Dear AKC: I wanted to know how to buy a show prospect puppy even though I am a novice. I want to breed and show Maltese but most of the breeders I come in contact with want to sell their puppies to other breeders first. I want advice on how to buy a show prospect Maltese. -- Novice Needing Mentor
Dear Novice: It sounds like you are very enthusiastic about joining the sport of purebred dogs and getting yourself a Maltese. Luckily, the American Kennel Club has a new networking opportunity for your to help you get started in dog showing as well as meeting up with breeders to help you find your first dog. The new Exhibitor Mentor Program was developed to help people just like you who are interested in showing and breeding dogs but need an experienced person to show you the ropes.
When you sign up, you may select from the following areas of interest: conformation (traditional dog shows), obedience, agility, rally, or junior showmanship. Then AKC matches you with a mentor in your geographic area.
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In the meantime, you can also contact the American Maltese Association to search for show breeders in your area. When you speak with a breeder referral contact let them know that you are looking for a mentor to teach you about showing and breeding. Some people in your area may be looking to expand their breeding programs and would welcome the opportunity to have someone to "join-up" in their endeavor. Before you begin breeding it is important to learn how to show, handle and care for your Maltese. This is where the New Exhibitor Mentor Program will really help you out. Once you go through this learning process, taking the next step into breeding your first litter will come easier and with a lot of support from fellow fanciers.