Responsible breeding is a time consuming endeavor that demands incredible resources, knowledge, energy, and a little luck. We believe that breeding should never be taken lightly and should only be undertaken when there is a good chance of contributing to the breed. Having the sweetest, smartest, most loyal Leonberger in the universe does not necessarily qualify them for a responsible breeding program! In a world where careless breedings produce thousands of dogs that eventually end up in shelters or with rescue groups, there are a great many questions the responsible breeder will ponder:
* Should we create purebred dogs when unwanted dogs abound?
* How will we balance between risk and reward?
* What are the most important aspects of the ideal leo?
* What are the priorities for our breeding program?
We think about these questions every time we consider a breeding. We believe that purebred dogs such as Leonbergers serve an important place in the world - especially in families; we have also found that there are no easy answers and breeding is often about tough choices. We believe that one must always think about the big picture and the long-term consequences of any breeding decision and that the decision should never be easy. We believe in taking responsibility for life for every Leonberger we produce.
Any good breeder will tell you that they are always learning. As teachers ourselves, we may be a little biased, but we truly believe education is the most vital tool for the protection of the Leonberger breed and education is the cornerstone of a responsible breeding program. By educating ourselves as much as we can about canine genetics, conformation, breeding, and husbandry, we continue to work hard at building/maintaining a dynamite Leonberger breeding program. By choosing the very best homes for our puppies, providing meritorious resources for their new parents, and helping to educate everyone we can about the breed, we hope to make a difference in the Leonberger world.
We have been very fortunate to have had some wonderful mentors along the way. Very special thanks go to Susan Grosslight, Alida Greendyke, and Linda Spirio. Agi Hejja of Starhaven Kennel has been especially helpful. She has freely shared her decades of experience with breeding and showing working dogs with us and we have gained tremendous insight because of her willingness to help. To this day, if we have a question, she is number one on the speed dial.
We believe successful breeders need to give back to the Leonberger breed. Not every Leonberger ends up in their forever home and we feel that breeders owe the breed a helping hand. That’s why we are heavily involved with Leonberger Rescue Inc. and their mission to make sure that unwanted Leonbergers have a second chance at a wonderful life.
Just as we strive to create beautiful, sound leos, we strongly believe that responsible breeders should show their stock and consider carefully whether or not to use leos who don’t earn their championships. Every Leonberger breeder should strive to create consistently sound, beautiful Leonbergers. By allowing the entire community of leo fanciers to see, enjoy, and evaluate Leonberger breeding programs, we can impartially evaluate the quality of Leonbergers and move forward to improve and solidify the breed.