When people call for a puppy, the first question to be asked by you (the breeder) is, ” Are you looking for pet or show quality?” Many newcomers to the realm of the better-bred dog are under the misconception that show dogs are not pets. They have no idea that the family dog that loves to eat ice cream cones and table scraps (on occasion) can also be a fine show dog.

People need to know that champions are, after all, still dogs – and family members first. A show career encompasses but a brief span of time in the lives show dogs share with their families. These people also need to know that show dogs may be eligible for a breeding program only if they are able to reproduce either their own quality (what every breeder strives for), or better quality (closer to the breed’s Standard) in each successive generation.

It is important to make it perfectly clear to a prospective client that the price of a puppy is never predicated on the animal’s sex. You, as the breeder, should fully explain the differences between the show prospects and pet-only puppies in the litter. Even more important, and it must be made clear, that any puppy sold not to be shown is not to be bred. Be a strong advocate of neutering these puppies by spaying (ovarian hysterectomy) or castration. Take the time to explain fully and in a positive manner that withdrawal from a breeding program does not affect a dog’s personality. Nor does neutering cause a dog (male or female) to become fat and sluggish with the proper nutritional requirements and exercise levels.

One benefit derived from neutering is that castrated males will almost never chase after neighborhood females in season; nor will a spayed female attract destructive neighborhood males. Another benefit is that many neutered animals live longer and healthier lives than their non-neutered counterparts, thereby giving their owners additional years in the pleasure of their company. Finally, some states offer a price reduction in their licensing programs to owners of neutered animals.

Offer your puppy purchasers additional information about the types of neutering available. Vasectomies and tubal ligations can be performed at a very early age. These males and females retain their respective physical characteristics but are incapable of reproduction. It is generally suggested that males be castrated after reaching a physical maturity in order to develop traditional physical characteristics. Early spaying (before the first season) prevents a female dog from fully developing her female hormones and traditional physical characteristics. Very often and as a result, these females develop male characteristics, but not male character traits.

Prospective clients are often willing to neuter a pet puppy in return for a price reduction, or the possible difference in price between a show prospect and pet-only puppy. These people can be proud of their puppy selection and the breeding behind it. They have the added bonus of feeling good about the fact that their new family addition has come from a dedicated breeder, a person who so evidently cares strongly about the breed’s welfare in general.