Sprenkels American Bulldogs
We have decided to start a co-ownership program. We currently co-own a total of eight dogs and growing. The reason for starting this program is a simple one. The most important factor for us is that we like to raise our dogs in our home with regular household interaction. We travel a fair amount for dog events and shows, so we like the freedom to be able to load up our dogs and be on our way! We spend many hours training our dogs for sport or showing. I am also a single parent, with a regular job. So owning more than what I could handle would compromise the life of the dog.
"If you want to build a bloodline you need to breed a minimum of 10 litters a year."
Although we are not looking to breed 10 litters a year, it is very hard to move forward as a program having limited dogs. Our ultimate goal is to produce dogs that are consistently improving. American Bulldogs with excellent structure, temperament, longevity and health. There are too many variables in breeding. Just because you have a very good titled bitch and breed it to a very good titled male does not mean that you will get a very good litter. That has been proven a million times over the years. "No matter how good you are you will still make mistakes." I want to be able to look at a dog objectively – too many people breed dogs because they are good pets or have an emotional investment in a dog. If a co-owned dog does not make the cut for breeding it is still able to live as a pet. If we are increase the amount of dogs we keep here, then we are limiting the human interaction. Then if they do not make the cut for breeding quality they will need to be placed which causes a disruption in their life they are used to. We never want the quality of the life of our dogs, or dogs we produce to suffer.
HOW THE PROGRAM WORKS
We place our breeding females and males in selected co-owner homes. These females are either bitches that have been purchased or they are pick of the litter puppies that we select to keep back to see if they are good enough to enter our breeding program.
The co-owner family pays a small amount for a puppy. They do agree that the dog will live as a housedog; they agree to purchase a dog crate and all necessary requirements of owning a pet dog.
We are very selective in who we choose to become a co-owner family. They go through a detailed selection process. The ideal person is one who has just had a 10 or 11-year-old dog that has died of old age. This is a person who knows how to take care of a dog. We do not give dogs to people that want farm dogs, nor do we give people dogs that are going to keep them in an outside dog kennel. We also do not give dogs to people who have just had a dog that was accidentally killed (if it happened once it can happen again).
We have full breeding rights. We can breed when we want. For females the agreement is one litter of 2 or more puppies to be considered a litter. For a male the agreement is more open ended – most of our males will be left intact for the life of the dog. Should the people neuter the dog or refuse to allow us to breed the dog they agree to pay a fine of $2500 per incident. If you do the math you see that there is a considerable penalty if they choose to disregard our agreement - this has never happened though.
When we no longer wish to breed the dog the co-owners are required to neuter the dog and provide a letter from their vet confirming the procedure was complete.
In addition if the co-owners do not tell us when a bitch comes in season (even if we do not plan on breeding it) they are liable for the fine of $2500 per incident. I feel that this rule forces people to be more aware of what is going on with their dogs. They end up noticing other problems that come up besides heat cycles. It also allows us to do some planning in advance.
As a puppy grows up we monitor their temperament. We either go to the foster home or ask that the pups be brought to the kennel occasionally. When the dog is 2 years old we pay for the OFA x-rays. If there is something we do not like about a female (either in temperament, structure or in the hip x-ray), we ask the foster parents to have the dog spayed and we wash the dog out of the program.
If it is determined that a dog is suitable for breeding, it will be bred here. It comes here, gets bred and then goes home again. It then comes back to the kennel (5 days before whelping) to have the puppies. When it weans the pups (usually at 6 weeks) it goes back to their co-owned home.
The most we breed a female is one time each year. In many cases we do not even breed them that much. Males can be open ended to the amount of times we breed them a year. We very rarely stud our males out so the demand is only our owned females.
By constantly adding and subtracting dogs from the breed list we are continually able to improve the bloodline.
RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE CO-OWNER
The co-owners are required to feed a good quality food. We do not want grocery store food used.
The co-owners are required to keep the dogs current on rabies. The reason for this is because it is a legal requirement. It also gives us the opportunity to show the dog across the border if there is an opportunity to do so.
Co-owners will be expected to have a dog crate of some kind in their home. Dog crates are used to housebreak dogs. We do not place dogs in homes where the dogs are allowed to run loose unsupervised. That is just asking to have accidents and valuable articles chewed up.
If at any time something changes in a co-owner home and they are no longer able to keep the dog there is no problem with them returning the dog back to the kennel. When this happens we will either place the dog in a new home or we will sell the dog, depending on the quality of her and her pups.
When people ask if I split the litters with co-owners, the answer is usually "no." The only way I ever consider splitting a litter with a co-owners is if the person puts a working or show title on the dog. That is a rule that is cast in stone.
Any negative comments I have ever heard about not splitting litters have come from people that are not in the program. These people think it is not fair to let another person raise a dog and then I take all the pups from "the dog". My position is that there are a lot of people in the world that have no interest in breeding, that make absolutely great pet owners (co-owners), that would never in their life consider paying $1,500.00 + for a puppy. For many they cannot afford it, for the rest, a $1,500.00 pet is not a priority for them. These people appreciate having a quality pet live in their home and the fact that I occasionally take a litter is of no concern to them, especially when they see the quality of my care for dogs. They know the dog is well taken care of when it comes here.
If a person is interested in breeding then this is not a program for them. They should purchase a dog and get into the business. If you are unable to communicate, be flexible/understanding this program is not for you. Or if you rely on spay or neuter with the belief it corrects undesirable behavior please go do some research before you even considering owning a dog. If you are interested in co-owning a dog with us, please contact me more information.
Me with one of Mack's co-owners at a UKC Show in Saint Helens, OR.