So you want to be a breeder?
You may think it to be a tremendous joy watching your dog give birth to a litter of sweet, adorable, little puppies; and even more joy watching them grow up: week 1, week 2, week 3…. awwwwww!
Let us consider reality! There are thousands of dogs being given up to shelters and city pounds, waiting for a forever home, while endless litters of puppies are being delivered because of inexperienced and irresponsible “backyard” breeders. Perhaps it is long overdue that we leave the breeding to those that have the experience, the knowledge, and breed for the “betterment” of the breed in which they specialize.
The Puppy Mill Problem
Aside from damaging the breed as a whole, certain irresponsible breeders, known as “puppy millers,” are creating a network of misery and greed, for the sole purchase of profit. Every time a puppy is purchased from a pet store, another puppy mill is being supported. Thousands of dogs throughout the country are suffering because of puppy mills. Dogs of all shapes and sizes are locked into tiny cages where they freeze during the winter and swelter during the summer.
If you are not willing to adopt a dog, and would rather purchase a puppy, let us differentiate between a reputable breeder, and an irresponsible one:
- Motive for breeding is mainly due to one or all of the following reasons: for fun, for money, for the kids.
- Do not properly screen buyers to ensure that potential owners have done their research on what it means to own a dog, or on the breed in general.
- Breeds the dog to any other available dog; sometimes resulting in purebred pups/sometimes in mix-breed pups. Backyard breeders do not have concern for genetics, pedigree bloodlines, or breed improvement.
- Offer no extended health guarantee, and refuses to help if problems arise; whether health or behavioral.
- Bitch and Sire are not health tested for hip dysplasia or for other genetic problems such as cardiomyopathy and hypothyroidism.
- Little knowledge of the breed, and is not involved in rescue or championship breed standards of any reputable club or kennel. Simply not involved in showing the dogs and improving the breed.
- Pups raised in makeshift accommodations, sometimes unsanitary, indicating lack of long-term investment in breeding and lack of true care for the puppies well-being.
- Not willing to show both parents to interested buyers.
- Prices are at the low end of local range, since must move pups quickly. Advertises in the local newspaper classifieds.
- Has no concern for the wellbeing of the puppies, and does not provide a detailed contract regarding the future of the pups; does not use AKC’s limited registration option or ask for spay/neuter contract to guard against the breeding of sub-standard pups. If owner cannot keep the puppy, is not interested in taking it back.
- Has no references and/or refuses to give out veterinary contact information.
- Sells mixed-breed dogs for an arm and a leg.
Look for these types of breeders:
- Has been involved in the breed at hand for years, and has/is involved in rescue and conformation showing.
- Is not in it for the money. Most dedicated breeders end up looking more funds than gaining.
- Breeds solely for the betterment of the breed.
- Has experience and extended knowledge of both the bitch and sire, their bloodlines, and the breed in general.
- Screens and provides proof of genetic health testing.
- Is glad to provide any information about the parents and the puppies.
- Does NOT breed dogs that are under 2 years of age, and has one litter no more than once every two years.
- The dogs are house pets first. Any breeder that keeps their dogs in outside kennels most of the time may end up with puppies that possess temperament defects due to improper socialization from lack of a household environment.
- Will gladly provide the contact information of their veterinarian and several past purchasers to serve as references.
- Provides health guarantee and insists on staying in touch to ensure the wellbeing of the puppy.
- Ensures that pups do not leave the mother and litter until they are at least 8 weeks of age.
- Is interested in who the buyers are, and makes sure to fully screen; goes as far as visiting purchaser’s home.
- Makes reservations in advance for the puppies that will be produced and is willing to take back puppies from buyers if the need arises.
- Temperament tests the parents and the litter.
- Has a detailed contract in place for the pups, ensuring that they must be spayed/neutered, and brought back to the breeder if the buyer cannot keep the dog for any reason.