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Sheltie Breeding & Ethics
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Ethical Guidelines for Breeding Practices


Whether an owner, exhibitor, or breeder, the Shetland Sheepdog enthusiast is often confronted with decisions and courses of action which can impact the continued improvement and preservation of the breed, and the well being of his or her individual dogs. All too often, inexperience, inadequate information/education, poor or hastened decisions result in unexpected and unfortunate damage to Sheltie breed's integrity with lasting detrimental effects.

The following voluntary guidelines, presented by the BRSSC, represent a composite of the personal conduct and concerns of its members, acceptable practices and precautions for its members as well as any and all involved in the Shetland Sheepdog breed.

Please do your part to respect and protect the integrity and reputation of the Shetland Sheepdog breed. Below is a thoughtfully compiled, common sense list of guidelines designed for that purpose, as-well-as the health and well being of the puppy/dog and owner/breeder's satisfaction. Thank you!

Breeding Considerations

It is important that a breeder examine his/her motives before undertaking any breeding. While the zeal to produce champions is understandable, the breeder must guard against becoming insensitive to the lives produced; must understand the costs in time and money; and must recognize the difficulties in placing unwanted offspring into caring homes.

  1. Breeding should be done selectively with the intention of reducing faults to a minimum and producing healthy Shelties of high quality, type and proper temperament.

  2. Breeding should be undertaken only when the breeder is in a position to properly care for the bitch and litter. The breeder should recognize it might be necessary to house offspring for considerable length of time, and be prepared to provide suitable

  3. No fancier should attempt breeding until knowledgeable of the breed standard, type and proper structure of the Shetland Sheepdog. Such ability presupposes careful study of the breed standard, the basic principles of genetics, and the pedigrees of prospective mates.

  4. Breeders should breed only dogs that are in good health and physically and temperamentally sound. No dog or bitch should be bred that is known to have, or is suspected of having any serious inheritable defects or diseases.

  5. The stud dog should be bred selectively. The owner should discourage the individual who wants to breed pet quality bitches, or one unsuitable for their stud. The stud owner should be certain that the owner of the bitch has the necessary knowledge and facilities to care for the puppies.

  6. Only dogs that are free from all discoverable ad assumed hereditary, defects should be used for breeding. "Discoverable" under present circumstances includes but is not limited to those forms of blindness whose incipient stages can be detected via competent eye exam, joint diseases such as hip dysplasia that are revealed through x­ray study, cryptorchidism or monorchidism that can be found by palpitation, and any other gross and obvious abnormality, such as heart defects or serious skeletal defects.

  7. The Orthopedic Foundation of America (OFA) and the Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF), and DNA test for von Willebrand's Disease (vWD) are recommended as useful measures for detection of defects.

  8. Individuals which themselves have been examined and checked out "clear," but which are direct parents or close relatives of affected dogs, should be regarded as relatively "high risk" breeding stock.

  9. All contracts on co-ownerships, breeding rights, or repeat breeding, should contain a clause voiding them or otherwise providing terms of settlement without breeding, if a dog involved is, subsequent to the date of original contract, found to be "affected" or "high risk."

Selling and Sales Contracts

Problems resulting from sales and sales agreements are perhaps the greatest source of dissatisfaction and ill will in the breed. It is important the sellers be honest with themselves and the buyers. It is equally important all agreements and stipulations be recorded in written sales contracts.

  1. Sales prices of dogs and puppies should be based on the observable quality of the individual dog as potential show or breeding specimens.

  2. No puppy should be released or shipped to a new home before the age of eight weeks, with a strong recommendation for nine weeks.

  3. Ethical breeders do not consign their dogs to pet stores, animal brokers, or commercial kennels, and do not donate them as prizes for any raffle or contest. BRSSC members who participate in such activities will be subject to expulsion from the club.

  4. A breeder must be discriminating in the placement of his/her dogs and should not knowingly deal with unethical persons. A breeder should not sell to or aid in selling a Sheltie to any person whom he/she has reason to believe will not provide the proper care and environment or who may use the dog in a fashion which is detrimental to the breed.

  5. The new owners should be provided with at least a three generation pedigree, an inoculation record and booster due dates. Novice buyers should also be provided with a thorough written list of instructions on diet and care.

  6. Breeding arrangements should never be established which would encourage the pet buyer to undertake a breeding program. Pet quality puppies should be sold on spay/neuter contracts or on AKC limited registration.

  7. Each person who sells or places a dog should provide the new owner with a registration application, a signed transfer, or a signed agreement between buyer and seller as described in the American Kennel club rules (Chapter 3). It is recommended that a sales contract be executed for every sale.

  8. Breeders and sellers should make themselves familiar with the laws and regulations intended to protect the pet buying public. Puppy buyers have a right to a sound, healthy pet that is representative of the breed. Breeders and/or sellers should be responsible for providing certain refunds, replacements or reimbursements, should the pet they sell become ill or die from an inherited or congenital condition or disease contracted prior to the purchase.

Exhibiting & Competing

  1. All members of the BRSSC should conduct themselves at all times in a manner which will reflect credit upon themselves and upon the breed, regardless or the location or circumstances but especially when attending dog club meetings or shows, whether as an exhibitor or a spectator.

  2. All members should demonstrate good sportsmanship in all shows, trials, and matches in which they participate.

  3. All members should assist in assuring that exhibitions, matches, trials, shows or seminars supported by the Club are conducted in an atmosphere of courtesy, fairness and good sportsmanship.

General Recommendations

  1. Dog owners have a responsibility to their canine companions to provide proper care and humane treatment at all times. Proper care and humane treatment include an adequate and nutritious diet, clean water, kind and responsive human companionship, and training for appropriate behavior. Dogs should not be kept in circumstances or numbers where all of their needs cannot be adequately fulfilled.

  2. Breeders should encourage puppy purchasers to have their pets spayed or neutered to prevent accidental breeding, and to avoid breeding merely to produce puppies for monetary gain.

  3. All Breeders must keep accurate and thorough breeding records in accordance with AKC requirements.

  4. All advertising shall be of an honest and straightforward nature and shall not in any way be misrepresentative or fraudulent.

The BRSSC does NOT endorse, restrict or accept responsibility for the activities of the dogs owned, leased or purchased by its members. To maintain the integrity of the BRSSC, please contact us regarding any contrary claims or statements.

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