Tuesday, March 29, 2011


I received this email question last week and thought it would make a good blog topic.

While my husband and I were working in the greenhouse we were talking about co-ownership of show dogs which I had to admit I didn't really know much about.  I suppose each breeder sets their own rules but if you could explain briefly how co-ownership works for you I'd appreciate it.

Co-ownerships are commonly used by "show people" when placing pups.  They generally work well for all concerned, but depending on the terms and the people involved they can also cause problems.  Even when contracts are used, there can be misunderstandings, and for this reason they are discouraged by the AKC - but are perfectly legal and extremely common.  They are used extensively by Dal breeders, and many long standing friendships started with the co-ownership of a puppy.

Because very few show breeders have kennel situations, they are limited as to the number of dogs they can keep.  Because a litter is done with the expectation of producing quality dogs, possibly better than the parents, most breeders would prefer to keep a pup from each litter.  That might be possible if one is breeding small dogs, but very unrealistic if one is raising Dals and raising a litter more often than every five years.  Because Dals need time & attention, training & exercise, we are limited as to how many dogs we can keep.  Limited by time, space, and often by neighbors and local regulations.

Our co-ownerships normally consist of placing a show potential pup in a pet home, with the agreement that we have the right to show it (at our expense) and possibly to raise a litter (if it is a female) or use it at stud (if it is a male).  Co-ownerships generally have an end date, at which time we sign off.  This allows us access to a dog that we can show and that may become part of our breeding program, and it allows the pet owner access to a dog that might not otherwise be available as a companion, and also introduces them to the sport of dog showing.  We've finished many champions this way, but also encountered some difficult situations when the co-owners were not willing to follow through on the agreement, or did not take appropriate care of the dog.  We always enter into co-ownerships accepting this possibility.

Some dogs are sold outright to "watch homes", where we keep an eye on how they are developing, and if they turn out well we will show them at our expense.

Co-ownership are also used on show pups going to proven show homes, where we may want to show the dog in Bred By Exhibitor class, or where we are placing the dog with new show people and need to keep some strings attached.

Co-ownership should never be confused with the old Pyramid Scheme where well bred dogs were placed in pet homes with the agreement that they would be bred and the seller would get back puppies or even an entire litter.  This used to be an unfortunately common practice, but is rarely done anymore.  Because health testing is expensive but absolutely required before dogs are bred from, raising a litter of pups is time-consuming and expensive, and because I am responsible for the pups produced by dogs of my breeding, this is never an option. 

Oops, out of time and I just touched the surface . . .

1 comment:

Helen said...

Thank you for this information. It's something I, too, was curious about - sounds like a win-win situation.