Long Distance Runaround - By Craig Koshyk

All Hunting Articles

Visit : Visit authors website

In a perfect world the pup of your dreams, from the breed of your dreams, would be whelped by an awesome breeder living just down the street. And when the happy day came for you to bring you puppy home, all you'd need to do is walk half a block to get him.

But this world is not perfect.



The pup of your dreams, from a breed of your dreams, may actually spend the first two months of its life in another state or country. And that means you can't just walk down the street to get him. But if the breeder is in your own country, getting your pup, no matter how far away it is can be fairly straightforward. You don’t have to deal with international borders, language barriers or import regulations. And no matter how far away the pup happens to be, you have the option of going on a road trip to go get him or have him shipped on a domestic airline.

But what happens when the pup is in another country, on the other side of the ocean? Obviously things are a bit more complicated, but not impossible. In fact, getting a pup from another country can be relatively easy, and best of all, it can lead to some incredible opportunities to make new friends and discover other cultures.

How do I know that? Because my wife and I have been there, done that, several times. And our lives are now richer for it. We've imported and helped others import dogs from France, Germany, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. We’ve also helped breeders in the US and Canada export dogs to France, Italy, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain. So here are some tips and suggestions for getting a pup from overseas or, if you are a breeder, for shipping a pup overseas. They are based on our own experiences and those of some good friends who have also “been there, done that”.

Before you do anything at all, you absolutely, positively MUST establish a solid connection with a breeder. Once you’ve decided on which breed is best for you look for breeders on the website for the national breed club, or in Facebook groups or online lists. Then contact them through their own website, by email or social media, or spend a buck or two on a long-distance phone call.



But whatever you do, make sure to look for HUNTERS who breed hunting dogs. Relate to them on a hunter-to-hunter basis and make sure they are on the same wavelength you. Don't worry too much about language barriers, they are no longer such a big deal. Google Translate is your friend!

Cindy Petkwitz, a breeder of Braque du Bourbonnais in Michigan says:

It takes time to build an open and honest relationship, but it is worth it. We've all heard stories of people just throwing money at a breeder or two, hoping to get a fantastic pup but ending up with a real dud. When you spend no time at all building a relationship and establishing a good reputation with breeders, you risk getting nothing but their cast-offs, the dogs they couldn't sell locally but are more than happy to 'dump' on the other side of the ocean.

I was lucky to get my first dog Jack. The breeder in France didn't really know me but I was at the right place at the right time. 8 years later, with all the time and effort I have put in, making connections, I am creating my own luck.



Sending photos of where and how you hunt is a great way to communicate with a breeder and establish trust. While you may not be able to communicate perfectly due to a language barrier, we all know that a picture is worth a 1000 words. Sending photos of your hunting adventures shows them that you are a serious hunter and you have the same passion as they do. And it is usually super interesting for them to see how we hunt over here, so sending photos is a great way to get them interested in working with you.

Cortney Schaefer, a breeder of Deutsch Langhaars says:

It helps a lot to have a mutual friend or other reference to use if the breeder has any questions. For example, I am friends with the chairman of the Deutsch Langhaar Verband (German Longhaired Pointer club) in Germany. And of course all of the German breeders know him (or at least know of him). So when I contact breeders, I always encourage them to call the chairman if they have any questions about shipping puppies to America. Probably about half end up calling him. But I think they all like the piece of mind of a reference that they can check out themselves.

And finally, I would add that "tire-kicking" is very disrespectful to German breeders. If you contact the breeder, they assume that you are 100% committed to getting a puppy from them. I know it can be very exciting to start contacting breeders about puppies, but please don't contact a breeder unless you really plan to take one of their puppies. I'm not sure why the culture is definitely there, but it most certainly is.

When you do contact breeders, make sure to be completely open and honest in all your dealings and insist that they be too. Get references, check with people who may know your contact, even vaguely about their reputation and their dogs. Like American breeders, German breeders are most interested in placing their pups into hunting homes. So I have found it very helpful to immediately talk about the types of game that I hunt with my dogs and even include several good hunting photos.

In my opinion, the best way, by far, to get a pup from overseas is to fly there yourself and pick it up from the breeder. Not only is it the most secure way for the pup, but the memories of a European vacation will stay with you forever, and if you can arrange to go during hunting season and go for a hunt there, it will blow your mind. Yes, it will cost more, but you will get huge returns on the investment of time and money make for years to come. So sell a gun or two, eat nothing but Kraft Dinner for six months, get a second job. Do whatever you need to do to pay for a return flight and a week or two in Europe. Trust me, you will LOVE IT!

If you absolutely cannot or do not want to go, see if you can arrange for someone to bring the pup over for you. Ask around to see if a friend, or relative, neighbour, work associate, basically anyone you know and trust is already planning to go there. If they are, offer them a few bucks to bring the pup back with them (and cover the cost for the pup's flight of course). A few years ago, a friend of mine reserved a pup in France. She was unable to go so pick it up herself so we looked into shipping it here. The cost turned out to be about the same as a return flight to Paris for a person. So I asked my sister if she'd like a free trip to Paris. She jumped at the opportunity and was more than happy to bring the pup back with her. Pro tip: If you go this route, if possible, fill out the paperwork for the pup in the name of the person travelling with it. Border crossings are much easier if the pup is considered the property of the person bringing it into the country. So, at least for the purposes of the trip, the pup’s owner should be the friend, relative or neighbour that is bringing the pup into the country. You can always change the paperwork to reflect that you are the owner once the pup is at home with you.



Another option is to invite the breeder to bring it over to you. Again, this is a very secure way of getting the pup, and depending on where you live and where the breeder lives, the cost of a round trip flight for the breeder (or for you if you go there) is not much more than shipping the pup one way via cargo.

What about having the pup shipped? This can be the least expensive way (still not cheap, and sometimes as much or even more than a round trip flight for a person), but it can also be the most stressful way for everyone involved. The breeder may have to travel a long way to get the pup to a major airport, the flight may not be direct, you may have to travel quite a distance to get to the nearest major airport etc. But if you are near a major hub and the breeder is too, and you can get a decent flight (hopefully direct) at a decent price, shipping via cargo can be a good option.

Some breeders will flat-out refuse to ship pups over here no matter what. They are anxious about putting a puppy on a plane overseas. I don't push them on this. Everyone has their limits with what they are comfortable with. But when I contact breeders now, I am quick to point out that we have successfully shipped many puppies with PetAir (www.petair.de) and that they have been easy to work with. They arrange the flights and can pick up the puppy at the breeder's door to deliver him to the airport. I have had a couple of breeders tell me that they were nervous about shipping overseas but felt more comfortable with it after visiting the PetAir website and speaking with their representatives. -- Cortney Schaefer

Surprisingly, prices for pups in Europe are not much different than in North America, and sometimes they are lower. Of course, as they say caveat emptor (buyer beware), so watch out for really low prices or really high prices. Generally speaking you are looking at about a thousand US dollars for a young puppy of just about any breed. Yes, some will be higher, some lower, but none will be half the price or double.

For years, we had some trouble getting people in our club to import puppies. People just assume that the process is difficult and expensive. It is a little more pricey, but it is a really easy process and well worth the effort. Most pups in Europe are cheaper than here. The average DL price in Germany right now is 700-800 euros (about $825-$900 US dollars). But then the shipping often doubles the price. However, consider that buying a domestic DL pup right now is $1,100 plus about $450 for shipping. So really, importing a pup is only a few hundred more than buying a domestic pup. And there is a lot more selection because there are so many more litters over there. So you can be more selective about gender, colour, or whelp date if you import a puppy. And then you just have to show up at the airport with your photo ID and the pup is yours! -- Cortney Schaefer

Finally, if you need help, just ask. Don’t hesitate to contact airlines to check their policies for travelling with or shipping pups. Familiarize yourself with the import and export requirements for your country and the country the pup is coming from. They can sometimes change due to outbreaks of disease or depend on the time of year you wish to travel. And finally, don’t try to go it alone. Reach out to people who have “been there done that.” Hunters want good hunting dogs and are always eager to help fellow hunters find them. There are folks in just about every breed club that have experience with importing dogs from other countries and are willing to take the time to answer your questions.



About the Author

Craig Koshyk
Visit authors website

Craig Koshyk is a dog nut. He is also a writer, photographer, artist, educator and entrepreneur. But mainly he’s a dog nut.

When he’s not carrying a shotgun or camera in the field, he is putting pen to paper. His book Pointing Dogs Volume One: The Continentals is considered by many to be the reference book on the continental breeds of pointing dogs. His articles and photos of sporting dogs appear regularly in North American and European magazines and his Pointing Dog Blog has garnered a large following of loyal readers. Craig is currently working on Pointing Dogs Volume Two: The British and Irish Breeds scheduled for release in 2020.

Purchase Craigs books here : Dogwilling Publications

 


About the Artist

Craig Koshyk - Photo Credit
Visit artist website

Craig Koshyk is a dog nut. He is also a writer, photographer, artist, educator and
entrepreneur. But mainly he’s a dog nut.

When he’s not carrying a shotgun or camera in the field, he is putting pen to paper. His book
Pointing Dogs Volume One: The Continentals is considered by many to be the reference
book on the continental breeds of pointing dogs. His articles and photos of sporting dogs
appear regularly in North American and European magazines and his Pointing Dog Blog has
garnered a large following of loyal readers. Craig is currently working on Pointing Dogs
Volume Two: The British and Irish Breeds scheduled for release in 2020.



Account Login


Email Address

Password

Remember Me -

* Recover Password
* Create a FREE account