Tuesday, July 18, 2006

From my soapbox: Puppy Mills, Back Yard Breeders and Hobby Breeders

Ok… in a previous Blog, I have shared my views on what I think makes a “responsible breeder”. I now feel the need to discuss the difference between puppy mills, back yard breeders and “hobby” breeders. There are no clear definitions, and a lot of gray areas… and I’ll do my best to sort it all out in a clear and concise way!

What is a puppy mill?

Sadly puppy mills have been around for years, and because they are so profitable, they won’t go away anytime in the near future. There are many groups out there who are working diligently in shutting them down. Their task is monumental and overwhelming. Some might ask, why bother? Well, each life they save, each life they make better is a victory worth fighting for.
Here are some facts about puppy mills:
The Humane Society of the United States website defines puppy mills as: “Puppy mills are breeding facilities that produce purebred puppies in large numbers. The puppies are sold either directly to the public via the Internet, newspaper ads, at the mill itself, or are sold to brokers and pet shops across the country…” “…The documented problems of puppy mills include over-breeding, inbreeding, minimal veterinary care, poor quality of food and shelter, lack of socialization with humans, overcrowded cages, and the killing of unwanted animals. To the unwitting consumer, this situation frequently means buying a puppy facing an array of immediate veterinary problems or harboring genetically borne diseases that do not appear until years later. In 1994, Time magazine estimated that as many as 25% of purebred dogs were afflicted with serious genetic problems. Sadly, some dogs are forced to live in puppy mills for their entire lives. They are kept there for one reason only: to produce more puppies. Repeatedly bred, many of these "brood bitches" are killed once their reproductive capacity wanes.”
Puppies sold at the majority of pet stores around the country come from Puppy Mills. While these puppies come with registration papers, they are not a guarantee of the puppy’s lineage.
The best way to eradicate puppy mills is to adopt a dog from a shelter or rescue. Or, to take the time to find responsible breeders. Here is a link to a great webpage that has good information for potential puppy buyers:
5 Easy Steps To Avoid Puppy Mills

What is a Back-Yard Breeder (BYB)?

A BYB breeds dogs in order to sell puppies. Their entire goal is to make money from the sale of the puppies. They do not bother to concern themselves with breeding healthy dogs. They have little or no knowledge about genetics, pedigrees and potential health problems. They pay no attention to the “Breed Standard” for each of the breeds they are breeding. They don’t care who buys their puppies. They offer no guarantees and if someone has a problem with one of their puppies, they will not “be there” for the puppy’s owner. Once the puppy is sold, it ceases to exist in the mind of a BYB.

What is a hobby breeder?

A hobby breeder is what I described in an earlier Blog as a responsible breeder. They are breeding to improve the breed. They are conscientious about the health and temperaments of the puppies the breed. They are involved with every aspect of the breed and they care deeply about each of the puppies they breed.

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