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possibly getting a wee dog

(4 Posts)
randomer Sat 25-Mar-17 18:27:34

I was thinking of getting a dog, maybe a schnoodle. They seem to vary so much in price. How can I be sure its well cared for an healthy?

CornflakeHomunculus Sat 25-Mar-17 19:33:44

I will warn you in advance that this is likely to be very long but responsible dog breeding is a subject that is very close to my heart indeed.

You need to be extremely careful with popular "designer" crosses as they generally tend to be bred by puppy farms, BYBs and the well meaning but clueless. It can be very hard to find a decent breeder of them (indeed for some crosses they simply don't exist) particularly as you don't have the advantage of a breed club as a starting point for finding someone reputable.

This guide to buying a puppy is well worth reading (as is their list of questions to ask a breeder) whatever kind of puppy you're looking for. Obviously the stuff about KC pedigree registration isn't relevant for crosses but the rest is still very good advice.

The first thing I'd look for with regards to a breeder is whether they've had all the relevant health tests done on their bitch and chosen to use a stud dog who is also fully health tested. They should also be knowledgeable enough about the conditions which could affect the breeds involved to appropriately interpret the dogs' health test results.

This site is pretty good for a quick overview of tests which should be done on each breed, although it's getting a little out of date on the DNA test front so it's worth cross referencing with the Laboklin site as they offer almost every DNA test currently available.

Health testing is still very important for crosses and unfortunately many breeders of them only go so far as to do the ones for conditions which can affect both breeds. This is far from ideal as it means they're going ahead and breeding without all the relevant information. Although it might not be possible for a puppy of a particular cross to be affected by certain conditions they could be carriers and a decent breeder will want to know the possibility of this before having a litter. It's very common for breeders of poodle crosses to skip the DNA test for von Willebrand disease because it's not present in the other breed they're using however, although it's extremely rare, it is possible for a dog who is only a carrier to be symptomatic. Obviously this is indicative of them not actually having properly researched the conditions present in the breeds they're using.

A breeder should also have a decent knowledge of dog conformation so they can make good choices to ensure as much as they can that the puppies they produce will be well put together. They should be able to talk you through what the weak points of their bitch are and why they thought the stud dog they chose was the best match for her. They should also have a clear idea of what they're aiming to produce with the mating beyond just cute fluffy puppies that people will hand over money for!!

Ideally you want the breeder to be doing some kind of activity with their dogs, even if it's only something as basic as the KC Good Citizen certificates. It shows a keenness to satisfy themselves to at least some degree that their dog is indeed as great as they think they are. Showing, working, competing in dog sports (obedience, agility, flyball, rally, working trials, etc.), PaT qualifications, temperament testing and others are great ways to get independent evaluations of a dog which can then be used to help make better breeding decisions.

Inbreeding coefficients aren't an issue with crosses, however in case you decide to consider a pedigree this article is a great explanation of why they're so important. If someone is breeding pedigrees they should be aiming for a COI as low as possible and certainly well under the breed average which can be found on the KC site.

The puppies should be being raised in the home and you should be able to see them with their mum. The area in which they're kept should be clean, as should the dogs themselves. There should be no sign of anything like weepy eyes, nasal discharge, etc. and the puppies should have well trimmed nails. The breeder should be being very pro-active with the litter, raising puppies well is a huge amount of work and is far more than just letting the mum get on with it. The Puppy Plan outlines the sort of things that breeders should be doing in order to make sure the puppies end up as well rounded and confident as possible.

Tl;dr - read this and this grin

Thattimeofyearagain Sat 25-Mar-17 19:35:26

Fantastic advice Cornflake

randomer Sun 26-Mar-17 10:12:58

thanks. the only reason I choose this type of dog was that a friend has had one for years before they became so popular. She is a lovely little dog.

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