Why Kennel Club papers?
Why you should consider VDH / FCI certified papers when buying a puppy, even if you do not intend to attend dog shows, tournaments, or breed.
First of all: Of course the VDH (German Kennel Club) is not perfect and not every VDH breeder is automatically “better”, but the VDH logo on the pedigree stands for a certain quality and strict controls in dog breeding. Every CASD (Parent Club for MAS in Germany) breeder voluntarily subject to a variety of regulations in order to represent and breed the Miniature American Shepherd as best as possible, to be able to give his puppies a long and happy life and to be able to offer his puppy buyers the greatest possible security. There can be no guarantee – even with the strictest rules and controls – because nature and life remains unpredictable.
All other "dog breeding clubs" consist of members who want to register their litters with a club, but do not accept the VDH regulations or cannot be a Kennel Club member/breeder because of those regulations, since the requirements of the VDH prevent i. a. commercialization and mass breeding, where several litters are born at the same time or at short intervals, unfortunately often without giving the bitches appropriate breaks to regenerate between litters – those breaks are neccessary to protect the bitch, but are also important for the quality of the puppies that emerge from a bitch.
Those "dog breeding clubs" have their own rules and issue their own papers, which are not official, i.e. are not recognized nationally or internationally and are therefore excluded from worldwide cooperative breeding (and also from sport). The members of those "dog breeding clubs" delimit themselves to do their own thing. Which is also a bit of a shame, since the basic breeding goals are not all that different.
The VDH, on the other hand, aims to breed healthy and steadfast pedigree dogs and to achieve this goal:
All VDH breeders have to do further studies to acquire general knowledge in advanced trainings to become a breeder.
This is then checked by a trained breeding supervisor and the breeding facility of the breeder gets controlled as well. The place must meet the strict requirements of the breeding regulations and the animal protection law, so that an optimal keeping and nurturing of the dogs and puppies is guaranteed.
After the “kennel inspection” has taken place, the dogs must be checked for their suitability for breeding by experts at an official breeding approval / licensing event. Both the appearance and the nature of the dog are assessed, as well as the required health certificates – which have to be issued by officially recognized and approved veterinarians and specialists.
However, if it can be proven that puppies of a breeding dog have significant hereditary defects or that breeding-related diseases or weaknesses can be proven in a breeding dog, the association can withdraw the breeding license from this dog in order to assure the breeding of only healthy, pure-bred, steadfast and socially compatible dogs.
In addition, the CASD has access to the health data of all Miniature American Shepherds registered with the VDH and checks (before mating) if there is a risk of inherited diseases or if the mating can be approved.
To protect the breeding dogs, males can only be used for breeding from 18 months, bitches from 24 months. This ensures that the bitch is physically and mentally mature enough to raise a litter wisely. In addition, there must be at least 365 days between two litters of a bitch, the break will be extended to 18 months if the bitch has raised a litter with more than 9 puppies. A bitch can be used for a maximum of 5 litters up to her 8th birthday. In order to additionally ensure that the puppies are raised carefully, a breeder may not have more than four litters per year.
Within the first 14 days of whelping, the breeding supervisor visits the breeder to examine the puppies and their wellbeing, but also checks the breeding facility for its cleanliness, the environmental conditions and the condition of the mother.
Another “litter inspection“ is necessary before the puppies move out. This time the breeding warden does an assessment of each puppy, in which he/she checks them for any faults and weaknesses. He/She also checks if they have been properly vaccinated, chipped and dewormed and if they have been examined by a certified ophthalmologist (for hereditary eye diseases). Each puppy receives its own examination/inspection report from the breeding warden of which the owner receives a copy.
Beyond that, these strict VDH rules and controls do not only offer a puppy buyer the security that the conditions for a long and happy life of the dog with his new family are met, but they also support the buyers of a CASD puppy in the event of a genetic problem, because each puppy receives a health care fund certificate, from which the new owner can get a one-time payment for the costs of treatment, surgery or acquisition of a new puppy in case of a possible, genetically related, illness or defect.
Other "dog breeding clubs" do not have such extensive and special requirements such as the CASD. Puppies from dissidence clubs are certainly not generally bad, but you have to ask yourself the question: "Then why don't these people breed in the VDH?" – probably because most of these “breeders” think it's too expensive, too much expense and control.
But as someone who is looking for a puppy, don't forget: It is not a question of whether the dog has papers, but where he comes from – papers are not the same as papers!
A good breeder does not sell his puppies to anyone. A good breeder talks extensively with the interested puppy buyers even before the puppies are handed over to ensure that the puppy and the puppy buyer also fit together. In addition, he will continue to assist his puppy families with advice and action after the puppy has moved out.
Another important point is the breeding aspect, because the opportunity of international cooperation with other FCI member associations around the world is only available to VDH breeders. This is the only way to keep the gene pool as healthy and open as possible.
Many “breeders” who breed outside the VDH make a lot of effort, but breed their dogs without having a real breeding goal or any idea of genetics. However, responsible breeding should always serve to maintain the health and survival of a breed and never only to sell puppies.
Breeding means "controlled reproduction" and serves to reinforce positive traits and to minimize or eliminate negative traits. A proficient breeder is not only familiar with the applicable standard and the anatomy of his breed, he also understands it and knows how important it really is for the health of the dog. You can't read up on that knowledge, you have to do further studies, make your own experiences and learn a lot in practice. It is also important to exchange information with experienced breeders (possibly also from other breeds) and to visit exhibitions, because this is the only way to learn to better understand your breed and its function.
However, knowledge of the physical characteristics does not make successful breeding. It gets really important when it comes to individual “blood lines”. Each line is characterized by certain traits (advantages, as well as risks) that you should all know and know how to handle them. Would you like to maintain, improve or avoid certain traits? Even how different lines “react” with each other cannot be read in books. Above all, genetic knowledge is necessary. Most information about other blood lines can usually only be obtained in private conversations with other breeders, contacts through various events are also extremely important here. It is also very interesting to visit exhibitions abroad to see how far the stage of development of the breed is there.
Also, you shouldn't be averse to a breeder that wants to give certain puppies only to exhibitors or so-called co-owners, so that they can later use the dog for breeding. This only shows that the breeder is very concerned about his mating and is convinced of the quality of his puppies and litters. If a breeder breeds his litters so that one puppy should always be kept for breeding, you can be sure that he is pairing his dogs carefully – in such a case you can definitely speak of breeding.
For all of these reasons, you should choose a puppy from a certified VDH breeder, because only these breeders voluntarily face these entire regulations with the aim of selling you a healthy puppy with the best qualifications for a long, happy life.
© Julia Bettendorf, 2019
Inspired by "what does breeding mean"