What do Reputable Breeders Do?

July 11, 2012

Breeding Dogs

Wondering how to ensure your puppy breeder is a responsible one? Start with this guide-
Make sure that they:
  1. Health test their breeding stock: Testing for inheritable diseases is not an “option” for a reputable breeder. The breeder will have done all necessary testing before even selecting the dogs to be bred. The tests themselves differ between breeds.

    Healthy food for your dog

    Much better than Ol’ Roy…

  2. Feed quality food: A reputable breeder will know what they feed their dogs and why. If you hear “Alpo” or “Ol’ Roy”, run for the hills. Though there are many differing opinions on what is best to feed dogs, your breeder WILL have an educated response about the food they feed.
  3. Have records for their dogs: Good breeders have many generations worth of paperwork on their dogs. This will include pedigrees and health information, along with kennel club registrations. This information is VITAL to reputable breeders when choosing which dogs to mate. If your breeder barely knows their dog’s lineage, talk to a different breeder.
  4. Participate in performance and/or conformation events: The goal of breeding dogs should be  to better the breed. If a breeder is competing with their dogs, you have some proof about the abilities of their dogs, and the devotion of the breeder.
  5. Make sure YOU are a good fit for their breed: Be prepared to answer many personal questions before a breeder considers you worthy of an animal. A good breeder will ensure that your lifestyle is compatible with their breed. If you live in a tiny apartment, and someone wants to sell you a Great Dane, they are not responsible dog breeders.
  6. Vaccinate: Though there are many differing opinions on when/how often shots should be given, your breeder should vaccinate AND know why they do so.
Make sure they know:
  1. WHY the breed was/is bred: If a “breeder” doesn’t know the simplest history of their breed, you cannot hope to get a quality dog from them. STAY AWAY.
  2. What their litters should be like/what the bitch should produce: If a breeder knows their stuff, they will have a pretty good idea what a litter will look and act like far before the puppies are born. (Note- in many breeds, color is highly variable; so don’t count on the breeder knowing coat colors)
  3. Genetic issues in their breed: If the breeder doesn’t know what problems are out there, he/she cannot know to avoid them. Question your breeder about genetic predispositions and diseases common in the breed. In some breeds, there are very few; in some, many.
  4. The strengths and weaknesses in the dogs they use: Ask your breeder what he/she would want to change about the stud dog/brood bitch being used. Though their answers may sound Greek to you, it is good to know that a breeder knows their animals weaknesses. If he/she can’t tell you anything that is “wrong” about their dogs, they do not know enough about them to be breeding them.
  5. That not all puppies are perfect for your family: A good breeder will tell you which pups you should avoid. This is a GREAT bonus of a good breeder, and you should listen to them. If you have little kids, you should not choose the over-rambunctious trouble-making biter, no matter how cute he is. Your breeder will know their puppies dispositions far better than you can in a few visits.
  1. Breed animals under the age of 2: If a pup’s parents are under two, stay away from this breeder. Dogs younger than this are not full grown, and cannot be accurately tested for many problems such as hip dysplasia.
  2. Sell to pet stores: NO GOOD BREEDER WILL EVER HAVE A PUPPY IN A PET STORE. Enough said.

    Puppy in cage at pet store

    No respectable breeder sells puppies to pet stores.

  3. Hangs signs advertising pup: These breeders did not plan for their pups, nor do they have high standards for homes. Stay away. Cardboard signs should not be reassuring.
  4. Guarantee a puppy will finish its CH, FC, etc: Even the best breeder cannot guarantee a dog will be able to complete certain titles. Much of what that puppy will become is up to you; the owner, and some is left to chance. For example, I know an Irish Wolfhound that was sold as a show-potential puppy. He was gorgeous, and still is; but he managed to have a testicle torsion, and so cannot be shown.

    Two puppies

    Too Cute!! And too young to go home.

  5. Send puppies home before 8 weeks old (many not til 12): Pups should NEVER be sent away from their litter and their mom too young. This can cause personality disorders in the pup. Any breeder that lets pups go earlier than 8 weeks doesn’t care about the psychological health of their pups, and often is getting rid of the pups to save money. (Caveat- there are certain special conditions where this may be untrue, such as orphaned pups.)
  6. Get upset with you for asking questions: No good breeder will ever get angry with you for asking questions. Breeders (of course) have vastly different personalities, but yours should be ready and willing to answer your questions.
  7. Make any money from breeding! Most lose money! When you figure in health tests, the stud fee, reproductive care, whelping, training pups, food, meds, vaccines, and vet bills, 90% of litters COST the breeder. Do not balk at the price tag of a well-bred pup: the reputable breeder has already put much more into the pup than you will pay.
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About BredByBitch

Hello! My name is Dani, and I've been in the "dog world" since I was 8 years old. My mother raises and breeds Irish Wolfhounds, which was my introduction to the show ring. I showed in Junior Showmanship for many years before aging out and getting my first German Wirehaired Pointer. I live in Tucson, AZ with my German Wirehaired Pointer, Luke. Luke is my man, from my first home-bred litter of wires.

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