C.I. #5: Etiquette Considerations When Conversing With Breeders
Scarbrough Fair Great Danes
I am becoming, in my senior years, irritated with many people’s lack of common sense and their total lack of good manners. The internet has enabled us to talk with almost anyone in the world. Conversely, almost anyone in the world may talk with us. We communicate with so many more people in a day now than we normally did twenty or thirty years ago. Therefore, we are bound to encounter more people who seem to totally lack common sense, as well as some who are just simply rude.
When you communicate with a breeder, or with anyone else for that matter via email, you should always include your name. You can include your name in your first sentence or you can simply type it at the end of your email text. It is extremely rude to ask people for their time (reading and responding to your email) without identifying yourself.
Breeders can not afford to phone everyone who emails them with questions or requests for breeding updates. If you want to talk to breeders on the phone, you should call or email them and tell them you would like to talk with them. You might even detail the information you would like so that they can prepare responses, if necessary. If you are emailing, but intend to call, ask what would be the best time for you to phone them. I would have to hire a secretary and win a lottery to be able to call all of the people who send me their number and request that I call them. It is super to include your phone number, but DO NOT request that the breeders phone you.
Unless you are friends with the breeder you are addressing, do not ask one breeder what they think of another breeder. The world of breeders is somewhat political. This question either puts the breeder you are addressing in a very awkward situation or it opens the conversation up for a gossip session. Whether the breeder you are talking to likes the breeder you are inquiring about is immaterial. If they express positives about the breeder in question, most people would interpret the conversation as an endorsement. If they express negatives, their opinion could be based on facts, personal preference or just plain gossip. If the conversation degenerates into a gossip session, you are not going to learn anything of value other than the breeder you are talking with is willing to gossip. When asked, I simply decline to comment about any other breeder unless I elect to refer the inquiring party to another specific breeder.
It is very rude to call a breeder you do not know and ask them how to feed or care for a pup you purchased from another breeder. The key word here is purchased. If your new Dane was acquired as a placement from an individual or through a rescue group and you have been left with no one to ask about the breed, inform the breeder at the beginning of your email how you acquired your dog and ask if they would mind sharing some information about Danes with you.
If you purchased your Dane, you should address your questions about feeding, care and training to the breeder or person from whom you purchased. I frequently get this type of question from people I don’t know. I generally refuse to answer it for a number of reasons. If the pup or adult dog was purchased from one of the rare breeders who offers their clients a guarantee, the person asking the question could void their guarantee by failing to follow the instructions received from the seller at the time of purchase. If I provide any information, I simply inform the person asking about how we feed or care for OUR Danes.
I frequently receive emails from people telling me how anxious they are to learn about Great Danes and asking me to tell them everything they should know…talk about rude and inconsiderate! If you are too lazy to buy a few books or do a little research on the net, don’t ask any breeder to write a private book just for you. My links page has a link called “hundreds of Dane links” (Ginnie.com). I think there are now over 1000 links concerning Danes on that site. Most breeders provide links to sites that will provide more information about Danes. They are found on their “links” page. We also provide our credentials, guarantee, history and philosophy, information with photos about temperament, three pages of information about colors common in harlequin litters with photos, and controversial issues to assist those who are interested.
Another rude and inconsiderate question…could you tell me what you think of this Dane I just bought? It really doesn’t matter what I think of it, even if I were inclined to answer the question, which I am not. You bought the pup. Your opinion, the opinion of others in the household, and possibly the opinion of your vet are pretty much the only opinions that should concern you.
Breeders get email from people wanting to know if a specific price they have been quoted by another breeder is a reasonable price for a puppy. Sometimes they identify the kennel and sometimes they just identify the sex and color of the pup. This question also shows a total lack of both common sense and manners. It’s worse than asking a Toyota sales person if your Ford dealer’s quote on a Ford LTD is reasonable.
Bloodlines differ; guarantees range from zero to practically covering everything; breeders differ in their knowledge of the breed and their commitment to the breed, as well as the support services they offer to the buyer. As the purchaser, you should identify the things that are important to you like health and temperament of the dog; after the sale assistance available from the breeder; the guarantee; the life span of the breeder’s bloodline; etc. Then you look for breeders who provide what you want and YOU make the comparisons.
Some strangers are actually rude enough to email and ask what I paid for an imported Dane? It is extremely rude to ask anyone what they paid for a dog or what they paid to import a dog. If you want to know what it costs to import a dog, find a foreign breeder whose pups you like, and email them about one of their pups. If the breeder is experienced, they will also be able to give you a ball park freight figure.
I’ve actually had people ask puppy prices and then call or email to inform me that another breeder had a pup of the same color and sex for less. They ask either if I can match the lower price or they want to know why they should pay more for a Scarbrough Fair pup.
I find this question annoying because I am not a member of a puppy eBay. I tell the people at that point, assuming that they have passed my screening and I am willing to sell to them, that the pup in question of mine is available at the price I quoted. If they want to pay less they should purchase a puppy for the amount that they want to pay from a breeder whose pup is appropriately priced.
I can understand not being able to afford a specific pup, but asking a breeder to match another breeder’s price is very rude. Breeders vary considerably in the support services they offer. Also bloodlines vary considerably in their characteristics and life spans.
It is ok to ask a breeder if they have a finance plan, if they take credit cards, or if they are willing to hold the pup with a deposit until you can get the remainder of the purchase price together (always give them an idea about the length of time you need). It is also fine to tell the breeder that the amount in question is a little more than you can afford right now; that you like their pups and what they have to offer; and that you will start putting money away and will contact them again for a pup from another litter.
Many people go out and purchase a pup and then email breeders to find out what their new pup should weigh when it is grown. Gee, here is a new baby…can you tell me how tall he will be and what he will weigh when he is 21 years old? The day someone makes breeders psychic, we will see what we can do.
A breeder who has been breeding the same bloodline for over ten years, can make an educated guess about pups from their own bloodline. No one can make an educated guess when they are shooting blind with absolutely no information. If you want to know this type of information about your new pup, ASK YOUR BREEDER!
There are many people out there who really do want to learn about the breed, don’t mind buying books and searching the net, and still have many questions to ask. If you fit into this category and have a long list of questions you want to ask a specific breeder, write and let the breeder know why you contacted them; ask if they mind; also ask if they would prefer that you telephone them with your questions. If they want you to phone, ask the best time for them. If you don’t want to spend the time and money for a phone call, don’t bother breeders.
I sometimes receive emails asking a reasonable question about Danes or inquiring about upcoming litters. The email will show it has also been sent to a number of other breeders. When the breeder reading the email realizes that you have sent the same identical email to many other breeders, he or she will be much less likely to respond in any kind of detail. If you want me or any other breeder to spend our time answering your questions, have the good manners to address us individually.