Page 108 - ShowSight - August 2019
P. 108

                A Reading from the Book of Face
  Does today’s puppy buyer have a medi- an age? This
is a question I asked of breeders recently on a Facebook page dedicated to the preservation of purebred dogs. My query was made in response to a series of photos posted on another page that featured eight-week- old pups with their new families. What struck me about those images was the presumed age range
of the puppy buyers as evidenced by all the gray hair. It seemed as though each puppy from this litter was going home with someone nearing—or well past—retirement age. This got me thinking about the age of today’s typical puppy buyer. Are buyers aging at a rate similar to that of breeders? Are Baby Boomers more likely to be attracted to breeds that are entirely overlooked by Gen-Xers and Millennials? Can a purebred dog’s appeal be measured in genera- tions? The replies to my original question provide anecdotal evi- dence that when it comes to purebred puppies, breed appeal is— sometimes—ageless.
The Sporting breeds are often viewed as a good fit for active people and families with growing children, so the responses from breeders of dogs in this Group were not unexpected. “Last litter, my youngest was around 26,” wrote a Brittany breeder who described an “established young family with acreage, a history with another breed and agility for years.” Her placement of a show prospect with a former Junior also left this breeder with “zero regrets,” as did plac- ing a pet quality pup with an “empty nester couple in their 60s.” A response from another Brittany breeder read, “I knew I could trust my mid-twenties couple when we spoke on the phone and then when I met them. Lovely people, very responsible. You just get very lucky sometimes.” A breeder of Kooikerhundje wrote that she typically places puppies with people in their “40-70s,” and a Lagotto Romagnolo breeder reported, “I have had all age groups of couples from childless to retired. The only group I haven’t had is a family with toddlers.” A pair of Pointer breeders wrote that they typically placed puppies with people in their mid-to-late 30s or their 50s-to- 60s. “I look for a couple or family who hunts or [is] active,” one not- ed. “A few have gone to runners who do 5K to marathons weekly.” A German Shorthaired Pointer breeder described her puppy buyers by noting, “Mine are all over the place, but typically, I get families with kids.” A breeder of Chesapeake Bay Retrievers wrote that a buyer’s commitment to performance is more important than his or her age. “Many of our dogs sell to hunting homes,” she said. “There is no set age range. I sell from mid-20s to the ‘80s.” By comparison, one Labrador breeder who replied noted that her puppy buyers are typically middle-aged. “The vast majority of my clients are usually late 30s to late 50s,” she wrote. A breeder of English Setters replied that she sells puppies to people of “all ages,” but a Springer breeder had a smaller demographic for her puppy buyers. “Generally, mid- 30s-40s,” reported this breeder of her puppy buyers’ ages. “They typically have a family and their children are over seven-years-old.” A breeder of Irish Water Spaniels offered insight into buyers of this
rare breed. “Not a lot of litters, but mostly ages 40-60,” she shared. “I give preference to very active homes. Very few go to young fami- lies unless there is experience with high energy dogs and an adult working at or from home.”
The diversity of the Hound breeds can offer something for peo- ple of any age. One Basenji breeder’s experience suggests that this unique hunting hound is a good fit for energetic families. “Young adults to middle age, with children usually under ten,” she advised for her target demographic. A breeder of Black and Tan Coon- hounds looks for homes with young adults and plenty of space. “Most of our dogs [that] end up in companion homes go to people who are financially stable, on some acreage and have kids already,” she wrote. “The acreage isn’t a requirement, just kind of a product of the type of folks (often rural or semi-rural) who want a hound dog. Older folks generally not so much, as they don’t want to get an exuberant large breed pup that could accidentally hurt them.” The preferred age range of this breeder’s puppy buyers is “late 20s to ear- ly 40s for the most part.” A breeder of Bloodhounds, however, leans more toward older puppy buyers. “I look for a financially sound home in addition to some home stability, long term vet relation- ship, etc.,” she shared. “So, for me I select seasoned (older) folks to place pups with (but I get apps from all age groups).” Paradoxically, another Bloodhound breeder declared that when it comes to puppy buyers, “The stats are millennials.” A response from a Dachshund breeder reflects the breed’s broad appeal to buyers aged “25-77.” A breeder of Standard Smooths supported this view. “Late 20s to seniors with kids and grand kids,” she offered. “My dogs are raised with kids and it shows. Want to make sure they are socialized and have great temperaments.” Two breeders of Rhodesian Ridgebacks offered their perspective on placing a powerful hound in a home
“When I was in my late twenties I was brushed off. This
is why people turn to rescues
The older you get, the more naive 20-somethings look.”
—Rhodesian Ridgeback Breeder
 106 • ShowSight Magazine, auguSt 2019

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