How to choose a Breeder
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It is getting more and more difficult to find a good puppy thanks to the plethora of puppy millers and backyard breeders offering this breed for sale to make a quick profit. There are quite a number of listings on the classifieds by people who fall into this category, so, how can you tell the good from the bad?
Choosing a reputable breeder is very important. Since it would be almost impossible for you to know what the puppy you are buying will grow up to be physically and emotionally, you must rely on your faith in the person from whom you are purchasing your puppy. There are three options open to you in choosing this person.
The worst possible choice. Thousands of puppies a year are bred for sale to unscrupulous pet shops. Most of these dogs are forced to live their entire, sometimes very short lives, in dark warehouses, in tiny, crowded, and indescribably filthy conditions. Females are bred continuously until they die. Puppies are taken away from their mothers as young as four weeks of age, packed several to a crate, with little food, water, or ventilation and transported to pet stores.
PET SHOP or DEALER
Another bad choice. The puppies are poorly bred and raised. They are thought of as merchandise to be sold for a high profit. The high profit results because little has been put into the breeding or the care of the puppies. Many are sickly. Pet shops rely heavily on impulse buying, which is no way to choose an addition to the family.
Also a poor choice. This is the person who owns a pet Golden and thinks it would be fun to have puppies, that it would be a great experience for the children, or that the bitch should be bred once before she is spayed. Even worse, perhaps it's being done just to make money. Usually this breeder knows little about the standard or history of the breed, and still less about proper care. The backyard breeder is not aware of breed problems, and doesn't care. This person's only goal is to produce puppies, and when the fun is over, to sell them quickly.
SERIOUS HOBBY BREEDER
The very best choice. The serious and dedicated hobby breeder regards his/her dogs as even more than a hobby, although the true fancier does not expect to make a profit. When someone is involved in dogs for the enjoyment of each individual animal, for participating in any of the many aspects of dog sport, and for producing the finest animals possible, the results are SUPERIOR. The best breeders acknowledge responsibility for each and every puppy produced, and stand behind every dog they have bred.
Unequivocally, your choice should be from the ranks of the SERIOUS HOBBY BREEDER.
The question is: How does one recognize the responsible breeder?
Presented below is a list of requirements the breeder should meet before you consider purchasing a puppy. Don't be afraid to confront the breeder with these requirements. It is your right, and you can rest assured that the dedicated breeder will respond positively and with pride.
The affix (kennel name) doesn’t guarantee the breeder to be good and responsible
There are many puppy millers with affix out there. The affix can be bought and the requirements to be met to obtain it are totally ludicrous.
The aim of the good breeder is the betterment of the breed
Good breeders do not breed to have puppies to sell; they breed because they hope to accomplish something from the combination of a certain male and female. A good breeder will easily explain his goals with the litter.
A good breeder is involved in showing his/her dogs in the breed ring, the obedience ring, in hunting tests/field trials, agility, tracking or in any combination of these
Showing is NOT about winning, showing is about comparing your “creations” with other breeders’ dogs, it’s about getting evaluated by an expert, it’s about growing culturally by acknowledging your flaws and figuring out how to correct them, it’s about getting real with yourself and realize how far –or how close- your dogs are from/to the breed standard. Winning is the icing on the cake and we all like to win, but it is not the only reason why a breeder shows his dogs. The breeder who does not participate has no idea how good his/her dogs really are, and is deprived of the opportunity to share information and ideas with others. Showing provides the competition which encourages breeders to produce better dogs. The breeder who competes wants to prove how good his/her dogs are and is putting his/her breeding program on the line. This breeder is not relying on just a pedigree to indicate quality. The breeder who competes in organized activities is known by others and has a reputation to uphold. This breeder will be as careful and honest in selling you your pet puppy as in selling show stock.
A good breeder takes good care of his dogs
He ensures their wellbeing by feeding them quality food, he keeps them clean and neat, he ensures they exercise appropriately. Go visit different kennels and observe how the dogs live, where they live, how they are treated.
A good breeder screens his breeding stock for hereditary conditions (HD, ED, heart, eyes.)
He is able to show you proof that both the sire and dam of the litter have had their hips and elbows X-rayed, and evaluated as normal by a certified authority (BVA - British Veterinary Association); have had their hearts examined and deemed clear of abnormalities by a board-certified veterinary cardiologist, proof of a gonioscopy is highly desirable ; have had their eyes examined and deemed clear from abnormalities by a board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist (yearly), and provide you with DNA test results for PRA1 and PRA2 . The breeder should also be willing to answer your questions about any other possible hereditary problems, including but not limited to seizures, hypothyroidism, and skin problems or allergies. If he doesn’t, or tries to make excuses, run from him.
A good breeder only breeds from good healthy specimen of the breed, and doesn’t exploit his females
Females should not be bred under the age of 2 and over the age of 7, and there should be at least a rest season between two matings. I am a firm believer than 3 litters are enough in the lifetime of a female.
A good breeder doesn’t re-home oldies
Because his dogs are his family! The place of a retired dog is the living room, where he can relax and assists with the education of the youngsters. BEWARE of breeders that only have young dogs, always ask to see the oldies. Oldies are also a living warranty of the health of the bloodlines.
A good breeder asks a zillion questions and is always ready to take back a dog of his breeding
He screens possible families for the sake of his puppies because the wellbeing of his puppies is his first priority. Sincere breeders will be a bit hesitant to sell you a puppy until they know more about you, what you are looking for in a dog, and what lifestyle you have in mind for your dog. Having the best interest of the puppy at heart, reputable breeders will take great pains to place puppies properly the first time around. A returned puppy is a traumatic experience for all concerned, so the breeder who is always willing to accept a puppy back will try to make certain that a Golden is the breed for you. If you feel under the great inquisition it’s a good thing!
A good breeder educates the new owner on the breed and on how to manage the puppy
He provides instructions on feeding, training and care; he is always available for advice and support and loves to hear about the life of the dogs he bred.
A good breeder welcomes visitors and the opportunity to be compared to other breeders
He is able to show a clean environment; healthy, well-socialized puppies, adults and oldies, a healthy dam and sire with good temperaments. Should the sire belong to a different person, the breeder still provides the health clearances of the stud dog and all the info pertaining to the stud dog’s kennel. You should avoid:
a) shy, whimpering, fearful puppies
b) puppies with dull coats, crusty or running eyes, signs of diarrhea, rashes or sores on their abdomens
c) signs of neglect, such as lack of water, pans of uneaten food, and dirty conditions
d) a breeder who will sell a puppy under seven weeks of age, as early separation from the dam and littermates can be very detrimental both psychologically and physically.
A good breeder gives you references
He provides the names of people who have purchased puppies in the past, the names of other breeders, and the veterinarian who provides care for the breeder's dogs.
A good breeder provide a written contract and/or conditions of sale and a health certificate
The contract should be absolutely explicit and a signed copy should be provided to each party. BEWARE of breeders that can guarantee freedom of health conditions throughout the life of the dog, such a thing CAN’T be guaranteed; breeders are only humans not God.
* “Breeders” that have first, second, third and last choices and sell littermates for different prices.
* ”Breeders” that charge a higher price for the pedigree.
* “Breeders” that sell puppies with pedigrees and puppies without for a lower price. IT’S ILLEGAL!!
* “Breeders” that ask for astronomic prices for puppies.
* “Breeders” that claims their puppies are rare cream English Goldens.
THERE’S NOT SUCH A THING!! The Golden Retriever is ONE breed only, with different types. There is nothing rare or difficult to get. If there must be a difference in price, it should be motivated by the accomplishments of the parents, not certainly on a false rarity claim!
A good breeder doesn’t sell his puppies to a pet shop, nor he ships them, nor he sells through a third party
A good breeder always list detailed information about his dogs on his website. BEWARE of websites where the dog appears only with his family name, and neither the clerances nor the full pedigree are listed!