In the day and time in which we live it seems that everyone has an opinion! I guess it has always been this way, but keep in mind that we all are entitled to our own! One opinion that I have heard a great deal lately is the opinion that no one should buy dogs when there are so many out there that need to be rescued. I would like to take the time to clear up the air on this issue and answer the question of buying rescue dogs vs. purebreds.
At Duck Dog Trainer, we get several calls a year from potential clients asking me if we train rescue dogs or mixed breed dogs. The answer is 100% of the time…YES!! The next question I am asked is: Can a rescue dog be a good hunting dog? Here again I give the same answer. Papers do not make a dog great! If a rescue dog has confidence and loves to fetch, loves the water, can physically handle harsh hunting conditions, and is willing to learn…we can make it a duck dog! This is true regardless of the breed. In fact we have trained numerous rescues and strays that went on to be awesome!
Why then would someone want to put out the cash for a pure bred? There are a few reasons. Firstly, not every rescue has been properly socialized. If you start with a new born pup you can control the environment it grows up in and help groom and prepare it for success in the environments he will be used in.
Secondly, buying from proven breeding stock seems to increase your odds of success! There is nothing worse than spending piles of money to have a dog trained only to find out a few months into training that the dog lacks the ability to learn or the desire to retrieve. Buying a dog from a proven breeding by no means guarantees success but it does increase the odds exponentially!
Thirdly, most dogs that run in competitions must be registered. With hunt tests and field trials, the dogs entering need to be registered with the organization conducting the test. A rescue dog may be trained to excellence, however, if he is not registered, he will usually be excluded from the test.
Finally is pride of ownership! Many folks simply like to own the best! There is a good feeling associated in owning a dog that comes from many generations of champions. No doubt a Chevrolet will get the job done but many folks long for a Mercedes! It is the same with dogs!
In conclusion I would say that any dog that has all of the necessary ingredients whether it is a purebred or a rescue can make a fine duck hunting companion. If you want to rescue eather than buying a puppy, be sure to find one full of confidence who loves to fetch! No doubt we need more people to rescue. However if owning a purebred is something you have always dreamed of, then do your research and get a great one! Either way, respect the decision of others and remember that owning any animal is a great privilege. Let’s stick together as dog lovers!
Brian Johnson (www.duckdogtrainer.com)