Tuesday, June 21, 2016

How To Choose A Dog Breeder

Last week, I discussed the pros and cons of choosing a pure bred dog vs. a shelter dog. There are benefits and drawbacks to each choice. If you have already decided against adopting a shelter dog, and have your heart set on a pure bred, it's REALLY important to research your breeder and choose a reputable one. This will help ensure that your puppy has minimal health problems, is properly socialized and is not coming from a puppy mill. Below is a list you should go through while researching dog breeders:

  • First and foremost, make sure you have chosen a dog that fits your lifestyle. Remember, each breed has it's inherent traits, but that does not mean there are not pure bred dogs that stray from that norm. Nothing is set in stone. Choosing the right breed just helps point you in the right direction.
  • Do not buy a puppy from a pet store or website. Reputable Dog breeders will not sell their puppies through a pet store. Most likely, these puppies come from a puppy mill which is a large-scale commercial dog breeding facility that favors profit over well-being. 
  • A reputable dog breeder will screen all potential buyers. They won't just give a puppy to the first person to fork over the cash. They will ask you questions about your home life, what you like to do, how you will raise the puppy and most likely make you sign a contract. They want to minimize the risk that this puppy will end up in the humane society.
  • Ask the breeder about early socialization for the puppy. They should be socializing every puppy before re-homing. 
  • Get referrals.
  • A reputable dog breeder should allow you to visit multiple times. When you visit, look at the living conditions. Are the dogs in healthy living conditions that help foster physical and psychological health? Do the dogs appear to be healthy? There should be no signs of malnutrition, sores or illnesses. Are the dogs socialized? Is the interaction between the breeder and dogs positive or are the dogs showing signs of fear, ect...? Look at the dog's language! Visit the mother to see what kinds of behaviors she exhibits as well as her interaction with the breeders.
  • A dog breeder should provide you with a written contract and health guarantee. They should also show you records of vet visits with health screenings for the puppies and parents along with proof of OFA and CERF certificates. 
  • Breeders should explain potential genetic problems your pure bred may encounter. 
  • Provide documents of the parents and grandparents. There should be no crossbreeding and certainly no inbreeding. 
  • You should not be required to only see one particular veterinarian when you sign a contract. In addition, interview the veterinarians that the breeders have been using along with any other local vets. Veterinarians have a wealth of knowledge with it comes to local animal "gossip".
  • Breeders should be specializing in one specific breed or just a few and there will not always be puppies available. You may have to be put on a waiting list.
In addition to all of this above, you should make sure your breeders provide the paperwork for the puppies and parents as well! Here are a couple of links that will tell you what kind of paperwork to expect:

Dog Papers and Registration, RaisingSpot.com, http://www.raisingspot.com/adopting/dog-registration-papers

AKC Facts and Stats, American Kennel Club, http://www.akc.org/press-center/facts-stats/puppy-buyer-fact-sheet/

A Puppy "With Papers" from a "Registered Breeder", Some Thoughts About Dogs, http://leemakennels.com/blog/dog-breeding/a-puppy-with-papers-from-a-registered-breeder/

Recognizing An Unethical Breeder, Pit Bull Chat, https://www.facebook.com/notes/pit-bull-chat/recognizing-an-unethical-breeder/161253470577118/  

Next week, I will be writing about how to choose a shelter dog! Stay tuned!

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