Signs to look for when buying a puppy.
If you look up the word “breeder” on Wikipedia you will find a definition that reads: “A breeder
is a person who selectively breeds carefully selected mates, normally of the same breed to sexually reproduce offspring with specific, consistently replicable qualities and characteristics.” Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.
There’s a big difference between a Responsible Preservation Breeder and an irresponsible breeder. Sometimes referred to as “Backyard Breeders”, irresponsible breeders breed dogs without much effort in breeding selectively, and are generally doing it to make money or simply for the experience of raising puppies. A Responsible Preservation Breeder is someone who has been dedicated for years (often decades) to contributing to the preservation and improvement of their breed of choice.
(photo credit: Annie Lambert)
For a puppy buyer in this day and age it can be tough to tell the difference between the two. If you don’t really know where to look it’s easy to get caught by flashy, “first pages up in the search” Google and Facebook results, filled with adorable puppy photos. The truth is though, that anyone with a couple hundred dollars can hire a web designer to put together an impressive site.
To begin your search for a Responsible Breeder, I always recommend connecting with a breeder who is a member of the Canadian Kennel Club by using their Puppy List
. To use the Puppy List, simply type in the name of the breed you’re interested in, then click on the text beneath the image of the dog. Once you do, a list of nearby breeders’ contact information will appear.
How can a puppy buyer know if they are dealing with a reputable, responsible and dedicated Preservation Breeder? There are some clues to look for.
(photo credit: Dana Cranstone)
A Responsible Preservation Breeder:
- Puts tons of thought and consideration into each litter. They study pedigrees, go to shows, and meet other breeders and dogs. Arranging a mating often takes weeks, possibly months of corresponding with fellow breeders. Their female was screened and cleared by veterinary specialists for health issues and they verify that the stud dog undergoes similar testing. They travel great hours or pay to have the stud brought to their home.
- Wants to know all about you and your plans for the puppy. A Responsible Preservation Breeder will ask questions like: What hours do you work? Have you owned a dog before? What dog sports do you plan on participating in? Do you have children? Does anyone in your home have allergies? Have you hired a dog walker? Have you picked a Veterinarian? Many request that potential puppy buyers fill out questionnaires.
- Is happy to introduce you to the puppies’ mother and maybe other relatives as well. A Responsible Preservation Breeder is proud of the dogs they have bred as they are committed to producing puppies that are good examples of their breed, with great health as well as temperament.
- Is in no hurry to sell you a puppy. They will correspond with you to see if you are a right fit for one of their puppies. A Responsible Preservation Breeder won’t let their puppies go to their new homes until they are between 8 and 12 weeks. They may not have a litter right now and may have to put you on a waiting list.
- Provides a record of all the vaccines, de-worming and veterinary attention the puppy has received to date. Most Responsible Preservation Breeders offer detailed health guarantees.
- Will gladly give you the phone numbers and emails of past puppy buyers so that you can speak with them about their dogs and their experience.
- Will commit to registering the litter and puppies with the Canadian Kennel Club. As the breeder has six months from the date of sale to get the papers to the new owners, a Responsible Preservation Breeder will gladly show you the dam and sire’s certificates of registration.
- Is continuously interested in your puppy after they go home. They are always there to answer questions via email, call or text. A Responsible Preservation Breeder wants to see pictures of how your boy or girl is doing. They are genuinely excited when your dog completes puppy kindergarten, gets his first ribbon at a show or starts agility.
- Is a member of the Canadian Kennel Club, as well as a National Breed Club and probably a local kennel club as well. This is to expand their network of dedicated breeders and participate in shows and trials.
- Actively competes in CKC events like conformation, lure coursing, hunting trails/tests and/or obedience. A Responsible Preservation Breeder is happy to show you photos, ribbons and trophies their dogs have won.
- Isn’t afraid to refuse selling you a puppy if they find you or your current situation unsuitable. The well-being of their dogs is priority number one to a Responsible Preservation Breeder.
- A Responsible Breeder will move mountains before one of their dogs end up in a shelter. If an unfortunate circumstance arises, they will take back your dog if you are unable to keep him, and find him a good home.
Finding a Responsible Breeder takes time, patience and lots of communication. My advice is always to speak with several breeders, see who you “vibe” with and who your gut tells you cares the most about their line. A good Breeder becomes a member of your extended family and a friend you can count on for years to come.
(photo credit: Valérie Martineau)