been written on how to find a reputable breeder. All
in an attempt to put a stop to pet mills and
abandoned dogs. But too many prospective puppy
buyers are just as irresponsible as some breeders.
So now, serious, quality breeders, have taken steps
to protect both their dogs and their privacy.
have changed a great deal, so have puppy buyers and
breeders. More people live in apartments or have
small yards. As the population ages and there are
more `empty nests', demands for companion pets have
changed. Small dogs that are easy to keep inside and
dogs that require less exercise room are becoming
more desirable. So why should looking for such a dog
be any different than looking for some of the more
common, large breed dogs? Let's go step by step with
an explanation from the breeder's point of view.
the litter. This comes from the large litters that
big dogs can have. Large dogs can have 10 or more
pups, while small breeds may have 1 to 4 pups in a
litter. Large litters usually have a couple of large
pups and maybe a smaller "runt". The smallest pup in
a toy breed litter is usually small because of
careful breeding, not the weakness usually thought
of in "runts", These are also the most sought after.
If the breeder has a waiting list, the best pup will
go to someone wanting a show dog. A person wanting a
pet and only paying pet price will not get to "pick"
the show puppy. A direct quote from Cornell
University's DOG WATCH Newsletter, Vol.1, No. 8, Oct
97, states "No one has yet been able to find a
direct correlation between a dog's behavior at seven
weeks and at two years." Good breeders try to match
the person with the pup the buyer desires. Another
quote from the same source states " good breeders
who know their dogs and how to interview the
prospective owners often can do a better job of
picking the right pup than the prospective owners
the parents. Many times only the mother of the pup
is available for the buyer to see. Good breeders
often go to someone with a superior male to improve
the quality of their dogs. Buyers should not be
discouraged to see only one parent of the puppy.
Buyers may not understand the toll that having pups
takes on the mother. If she is a long-haired breed,
she may have been clipped by the owner for her
comfort and for the good of the pups. She will not
look ready for the show ring at the time the pups
are ready to go. These things need to be considered
when seeing the parents.
the kennel or home. This is where the greatest
change is taking place today. Small and rare breed
dogs are more popular than ever. A buyer usually
does not realize the number of calls a breeder can
get every day from people who just want to see what
a particular breed looks like, with no intention of
buying a dog. Directly related stories and personal
experiences of breeders indicate that potential
buyers and "window shoppers" abuse his piece of
advice the most! Breeders have outside jobs, family
obligations and , of course, the dogs. They are
rarely sitting around for the sole convenience of
visitors! Here are just a few ways that the words
"kennel inspection" have been interpreted and abused
by some claiming to be looking for a puppy to add to
their family: they are on vacation and in your town.
They phone and want to see your dogs (in the next 15
minutes)---only because you happen to be nearby when
they run out of sights to see! OR a family or friend
are visiting for the weekend, so looking at your
pups would be a good way to pass the time. OR, the
grandkids are visiting and it is time to take them
out for a while!
these people called to make an appointment. None had
any desire to buy a dog. They used the "kennel
inspection " excuse to treat the breeder like a free
petting zoo, there to entertain them when they have
nothing else to do. Now add to this the number of
people who are truly doing their beat to find the
right dog for them.
have other things to worry about in addition to
inconsiderate, bored window shoppers. Puppy diseases
are easily spread by even the most casual contact.
The best breeders will not allow their puppies to be
seen or handled until the puppy has had it's first
shots, usually not before 5 weeks old. By this time,
the breeder may have deposits on the pups from
people who are more familiar with the breed and the
breeder's pedigrees. This can be frustrating to the
pet buyer who is taking the advice usually printed
about finding a breeder.
should not be offended if the breeder suggests a
first meeting at a dog show or other place. This
gives the breeder time to meet the potential owner
of one of their precious babies, and gives the buyer
the chance to see other dogs of the same breed.
the breeder is also a public groomer or boarding
kennel, they may not carry the type of insurance
that would protect them from minor lawsuits. This
can be a problem when people insist on bringing a
small child or their current dog to see the pup.
Children have been known to to wander around the
breeders home, peering into kitchen cabinets,
pulling flowers and bulbs from the garden, and even
attempting to enter bedrooms, basements and garages!
Careless parents have handed small puppies to a
child, only to have the child drop the pup and break
adults are worse (because they should know better).
They do not seem to understand that they are in a
breeders HOME, and do not respect the breeder's
privacy. Some breeder's do not allow others to see
or handle pups that have a deposit on them, as these
pups are now the property of others. This disturbs
some buyers, but remember, the breeder will protect
the pup YOU buy from strangers. There are some
people who do not know when to leave. The breeder
may have to go to work, cook supper, answer the
phone or any number of life's activities.
there is the breeder's nightmare-thieves! I am a
member of a large, all-breed, show-sponsoring club.
At our last show, flyers had to be posted warning
owners to watch their dogs because of a recent rash
of dog thefts. Small breeds of dogs are popular,
hard to get and easy to carry off! Breeders have had
pups stolen from their home when they went to answer
the phone while the "prospective" buyers were
looking at the pups. Others have lost pups after
showing the pups, only to have the "buyer" return
when the owner was not home, to break in a steal all
the pups. Even more disturbing, some have had their
home robbed of personal property several days after
showing the pups and allowing a "kennel inspection",
even though they had NO kennel, just a spare room
for the puppy nursery.
are some very dedicated breeders who live alone. In
society today, they have to exercise even more
caution to insure their safety and peace of mind.
They may not desire to have a stranger visit, but
they may still be producing wonderful dogs. To not
consider one of these simply because you cannot go
to their home may deprive you of the very pup you
are searching for!
want to bring cameras and take pictures of the pups
and the home.
truly an invasion of privacy! Besides the obvious
objection to this, the pictures may not be well
taken. Many breeders go to great pains to have
quality pictures taken of their dogs. If you want
pictures, ask for some from the breeder, they will
be happy to give you good ones. If you buy a pup, do
not take photos at the breeders home without
permission. After all, the pup will not change in
the time it takes for you to get to your own home.
References. This is another area that needs to be
re-considered. All the things that apply to the
breeder also apply to those who own a pup. They did
not get a dog so that strangers can call or even
attempt to visit to see a dog that they bought as a
family pet. Add to this, that this is probably the
most inaccurate way to determine a breeder's
quality. Anyone can give you the phone number of a
friend. Even Vets do not make good references, as
many have no idea of the standard for the breed,
although they should be knowledgeable on health
better way to compare breeders is to look at the
guarantee that they offer. Do not expect every
guarantee to be the same.
practices have changed because of buyer education.
Now buying practices need to adjust to better serve
the buying public and protect the breeder and
should you expect to do to get a great pup? First,
know the breed. Do not expect the breeder to supply
you with a library of information simply because you
have a casual interest or are investigating several
breeds. Call the National Breed Club and see what
information they will send you. Go to the library
and read up on the breed if you know nothing about
it. If you have never seen the breed, go to a dog
show, It is not the breeder's job to put on a
private show of all their dogs just because they may
have a pup for sale. You are not entitled to see all
their dogs--only the parents! Then you will be
prepared to ask the breeder specific questions
relating to their dogs and your desires.
permission © Carol Bixler
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