Friday, July 14, 2006

From my soapbox: What Makes A Responsible Breeder?

I am continually astounded by how many people are looking for puppies and have no concept of what a responsible breeder is. Many of these people are inclined to buy puppies from pet stores, which is a VERY BAD IDEA!!! However, that is another topic for another time.

At this point, I would like to share with you my list of criteria that I would use to determine what makes a good and responsible dog breeder:

* When breeding, does the breeder breed according to the breed standard for your breed of choice?

* Does this breeder do all pertinent health clearances for your breed of choice i.e. hips, elbows, and any other health issues that your breed of choice may have issues with?

* Are all clearances posted on the OFA Website?

* Is he/she a member of the National Breed Club?

* Is he/she a member of any Regional Breed Clubs?

* Does he/she show her dogs in conformation, and do the Dam & Sire have their championship? Or, do they at least have points towards their championship?

* Does this breeder participate in any working dog events pertinent to your breed of choice?

* Do they show their dog in Obedience?

* Do they require new puppy owners to enroll their puppies in obedience classes?

* Do they have a contract... and if they do, will they take the dog back for whatever reason? (I know this seems unlikely at this point, but sometimes things happen and people are unable to keep the dog.)

* Have they asked you for references? (This sounds strange, because you're the customer, right? However, a breeder who truly cares about where their puppies go will often make people practically jump through hoops to convince him/her that they are worthy of one of their puppies.)

* Does this breeder require you to spay or neuter your puppy if it's not a show puppy?

* How old will the puppies be when the breeder sends them to their new homes? (anything under 10 weeks is a major red flag)

* Does the breeder require new puppy owners to check in on a regular basis... and is the breeder good about returning phone calls?

and last, but not least

* Do you like this person... I mean really like this person? Is this person someone that you are comfortable with, and will be able to consider them as an extended member of your family for the duration of your puppy's life, and even longer? If this answer is no... then don't get a puppy from them.

As I've said before... these are my personal preferences. There are many good and wonderful breeders out there. The sad reality is that there are even more bad breeders out there.

Most Dog breeds are multi-faceted. It is my belief that it is essential that breeders focus on all facets, and not just one or two.

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