Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A breeder's website

Websites are one of the most powerful communications tool in existence today. In seconds an individual can form opinions and make assumptions. A website is your brand, your reputation, and your image. They speak volumes about organizations, companies, and yes breeders.

Over the past several months I have struggled with putting together a website for my breeding program. What should go on it? What shouldn't? How can I be the most transparent to potential owners of my dogs, without putting my dogs, their breeders or others at risk?

In a perfect world I would love to list all of my dogs information.

I would scan in their original health clearances for the world to see. I would proudly list their pedigrees displaying every dog behind them for 10 generations. I would list their inbreeding co-efficients. I would speak in depth regarding the health history of their parents, grandparents and great grandparents.

I am very proud of my dogs and what is hopefully in store for my breeding program. I have big plans and every intention of making powerful and meaningful contributions to this breed.

Unfortunately this isn't an ideal world. Original health clearances can and have been stolen off websites in the past. In the wrong hands, dogs can easily be misrepresented. Imagine a backyard breeder or a puppy mill printing off heart clearances, mri reports, etc and claiming them as their own. With editing software it is very easy.

Today pedigrees are used to discriminate against certain dogs and lines. Rumour, hearsay and common thought trump longevity, healthy offspring and test results. I can't control breeding decisions that were made in the past, I can only judge what is in front of me in the present. I do not want to take part in past breeding decisions being questioned, picked apart and discredited.

Thus my dilemma. What should go on a responsible breeder's website?

As owners of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels who will hopefully at some point experience being owned by a cavalier from a responsible breeder, what is important for you to see on a breeder's website?

What information would help you determine a reputable and responsible breeder from a poor one?

I would love and greatly benefit from a meaningful discussion on this topic. I know other breeder friends are struggling with the same decisions. Any help and advice is welcomed.

The start of my brand:

All of our giveaway folders and snoods are on the way. Canadian mail tends to be very slow. I hope everyone will receive them in the next few weeks! I can't wait to see the pictures.

A little red dog is trying to tell me something... sweet dreams Miss Mylee, it is bedtime.



  1. I'm not sure that this comment box will be able to let me "spout" enough. :-) My dear friend, I find your pics and your website absolutely charming. You make me smile to a degree that even when losing our dearest friend AMIE SOTO BLOSSOM on June 2nd, your pics still made me smile. To replace a dog, hum, is never easy, you never replace them, you set aside a part of you and then go again. When I ever say hum :-) I mean I am troubled :-) I have problems with our ENGLISH KENNEL CLUB.. HUM ! How dare they send me an email to say that a certain bitch has had her pups registered. Do they mean the owner ? Sorry. I think they must in some cases. Soggibottom was desperate for another cavalier. Not one to out do Amie soto Blossom or replace, but sound of paws around again...magic :-) Okay, dirty floor :-) I believe by luck more than chance we have a beautiful well socialised little pup. I still look for signs that she is healthy... This pup :-) well, I wouldn't dare tell anyone the conditions that we found her in... THANK YOU ENGLISH KENNEL CLUB.... You should be ashamed. There are such good breeders out there that really care for their pups... you let other's take advantage and make money out of their dogs. SHAME ON YOU !
    Mylee :-) Your in very safe hands :-) I trust your owner... I know Freya Rose Blossom trusts hers X X X dream of lots of ice cream little red fox :-) x x x

  2. First of all I LOVE what you have done so far with your website. As a pet owner who has no desire to breed or show I have little interest in pedigree other than the health of the lines. I certainly understand why you wouldn't want to put test results on the web but as a prospective puppy buyer I would like to know exactly what health testing a breeder does before I contact them. To be perfectly honest alarm bells ring for me if there are no specifics about the health issues in the breed and the specific testing that the breeder does.

  3. I have to agree for the very reasons you stated, your actual registration numbers, microchip information, actual certificates should not be posted online.

    While researching for a dog I do look for verification which tests have been conducted and approximate dates for each. If litters are advertised online on a breeders site or even the club's site, I want to know parents age at time of the breeding.

    Great post and I really look forward to seeing varying opinions. Open conversations really are helpful

  4. Good question and good concerns, MB. I like to see a 5-generation pedigree whenever possible. A 3-generation is not enough. 10 is probably too much information for a website. I think you can write what health tests have been done and how recently without actually printing the certificates.

  5. I think your website so far looks terrific. An informed buyer can't hope to find everything on a website you need to contact the breeder and talk to them, the website is just a jumping off point.

  6. Hi MB,
    Congrats on your new website! I like what you have done so far! As a pet owner and many others like myself, it helps to include a guideline for what to look for in a breeder, what questions we should be asking, and lots of information about health issues and health testing. I'm sure you will include a thorough introduction as you update more :) it really helps to think in terms of a prospective first time owner or new Cavalier owner, everything they should know about this precious breed.

  7. I don't mean to hijack your post, I just wanted to say a big massive thank you from myself and my pups - we received your snood and folder yesterday and absolutely love them! I will take pictures as soon as I have a minute and upload them to my blog - first ever snood I've had and I think I'm going to invest in another :) thank you so much again!

    Also love your new website, congrats!