dogs. As breeders ourselves we know exactly how much blood, sweat and tears go into raising a well-rounded puppy.
A decent breeder works 7 days a week, 365 a year. They face heart ache, hard work and often criticism for doing the job they were called to. It is time for a change! I feel that breeders often get a bad rap and are accused of putting money before welfare and of being uncaring towards the puppies they produce and the dogs they breed from. The many, are tarred by the actions of the few!
Why was Pupstarts Breeders founded?
The drive and motivation for my breeder education mission started around 25 years ago when I undertook my work experience at Battersea Dogs home. There I met Errol, he was a 2 year old Staffordshire Bull Terrier. He had been a stray, and he had been in the kennels for a while. He was dog aggressive and anxious around men. He had little in the way of basic training and was a strong, muscled ball of energy. No one wanted him.
Although Battersea do all they can to address issues with the dogs they have, they were, and still are, overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of unwanted dogs. Errol’s issues were deemed too ingrained to be able to rehome him and Errol was put to sleep. He walked out of his kennel for the last time, wagging his tail, happy to be getting some attention. He was dead a few minutes later. No fuss, no drama, the end.
The question why must be asked. How do we get to this point? Quite simply because Errol was failed. Most likely not intentionally, but through a lack of regard, understanding and education Errol was poorly bred, poorly raised and he had no support from his breeder when he needed it most.
However much we see this and recognise it, the fact remains that there is no official educational pathway for dog breeders in the UK! We want breeders to up their game and breed better, but where can they learn? Think lack of education has a twofold effect. Firstly, there is no opportunity to learn the required skills, so breeders often “learn on the job” and make serious mistakes along the way. Secondly this lack of official recognition creates a social feeling that dog breeding is not a serious vocation. If the job itself is not taken seriously, how can we ever truly improve standards and conditions for the dogs and puppies?
So having bred myself for over 16 years I have set up Pupstarts Breeders as a breeder education hub, a safe space for ethical and responsible breeders to come together and learn, grow, and support each other with a view to improving standards, and creating a better starting point for the dogs of our future.
Bringing the change
After many hours of course writing and development we are thrilled to announce the iPET Network Level 3 Certificate in Dog Breeding, Litter Socialisation and Welfare. The qualification is the first of its kind and is regulated by Ofqual. It means breeders can be “qualified” to breed. In turn, this will mean that breeders can officially be proud of what they do and hold themselves high. If we can create a cohort of qualified breeders who have learnt to breed, raise, observe, and then match puppies to people properly, and then support them into their homes thoroughly then we are on track to start the change that we need to see. It is the first qualification of its kind in the UK and National Dog Breeder Day marks the start of the tide finally changing.
How are we celebrating?
From November 19-28th we are hosting a Dog Breeder Convention in support of ethical and responsible breeding. National Dog Breeder Day on the 25th November (which will be an annual event) falls inside that week. We will be hosting various guest speakers from trainers, vets, vet nurses, groomers, behaviourists, and nutritionists about various aspects of breeding, whelping, care and training for dogs and puppies. The week will be full of learning and inspiration for breeders, a sense of pride and community and most of all the message that not all breeders are puppy farmers, and that education is how we improve the dog breeding world for the benefit of the dogs. I do want to be clear, I am not encouraging people into breeding. I am encouraging those who are already breeding, or those who are already considering breeding to breed better.
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