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The art of showing/breeding Cairns


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I want to start off by saying that this is not something that I want to do just to pass time or keep me busy. I am genuinely interested in learning all of the ins and outs, and I am passionate enough to not only be willing, but truely want to make the full time commitment. I'm not doing it for money, i know that good breeder/handlers don't make much of anything (and often end up 'losing' money) if they are caring for the dogs like they should be.

I'll admit upfront that I know next to nothing about showing, handling, or breeding of dogs (specifically Cairns). But I want to.

It has nothing to do with the glamour or the glory, it has everything to do with a passion to further the breed.

I know that it is a huge commitment of time and money (not to mention love), and I know that it isnt something that I can effectively learn overnight. It will take alot of time, years even to get myself to the point where I am comfortable enough in my knowledge of the breed and the practices to actually be able to breed them, and as I said, I'm fine with that and willing to do what it takes.

That being said, I'm looking for first-hand stories, how you got into it, problems that you faced, etc. And any advice on what I can do to get into it. I eventually want to get into breeding, but I know that before i take that on i should get (alot of) experience as a handler.

Any advice that you can give me will be greatly appreciated, and please rest assured that any information or advice that I get will be put towards doing this for the right reasons.

I thank you all in advance!

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Hi Trixi,

Wecome to the fancy.

Take it from someone who's fairly new to the showing/performance/breeding aspect of cairns, you'll want to go slow. Go to all your local shows. Get to know other breeders in your area. Caution, some can be a little aloof in the begining, but don't let that stop you. Find out where the closest local club is, and start participating, and be willing to volunteer. Participate and serve the group and you'll be surprised how quickly you'll be welcomed. You will find plenty of politics, don't get sucked in.

Read everything you can. Buy the best possible bitch you can get your hands on, from a breeder you relate to. Your first bitch should be co-owned with your breeder (you'll get more help and mentoring).

Above all, go slow. Build a good foundation of support and knowledge. If your are constantly aware that "you don't know what you don't know". You may become a fine breeder.

Greg and Val Perry

Home of Kula RN CGC, Am. Can. Int'l. CH Cairngorm Coffee Tea or Me RA ME EE2/Can. SE NAJ NAS CGC (Kona), CH Clanmarr's Steele Princess (Hattie) and CH Scotchbroom Thistle The Patriot SE (Sully) Visit: CroftersDream.com

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I forgot to mention, try to identify the breeders keenly aware of genetic health issues. It could save heartache down the road. You can't be too careful here.

Greg and Val Perry

Home of Kula RN CGC, Am. Can. Int'l. CH Cairngorm Coffee Tea or Me RA ME EE2/Can. SE NAJ NAS CGC (Kona), CH Clanmarr's Steele Princess (Hattie) and CH Scotchbroom Thistle The Patriot SE (Sully) Visit: CroftersDream.com

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Hi Trixi

Greg gave you lots of good tips. I am currently re-reading a book I purchased when I thought about getting a Cairn to show and eventually breed. In the last chapter it talks about tips to help you breed better dogs and these are things you need to look and consider carefully

** Make sure you've chosen a breed you really like

**Study long and hard before you even think about investing in foundation stock.......That is why you need to go to shows, look at catalogs and see the different lines. If you can attend the National Specialty show you really get an idea of the difference in lines

**Find the best breed mentor you can locate. The person you get your foundation from might be a good place to start looking because they know their line better than anyone.

**You keep abreast of medical advances. Belonging to a parent club will help you with this and also your vet


Rebel, Hammurabi, Sugar, Dirty Harry, Paint, Duncan and Saffron

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I think another important part of getting into dog breeding is to decide just where you would like to be with it several years down the road. How many dogs would you want to own ? What would you do with a bitch retired from breeding? Would you be placing her in a pet home or be retiring her in your home? What about a nice male that you raised ? Can you justify keeping him for stud when in reality you may only use him a few times ? It is very easy to want to keep too many dogs especially when starting out. I feel that if a bitch gives you one daughter that can replace herself and that daughter is a "notch up" in quality over her dam, You have been sucessfull as a breeder and your bitch has done her job. So start out slowly and carefully, and remember that your dogs are always individuals and offer you a whole lot more than just their genes in a breeding program. I wish you the best of luck, TheWolf

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  • 3 months later...

One point to add which I never considered before I decided to show a Cairn - grooming. Not only do you need someone (usually your dog's breeder) to show you how to groom properly - but you personally need to be able to spend a couple of hours a week on grooming. Pulling the coat, trimming nails, keeping teeth clean .. not to mention taking the dog for "check ups" back to the breeder to correct the mistakes! :whistle:

I forgot about the time you need to spend learning how to handle a dog in the show ring, if you want to handle you own dog. Even if your dog's breeder is willing to show your dog, it does not mean they will be able to do it all the time. So either you need to be prepared to take the lead, or, you need to have the $$$ to hire a professional handler.

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