So you want to be a Portuguese Water Dog breeder?
By Jane Anderson
I’ve been approached several times over the last few years by people who want to breed Portuguese Water Dogs. We’re happy to work with people who’d really like to make the PWD world a better place. There are plenty of people who are capable of producing average dogs. We’d like to work with people who want to breed sensational dogs. If this sounds like you, here’s my open letter to you. A word of caution though – if you want to do this properly, you want to have access to financial backing, as breeding great dogs is not a cheap nor easy path:
Dear potential breeder,
Firstly, if this is something you seriously want to get into, I would only recommend that you take your time. The biggest decision you are going to make is around getting your foundation dogs. Too many people rush into dog breeding, and invest thousands of dollars, only to find as they become more knowledgeable that they should have invested more time into making their initial decisions, as they have had to completely stop in their tracks in 3-4 years time and start again with new dogs. It could well be that you find another breeder who you think will be suit your requirements. And I am not going to be irresponsible by rushing you into buying something from me until you’ve been able to complete this part of the research cycle, particularly if you haven’t determined 100% that pwds are the breed that you want. There are some excellent breeders in the US and Europe and a few with better dogs than mine.
I’d suggest you look at attending the PWD specialty in the US in the next year. This is the biggest showing of Portuguese Water Dogs in the world each year. If you can’t afford to go, either financially or time-wise, unfortunately this is probably an important indication that becoming a pwd breeder is probably not the right thing for you to do at this time. (That doesn’t mean it’s not something you can’t do down the track, but perhaps now is not the best time.)
Check out the video below which is a compilation of dogs I saw at the US Specialty in Rhode Island (USA), which is one of the many international dog shows I have attended in order to increase my understanding of this breed, and to network with other breeders:
It’s important you start connecting with breeders and understanding type. You need to determine your long term breeding plans. It’s pointless having a bitch without a plan for a dog you’re going to use as a stud dog. You might want to contact the pwdca, and join it. Particularly in the start this is useful as they have a very good magazine that is worth getting your hands on. This will also help you determine your long term breeding goals, with the view to establishing what your “brand” is going to be, and what your own personal goals will be in this long process. I would also suggest you look at getting a breeder’s prefix, and start a website, and also start connecting with breeders via facebook.
There are literally hundreds of breeders out there. It’s important that you find the breeder that is right for you. We won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, and don’t aim to be. We admire independent thinkers, hard workers, and people not looking for easy shortcuts nor a free ride. We won’t sell our breeding potential pups to people who “just want to breed one litter”, nor to those who want their “kids to experience the beauty of birth.” We won’t sell our breeding potential pups to people who won’t commit to the same high standards as us, and those who won’t demand the same high standards as those getting their own pups.
If you’re already thinking of becoming a breeder, I’m sure you’ve already got some of the great books available out there on the PWD so I don’t need to go into that part. (New note: Looks like I do need to provide some links, so I’ve done so at the bottom of this page. You can also find appropriate reading material by clicking here or searching your local library. But seriously, if you can’t afford the books, you can’t afford to become a breeder at this point.)
Here is a great email list you’d also need to join called dogmentor: (click here) – the aim of this list is to help people who want to learn how to become great breeders. It is disappointing to see the odd person join that list, already have a pregnant dog, and be clueless as to what happens next.
And you would want to join the raw feeding email list: (click here), the raw breeders list: (click here), and the raw pwd list: (click here).
I can also give you the name of people who have my dogs who have started their own breeding programs. I’d advise you check with them and see if you can leverage off their learning. It’s pointless we all make the same mistakes, and very important for ourselves, our families and our dogs of course, that we don’t continue to make the same mistakes.
Regardless of what breed you decide to go into, I’d suggest a very similar path to what I’ve outlined above.
If you’d like to give me any feedback, please fill out the forms below.
Bluegrace Portuguese Water Dogs