After recently reading this article from the NY Times, "A Good Westminster Show Dog? It’ll Cost a Lot More Than Some Kibble" (Feb. 17, 2017 By Paul Sullivan) it suddenly dawned on us why reputable preservation breeders are a rare commodity. Most people probably are not aware of the tens of thousands of dollars involved in obtaining an AKC championship on a dog and this article is fascinating.
This is a fabulous article on the costs involved in producing a puppy from a responsible breeder.
What actually goes into the cost of a puppy from a responsible breeder? (gooddog.com)
And more insights from the show world perspective in this NY Times article:
"For dog lovers, watching Rumor — the German shepherd named best in show this week at the 141st Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show — glide around Madison Square Garden with her owner was thrilling. They were man and dog in harmony. But that harmony — never mind a victory at an event as grand as Westminster — does not come cheap. Most owners spend tens of thousands in the year leading up to the competition — some breeders place the figure at more than $100,000 for certain dogs with deep-pocketed backers — to get their dog ready and recognized by the judges. It may seem like the ultimate indulgence for the uninitiated, and it very well may be. Unlike with racing horses, another favored investment for animal lovers of means, there isn’t even a guarantee that winning will bring riches in the puppy world. “It’s very unpredictable,” said Mary Wiest, who for the past 50 years has been breeding and showing Labradors from her kennel, Beechcroft Labradors in Warren, N.J.
“In all the years I’ve been breeding, probably five of those years I’ve made money,” she said. But getting there takes as much time as it does money. The first cost is the dog itself. A purebred dog can range from $1,000 to $5,000, said Dr. Jerry Klein, chief veterinary officer of the American Kennel Club. The rarer the breed, the more expensive the dog. And within breeds, dogs meant for the show ring (and not just the couch) command a premium. As with any dog, there are also the costs of veterinary visits, shots and periodic grooming, the price of which depends on where someone lives. The same holds true for emergency care — like sock swallowing or worse — and procedures as a dog ages.
Then there is training and grooming. Most breed clubs offer relatively inexpensive training sessions — say $5 a class — but with a top trainer, the sky’s the limit. With some breeds, that grooming cost is incurred even if the owner isn’t showing the dog. [Hair dryers, shampoos, leave-in treatments, combs, brushes, sheers etc.] The shows themselves aren’t overly expensive, around $30 for a one-day affair. “When you have two to three days of shows, those fees add up,” said Betsy Conway, president of the Otterhound Club of America and a former best-in-breed winner at Westminster. “Then you have your travel expenses, hotels and meals. And if you decide to hire a professional handler to show your dog rather than do it yourself, those costs add up.” Ms. Conway said a handler for a regular show costs $100 to $125, plus travel expenses. For a big show like Westminster, fees rise to $500 to $1,000. If they win, the handlers’ contracts stipulate bonuses. And since the sport rarely pays prize money — and when it does, those prizes are typically a few thousand dollars — those bonuses are borne by the owner. “It costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to have the top dog,” said Kim Vavolo, who has been breeding and showing American cocker spaniels for 22 years. “You’re paying your handler to fly all over the country. It could cost you $1,500 a week to advertise your dog in the all-breed magazines."
And some thoughts of our own....
We just donated to support the research being done on Parvo Virus. Here's the link regarding Revival's contributions to research and all about "Healthy Puppy Month"! Home | Healthy Puppy Month
Lilibeth and Robert had fun at the Asheville, NC shows. It was wonderful seeing some friends and their new pugs and the weather was divine (not too much rain on one day :) for the outdoor venue. Here they are showing off some of the ribbons they won (and Lilibeth won a toy!)
Robert (shown by me in owner-handled) won select to the #2 pug in US (shown by M. Scott, a professional handler) and Lilibeth won Best of Breed AND the Toy Group in the 4-6 puppy. Alas, a Frenchie beat her in Best in Show. The outdoor venue was challenging for her (little tiny puppies in tall, wet grass with LOTS of smells provides for major challenges!) Sadly, she could only compete Sat. because Robert's best of breed conflicted with her ring time on Sunday.
They had SO much fun on their trip into downtown Asheville. We headed to "3 Dog Bakery", parallel parked (wahoo!) and then walked a few blocks toward the bakery. En route, I noticed the pugs stopped at one window of a vacant store to sniff .... but I kept looking for the sign. We walked a block or so beyond the bakery's address and couldn't find it anywhere! Turns out that the vacant store the pugs were so interested in was the bakery .... which was unfortunately a victim of the pandemic.
So, we headed to another dog store which was really awesome and even got some raw meat and treats AND a cool bandana that said "stay weird, Asheville, NC" and awesome Asheville cookies.
The best part of the trip was the drive home where we stopped at several overlooks and trails in the Great Smoky Mountains.
They were patient with me in the hotel while I had to judge 2 major piano competitions virtually (about 7-8 hours of work each) but we still got lots of adventures in. Lilibeth even saw a DOUBLE RAINBOW!
Robert wins best of breed & Lilibeth wins Best in show & Marie claire receives qualifying score in her 1st rally obedience trial!
Robert (CH Hill Country's I'll Bee Your Shining Star) wins Best of Breed against many amazing specials and another 5 point major toward his Grand Championship!
Lilibeth wins 3 Best of Breeds and 2 Best in Shows in the 4-6 Puppy!
And Marie Claire receives a score of 83 at her first Rally Obedience Trial!
The 1st part of spring break involved a solo camping trip (Amy) with pugs Marie Claire, Lilibeth, and Robert. Tent camping at that! It was quite cold some nights on the Mountain (Monte Sano Mountain, Huntsville, Alabama) so we purchased a "lil buddy" propane heater which we could use inside the tent. We trained and enjoyed the woods (lots of ticks out, so it was good we used some Frontline before the trip).
After the tent camping trip, I think the pugs were glad to head to a hotel for the dog show in Jackson, TN. It was our first time to be at this venue which was quite nice, not too stressful for the dogs, and had some fabulous judges. The folks running the event were also super nice. I hate that they had to cancel the last day (Sunday) because of the storm damage and that they had to have added stress to running such a big event ... however, I'm so glad everyone was safe and no one (especially all those folks staying in campers at the show site) was hurt.
Honestly, I was SO surprised when Scarlett J. said she'd be willing to show Robert for us ... for free! She must really like him a lot lolz ;)
In fact, models were just flocking from everywhere just to have their photo taken with Robert. He's such a stud muffin. ;)
Lilibeth not only won Best of Breed in the 4-6 Puppy but also the Toy group AND THEN WENT ON TO WIN BEST IN SHOW for the BPUP against some really nice dogs including all sorts of hunting breeds, bull dogs, samoyeds, terriers, Cane Corsos, Papillons, Dachshunds, and more. I was so proud of her and she just wowed the judge! She also won Best in Show again 2 days later and Marie Claire competed in her first Rally Obedience trial (and got a qualifying ribbon toward her title!) What a great weekend. Alas, the final day/Sunday was canceled due to bad weather. The tornado sirens went off Saturday night necessitating us to bunker down in the hotel bathroom. Thankfully, there were no touchdowns in our area of town but the show site suffered some flooding (evidently, the grooming area was 3 feet under water!) But what an awesome weekend and special quality time with these 3!
Congratulations sweet Robert (CH Hill Country’s I’ll Bee Your Shining Star) on your big win of BOS in Tallahassee with a 23 pug entry (beating the #2 pug in the country and the "new Biggie"). Thank you Judge Judy Harrington for recognizing his exceptionalism ... and many thanks to his amazing breeders Kristy and Kevin for producing such a spectacular representation of the pug breed.
And Lilibeth won Breed and Toy Puppy Group at her very first Match in Tallahassee. Not only that, but she was a natural in the ring and loved every second of it!
Oh no! My dog is watching me as I type this …. but SHE’S SITTING! How could I have let this happen? Allow a show dog to sit? OH NO!! Now she’s lying down. Sigh. Her show career is over. Unless? Perhaps I could just teach her when she’s supposed to sit? Hmmm ……
To this day I remember getting in trouble when I was around 2 years old for sitting down while watching the changing of the guards. The GUARD walked over and reprimanded me! I’ll never forget the seriousness on his face nor the look of embarrassment on my parents’ faces. Well, I didn’t know it wasn’t appropriate to sit! My parents didn’t know! There were no blasted signs. (Besides, I couldn’t read yet).
Since pugs are perpetual 2-year old children, I guess the same applies here. As the human, I’m going to need to tell my pug when it’s appropriate to sit, stand, or lie down.
Honestly, I haven’t met a single conformation person yet who hasn’t warned me “never teach a show dog to sit.” It doesn’t make sense to me. Even when I’ve followed their advice, and deprived the poor pug puppy the opportunity to learn puppy pushups and other important life skills, the pup STILL sat in the show ring! And, horrors, on the conformation table too!
A show pug has one short life to live. Why should a show pug have a less fulfilling life than a rescue dog? Also, I can speak from experience when I say that a show pug who has NOT received obedience training is NOT a pretty sight … especially when living with a large grumble. And aren’t show pugs are supposed to be pretty 😉?!
So, I’m stepping out on that thin ice and breaking the rules. Yes, I’m teaching Lilibeth to sit.
She will sit while in a car.
She will sit while in a bar.
She will sit on my left side.
She will sit on our trike ride.
She will sit in front
And she will not afront.
Lilibeth, puppy pushups here we come! You will conquer everything with your brilliant mind and spirit. Never underestimate a pug or a pug owner.
This will be my first time to dual train. I’ve picked the brains of 100s of trainers who dual train and compete in both conformation and obedience on the same day. I’ve re-read my dual-training books. I’ll add a mirror and videotape sessions to make sure I’m keeping my body language consistent and clear. And I’ll let you know how it turns out.
My plan: Begin with conformation Boot Camp which will last 30 days as we prepare for a BPUP to be held at the end of March. We will work on other important skills for rally like attention, recalls, manners, leave it etc. alongside but wait to begin the hardcore skills of attention heeling, Velcro dog, fronts and finishes to begin after Conformation Boot Camp. ALSO, we will enter her first rally show in June and ONLY do rally at that show. The following month, we will participate in both rally and conformation.
I’ve got to make it fun …. we’ll start with …..
Eat meals on collapsed conformation table
Play and treat on “ “ “
Lead Breaking (follow pup around etc.)
Lure games (with lead on, treat using Left Hand/Lead Hand)
Obstacle courses with lure
Manners – leave it, drop it etc.
And, of course, Rapt Attention.
Let the games begin!
It's difficult staying awake to monitor the feedings every 90 minutes - 2 hours. Miss Dior licks the pups to help eliminate them but she also needs a little help because she gets the job "sort of" done ;) Lots of baby wipes for getting milk off faces, too, while they are nursing. So here's my sleep deprived 2 AM tribute to Baby Wipes and KC and the Sunshine Band!
On October 18, 2020, (a Sunday, of course!) Miss Dior free whelped 5 beautiful puppies .... 4 boys and 1 girl. Miss Dior was restless the day before, yet her temp had not dropped as much as we thought. That one degree dip was all she needed though, and she began 2nd stages of labor in the middle of the night. In fact, she wanted to sleep in bed with me and not be in the whelping box, so her first pup was on its way while she was by my side. Pugs. Go figure. It did require a trip to the emergency vet as the first pup's big head was stuck, but all survived and she was able to free whelp and avoid a c-section. Mother and pups are doing well and our amazing mentor in Iowa, a neonatal pug expert, has helped us tremendously with advise and wonderful techniques (like 3 tablespoons dark beer twice a day for Miss Dior to produce milk, and guidance when to tube feed to help prevent deyhdration.) In fact, amazing pug breeders from across the country offer advise and tips. Pug breeders (the good ones!) care so much about this breed and the success of other breeders. Very special people worthy of this ancient, noble breed. We did need to make a batch of Myra's formula to help with some tube feeding in the beginning as they were not able to nurse while in the er vet, and Miss Dior is quite enjoying the Green Beef Tripe, raw Goat's Milk, and other delicacies (in addition to the beer lol!). The oxygen concentrator and incubator has once again proven to be an invaluable investment as well as the OccoBaby mucus aspirators and other helpful devices. It will be a long ride for the next few weeks, as it is with all pug litters, keeping these blessed and beautiful creatures alive but well worth the loss of sleep and constant attention. (Yes, it is necessary to oversee all nursings every 90 minutes, and help with elimination, in addition to ENS, weighing, and other important protocol.) We are very excited about this litter. Porthos and Miss Dior are the sweetest pugs you will ever meet .... beautiful inside and out.
Many prayers were answered for this litter and we Praise God for hearing these prayers and creating such beautiful puppies. Thank you Lord, Jesus!
Amy Aberg McLelland, owner Pickwick Pugs