If you've made the decision to buy your dog from a breeder, it's important to make sure you're dealing with someone who is ethical and responsible. For this article, we're not using the term breeder to refer to respectable, ethical people who are focused on bettering a certain breed of dog. We're talking about bad breeders — those looking to make a quick buck who do not have the dogs' best interests at heart.
When looking to buy a puppy, here's what a dog breeder might not tell you:
Your pup may come from show-quality "lines," but if a breeder can't tell you anything about the puppy's parents and grandparents, you may want to steer clear. "A good breeder will allow you access to the dam, and in many cases, the sire as well," says Diane Zdrodowski of Evanlake Cavaliers. "He or she will be able to honestly answer all your questions. A breeder who only has the puppies to show you may be hiding something." Also, if a breeder says you're getting a show-quality girl and that you can make a lot of money by breeding her, you're probably not dealing with the most reputable individual, explains Diane. Responsible breeders often don't allow their dogs sold as pets to breed.
An unethical breeder is not concerned with the dogs' well-being and may only be in this line of work for the money. Diane Zdrodowski has seen it all and explains how these types of people operate: "They breed random dogs or related dogs if that's all they have access to. It is most likely they do not know the health history of one or both. Even if they do, they are not honest about it. I find it's usually more ignorance than dishonesty. Most of these types of breeders will say whatever it takes to sell puppies."
Great breeders don't paint a flawless picture of the breed and dog ownership in general. There is no perfect breed of dog and any breeder who tries to minimize possible health issues may be ignorant of them or just a hobby breeder looking to make money. A reputable breeder will be honest with you about the breed and possible health concerns. Before contacting a breeder, it's best to educate yourself about the breed. While breeders are happy to answer any questions you may have, being educated about the breed will only help you and your dog.
A respectable breeder won't disappear after the sale and will offer ongoing support at any time in the future. Bad breeders won't want to hear from you about any problems after the dog is sold.
Finally, as with most things in life, it pays to do your research. Rushing into buying a puppy may backfire on you, so take your time, ask the right questions and make an informed decision.
What do you look for in a dog breeder? Share in the comments below!
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