The most common thing that most of my puppy inquiries fail to understand is that they are expected to wait. I do not breed often and I do not pander to the impulse buys, ever. If I get a message for even a dog that I may be fostering, saying “My child has a birthday and I want this dog/puppy for a present…”, then I will refuse. A dog is not a present but a well thought out decision that on a good case can last 13+ years with Hamiltons.
For me, I rate puppies as show, breeding or pet and there are waiting periods and trust periods for each. If somebody wants a show puppy or a breeding puppy from me then I want them to start contacting me NOW for any upcoming litters. I want to build a relationship with those people because ultimately my contracts dictate it on some level. My show contracts require that the dog obtain its UKC Championship and pointed toward AKC CM title. The only difference between my show and breeding level dogs is that the breeding quality dogs are dogs that have a superficial fault, primarily color, but are structurally sound and meet the breed standard in all other respects. I encourage the breeding quality dogs to participate in dog sports from conformation, agility, nosework, etc. The breeding quality dogs may take longer to finish a conformation title because of the color fault but it isn’t impossible. For those two levels of contracts, I expect a regular two-way conversation for the dog’s lifetime.
The pet quality dogs are sold with the understanding that they will be spayed/neutered after 18 months old (NEVER before) and that I still want a two-way communication relationship with the owners but it isn’t that pivotal, just out of common courtesy. I encourage my pet quality owners to try altered conformation and other dog sports. Part of my goal with this breed is to show as many people as possible that this is a versatile breed.
The main thing is do not expect a puppy to magically appear within 30 days or less. One of my puppy owners waited YEARS before getting their puppy. They had very specific requirements and thankfully I had a puppy that met those needs.
I do have an application for every single inquiry that I receive and there is a rating system that I have. I generally do NOT accept deposits because I breed for me and my line, if something should happen that is upsetting, I don’t want to feel obligated to give people their money back when I have high vet bills. Deposits also tend to put a lot of pressure on a breeder to deliver enough puppies and that is undue stress that I don’t need. My puppies are never first come, first serve. I match my puppies to the owners’ needs. I will place applications higher if they have intentions of being involved in dog sports or any sort of dog related activity (therapy dog, service dog, etc.). I also do not co-own dogs that I bred, I have a contract that dictate some breeding control but not a lot. I have been through a lot with co-ownership things but never again unless I have a clear contract in place.
The main thing that I want is to build a relationship with my future puppy owners. I am not the type of breeder that is going to blindly trust just anybody with my dogs. I want to know pet history, the type of home they will live in, the other pets in the home and each one of those things are very important in my decision. I will ship dogs all over but I want to make sure that the dog is going to the best home possible. The one thing that I will not do is export, unless it is pre-negotiated by a future stud dog. The breed population is so low in the states that each and every dog is valuable to the recognition efforts of the breed in the states. If maybe after the breed is fully recognized, I may export but then I will have to evaluate and create a customized contract. The future of the dog is the most important thing and building a relationship with the owner is the best way to make that happen.
So, as I am starting to plan for future litters, I want inquiries from people now so that I can start building a relationship. I want people eagerly anticipating puppies and wanting their dreams to come true. Waiting and patience is critical in this though, I cannot make miracles happen. Generally if I get an inquiry from somebody about the breed and they want something quickly, I will direct them to a rescue that may be available. Most pet owners welcome a rescue dog but I know that the show and dog sport people will wait, they research and they wait. To those people interested in getting a show dog or a dog for performance sports, waiting is crucial.