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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

A recent thread sparked my interest regarding your thoughts on breeders.
I would like to know what you personally look for in a dog breeder?

What is important to you, and what isn't?


Here are some of the things I look for in a good breeder...

-breeding for sound temperament
-screening for genetic health defects
-someone who has planned breedings
-someone who does not sell to petstores
-breeding to preserve or better the breed
-a knowledgeable breeder, with references
-breeding as a hobby as opposed to breeding for money
-someone who keeps contact after the sale, if need be(for questions for example)
-guarantees regarding health, and contracts regarding taking the pups back if anything
-someone who respects the female dog's body and does not breed her too young, too old or too often
-someone who provides the proper care, veterinary attention and socialization the pups require before going to their new homes
-someone who puts time and energy into activities with their dogs, whether it be showing, agility, or provides an outlet in the field
that the specific breed is bred for or excels in(for example Lure Coursing for the Basenji)

...and so forth


Please let me know what is important to you in a breeder? And why?
I appreciate your feedback.
 

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I think it's very important for the breeder to ask you questions. For example what you have set up for the new puppy at home and advice you, because it shows they care about the well being of the dog.
 

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I agree with Iesha.

A breeder should know about your other pets, your willingness and ability to manage their care before they should entrust you with one of their dogs.

I would also add a breeder that breeds only KC registered dogs.
 

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I've never gotten a dog from a breeder, both my chis are rescues. But, what I would look for is:
Good health of both parents and health tests done before breeding

Breeding only when the female is of a good age and not litter after litter after litter.

Good temperament

Puppies that are soclialized and played with/cuddled daily

The mother being well fed on a high quality kibble at least or raw diet

A health guarantee

References

Someone who is interested in the breed itself and trying to better the breed by only breed well formed dogs (not that I'm all about looks by any means but I do want health. I wouldn't want a bulldog with a 4 inch underbite for example)

Someone who is willing to keep in contact after the purchase.

And here's one that matters to me that I recently learned about, some breeders will hold a female that doesn't want to breed and hold her in place while she is mated with. To me this is not cool at all. Of a dog doesn't want to breed, I do not feel she should be forced.

That is all I can think of at the moment. Pretty much the same as what you look for LS.
Oh and not someone who says let's ship your puppy cargo. If the puppy is out of state, I will fly and pick it up and have it fly back under my seat with me in the plane. Not rattling around with suit cases and no climate control.
 

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Oh and I think a breeder should not be offended by you asking them questions. They should see it as you are looking for a good healthy puppy and you'll be a good home.
 

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To be honest, it did not cross my mind before getting Gemma that any breeder would not do health screenings on the dogs they were going to breed to check for genetic defects. I don't know if Gemma's breeder does this with her dogs, so I can only hope.

Gemma's mom has had two litters and the breeder seems very responsible in choosing owners. She has also kept in contact with me and even added me on Facebook and loves to stay updated on Gemma. She stays in contact with most of the people who have bought puppies from her. She is happy to help with any questions I have. I think that's really important from a breeder and shows that the breeder is truly interested in the lifelong well-being of her puppies and isn't just out to make the money and run.

Gemma is not pedigree registered so I obviously don't mind non-pedigree breeders. Her mother has papers, but her father doesn't. I would have liked for her to have papers, but she stole my heart at first sight so it just didn't matter to me after that.

The fact that Gemma's breeder also told us Gemma is not suitable for breeding because of her small size was also a good sign to me. Her mother is small but has the long body necessary for carrying puppies. Gemma's body is not quite as long and the breeder said she should not be bred due to her size, not that I had any plans to anyways.

I also find it important that the dogs being bred are treated as pets by the breeders and not financial assets.
 

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I've only ever bought one dog from a breeder. However, I have had a pedigree Burmese cat from a very good breeder, and a British Shorthair cat from a useless breeder. The Burmese was fantastic, loving, affectionate, beautiful to look at. The British Shorthair cat on the other hand, ended up being put to sleep because he became so aggressive he attacked us without warning. It was like living with a dangerous dog. In hindsight, we should never have got him. The breeder did not care about her cats, the cat wasn't a registered pedigree, there was no aftercare from the breeder; she wanted nothing to do with us. Which was in complete contrast with the breeder of the Burmese, who really cared about her animals and kept in contact throughout the cat's life.

With regards to when I purchased Milo, I wanted:

  • A breeder registered with the KC
  • A knowledgeable breeder
  • A breeder who would only allow the dog to be taken back to HER and not sold or adopted
  • Had all the relevant paperwork, insurance, up to date worming, flea treatment written down and was very organised
  • A breeder who was willing to keep in contact with me throughout the dog's life, help with any problems and genuinely wanted updates and photos on his progress
  • A breeder who clearly loved and cared for their animals to a high standard
  • A breeder whose dogs had exceptional temperaments
  • A breeder who owned and was able to show me as much of the puppy's extended family as possible. In Milo's case I was able to see (and cuddle!) his Mum, Dad and Grandma.

Those are the points I can think of at the moment. And of course I need to add I have a rescue crossbreed, so I know being registered/pedigree isn't essential! I just really wanted a pedigree chihuahua so I knew (hopefully) EXACTLY what I was getting.
 

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Caitlin, I thought the same as you when I got Lion and Penny. I just assumed all breeders health test, but now I know that is not true. Their breeder is a very nice woman, she has kept in contact with me ever since I bought my dogs. She took great care of them when they lived with her. She fed a pretty good quality food. However, I would not buy another dog from her again, because I now know that she doesn't health test and some of her dogs are not to standard.
 

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Things I looked for when I got Toby:

-The parents were on premises (I met mom, dad, aunt, and grandpa).
-The breeder was willing to let me see her home and meet all of her dogs.
-The breeder was knowledgeable about the breed.
-The breeder provided references.
-A health guarantee and proven genetic testing on mom and dad.
-The breeder asked me a ton of questions to gauge my personality, lifestyle, and goals.
-The breeder breeds for good temperament and to better the breed.
-She did not try to convince me of a certain puppy, she just told me the temperaments and which ones she thought would fit.
-The breeder retires all of her breeding dogs at a reasonable age and they go to responsible homes already spayed/neutered.

And way more... most of which everyone else said.
 

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Caitlin, I thought the same as you when I got Lion and Penny. I just assumed all breeders health test, but now I know that is not true. Their breeder is a very nice woman, she has kept in contact with me ever since I bought my dogs. She took great care of them when they lived with her. She fed a pretty good quality food. However, I would not buy another dog from her again, because I now know that she doesn't health test and some of her dogs are not to standard.
I'm in the same boat, Missy. I really like Gemma's breeder as a person. She assured us Gemma was a perfectly healthy, happy puppy when we were going to buy her and she seems to be so far. She's a great lady and she shows genuine care for her dogs and puppies, but I wouldn't buy another puppy from her unless I found out she did health screenings on both of her dogs.
 

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When I get a dog, I don't go to a breeder. I know that probably sounds bad, but there are already so many unwanted pets out there. I usually only like having one inside dog at a time because that's all I can handle right now. I wish I could take more, but we don't have room or the money to take em all. I usually go to a shelter or like with Cricket, when I see one isn't being treated the way it should be, beg and beg until she is mine. Either way, that's what I prefer, but if I did go to a breeder I would want them to be healthy. No puppy mills. Sad thing is its hard to tell for me. Y'all had some good responses that made it easy for me to spot.
 

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I guess since I have my first litter of puppies on the ground, I now am -- gasp -- a "breeder".

I agree with most of your comments, LS.

I select all of my dogs in regard to health first. I don't breed them before they are old enough to pass OFA Patella & Cardiac exams and they need to also have passed their CERF eye exam. I randomly screen for Legg Calve Perthes disease...this isn't required or recommended by the parent club but sadly it is a problem in our breed.

Temperament and conformation come next -- since I am breeding first and foremost for myself, to produce puppies for me to show, it's very important that the dogs have temperaments that can withstand the pressures of a show ring and the hectic environment. You can bet your bottom dollar if a dog can withstand that, they will do great as an every-day pet! Conformation is important because without it, they won't get anywhere in the show ring. Correct conformation also is the absolute best shot at a body that can be sound and free of genetic defects.

It goes without saying, I'd rather DIE than ever sell one of my puppies to a pet store! They are priceless to me. And they have a home here for life, if something goes wrong or if they are born with a problem that makes them incompatible with being someone's forever pet.

I absolutely laugh when people think that done right, you are going to make money breeding. I am so far in the hole right now, you don't even want to know. It's money I will never, ever recover. Money that is just an afterthought, even if I sell a pet for $1000 out of a litter, that doesn't even cover 1/8 the cost of producing a litter the right way. Yep - you read that right...getting a litter on the ground, a single litter, of 2-4 puppies, costs close to $8000. Champion, health tested parents with emotional stability ain't cheap ;) So, it's kind of offensive to me when someone says or implies I am just breeding for money. I do this because I love it and because I am fascinated by producing a better, sounder dog.

I'm always available to answer questions. Talk to their vet if need be. 24 hours a day if there is something wrong with the puppy - just call. If something is wrong with the puppy and you don't want it, it is REQUIRED to come back to me. I don't want people rehoming a puppy; I want to find the home for it. It's my fault I found the wrong home in the first place even though circumstances do change for people. I guarantee life threatening defects and will replace any puppy if there is one. Puppies will always receive a thorough check up from a vet before I will even accept a deposit on that puppy. They don't leave until a minimum of 14 weeks. I start potty training them for you, socializing them for you, and getting them eating well for you.

Generally I try to retire my bitches by age 4. Sometimes younger. If I get a female replacement out of the bitch that is better than she is, you can bet I will be replacing her with her daughter. I have limited space so I do rehome retired adults. To be totally honest I feel like that is the best thing for them. I also retire dogs that do not pass a health test or that have an unstable temperament. All of my dogs live in my house, as pets. This enables them to easily transfer their life to a new home and you can bet there is no happier dog than one that finally gets a mommy or a daddy all to themselves :) For that reason I do not retire dogs into families that already have multiple dogs; the point is for that sweet baby to finally get it's one on one or max two on two attention ;)

All of this takes a lot of time. I haven't slept the last week and a half because I have a preemie litter on the ground that needed to be fed every 1 1/2 hours to keep them alive. They needed oxygen support, subcutaneous fluid support, and being latched onto and held onto mom almost constantly. I won't even pay a fraction of the vet bills from this litter, with the one or two puppies sold from it. LOL I won't even get the stud fee back. But, that's not really the point.

Puppies and dogs get fed a premium diet (including a large amount of raw!), have cozy beds, learn crate training and potty training. They are socialized daily before they leave. I spent almost every weekend spring and fall away at conformation shows, proving my dogs are physically qualified to be bred...time away from my family and my home and my other dogs.

So...after all that work, you can bet its annoying to me when I see someone who has a litter of puppies carelessly bred with no intention other than 'puppies'! or even worse 'money!'.
 

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Flippedstars, I just wanted to tell you that I admire your breeding standards and ethic. Thank you for bettering the breed and doing the best you can do to make great, well adjusted Chis.
 

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-breeding for sound temperament - yes, but can never assume that just because parents are wonderful that pup will be, so can never guaranteed
-screening for genetic health defects - Absolutely, but I've been caught out several times and spent many $1k's rectifying, despite being shown every certificate known to Vet science
-someone who has planned breedings - Means diddly squat to me, they can plan as much as they like, the above still may occur
-someone who does not sell to petstores Depends on the person, their age, their circumstances - many a good breeder will but who's willing to take that gamble
-breeding to preserve or better the breed They'll ALL tell you they are BUT they're only human and, if that's the case, why do so many breeds go downhill and perpetuate genetical problems due to line breeding etc
-a knowledgeable breeder, with references Wouldn't pay any attention to references written about puppies, of course they'll all be glowing. I would want phone numbers of people who've had their dogs for at least 18 months to 2 years to get the whole truth & nothing but the truth because many problems don't show up in puppyhood.
-breeding as a hobby as opposed to breeding for money They ALL breed purebreds (and some designer x's) for money, let's not kid ourselves. No-one breeds & then sells pups they'll never see again for the sheer joy of it.
-someone who keeps contact after the sale, if need be(for questions for example) Absolutely
-guarantees regarding health, and contracts regarding taking the pups back if anything Absolutely, but again, most issues don't show up until the dog is older & well ensconced into our lives & hearts so breeders are pretty safe there, hence nail the contracts so they contribute for anything congenital showing up before 2yo.
-someone who respects the female dog's body and does not breed her too young, too old or too often Absolutely but they can tell you one thing & do another
-someone who provides the proper care, veterinary attention and socialization the pups require before going to their new homes Asolutely, hence I would always try to avoid buying from larger kennels that keep dogs outside in runs etc, they tend to feed, clean, leave so zero socialisation
-someone who puts time and energy into activities with their dogs, whether it be showing, agility Preferably yes BUT some of my best dogs have come from women who're so old/frail they've been no longer able to do much else other than sit. The lady I bought my 2 boys from is having to stop breedings because she can't even assist at the births anymore because her hands are so terribly deformed from arthritis. All depends on circumstances
 

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Pretty much everything you said LS plus it's important to me that they are raised in a home environment, not a kennel set up. Makes the transition to the new home easier on the puppy and shows that they are bred to be a treasured pet not just to make money.

I noticed a big difference between the breeder I got Ax and Chloe off and the new puppy's breeder. The first breeder was nice and quite knowledgeable but she didn't ask that much about me or my home. The breeder of the new puppy grilled me on my other dogs sizes and personalities (and made me send pics and weights) and on the set up I'm planning to have for the puppy in my home. Also we have been in contact every couple of days since the first phone call whereas I spoke to the other breeder only at the initial enquiry, when I visited the puppies once and on pick up day.
 

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I think parent titling is very important. Also as said- genetic testing and breeding only even tempered dogs, few litter per year.

I can't say I agree with contracts that offer to take the pup back. If some genetic defect rears its ugly head after you've already fallen in love with the pup, it'd be very hard to bring it back. If anything, I'd want help with vet bills.

Also, I think the breeder should screen homes before selling the pup. Not everyone is suited for a puppy, and they should not be handed with the first person with cash. As said before, they should ask questions about the potential buyer's lifestyle, habits, etc. so they can place a puppy that would match their needs. It's usually not a good idea to let the buyer pick their own pup - they don't know their personalities like the breeder does.

I've only rescued so far, but I may get one from a breeder down the road.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Very interesting to read everyone's views, thank you girls for sharing.





When I get a dog, I don't go to a breeder. I know that probably sounds bad, but there are already so many unwanted pets out there....
That does NOT sound bad at all. I support adoption. To me adopting a shelter,
a rescue or a neglected, no longer wanted, etc. dog is ideal. My point is not to
put down rescues in any way, since I rescue myself. The idea is to compare
different breeding practices, and see what people look for when they choose
to buy from a breeder instead of adopting. In my opinion the two best options
when considering a new addition/pet is to either adopt or support a responsible
breeder. So don't ever feel bad about rescuing an unwanted pet, it is a beautiful
and kind gesture.
 

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Years ago, I bred Golden retrievers. My screening process for potential buyers was considered a nightmare by most. I did it almost like a good rescue group would do - I even went to a few homes to check out the situations with questionable potential buyers.

I didn't sell to anyone with small children, unless the children had been raised around animals and knew how to treat them.

I didn't sell to anyone who didn't have a fenced yard for the dogs, even if they said they were going to keep them indoors.

I required a meeting at my house face to face with all family members of the potential buyer (to make sure everyone was on board with the idea of a new pet), and a list of 3 references - non family. If anything seemed in the least bit 'off', I either declined them or did the home visit with the pup. I turned down more people than I care to remember.

They were all vet checked and up to date on shots and wormed, and did not go up for sale until they were 10 weeks old.

I had an application/contract drawn up stating my responsibilities for health issues as the breeder, and their responsibilities to have the dogs spayed or neutered. I also stated in the contract that should they decide they could not keep the pup / adult dog for any reason, I would be the first one they would call. I helped to rehome 2 over a period of about 10 years of breeding - one because the owner died, and the other because the owners could not control the dog and had a baby - that one slipped past me! I also made sure that I could stay in contact with the buyers - and most of them kept in contact with me with questions, etc. The contract was signed and notarized.

I would expect the same from any breeder I bought from.

Rescue groups around here put you through a very similar process. Why should it be any different for an actual breeder to do so? If anyone had a problem with the way I handled homing the puppies, they weren't going to get one, simple as that.
 

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1.I am an Accredited Breeder on the ASSURED BREEDER SCHEME through the KENNEL CLUB
2. All my Chihuahuas are in good health, reguarly vet checked, wormed and given flea and tick treatment.
3. You can visit me and see all my Chihuahuas in my home. They are family pets too!
4. All puppies sold are vet checked, screened and vaccinated before being sold so you can be sure they are healthy.
5. All my puppies are socialised and handled to ensure that they are friendly and use to people and other dogs.
6 I have several years experience in keeping and breeding Chihuahuas.
7. I do not ask for a deposit without you first seeing the puppies and the environment that they have been reared in. I will only ask for a deposit once you are 100% satisfied that you want to purchase a Chihuahua puppy
8. I offer a 1 year health guarantee.
9.I always discuss with potential buyers about their knowledge and what they want from a Chihuahua.

It is important to me as a breeder that all my puppies are going to nice forever homes (although sadly that cannot always be guaranteed)



8. I am happy to offer lifetime advice to you in regards to any Chihuahua issue
 
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