Titles in Dog Breeding
While it seems to be popular for individuals to purchase two registered dogs to breed together, this is far from a solid breeding plan. Buyers beware of breeding programs who piggyback off the accomplishments of others by purchasing from titled dogs but doing nothing with the dogs they purchase. As always, there are some exceptions to this rule (such as herding dogs doing farm chores, livestock guardians, or hunting/retrieving dogs), and I am not saying every single dog in a breeding program needs to be titled to the high heavens, but titles are not without value.
Titling dogs proves dedication. Taking dogs to shows, performance sport trials, or working trials can give you invaluable information about the dog's temperament. Do they work for the handler? Or do they fall apart when their precious toy or treats aren't present? Titles are a measurable breeding goal. If I want high drive and high energy dogs, I can measure these things in agility or flyball titles. If I want structurally gorgeous dogs within standard, I can measure the success of my program through show titles and wins. Unless the breeder is breeding working sheepdogs on a farm or using coonhounds for hunting, it is not easily possible to gauge the level of success of a program when it is not challenged by shows and/or trials.
Very rarely, a breeder will not have titled stock but will have a genuine reason - location or time. Usually with the latter, they have titled dogs at some point in the past and understand their goals clearly, but sometimes life does get in the way. If a breeder does not title any of their stock, it is important to do your due diligence when considering them. Verify health results on the OFA website. Ask about their breeding goals. Are they well versed in structure? Can they name their dogs' strengths and weaknesses? What are they looking to improve upon with a certain pairing? Run from anyone who claims their dogs are "perfect." as any realistic breeder knows this is unattainable. These questions are important to ask any breeder, but especially so for breeders who do not compete with their dogs.