Importance of relationship to breeder?(7 Posts)
After years of thinking about it, we are now finally in the position to get a puppy (a mini schnauzer), hopefully this spring. I work from home, dc are 8 and 11 and mature enough, and dh, who has never had a dog before, is now very keen as well.
I have been in contact with four breeders (all registered and active in the breeding club etc.) Breeders A, B, and C are hoping for one litter each later this spring, and these would be available towards May/June. Breeder D had a litter this Saturday, and has been in contact to ask whether we would be interested. The puppy would then be ready to come home with us at the end of March.
My intuitive impressions lead me to prefer breeder A (who is very well-reputed, and we also have friends who have good experiences with two consecutive puppies from this breeder), as well as breeders B and C. This is based on the "tone" in our respective e-mail correspondences as well as a general impression from the information/pictures available on web sites.
As for breeder D, on the other hand, after a two hour long phone conversation, I don't really "like" her a lot. There is no objective reason for this really, she asked lots of relevant follow-up questions to my lengthy e-mail, and talked alot about the breed and puppy routines etc. It is just that I didn't feel that she listened to the questions I had, and also that she was quite fixed in her thinking. I am not sure that this would be a person that I would feel comfortable contacting for advice if needed further on.
I realize that my impression of this breeder may very well change if and when we meet in person, as we would of course visit the puppies and their mother in a month or so. I also have no doubts that she is trustworthy in terms of her breeding practices. She has a trusted position in the breeding club and I know that she is friends with the breeders that I have more positive impressions of.
So my question is really how important you would say it is to have a good personal connection with the breeder, if everything else seems fine? Am I overthinking this? The thing is that she has four male puppies (we would like a boy), and of course there is no guarantee that there will be a puppy for us with the other breeders later in the spring. But I am leaning towards waiting anyway, just to make sure that the puppy is from a breeder that I really feel comfortable with.... Is this silly?
(By the way, we are not in the UK, if anyone started wondering about which breeders I might be referring to :-))
Personally I think having a good relationship with a breeder is absolutely invaluable. Having someone on hand to ask questions (or even just lean on for support in the "oh god, what have I done" early days) who not only knows their stuff with regards to raising dogs in general but knows the individual puppy inside out and is just as invested in them growing up into a well rounded, happy dog is just fantastic.
I became good friends with the breeder of DWhippet1 (first puppy from a breeder) and subsequently had two more pups from her over the next few years. With both litters she made me feel involved right from the start, talking over stud choices and the keeping me updated right the way through the whole process. I still remember her texting the morning DWhippet2 was born saying she thought right away this particular puppy was going to be mine and he did indeed end up being my perfect fit from that litter.
Very sadly she died last year and I miss that relationship so much. In future I will absolutely factor in how well I get on with the breeder very highly when it comes to choosing someone to have a puppy from. There's another whippet breeder whose dogs are fabulous and whose ethos I love but I would find someone else if if didn't feel comfortable approaching her with questions, worries or anything else.
Just to clarify my last paragraph a little, I wouldn't compromise on the ethics of a breeder in favour of having a good relationship with them. I'd pick a less approachable decent breeder rather than compromising on anything important like health tests, breeding choices, how the puppies were raised, etc.
Given the choice between multiple genuinely good breeders though, I'd always go with the one who I got on the best and felt most comfortable with.
my puppies breeder is now one of my best friends.
i too did a huge amount of research and visits before the puppies were even conceived let alone born and when i did finally choose i visited lots of times.
i think its imperative to actually like the person. you need to trust them too. i asked so many stupid questions before she was born and since and the breeder has never batted an eye at any of them. we still visit often and my puppy loves her, i would never get a puppy from anywhere else now.
what I have learnt from her over the last 12 months is invaluable it also meant i was very involved in the puppies and was even there when they were born as the dam knew me so well by that point that when i offered to help the breeder was happy for me to be there. that was her trust back and actually my puppy was born into my hands ( passed swiftly to the breeder though!)
also i knew the extended family of the dog I was buying, saw their temperaments and my children spent a lot of time learning to groom them, feed them, play and look after them and learning about all sorts of things that we wouldn't have ordinarily found out.
also i know that the breeder will take her back at any point if my circumstances change even though i don't expect them to, and she will look after her if i ever go on holiday she honestly is a star. we feel part of her family now.
my advice is trust your instinct
Thank you both for taking the time to respond so thoughtfully! You have both confirmed that it does make sense to trust my instinct here, even if it means risking not getting a puppy at all this spring... Even if puppy and dog ownership turns out to be a breeze with no need for advice at all (which I don't believe), it would feel much better to feel wholly comfortable with the relationship with the breeder in the beginning. Oh well, more waiting then...
Have you thought about contacting local charities to see if they have any puppies available?
I waited 35 years to have my Irish setter.
Chose the breeder and then she wasn't happy to mate the two dogs she had intended to so had to wait for the next season which was nearly a year away. But she wouldn't compromise on her dogs wellbeing or just mate another dog for the sake of it.
She had chosen the parentage carefully based on lines and low coefficient of breeding and was happy to wait. She didn't turn out litter after litter
She doesn't like email much though. Or the phone! Face to face she is absolutely fantastic so I would visit. She also grilled me on every aspect of our lives before she pups let us have one of her precious puppies and her waiting list is now over 35 puppies
I promise it's worth the wait.
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