Choosing a Good Dog Breeder

Have you ever purchased a car that was a lemon? Facing problem after problem robs you of the pleasure of enjoying your new car. Unfortunately, there are dogs that are lemons, too. A dog with health problems can lead to heartache and empty checkbooks. A good dog breeder will stand behind health guarantees and do everything possible to set things right if you end up with a dog that has a serious health defect.

There are several types of dog breeders. The first type is a person who shows dogs and works hard to maintain the breed standard. The puppies this breeder produces will often be more expensive than other puppies, but there are several advantages to buying one. These breeders test their dogs for common genetic diseases and they only breed their best dogs, because they are breeding dogs to acquire a new generation of champions. This means that the resulting puppies that are not show quality are usually still quite nice.

The second type of dog breeder is usually called a backyard breeder. These breeders rarely show dogs and often have a litter of puppies just because they want other people to have a dog just like theirs. Unfortunately, few backyard breeders test for diseases or know how to look for traits that match the breed standard.

The final type of dog breeder is often called a puppy mill breeder. These breeders have many different breeds of dogs and often breed their females until the dogs become run down and die. Puppies are frequently very poor examples of the breed and may have genetic health problems as well as diseases such as Kennel Cough.

Obviously, you want to find a good dog breeder. However, knowing the importance of finding a good dog breeder doesn’t always make it easy to locate one. Fortunately, if you look for signs of a good breeder and ask the breeder the right questions, you should be able to tell if you’ve found a good breeder.

First, take a look at how the breeder is advertising. Breeders who advertise in newspapers are not necessarily unethical. Some of them love their dog breed, but do not care for the show world. However, be wary of an advertisement that lists puppies from five different dog breeds and a few poodle mixes thrown in for good measure.

Next, ask the breeder to allow you to stop in and look at the puppies. If the breeder refuses and offers to deliver the puppy or meets you outside with a portable pen full of puppies, it may very well be because of safety concerns. However, it could also mean that the breeder’s kennel is dirty and the dogs are not cared for properly.

Once you’ve seen those adorable puppies, do not pull out your check book. Instead, ask the breeder whether they’ve been to a vet and ask about a health guarantee. Some breeders vaccinate the puppies themselves, but there is a chance they did not give the vaccinations correctly and that the puppies are still vulnerable to disease. Also, the puppies could have serious hereditary defects, such as a severe heart murmur, that a preliminary health exam would have uncovered.

Finally, ask for references from previous owners and get the name and phone number of the breeder’s veterinarian. Then, go home and call the references and ask them about their experience with the breeder and ask how their puppies turned out. If you are satisfied with the response of the references, call the veterinarian to verify that the breeder really did bring the puppies in.

Now, you can finally buy your new puppy. Of course, first you will have to decide which of those little balls of fluff is the right dog for you!

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2 Responses

  1. Derek Wood
    | Reply


    I agree with your types of breeders with one exception: I think category one could be seperated to thoese breeded who show and those breeders who “work” but do not show their dogs.

    The main reason I make this distinction is for specific breeds. I myself love German Shepherds, as you have seen by my two neest ones. However, German Shepherds for show can be quite different then German Shepherds as a working dog. The breed is a working class breed, and the characteristics and requirements for working dogs varies greatly when compared to show dogs.

    The bottom line is what you intend to do with the dogs. If your looking for a dog that can make you happy, then there are a lot of animal shelters available. If your going to invest in purebred dogs, then do your homework. Decide if your goign to show your dogs, work your dogs or simply let them be a couch “tater”.

    Reputable breeders will also be able to provide guidance as to which puppy to pick depending on your chosen “career” for the dog.

  2. HART (1-800-HART)
    | Reply

    That’s a good distinction, and that’s always good advice to “do your homework” if going to invest in purebred dogs.

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