Lessons from a PPO Conversation

Yesterday I had a great phone conversation with a smart and savvy PPO (Potential Puppy Owner). He asked all the right questions — and more. #winner

But he also shared his frustrations. Breeders who do not respond to email inquiries. Puppy producers who do not deserve to be called breeders that are quick to offer a puppy to anyone with $$$. Breeders who lack data — and data-informed strategy.

As I listened to him, I realized that many of his concerns are shared ones — but from a different vantage point.

When you are trying to make data-informed breeding decisions, it is a bit hard (understatement alert) when stud dog owners don’t respond to emails, have an attitude of Semen for All!, and do not have the data to even begin to build an articulated strategy.

Huh. That was an interesting insight — that the frustrations of PPOs are/can be similar to some of us breeder-types…

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I take an unanswered email as rejection to my inquiry about a stud dog. I might try twice and/or use two methods of reaching out — just in case the person is busy or has a gutted kitchen or some life event. But I figure an ignored inquiry is a message of sorts, and the respectful thing is to pay attention to the message sent — even when said message is a silent one.

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There are two potential stud dogs I REALLY like — so much! But apparently so does everyone else and so the dogs are being used — a lot.

I have at least two issues with that and they are related. First, I do not really want puppies from a male that is available to any and all comers. Second, it is not good for the breed when a male sires more than XX litters — I am not sure what the number is but there is a number.

On the other hand, it is a positive thing if a male is used enough that there is data on his offspring. Like most things in life, it’s complicated. But in general, I do not want to join a parade when choosing a stud dog.


I look at both Berner-Garde and the OFA database to explore how a stud dog owner values data — actions speaking so much more than words, and past behavior being the best predictor of future behavior.

There is a stud dog I REALLY love — so much! But one side of the pedigree is a bit sketchy — in my opinion — on orthopedics. I can live with that IF I know the dog is not producing in that direction.

But how can I know if only two of his 16 offspring who are well over 24 months have results in the OFA database, and one of those reflects an orthopedic fail?

I can’t know. Therefore, I cannot use that dog with one of my girls, which is a bummer.

Breeders likely do not really understand the great PPOs they are losing by ignoring emails, placing puppies without high standards for buyers, and/or failing to gather and share data.

I was reminded of this yesterday.

And stud dog owners likely do not realize or fully understand what they are losing by ignoring inquiries, potentially overusing their males, and/or failing to gather and share data.

Of course, if cash is the primary consideration — never mind all this nonsense.