Show quality vs. Pet quality… do you really know the difference? I get calls every day from people who say they are “ONLY” looking for a pet quality. They tell me that they have no interest in showing or breeding, they simply want a pet quality. When I ask them what does “pet quality” mean to them, they say a lower quality Rottweiler puppy that is not required to be shown. So why come to a professional breeder? Because they are looking for a high quality Rottweiler puppy that is healthy. Of course, duh! There seems to be a contradiction to all the terms being used. Sometimes I will also receive the added line, “I don’t need the papers either”, as if that will make the pup a pet quality. After hearing this over and over again, I realize that many people really do not understand the actual meaning to these labels. Believe me, sometimes I hang up so confused and I am the one who understands all this stuff. As a result, I want to explain a little bit of information about Rottweiler puppy quality, since this seems to be very much misunderstood. I hope this will help bring some clarity to the topic.
As explained in my intro, many people tend to believe a “show quality” Rottweiler puppy is a Rottweiler puppy from the litter which is of higher quality, and is therefore, required to be show. Adding to that theory, many people then believe that a “pet” quality is a Rottweiler puppy from the same litter that is either of lower quality or simply sold without papers, and is therefore, labeled a pet only. This could not be more wrong!
First and foremost, people have to understand that every Rottweiler puppy from the same litter have the same mother and same father and are therefore the same, as far as overall quality, health, beauty, etc. Yes, there are slight variations to appearance, just as with human siblings. As soon as I say this, I am always cut off with… yes, but I am only looking for a family companion. Please understand that every puppy ever produced by our kennel is for the purpose of being a family companion. That is our number one wish for each and every pup; we want every Rottweiler puppy we produce to have a loving and forever home – to be part of the family!
Show and/or working quality” simply means the Rottweiler puppy is free of any disqualifying faults at the time of sale, meaning correct to the AKC Rottweiler breed standard, and therefore, capable of being shown (if desired). After all, isn’t that what everyone is looking for when they choose to buy a Rottweiler puppy from a professional breeder? You want a correct Rottweiler. When a Rottweiler puppy is born correct, and has no disqualifying faults, he or she is labeled “show quality”. So why use the word “show” in the label? Because this puppy would be capable of going to a Rottweiler dog show and would not be disqualified due to being incorrect to the breed standard. No puppy of mine is ever “required” to be shown. Our puppies are a large investment and we believe the owner should have full authority to choose what they wish to do with their baby Rottweiler. To summarize, a “show quality” pup is a pup that is correct to the Rottweiler breed standards. A “show quality” Rottweiler puppy may be purchased for showing, working, breeding, or simply family companionship. That is it. Show quality = correct Rottweiler!
Now that you understand that, what exactly is a “pet quality”, right? “Pet quality” means the said Rottweiler puppy was born with a disqualifying fault, something that is incorrect according to the AKC Rottweiler breed standard. This can be something that you may or may not see. Some examples include missing teeth, an incorrect bite (the way the teeth line up next to each other), an incorrect color marking, etc. Keep in mind, these faults are only cosmetic. The majority of disqualifying faults are not even visible to the untrained eye. To be honest, many backyard breeders do not even known if their pups have faults because they are not educated on the breed or have never even shown a single Rottweiler themselves. It is very important that you understand that a cosmetic fault does not affect the Rottweiler’s health. If any puppy in a litter is ever unhealthy, he or she will not be sold – period! Being unhealthy is not a fault, but a medical condition, and needs to be corrected. DKV Rottweilers will never sell an unhealthy Rottweiler puppy. All of our puppies are sold with health certificates.
Now back to my introduction, this confusion is further complicated when people say they prefer a “pet quality” for the lesser price but want to buy from a “professional breeder” to ensure they are getting a healthy puppy. Again, the health has nothing to do with the quality. To help guarantee you are purchasing a puppy from a good clear health background, you need to make sure the breeder is health certifying his or her breeding stock. You also want to make sure that your puppy is being sold with a health certificate. This means the puppy was examined head to toe by a licensed veterinarian and deemed healthy, with no heart murmur, no worms or parasites, nothing.
Are you understanding the difference now? So when someone says, I am “ONLY” interested in a pet quality puppy, they are telling me that they are specifically looking for an incorrect Rottweiler. If they are only looking for an incorrect Rottweiler, they will probably find one more easily from a backyard breeder who is breeding incorrect Rottweilers. And if a backyard breeder is breeding only incorrect Rottweilers, they are probably not doing and health certifications either. Do you see the snowball effect here and how that sentence, as common as it is, sounds silly?
So why don’t I reserve pet quality pups? A professional breeder breeds to better the breed – hopefully. My breeding stock is correct to the breed standard and free of any disqualifying faults. As a result, it is very rare that we produce a puppy born with a disqualifying fault. Make sense? Occasionally, a pup can be born with something minor, but again, it is not that common. Therefore, I cannot accept a deposit for a future “pet quality” since there is no way to know when one will be produced. One can be produced in my next litter or a litter three years down the road. As a note, any “pet quality” pup produced by our kennel is required to be fixed to prevent that incorrect fault from being passed to future generations.
I believe the main reason people immediately ask for a “pet quality” is because they are hoping for a lower price. However, the price is a direct reflection of the quality of parents, breeding investment, health clearances, and overall kennel experience. You can never compare puppies based on price. My “pet quality” price may still be higher than a competitor’s “show quality” price. What’s most important is where the puppy is coming from. Is the kennel experienced, do they have great reviews and customer testimonials, do you like the puppy parents, are the parents health certified, do you like the look of past dogs produced by their kennel, is the breeder willing to provide references, is the breeder willing to talk and answer your questions… that is most important – and that is the difference in quality!
In the photo above, one puppy is a “show quality” and the other is a “pet quality”. Can you tell the difference?
Written by Liz Gutierrez