My breeding philosophy: staying the course

Every breeder is faced with many choices in the course of rearing dogs. Whenever I am deluged with calls from buyers who want to line up for my puppies, the thought of breeding the next female who comes into season crosses my mind. Thankfully, I am able to nudge myself to stay faithful to my breeding plans and goals.

My goals:

As a breeder, I always have to remind myself of my three overarching goals: to ensure the health of my dams; to propagate healthy lines; and  to produce a better specimen of the breed. In plain language, this means very selective, well thought-out breedings – putting health, breed type, structure, temperament, and movement above what the pet market prefers such as color and wrong sizes. I silently bite my lip when people choose a schnauzer because of its color, or because It has been ear cropped and tail docked, which are really non-essential in my book.

Recently, there has been very strong interest in white mini schnauzers, and there have been a number of imports, which is a good thing, as it widens the limited gene pool for white schnauzers in the Philippines.. My dog partner Nick Montesines and I have brought in white schnauzers from Poland and Ukraine in 2015, and successfully campaigned them to their championships. We have bred each of our females once, and have been very selective about the homes that the puppies went to. Our preference has always been “pet” homes for white mini schnauzers, meaning those people who would keep these dogs as companions, and not as breeding stock, because dogs are never meant to be a business. We are happy to see that the puppies have grown to be beautiful and loving companions, bringing so much joy to their families. They have also been neutered or spayed by their new owners. Although our two white mini schnauzers have become Philippine Champions, we have no delusions that they will ever defeat a Salt and Pepper/Black/Black and Silver Mini Schnauzer, all things being equal, in the show ring. 

Although people constantly badger me to do repeat breedings of my whites, I have been hesitant to do so. In fact, I have spayed my white females. As I always tell people, breeding a white mini schnauzer is not my priority, because I feel that doing so would not advance my breeding program. Sure, I can produce cute white mini schnauzers that would bring enormous joy to the lives of people, but my goal is not to satisfy the pet market. Rather, my goal  is  to stay true to my vision of producing a mini schnauzer that is faithful to the standard, with all the qualities that make it ideal for the show ring and for my own home.  I admit these goals are all centerred on MY dogs and MY vision, but hey, I am a schnauzer enthusiast, and not a businessman. 

Annoying questions

I also find it very annoying when people ask why my schnauzers may not be of the color or look they have in mind, especially since they have no idea what the breed standard is. Having worked hard to get the best stocks in the world—with consideration to breed type, structure, health, temperament, and movement—the last thing I really care about or look at is color. But as another enthusiast reminded me, those in search of pets hardly care about these things. I understand that, of course, but again, that is not my goal.

The other reason that deters me from breeding more is my fear that my dogs fall into the wrong hands. I am worried that a puppy I produced will be mated with a schnauzer of dubious lineage or with health problems. While I have been careful and selective in choosing the homes where my puppies can go, I am pragmatic enough to know that risks cannot be eliminated.

Despite all these, I continue to soldier on with my breeding program, with predetermined timings and pairings, and a specific period to begin winding down as well.  Until then, each breeding is well thought-out to produce the mini schnauzers that I can be proud of and who can live with me for the rest of my life. 

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