Who determines the quality of papers issued?
THE BREEDER. The ISSR has established certain guidelines that all
breeders are required to follow, but the breeder strictly determines the actual
designation of puppy quality. It is the buyers responsibility to determine the
How is a breeder's experience determined?
Unfortunately there are no real set guidelines. Anyone can produce a
litter of puppies and call himself or herself a breeder, appearing to be on equal ground
with someone that has spent decades developing a certain line. It is definitely a BUYER-BEWARE
situation, and anyone interested in a specific puppy from a particular breed should be
willing to spend enough time investigating many "breeders." A few months of
sincere effort now, could save years of heartache later.
Example of some questions you may want to ask a breeder before
making a final decision;
How many years have you been breeding dogs, and Shilohs in particular?
How did you get involved with this breed, and who would you consider as
A "mentor" is similar to a "teacher", or the
(experienced) person the breeder relies on.
How many litters of ISSR registered Shiloh puppies have you
produced? Total number of puppies? (This information can be easily verified through
What method do you use to evaluate conformation and temperament of
your pups, and how much experience have you had using this method?
Could I please have a list of all of the people that
purchased puppies from your litters?
Be sure to ask for names & phone numbers for all of the owners,
on each specific litter.
How important is a Champion loaded
It does not mean that you are going to get a "perfect"
champion puppy. It just means that the dogs in the pedigree have been shown, and earned
their titles by (hopefully) passing the breed standard requirements. The more such dogs
that are present in the first 4 generations of your puppys pedigree, the better his
chances of being a great specimen of the breed. A lot also depends on many other factors,
like the dogs that are inbred on in his pedigree. The quality of the littermates of
those champions plays an even stronger part in your puppys genetics, then you may
realize. Be sure to investigate all "relatives" carefully. In conclusion, the
answer is very simple: It looks great framed, and hanging on your wall.
Why are GOLD "papered puppies so
In all honesty the prices were raised for several
reasons. First of all it was to ensure that the "best possible"
show prospects would go to homes that could afford to campaign them. The extremely high
price would also afford the breeder an easy way to refuse a placement. Most conscientious
breeders only sell their absolute best progeny, and require a Breeders
Agreement or Co-Ownership contract on their Gold papered puppies. This also allows them to
provide large discounts, and maintain better control over future breeding. On the average
a $4500 Gold papered show prospect, actually sells for around $2,000. after discounts.
How much would a good pet quality puppy cost?
Most families only need a good companion. Those that do not plan to
show or breed, usually will not mind a slight fault, like a "bitchy head" or
"hook tail" etc. Such people are more interested in health, hips,
and temperament than in "non-faulty" conformation. These
puppies still have the great hips and intelligence the breed is so well known for, even if
they got cheated a bit in the "beauty" (as per breed standard) department! Most
breeders sell their "faulty" pups for around $750 (less discounts) with full
(Hip and Temperament) guarantees. For those that want huge size and exceptional structure,
an upgradeable pet may be the best choice. The initial price is
very reasonable, averaging between $900- $1250 (less discounts), and such puppies will
most often grow up into excellent specimens that CAN later be upgraded if their owners
decide that they DO want to show or breed.
What kind of faults can I expect a
non-upgradeable puppy to have?
It would depend on the individual puppy, and the breeder. Some
breeders feel very strongly about "heads." This type of breeder would let all
males with "poor stops" (for example) go as pets, so that they will never be
bred, thereby eliminating the genotype for the "narrower" heads. Other breeders
have a "personal dislike" for dogs with short of curled tails, and any male with
a tail that is less then a "perfect plume" would be downgraded. While others may
fault a puppy for "faded pigment." Most conscientious breeders will definitely
fault a puppy that appears to be low stationed (legs are too short for the
body) or short coupled (does not have the proper length of body), exhibits a shallow or
east-west front, etc. The average owner would never notice most of these structural
"show faults", and often such puppys have gone to shows and even won (big)
under certain judges! The only reason for reducing such a puppys quality to a
non-breeding status is to prevent him from passing such faults on to his progeny. When
such puppies are allowed to breed dogs that may also have similar/other faults, the
quality of the breed itself is reduced very quickly! Only the absolute
BEST (as near to the standard as possible) quality studs should be used for breeding. That
is why breeders seem to reduce a lot more males to "pet" status, then females.
Since one male can breed hundreds of bitches per year, only the absolute best possible
should be utilized.
Can I find a good quality puppy with ORANGE papers?
Absolutely!! The main difference between an Orange and a
GOLD puppy is the price! An excellent puppy with a lot of show potential is often
reduced in price and sold with Orange papers by the breeder for 2 reasons:
Please note: any dog from the RED, ORANGE, OR GOLD category is eligible
for PLATINUM Status upon meeting all of the ISSR requirements. This is not a category that
a breeder can "give" to his puppy, each dog actually has to meet all of the ISSR
qualifications (listed below) before he can enter this elite group.
GOLD/ORANGE/RED dogs that meet the following requirements can be upgraded to the
Prestigious Platinum category by submitting a copy of the following:
The breeder wants to insure the best possible future for the breed.
The only "string" attached to the Orange category, is that the owner must get
the Breed Warden's approval on every breeding done with this stud/bitch. This insures
everyone that only the best quality progeny will be produced. Any
questionable/incompatible breeding would not be approved.
It eliminates the breeders responsibility to enforce Co-ownership
& Breeders Agreement contracts, and to provide "Show" guarantees, where a
replacement has to be made if the puppy does not finish his/her Championship within a
reasonable amount of time.
- I.S.S.R Championship Certificate (no other Championship will be
- OFA Certificate with a GOOD or EXCELLENT RATING ONLY. (no
fair ratings will be excepted)
- Valid proof from the TCCP that said dog/bitch has attained the
minimum of 1,000 R.O.M. points." (ISSR Rules and Regulations)
What kind of Guarantee can I expect from my
Each breeder has their own "version" so it would be
beneficial for you to ask for a copy prior to making a commitment, and then compare it to
that of other breeders. After all, one of the reasons you are paying such a high price for
a well-bred dog is because you want the security of reduced risk. The
"guarantee" your breeder provides is actually your insurance policy, and the
cost has been incorporated into the price of your puppy, therefor you have a right (and
obligation) to examine it carefully! Most breeders will vary the coverage depending on the
quality of puppy you are purchasing, please study the wording carefully, after all it is a
Example; a guarantee that states that your puppy is covered
"against crippling Hip Dysplasia for up to one year" is useless, since
most dogs do not become "crippled" that early, and further more who determines
HOW severely disabled the dog must be in order to be considered "crippled"? The
same "double-talk" can be seen in some forms of "temperament"
Finally, make sure that you feel confident that your breeder will be
around, incase you do need a replacement! What happens if your breeder "closes
shop"? Is there a provision in the contract for all such possibilities?
What will my breeder expect from me?
If you are dealing with a reputable breeder, you will be expected
to fulfill all of the ISSR registration procedures, and probably be asked to join the
SSDCA so that you can stay educated about your breed. Even if you have a "pet"
and never plan to "show" the Newsletters you receive will help to keep you
informed about many issues that could prove to be very beneficial to your dogs health,
etc. Your breeder will also want you to send pictures, and update reports on your dog so
that he/she can accumulate data needed when planning a future breeding. Most of all, a
good breeder will expect you to stay in close contact, especially if you have a problem or
question. So think of this "purchase" as a commitment (partnership) between your
breeder and yourself for the fullest enjoyment of your dog, and the future benefit of the
This FAQ was one of a series written by Tina M. Barber in 1999, exclusively
for the Shiloh Shepherd Learning Center.