we are getting a puppy - "show" quality vs. "pet quality"

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  1. The breeder we are buying from is based in Oregon. She seems really wonderful on the phone/email - she sounds very professional and she is super nice and gives us a lot of information. The litter has 4 males and 2 females. From the beginning we've been interested in male number #4 and then just before we put the deposit down she said that she is keeping male number #1 as her "show" dog.

    She just emailed me saying that we can buy number #1 instead, for $300 more.

    I'm getting kind of worried - why is she upping the price all of a sudden? From the beginning all the puppies had the same price.

    What to do? My dad is really intent on getting a puppy that is healthy and will not have problems later in life. He thinks that the "show quality" dog might have better health or something but we are a little annoyed that she all of a sudden upped the price.
  2. "Show" dogs usually cost more than "pet" dogs. If you're dealing with a reputable breeder, there shouldn't be too much of a difference between the "pet" dogs & "show" dogs in a given litter - if you are not planning on showing the dog.

    You should ask your breeder why she considers #1 to be show quality & why #4 is pet quality. Sometimes it is a matter of personality. Sometimes it is something as simple as a mar on the dog's coat. Sometimes it's about the dog's bite. You won't know unless you ask. I would think all of her dogs would have (or not have) the same level of healthiness (ask your breeder) as that is what the breeder should be striving for - the best example of the breed. That should be especially true of a breeder interested in breeding show dogs.

    Ultimately, a good breeder should try to match the right dog with the right home. If your heart was set on #4, I would go with that unless your breeder can convince you #1 is a better fit for you & your family. I would also ask your breeder why she decided she didn't want #1 after claiming it for herself.

    If you have mixed feelings about your conversation with your breeder, ask her for references for people who bought both show dogs & pet dogs from her. She should have no issues providing this information & you might feel better talking to happy owners of both types of dogs from her kennel.

    Good luck & hope you love your new puppy :smile:
  3. I can't help you with the "show dog" or "non show dog" issue, but I think nobody can guarantee that a dog will stay healthy and never have any medical issues.

    Show dogs are probably just closer to the breed standard and therefore more expensive.
  4. This is not true. Show quality animals do not necessarily have better health than pet quality. (I'm on my 2nd pet quality Persian; my mom is on her first.) If you're not planning to show the dog, there is no real reason to spend more on show quality unless you like the temperament/personality of that particular animal over any others in the litter.
  5. Show quality has to do with superficial things - not so much the dog's "personality" but its height, coat, markings, etc. The closer a dog is to the breed's "standard," the more likely it is to score points in the show ring and eventually win titles. If you are not looking for a pet to show, then you don't need to be concerned with things like "show quality." If you've been interested in puppy #4 the whole time, then go for him!

    Also, the fact that she changed her mind about keeping puppy #1 probably means that he isn't developing as near to standard as she previously hoped. Depending on the breed, show quality puppies usually sell for around $1500-$2500, whereas pet quality are normally $600-800. The price increase of only $300 makes me think that he might technically be show quality, but probably would not do well in the ring.
  6. #6 Jan 20, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2009
    Are you and your family planning on showing the puppy because if not, there really isn't much difference in pet and show then. Our younger dog was show quality and we were going to show him but his tail is curled and his teeth are not quite aligned perfectly. She sold him to us at a pet price but she thought he had show potential. She kept his sister for show (and, I'm guessing, to breed). Even when we brought him back at 6 months for her to check out his show potential, she was still excited about the prospect, if it wasn't for the teeth.

    But anyway, healthwise, from a reputable quality breeder, the pet and show are going to be the same. The show *may* have better facial features/fur quality or be of a better size (my dog has a brother who exceeded the ideal show size), but otherwise, there's no difference. If there's an actual health problem, like luxating patellas for Poms or any obvious hereditary condition, that the breeder knows of, the reputable breeder will tell you and require you to spay/neuter the animal.

    So personally, if you like the look and personality of puppy #4, I would just stay with that one UNLESS she says there's an actual detectable health issue. But if you really want to show your dog in the ring, get puppy #1. Note that just because at this early stage he's show, it doesn't mean he will be any good later on, like mine. The teeth might not all fall out, the adult coat may not be "right" or the dog may simply just not like the show life. There's a lot of factors involved.
  7. Have you seen these dogs in person at the owner's home? Or seen the dog's parents? Or have you talked to the breeder's vet? If not, you need to do those things ASAP.
    And I agree with the posters above that show quality can be something superficial, like a stray white hair on a black dog. It can also be something more severe, like a malformation or the temperment is not the breed standard. I also think that heartnaspade may have hit the nail on the head. The dog is probably not developing quite the way it should be so she is trying to get rid of it. For example, a male dog is slow to have his testicles descend.
    I don't think that you would need to get a show quality dog unless you are planning to show the dog.
  8. #8 Jan 20, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2009
    ^^ welp, i'm no expert, but i've owned 1 "show quality" & 1 "pet quality" bichon frise (my new puppy & my 16 & 1/2 year old who's in heaven now)...my 1st baby, who was "pet quality", came from champion parents & was the runt of his litter...he was too small & had too many apricot markings (both of which would be defaults in the show ring)...and my new puppy is "show quality" (although we're not showing him) & his daddy's the top bichon in the U.S.A...they're both the sweetest, cutest, smartest, funniest & fiestiest little dogs i've ever known (of course, i'm a little bit biased though)...asides from one of them being called "pet quality" & the other being called "show quality", there's no real difference between them...and it was purely by chance that i came across the 2 breeders who i bought them from...i wasn't looking for "show quality" pets, only for puppies from good, reputable breeders...and most good, reputable breeders are those who breed champions...healthwise, there should be no difference between "show quality" & "pet quality" if they're coming from a good breeder...even though my 1st baby was the runt of his litter, he was a little fighter & lived to be almost 17 years old...he did have many health problems during the last 2 years of his life, but only 1 of them was "breed related"...i agree that it's not possible for anyone to guarantee that all of their puppies will stay healthy & never have any health issues...all of us (both humans & animals) wil have health issues eventually during our lifetime...one thing that raises a red flag for me though, with the OP's breeder, is that she raised her price mid-way...to me, that spells trouble & i don't think i'd trust her unless i saw some strong credentials...anyone can say they breed show dogs, but can she actually prove it (?)...there are alot of bad backyard breeders out there, posing as "show dog breeders" who will ship their dogs to anyone for enough $$$...and for them, it's all about the $$$ & has nothing to do with breeding good quality dogs (which is a complex feat of genetic engineering)...i think i'd ask this breeder some more questions & research her before making any decisions :cutesy:
  9. Suddenly changing the price is pretty schiesty, but if you weren't interested in that particular male to begin with then it shouldn't matter. Does this breeder offer a health guarantee for at least a year?
  10. There should be no health difference between show and pet quality. If you are not going to show your dog stick with your original choice. I bought a Ragdoll cat that was pet quality. The only thing that made him pet quality was the blaze (white spot of fur on his face) came down onto his nose. Otherwise he could have been a show cat. It made no difference to me. He was a beautiful, sweet, lovable boy. Good luck with your new puppy!
  11. I didn't think she changed the price, but decided to sell the show quality pup and his market value is more? It can be a number of things that aren't even detected be someone who isn't a professional breeder. Although a health defect is a possibility, it only one out of hundreds. One dog was a difference of 2200 and 3000+ because there was a tiny bit of pigment missing from his eye that wouldn't have even noticed. It had absolutely no impact on his vision. In most cases, it would probably fill in eventually, but still had to be sold as pet quality.
  12. Well since you won't show, just buy the pet.

    If you are buying from a reputable breeder a show dog and a pet dog won't have much difference anyway.

    I have been known to sell show prospect males as pets - already neutered - pets are luckier than show dogs anyway.

    Here is an article that will help you about show dogs and pets...

    http://www.joyslynslhasaapsos.com/show.html written by by Joyce Johanson
    What Makes a Puppy a "Show Puppy?"

    by Joyce Johanson

    When people call me to ask questions about the Lhasa Apso or to inquire about puppies Joyslyn's might have for sale, I am often asked to explain the difference between "show" and "pet" quality puppies. I find the difference often hard to explain without leaving the impression that "show" means "good" and "pet" means "bad." I have many times heard breeders (myself included) refer to a puppy in a litter as "just a pet", inferring that there's something wrong with him. What qualities are necessary for a puppy to be labeled a "show quality puppy?" And what lack of qualities cause a puppy to be "just a pet?"
    There is often a fine line between what is considered "show" or "pet" quality, and two breeders evaluating the same puppy may come up with different answers, depending on what they value in a dog. Some people like a refined Lhasa and will sell more heavily-boned puppies to pet homes. Some like a Lhasa with a longer muzzle, so if there happens to be a shorter-muzzled puppy in the litter, it gets sold to a pet home. I could go on and on in this vein. The point is, for every quality one breeder values, another breeder may decide that it is an undesirable trait, and label the puppy "just a pet." These qualities do not necessarily have to be structural. Many a breeder has agonized over the "absolutely breathtaking" puppy that is a shy violet that could never withstand the rigors of the show circuit.
    Usually, to a person with little knowledge of canine structure or the Lhasa Apso standard, there is no difference between the classifications "show" and "pet" unless the puppy in question has some obvious flaw, such as a pink nose, a parrot mouth, a grossly undershot bite, or a poor topline.
    What it boils down to is this: if you want a Lhasa Apso as your family pet, and you have no intentions of ever showing, then don't feel that your potential puppy is being downgraded by breeders' jargon, the reference to "pet" quality. More important to you than a straight front, lovely movement, level bite or all those other things "show" people might admire is that your Lhasa puppy have a great dispostion and fit in with your family's lifestyle. And don't apologize to people for having "just a pet." Showing is definitely NOT for everyone!
    However, if you are looking for a Lhasa to show, keep in mind that dog showing is expensive and you want as high a quality puppy as possible to be competitive. If you buy an older puppy or young adult, you have more of an idea of structure and "show quality" than if you buy a young puppy. Many breeders will advertise their older puppies as "show quality" and their younger ones as having "show potential," simply because there are times when even an experienced breeder finds it hard to predict exactly how a young puppy will develop.
    Sometimes a buyer will ask, "If I buy this 'show puppy' will you guarantee that it will get a championship?" My answer? NO! Why? Because so much depends on the buyer and what he/she does with the puppy after it leaves my house. Will the puppy be socialized, taken places to get used to different people, sounds, and smells? Will the buyer train the puppy correctly? Will the puppy's coat be groomed and conditioned properly? There are many aspects to showing a dog that go far beyond the dog's structure.
    Concerned breeders carefully evaluate puppies before choosing a show potential puppy for themselves or their puppy buyers. They want the Lhasas in the ring with their kennel prefixes to be as outstanding as possible. They want what they consider the best of what they have produced out there speaking well of their breeding programs.
    Also keep in mind that show quality includes attitude as well as structure and movement. An average Lhasa that has that "look at me! I'm special!" attitude often has a competitive edge over the more structurally sound dog that is not excited about being in the ring.
    And don't forget that "there is no perfect dog." There is something about every Lhasa that someone would like to change: "He's got a great profile, but he holds his tail on the wrong side." "He has a lovely head, but I'd like to see a little less muzzle." "His movement is to die for, but I wish he were an inch shorter!" "He has lovely straight forelegs but lacks shoulder layback." etc...
    Even when a breeder keeps a show potential puppy for himself it's usually a matter of trade-offs. He decides what quality or qualities he really wants (or needs) in his line and what traits he's willing to overlook to get them. He might say, for example, "I don't mind a bite that's a little undershot but cannot tolerate a bad topline." or "I don't mind that slight curve to his upper foreleg because he has the rear I've been looking for." or "This dog has the neck I'm looking for; I can live with his soft coat."
    Each Lhasa was born to love and be loved, and whether that Lhasa is a family pet or top dog in the country, he deserves to be "Best of Breed" in the hearts of his owners.

    Please note: Permission to reproduce and/or circulate information in this article is granted. However, the article must be disseminated in its entirety and credit must be given to Joyce Johanson, Joyslyn's Lhasa Apsos. Thanks!

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  13. PS what breed are you getting?
  14. ^^ that's what my breeder did too :heart:

    p.s. and he kept 1 of the female pups to show
  15. Yeah, I don't think she changed the price. The price for #4 hasn't gone up, right? All the others were at the same price and no price was ever given for #1 because they were going to keep him. When they decided not to, the price revealed was $300 more. Sounds normal to me.

    And I agree with the others...#4 is the one you fell for, so go for #4! Good luck! :tup: