Whats in a Name?

by Debby Kay, all rights reserved

Several things have happens in the past couple of weeks that suggested I write this months blog about the meaning of names, in particular breeding names. I get many phone calls each week about puppies and choosing a dog for certain jobs and as a result I hear a good many stories about calls to breeders, kennels, and pedigrees.  One of the more common comments I also hear is “…its all so confusing!”

A kennel name can be one of two things.  The most common thing you will see today is for a person(s) to set up a kennel business which has to have a proper name to operate under and obtain a business license.  Then you can have the breeder who has chosen a special word, either contrived or one that has a special meaning to them that is used as a prefix when registering a dog or litter of puppies. The business name and prefix may be the same, but often they are not. Some people will use their own last names for this purpose.  As long as your name is unique this can be a good way to promote your breeding. The whole idea with a prefix when breeding is to identify where a dog comes from, so especially when reading a pedigree someone who is familiar with the breeding kennels for a particular breed can tell what to expect from a particular pedigree.

A prefix on a dog’s name should stand for something; the values and ideals of the breeder. Every breeder has their own interpretation of what makes up the ideal of the breed they are working with. That viewpoint is a very individual and personal thing which is why breeding names are not used again when a breeder passes away or decides to retire.  This is not always something that is covered by the laws, it is done on an honor system.  In today’s climate I often see people snubbing this age old tradition while seeking to cash in on someone else reputation. Not cool and in my book a red flag.FiKissesPup

For those people who are buying puppies or dogs all this can be difficult to sort through.  It is helpful to find people who are happy with the dogs they have bought from the kennel you are checking out. It gives you a chance to see if they had a positive experience as well as check out the dog and see if that is what you are wanting.  Make sure also that the name(s) on the business license are the same as the breeder’s name on your dogs registration papers.  Check the paper trail. Not difficult to do and worth the small effort as in the case a year ago when a person thought they were buying a puppy from an advertised kennel and the breeder was someone else altogether, not the kennel owner who was making it appear that they were selling the puppy from their own kennel stock.

The other thing I hear a lot is people looking for English Labradors or American Labradors. Well folks the truth is there is one breed known and registered, it is the Labrador Retriever.  These contrived terms are mere marketing ploys and are NO GUARANTEE that you are getting something in particular.  In other words those adjectives mean nothing at all.  There are many styles of Labrador Retrievers just tell someone what you are looking for, look at the photographs they post on their websites or send you, and then finally look at the parents face to face to be sure this is the style you want. The pups will generally be very similar to their parents.  If you have tall thin boned lanky parents you will not get a heavy boned block headed puppy from that breeding. I’m not saying like begets like all the time but the trend in a breeding is to be similar to the parents and extremes from their style is not something that is likely to happen.

Take your time shopping for that new puppy or dog, do your research and ask lots of questions.  If someone is not interested in answering your questions you should take that as a hint and go elsewhere. There are many breeders out there, it may be difficult to filter through them but this is a lifelong partner you are bringing home, take your time it will be worth it in the end.