Is it hard to find a bird dog these days? Let me ask you this: Is it hard to find a used car? Supply is not the issue, it’s quality and assurance. And similar to buying four wheels, when it comes to four legs, I’ve got five words for any breeder I talk to: Just Show Me the DOGFAX.
You can find a bird dog in lots of places – heck, one of my dad’s best gun dogs was a half Irish setter, half who-knows-what that he picked up in a road ditch – and sometimes it feels like there’re more people breeding dogs than there are pheasants in South Dakota. Along those lines, many people have inquired as to why I don’t just adopt a dog. Indeed, there are a number of reputable adoption services available. But whether it’s a dog adoption service or a backyard breeder, these options – even at their best – can’t match the “guarantees” from full time, long time, professional breeders.
“Guarantee” is a funny word as it pertains to dog breeding, akin to using “sure thing” to describe a hot athletic prospect – despite the best laid plans, every once in a while there’s a bust. But strong written, contractual guarantees from professional breeders are based on strong track records, and strong track records help build the most reasonable expectations. Most importantly, guarantees protect you, the buyer, if the sum of all fears happens and you’re stuck with a lemon. You won’t find that level of confidence shopping at Ray’s Used and Highly Abused Cars.
There may come a day where I take home an all-I-need-is-a-chance pup from the pound, but it won’t be my first bird dog. I want the proven track record, the full health and family history, the guarantee, the handshake, relative peace of mind and that new pup smell – all the DOGFAX.
How about you, what critical components of a guarantee do you look for?
Previous “My First Bird Dog” posts:
Gun Dog Experts’ #1 Piece of Advice
What I’m Looking For
Introducing “My First Bird Dog”
Anthony’s Antics Afield is written by Anthony Hauck, Pheasants Forever’s Online Editor. Email Anthony at AHauck@pheasantsforever.org and follow him on Twitter @AnthonyHauck.