The average dog owner considers all dogs "pets". But in show dogs terms this has a different connotation. While all my dogs are my "pets" (dogs that I love and care for)-I make a distinction between the show potential and pet quality puppies when selling them.
The term "pet quality" to a show breeder means that there is something with that particular puppy that would decrease or remove any chance of it being championship material. To the untrained eye, often these imperfections would not be seen.
In beagles this may mean, short ears, wrong coat color, one crooked tooth or many crooked teeth, legs too long, toes too flat, tail with a small kink, light colored eyes, undescended testicles, muzzle too narrow, tail set to low on body, tail carried to high over back,bow legged in the rear, chest two wide in front, too large with potential to grow to over 15 inches height at the shoulders( this is a disqualifying fault with AKC).... etc. These things do not make a dog less a pet or less able to love his new home. Again to the average person many of these things would not even be noticed.
Here is a picture of a puppy I sold as a "pet". She was very small, had short ears and her muzzle looked short to me and I could not imagine breeding her due to her size. The family that got her loves her dearly. She has made a wonderful "pet". She has turned out as I expected and has the home she deserves; sleeping in her human's bed and being the center of attention.
Determining "pet quality vs show potential" is an individual breeders decision based on the interpretation of the AKC beagle standard and the needs of a breeding program. REPUTABLE BREEDERS sell all "pets quality" puppies with a spay/neuter contract and limited registration. PET QUALITY puppies are NOT breeding stock.
"SHOW POTENTIAL" puppies are those puppies that I judge at that age to be capable of achieving an AKC championship at maturity. This is of course depends on the fact that they grow up to look as I expect. A breeder makes an educated guess based on past experiences. I recently had big puppy bitch that I would have bet the house would grow to be a 15". Well, at six months of age she is only 12 1/2" and may stay a 13" MUCH TO MY AMAZEMENT. Her father is a line which I have not used before, so there were different genetics at work.
The cost of pet quality and show potential varies with show potential being the most costly. Most show breeders will not sell their show quality puppies to homes that only want pets. Many breeders have waiting list-so if you are looking for a pet beagle contact those in your area.
Please read the sections on TEN REASONS NOT TO BUY FROM A PET SHOP and WHAT ARE BACKYARD BREEDERS???
Reputable breeders want all their puppies to be loved and to be someone's "pet". But we must make decisions on which of our puppies are good enough to be shown and hopefully mature in to future breeding stock. Future breeding stock should be better than their parents and are to be cherished. Many champions are finished but this alone does not make that beagle breeding stock. A breeder should only breed the best;striving with each generation to improve the health, structure, and overall quality of their beagles.
Author-Ruth Darlene Stewart