8 Tips for Selecting a Quality Breeder
Some people are of the opinion that breeders are just one more source contributing to the massive number of dogs in need of homes. While this may be true in the case of puppy mills and internet breeders out to make a quick buck, ethical breeders take concern for the welfare of dogs to a whole new level. Aside from maintaining the standards of a particular breed, qualitybreeders are tasked with the HUGE responsibility of breeding healthy dogs with good temperaments. They want their dogs to live a long, happy, healthy life with you and all people they encounter. This comes with the understanding that the best chance of success for an animal they bring into the world starts in their capable hands. Educated, ethical breeders are not the problem, although identifying them can be challenging. Below are guidelines for selectinga quality breeder:
- Start your search by identifying the right dog for you. Daniel F. Tortora, Ph.D. has a wonderful book with the same name, “The Right Dog for You”, where he helps you choose the breed that best matches your personality, family, and lifestyle. Educating yourself on different breeds’ physical and temperamental characteristics means knowing what you are getting yourself and loved ones into. This can save a lot of heartache from unrealistic expectations.
- Once you have a breed match or two in mind, research the official club for each breed. This is where you’ll find a list of ethical breeders or at least someone who can refer you to one. Make sure they discuss concern for and promote ethical breeding, breed standards, and a good temperament.
- Contact breeders with good reputations and be clear in what you are looking for. While they may be breeding great dogs, don’t expect a couch potato from hunting or working lines or dogs bred for performance. An ethical breeder will refer you to someone who can give you what you want.
- Narrow down your list to 3 to 5 breeders that you feel “get” you and your lifestyle. Arrange a time to meet with them and their dogs at their facility where the dogs will be raised for the first 8 weeks. While in-home puppy raising is preferred, kennel facilities should be clean with minimal odor. Ask about a socialization program.
- Attend shows or events where your potential breeder’s dogs are performing so you can see them in action. Who knows, you may find another breeder with a line that better suits your needs.
- The parents should be VERY FRIENDLY and cleared of all genetic diseases as identified by the club’s medical information resources. Go to https://www.ofa.org to find the breeder’s dogs to check out who and what is being tested. Testing for eye problems can be researched at https://www.ofa.org/diseases/eye-certification.
- DO NOT feel pressured into picking a puppy from the first litter you see. It is okay to look around before making a decision. Remember that the puppy you pick could be in your life for the next 15+ years, so it is important to choose wisely.
- Before picking out a puppy, always meet the mother and father, if possible. As long as they greet you in a friendly manner, proceed to puppy selection. Genes influence behavior so chances are good that the pups will have a friendly demeanor in adulthood if the parents are friendly.
No matter your opinion on breeders, when it comes down to it, all dog lovers want is to love and to be loved by an animal. These tips are designed to help you ensure the best life for you and your little buddy.