Some People Put More Effort Into Buying A Used Car Than How They Acquire Their Dog!
Evaluating and choosing a good dog breeder may take many visits to various breeders for the right match. Be patient. Dog breeders show their canines, so a good place to meet them is at a local dog show.
You will find good dog breeders and not-so-good ones.
A dog breeder raises, sells and often shows dogs of a specific breed, or maybe a few breeds. Top breeders raise dogs with good genetic lines, temperament test every puppy, and test each parent to help ensure against congenital defects.
The knowledge and skill of a good dog breeder has tremendous bearing on how the puppy turns out.
Unknowledgeable and amateur breeders are the source of most health and temperament problems affecting purebred dogs. Good breeders breed only when they have a list of buyers to adopt the dogs. Beware of breeders who create puppies and then worry about how to dispense them.
A dog breeder who tests prospective parents for specific disorders before breeding has the breed’s best interests at heart.
Sire and dam should have a hip clearance from OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) or PennHip (University of Pennsylvania Hip Improvement Program) with documenting certificates.
Sire and dam should have current eye clearances from CERF (Canine Eye Registration Foundation). This must be re-done every year and should be certified.
A good dog breeder will screen for hypothyroidism, Von Willebrand’s disease (disorder affecting ability to clot), epilepsy, and cardiac conditions.
When a dog breeder says they are breeding for temperament, you are on the right path in choosing a good breeder. When evaluating a breeder, this attribute trumps all others. A temperament test is a series of handling exercises performed at 7 weeks or older, to help assess the personality and eventual adult demeanor.
A good breeder will be eager to answer your questions fully.
You want as much information from the dog breeder as possible, to evaluate the breeder and the dogs.
Ask for a certificate of vaccination stating what vaccines the puppy received, when and by whom. If the puppy was de-wormed, what drug was used and when? If not, was a fecal exam done?
If the dam is bred too often it may indicate that profit is the primary motive for breeding. The rule of thumb is 5 generations should separate one relative from another.
Does the breeder provide a 3-5 generation pedigree, a contract to sign, copies of all clearances, and a guarantee? Will the breeder take the dog back at any time, for any reason, if you cannot keep it? This is a test question to know if the breeder is responsible and cares about his dogs or just in it for the profit. Most will offer “health guarantees” for 2 years. A good guarantee states that if your puppy is ill with a genetic illness (e.g. hip or elbow dysplasia, cataracts), the breeder will refund your money or provide another puppy from the next litter, and you keep your puppy as well if you want.
The breeder should provide information about feeding, training, housebreaking, grooming, and exercise.
A responsible breeder insists the puppy has limited registration and a mandatory spay/neuter contract.
Allow time to interact with the puppy away from distractions. 10-15 minutes should be allotted to each member of the family.
Things to observe in choosing a good dog breeder:
Inspect the coat, eyes, ears, dewclaws, tail. No discharge from the eyes or nose? No loose stools? No foul-smelling ears? Coats full and clean without any bald spots? Skin free of red splotches?
No fleas? No coughing, sneezing, wheezing? Plenty of energy when awake?
The litter should appear healthy and well-fed. Consider the cleanliness of surroundings – look around for feces not removed.
Puppies should be raised in a home – not a barn or backyard. Puppies need exposure to gentle handling, human contact, a variety of noises and experiences. They should not be removed from the dam or litter mates before 7 weeks, which could create a variety of behavioral problems.
Can you meet the sire and dam? How do they behave? Will the breeder provide references of previous buyers?
A good dog breeder will ASK questions, wanting to know your family’s lifestyle, to ensure the dog adoption is compatible and the prospective guardians are committed to the match.