The Pros And Cons
What is a Guardian Home? A Guardian Home is one where someone is given a breeding dog (usually a female) for free or at a greatly reduced price in return for sending her back to her breeder to have one or more litters of puppies which belong to the breeder. At the agreed upon conclusion of the agreement, the dog becomes the outright property of the Guardian Home. In the meantime, the Guardian Home accepts responsibility for all maintenance and medical expenses of the dog as if they already owned her/him.
When I introduced the concept back in the early nineties, it was for a legitimate reason. I was developing a brand new breed from scratch, without the technology and DNA health testing that breeders enjoy these days. Some things worked but others didn't and many a promising dog I'd raised failed my strict self-enforced criteria and was de-sexed and removed from my breeding program. This whole process meant that I had to own many dogs, and since I detest the thought of dogs living in rows of kennels, I had to come up with a better idea.
Basically, all I did was to modify Melbourne Guide Dogs' program where they'd give a puppy to an approved family to raise. When the pup was 12 months old they'd take it back and put it into training to be the eyes of a blind person.
I was amazed at how quickly the idea caught on, even with brand new breeders who advertised themselves as being "a small boutique breeder". Closer examination revealed that some of them had up to ten litters on the go at the one time and I laughed when their websites claimed proudly that "our puppies are all raised in our home." But I digress!
I don't do Guardian Home arrangements any more, because I don't need to. It's vastly different to develop a new breed from scratch than it is to breed an already established one. I ask myself what would be the purpose of letting my puppies go off to live with someone else and miss out on the joy of living with them? Would it be just to churn out more puppies? And why would I want to do this? For me, the answer is that it would all be about money, and since that is not what it has ever been about for me, it's a personal no-brainer. Other breeders may have different reasons, and it may work well for them.
I'm often asked to share an example of a Guardian Home agreement. But there as many kinds of agreement as there are people. So it's a matter for the two parties to discuss and see what works best for them both. But since this article is headed pros and cons, here is a list of what I learned from about 30 years of engaging on and off, in the practice of Guardian Homes.
GUARDIAN HOME PROS
GUARDIAN HOME CONS-and things to consider