First and fore most I would like to state that I am a firm believer in and supporter of adopting a dog rather than buying one. Like some I prefer a certain type of breed, the brachycephalic or flat-nosed type breeds, in particular the Boston Terrier. When you want a specific breed of dog you can still adopt, there are just a few things to consider. Read my post on this subject, and to find a breed specific rescue.
My goal with this, the sixth and final article in this series, is to give my readers guidelines on how to find a reputable Breeder. From what you have read thus far you might think it is an unfathomable task, which is more true than not unfortunately for the buyer. One cannot even trust the Kennel Unions or Clubs on this topic so you will have to educate yourself and follow your instinct.
We will be looking at:
- The definition of a responsible dog breeder
- Questions you should ask the dog breeder
- Visual observation
- Finally, what will be included in the purchase of your new purebred puppy
Definition of a responsible dog breeder:
A responsible dog breeder will have extensive knowledge of the breed and will not specialize in more than one or two breeds, at most. The breeder will have both the Sire and Dam comprehensively medically screened for all the possible hereditary diseases, disorders and disabilities present in the breed, and in the individual dogs, and will have a very good rapport with a respectable veterinarian. Both the Sire and Dam will be active parts of the breeds’ family and live in the family home. The dam will only be bred once physically and sexually mature, this vary from breed to breed but the average is about two years of age; thereafter the dam will only be bred to the estimate midlife mark, again this will vary form one breed to the next but we are looking at an average of about seven years of age. I prefer that the dam only be bred every second heat cycle to avoid exhausting the body.
The breeder will have detailed knowledge of the specific breeds’ bloodlines to ensure that the Sire and Dam are not related, in order to avoid duplicating defective genes in the offspring and by so doing escaping hereditary defects in the puppies of the breeding pair.
The responsible breeder will bombard you with questions, testing your knowledge of dogs in general and the breed. There will be no reservation on letting potential buyers see both the breeding parents and puppies, and where and how they are kept and cared for by the breeder.
The breeder will work to ensure that the puppies are desensitization to all household noises and ensure that the puppies are very well socialized with both humans and other animals. The breeder should be forthcoming with information and not at all reluctant to share detail even if it might seem unimportant.
Whether the breeder belongs to a breed specific club and or shows their dogs is of no importance in terms of responsible breeding according to me, if you read my previous posts and have done some research of your own you will realize that the dogs in the show ring have been bred by some of the most irresponsible breeders in the industry.
Some food for thought; once you have read through the above, that is only the first bit of the process, don’t you think that it is impossible to make sensible dog breeding into a lucrative business? How would you be keeping upwards of 20 breeding dogs in your home, as a breeder, to ensure they are an active part of the family? Not to mention the medical testing and health screening. A responsible breeder will do it purely for the love of the breed not for the love of money, because as a conscientious breeder you will not be making any.
Questions you should ask:
The most important question you should ask the breeder when starting this process would be “do you have a puppy available or do you have a waiting list?”
If the breeders’ answer is available puppies steer clear of that breeder. It is simple, the breeder that has puppies available is in it for the money. The alternative is the breeder that answers with, “I have a waiting list”, this breeder only breeds his/her dam when he/she is sure they have responsible buyers for the puppies lined up, that the puppies will not flood an already overloaded market and end up in rescue facilities.
By this point you should have done your own research and from that you could ask some breed specific questions. Ask some questions about the dad and mom (sire and dam) of the puppies, along the lines of temperament and health. This will not only help you evaluate the situation but will also help the breeder to see that you have done your homework and in the case of a questionable breeder you will be able to assess the condition and make an educated decision. Do not (under any circumstances) support an irresponsible breeder, no matter how much you want a new puppy. Remember, just as much as this is an emotional decision it is an intellectual decision too. If you support a dubious breeder you will only be encouraging this person to continue in their cruel activities. As with any business it is a demand verses supply industry, if there is no demand there will be no supply therefore no money and that is how easy it is to end bad breeding practices. Just simply to not support them.
Once you have decided on a responsible breeder and have gone through the process, being on the waiting list and the much anticipated phone call when your puppy is born and finally the call when you have to collect your puppy, you are getting closer to bringing your new puppy home and the excitement is sky high!
This is the final step in ensuring the breeder you have chosen is indeed a responsible breeder, inspect the breeders’ arrangement. Don’t be rude or overzealous in you approach, just keep a keen eye out. Make sure you meet your puppy’s parents if you haven’t done so already. Interact with the parent dogs, this way you will be able to assess the temperament of both the Sire and Dam. If the dad and mom dogs seem interactive, relaxed and friendly, and the breeder treats the breeding pair as ‘family’; you will have a good chance of getting a pup with the same traits and that received the same treatment in the early, most important, period of puppy development.
However if you are not allowed to meet the parent dogs or if you are taken to an enclosure or kennel environment, it should be a serious red flag. Dogs kept in a kennel environment are more often than not poorly socialized and scared. The side-effects may manifest in several different ways; through varies forms of aggressive behavior to scared unpredictable behavior. You do not want this in your home unless you are a very experienced dog owner and willing to work with your pup in overcoming the early unwitting abuse he/she has suffered. You definitely do not want these behavioral challenges around your home if you have children under the age of 14 years.
Remember you may at any stage cancel the purchase of the puppy and request your deposit back in full if the breeder did not hold up his/her end of the deal or as stipulated in a contract you might have entered into.
Final stages of the process:
A responsible breeder will insist you enter into an agreement by signing a contract that will outline the terms and conditions of buying the puppy. It is common to have the following in the contract:
- The puppy should be spayed or neutered when of age to do so.
- Consequently you are not allowed to breed from the puppy unless otherwise arranged with the breeder.
- Should you at any stage of the puppy or dogs’ life not be able to keep and care for him/her that you have to return the puppy or dog to the breeder for re-homing at the breeders’ discretion.
- Agree to continue a specific diet as set out by the breeder etc.
There may be much more included in the contract especially aspects pertaining to the well-being of the puppy. Also included will be payment arrangements and refunds.
A very important addition in the contract should be a health guarantee stipulating that should this puppy suffer from any genetic defects associated with bad breeding practices, the breeder will refund and replace the pup or cover the medical expenses. You should also receive a copy of the breed specific medical screening and a copy of the puppy’s breed registration certificate.
Some breeders also include a ‘Puppy Pack’, this is a care package that will get new puppy owners started with their new family member.
Remember a good breeder want to know just as much about you as you want to know about them. Be patient and forthcoming with information. The breeder is not insinuating that you are an inadequate dog owner. You are a stranger to the breeder just as the breeder is alien to you, allow information to flow freely remembering it is about the dog not you. A responsible breeder is passionate about their puppies and will move mountains to ensure they flourish.
And this my dear reader is why finding a responsible breeder is nearly impossible. I hope my six piece article series helped you in better understanding why die heart animal rights activists exist and well, why they are die heart animal activists.
Keep your eyes peeled for my new series starting next week.
Thanks for reading along.
This post first appeared on Dogs Basically! | Dogs Basically Whimsical And Wis, please read the originial post: here