Kennel Names and Copycats
Lately there seems to be an epidemic
of people copying other breeders’ kennel names. I know of
several people, including myself, who have had to deal with this
lately. There are two others who are using my own kennel name of
Woodhaven despite the fact I have been using it since 1974.
do not be fooled or deceived. These people are NOT affiliated
with us or our dogs. Those aren't their Woodhaven Labs who
show up in the OFA database. These people
don't show or trial their dogs. These people do NOT have true,
original Woodhaven Labradors. These people are not the ones
referred to as "Woodhaven Labradors" in several Labrador
Retriever books and magazines.
One breeder I know of has used the
kennel name, Upland Labradors, for many years. She recently found
out someone else has recently taken that name. These people have
only been in Labradors for a very short time. She was told, “They
didn’t care” when she asked the other breeder to change
their kennel name. Another I know of has been receiving phone calls
from someone else who has claimed her kennel name for their own.
The phone calls haven’t been nice. She had no choice but to
change her name to something that AKC would register or be subject
to these abusive calls for who knows how long.
My friend has been using the name
of Windsong Labradors for 35+ years, yet someone relatively new
to the breed took the name. It doesn't matter that she has
multiple champion Labradors with that kennel name nor that she has
judged specialties and national specialties, someone wanted the
name and took it saying she should have been more "visible". One
of her dogs won the National Specialty with that kennel name and
that's not visibility? She has been interviewed by the Labrador
Quarterly and that's not being visible? Where do these people
get these ideas? The copycat recently had a change of heart
and switched to another name that she was able to register with
Recently a well known breeder had
her name hijacked. Many noticed an ad in the Summer 2004
Labrador Quarterly for this person's kennel name, but it wasn't
this well known breeder. The hijacker put a space in
between the letters so instead of Saltmeadow it was Salt Meadow. Like
that makes a difference? Its still stealing someone else's
An example of what is outrageous
in this whole stealing saga, I have learned that there someone that
is using the Labrador kennel name of Sandy Lands!!! Sandylands,
started by Gwen Broadley in the UK, is a much beloved kennel.
That someone would use it is unbelievable.
I hear the excuse from those who
have taken another name that the original person isn't in their
state or others are using it too. So what? The name
has already in use by someone who has been in the breed longer than
you. Be courteous and find something else to use. Put
yourself in their place. You have bred many generations of
champions under that name. Would you appreciate someone coming
along and taking your name and giving you those same excuses?
I doubt it.
Why is it that some new people
feel they are entitled to do this? Ten, twenty or thirty years of
using a name, having a history of using that name means nothing
to them. My hopes for this article are to make someone think before
they take something as personal as a kennel name from someone else
who has been using it.
What's the importance of a kennel
name? A kennel name is a trademark or brand name to a breeder. As
one becomes more involved in the dog world your kennel name is usually
recognized first before your actual given name is. A kennel name
is sacred to the reputable breeder as one's reputation among your
peers is based on that name and what you do with it.
It is understood when one is thinking
of naming dogs or starting a breeding program that you research
to make sure you are not encroaching on someone else's name. With
today's widespread use of the Internet and breed specific email
lists there is no excuse to use someone else's name. For instance
there are sites that have listings of Labrador kennels, Wiscoy
Labradors . The owner of this list will list any reputable
breeder and their kennel name - not just North American kennels,
for a fee. That is one resource when deciding on what to call yourself.
Another resource is the AKC site.
They have a search option to see if anyone has a dog that might
be registered with the name you are thinking of using. If there
are no hits when you search for a Labrador Retriever with that kennel
name, then you're pretty safe on using it.
Ah, but the kennel name isn't officially
registered with AKC so it can be used right? Technically correct,
but morally wrong. That doesn't
mean that the name is up for grabs. Someone else is still using
it, but hasn't registered it with AKC. You can tell yourself that
it’s okay because of that reason so you can sleep at night,
but reputable people do not do it.
There are numerous Labrador-related
email lists with thousands of subscribers from all over the world.
It would be quick and simple for a prospective breeder to subscribe
to one or more lists, and ask about their proposed kennel name.
There is always the OFA (Orthopedic
Foundation for Animals) site http://www.offa.org
where someone can put in part of a name (like a kennel name) and
the breed and check to see if there is anyone doing clearances with
that kennel name. As with the AKC site, if the search doesn't produce
any names then you're probably okay to use it.
Lastly, do a Google
search for the name you are considering. If you put in ***** Labradors
*** Labs or **** Labrador Retrievers, if someone is using that kennel
name it should show up. For instance, if you put in Woodhaven Labs
or Woodhaven Labradors you get a lot of pages. That should be enough
to tell you that the name is taken and its time to choose another.
If, by chance, you do choose one
that you find out later is being used it’s common courtesy
to apologize and then find another. As someone so wisely said "Kennel
names are extremely important to us and are used quite often as
a way to link a dog with a certain breeding program and when it
is used by more than one person, it can be confusing. Anyone wanting
to build a reputation for breeding quality dogs would NEVER use
another's kennel name - especially a kennel name with a long established
reputation. It appears to people as if that person is trying to
use the reputation associated with that kennel for their benefit
to sell puppies."
I think its time that we as breeders start standing
up for each other. If we know that someone is using someone
else's kennel name, call them on it. We can let them know,
without being belligerent, that we will not have anything to do
with them unless they change their kennel name to something that
isn't being used. We won't sell them puppies or allow them
to use our stud dogs, unless they change their kennel names to something
that isn't being used. That they are not entitled to steal
someone's name. Its happening way too often and it needs to
stop. What is next? Someone here in the USA will start
using Ballyduff or Sandylands? Ridiculous you say? Just
wait until it happens to you and we'll see how you like it.
As more and more new people come into the breed, not caring about
those who came before, it WILL happen to you. Count
They say imitation is the sincerest
form of flattery. Those that can, do. Those that can't, copy from
someone else, I guess.
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