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we may have chosen our first dog!

(6 Posts)
conistonoldwoman Sun 21-Aug-11 20:53:31

Saw the litter of 4 cocker spaniel pups today. All happily playing in owners' kitchen. Mum was outside and was very good natured. dad lives in village near by and can be traced online. As first time dog owners not too sure if we asked all the right or necessary questions, altho we did take a long time dog owner fiend with us, so shall go back again. Any advice from more experienced netters please?
Most interested in knowing how you know about basic health of young 8 week old pups..ie sight hearing etc

DogsBestFriend Sun 21-Aug-11 21:38:44

Unless there is an unusual and happy coincidence that the very best stud dog, chosen to improve breed lines, just happens to live in a nearby village I would avoid at all costs.

This doesn't sound to me like a responsible "proper" breeder but a backyard one - someone who has chosen a handy, local nearby local candidate as a stud without regard to the correct selection of the stud.

A reputable breeder will never:

Let you buy without interrogating you about your home, family and lifestyle and knowledge of the breed/dogs in general or without meeting all the family concerned, plus any other dog you may already have and ensuring that you are ALL fully on board with the decision to have a dog.

Advertise in a shop window/free ads/local press. Or Gumtree, Pets4Homes or epupz, all of which are notorious for puppy farmers and shitty backyard breeders. FGS avoid if they do. A reputable breeder should only breed when they have homes lined up in advance as well as a reserve list should any of those potential homes fall through.

Offer anything but original documents proving health checks on both parents.

Breed, as I said, without ensuring that they are maintaining/improving good breed lines.

Suggest that the dogs are KC registered or KC accredited and that therefore they are automatically decent breeders. 90% of puppy farmed and backyard bred dogs are KC reg, it means sweet nothing.

Do anything but ensure that you sign a contract to say that you will return the dog to THEM and not sell or pass on if you ever cannot keep him or if he develops serious health problems which you are unable to deal with, even if thats in 15 years time... and that they will KEEP him and not put to sleep unless he is suffering incurably.

Look out for:

Their local authority breeding license. They don't need one if they breed less than 5 litters in any 12 months (which is all wrong but that's another story!). If they do, call the council and check them out.

They should never breed a bitch under 2 and never repeatedly breed from her or breed her after she's 5 years old. Certainly not breed from her from one season to the next.

They should be able to speak with authority on genetics, breed lines and so on.

Membership of the breed club. Ask if they're members and if so which and check up on them. If not, why not? Alarm bells.

Do they show? Ask for more info and check up.

Ring your local, independent rescues and your Dog Warden and ask them if they know anything about these people.

Google their phone numbers, landline and mobile and also their email address. Ask for these if you don't have them all. See if they are/have advertised any other pups or dogs for sale and if so WHERE they've advertised.

I'm not a Cocker person, love em as I do, so can't advise on all the correct tests which parents and pups should have but please consult the breed club for information on these and ensure that every one is carried out, with original proof and details of the assessing vet - and check with that vet. Vets must ensure client confidentiality but it's always worth trying, some are more accommodating to people in your shoes than others.

DogsBestFriend Sun 21-Aug-11 21:45:52

PS WHY was Mum outside? Is that where she lives? If so, alarm bells. Some might think this okay but I wouldn't recommend it or ever advocate/do it, especially for a postpartum bitch.

How old are the pups?

And were you told that you must visit again? You should have been! Once is not enough, for you to get sufficient info when all excited about it or for the breeder to make assessment of your suitability (no offence intended, hope you see what I mean!).

Were you asked for a deposit? Told you could secure a pup by deposit without seeing them?

Are the pups going to be fully vaccinated? You need the vets card for this with signature, vets stamp and the sticky from the vax bottle on the card saying what was administered - and check with that vet that the vax have been carried out anyway.

Will think of more in a mo. Am a rescuer, btw, not a breeder, have learned this the hard way from those who have made the mistake of buying from unscrupulous "breeders".

ditavonteesed Mon 22-Aug-11 08:06:42

are they working cockers or show? major difference in temprement well worth reading up about. The main health tests for cocker are PRA eye tests and hip scores. there is also a dna eye test which is obviously better and tells you not only that the dog is clear but that that they dont carry the gene.

CalamityKate Mon 22-Aug-11 10:11:30

Everything DBF said.

People often make a big thing of "Both Mum And Dad Can Be Seen" but frankly I'd rather see "Mum Can Be Seen But Since The Best Possible Dad Lives 400 Miles Away And I Had To Take A Week Off Work To Take Mum To Him, You'll Have To Make Do With Photos."

Hate hearing "We're going to let Fluffy have a litter because she'd make a lovely Mum and my mate up the road's got a dog the same breed" hmm

rainbowinthesky Mon 22-Aug-11 10:24:40

We have a cocker and they are fantastic dogs especially with children. Ours is 5 years old now and he is dd's (nearly 8) best friend.
There is a really good cocker forum. I think it's called cockersonline.

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