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What makes a Decent Breeder ?

(50 Posts)
Jouska Thu 18-Jul-19 12:12:51

Yep a TAT

What criteria makes a decent breeder? (please dont say kennel cub assured as we know this has many issues)

GrumpyMiddleAgedWoman Thu 18-Jul-19 13:12:18

If pedigree, low COI
Selection of sire and dam on the basis of healthy conformation, good physical health, and excellent temperament (and, if relevant, proven working ability)
Good match of sire and dam (balancing of any conformational etc faults)
Necessary health tests
Good care, including exercise and vet care, of the sire and dam
Proper socialisation of the puppies
Mentoring, if it's the breeder's first litter, by someone experienced
Careful selection of future owners
Ongoing contact with future owners

WatcherOfTheNight Thu 18-Jul-19 13:27:31

All GMAW has said but I would like to add they are fed a good nutritious diet & advice about food given to new owners .

There is so much information & many really good foods available now but some people don't even read the ingredients let alone anything else.
IMO it makes a huge difference.

So many puppies go to new homes fed on absolute shit.

Jouska Thu 18-Jul-19 13:43:00

What about how the breeder socialises the puppy before they leave them?

take out in cars
Crate training
socialising on different sounds,surfaces etc
start recall training with each meals

I think the fed on shit bit is because the food companies do special deals for breeders-I totally agree and would not take a puppy from a breeder offering the BETA package

I guess also number of litters.

BorderlineExperimental Thu 18-Jul-19 14:02:58

To me a decent breeder is someone whose breeding, rearing and placement choices are based on maximising the chance of their pups going on to be healthy, sound, functional, of good temperament and generally well balanced in body and mind, living long, happy lives with suitable new families.

I think those requirements can be met by quite a variety of different breeders with very different dogs ranging from those breeding regular litters of working dogs to fill very specific niches to people just wanting to produce the odd litter of nice family pets.

I think there's room for a great variety of decent, ethical breeders and that it would be better all round if the value of those differences were recognised and appreciated rather than being condemned for not fitting any one particular, often very narrow, ideal.

Jouska Thu 18-Jul-19 14:21:24

So (playing devils advocate) why can't cross breeds be reared by a good breeder?

They can meet all the criteria mentioned so far above

GrumpyMiddleAgedWoman Thu 18-Jul-19 14:50:11

Crossbreeds absolutely can be ethically bred: I have no problem with someone producing working sprockers or breeding a line of greysters or Eurohounds provided they do it with proper consideration for the welfare of the dogs and the resulting puppies.

Unfortunately many crosses are produced in puppy farms (as are many pedigrees). I'd much, much rather that a family in search of a pet bought a cavapoo puppy bred (per the constraints above) by their friends in the next street than anything from a puppy farm.

BorderlineExperimental Thu 18-Jul-19 14:52:51

So (playing devils advocate) why can't cross breeds be reared by a good breeder?

Obviously they can but the prevailing wisdom for a very long time has been that only people who breed KC registered pedigrees are proper breeders and only pedigree dogs are worth breeding. Even with all the evidence to the contrary it's a meme that is going to take a lot of shaking off.

Ironically I think it's actually harder to be a genuinely decent breeder of pedigrees because the current KC/pedigree breeding framework inevitably leads to ever decreasing genetic diversity and ever increasing numbers/rates of health issues. There are some breeds in such a state that there are very compelling arguments for it being impossible to breed them ethically without the introduction of a widespread outcrossing programme.

GrumpyMiddleAgedWoman Thu 18-Jul-19 14:58:22

Oh, and socialisation to me means meets lots of varied people, has contact with one or more dogs other than the dam, is introduced to noises like washing machines, car engines, clattering pans etc, has the chance to explore a range of surfaces, toys, boxes etc, gets used to being gently handled (if part of a programme then fine but just daily handling is probably enough).

Great if the breeder starts training, but less great if they teach the puppy to come to one blast of the whistle when your other dogs understand that as stop and sit, no matter how far away.

GrumpyMiddleAgedWoman Thu 18-Jul-19 15:02:30

Totally with you, @BorderlineExperimental. Hence my No.1 requirement being low COI. It was actually a deal breaker for us when we got our last puppy: I wouldn't consider a couple of litters due to batshit COIs. Current young dog's is under 2% with about 8 generations of the pedigree being complete. I suspect it would be higher if I could fill in a bit more.

Jouska Thu 18-Jul-19 15:11:03

Thank you for some really good comments.

So what makes a puppy farm or back yard breeder? Is it breeders that do not take any notice of the above.

So a hobby breeder that considers all the points in Grumpymiddleagewomens first post could be a good breeder even if breeding cross breeds?

Surely COI would be reduced if breeding crosses?

GrumpyMiddleAgedWoman Thu 18-Jul-19 16:36:12

F1 crosses have a COI of zero. Obviously if you were to breed two sprockers together who had the same father, that would be, inbreeding wise, just as bad as breeding pedigree half-siblings.

Booboostwo Thu 18-Jul-19 16:46:46

For me a good breeder needs to:
- have a breeding plan that is compatible with the welfare of the dogs they are producing, so breeding dogs that are healthy, fit for purpose, and make a positive contribution to the breed over time. The breed should be improving over time.
- breed dogs whose purpose is valuable, that is, dogs that people want to have an keep for their whole lives. The purpose could be as pets, or working dogsledding, or showing, or whatever but there should be a future home for the dogs bred.

To ensure the two ideals above the breeder should be:
- knowledgeable about the breed
- choose dogs and bitches carefully to compliment each other
- look after the physical and emotional well-being of their existing dogs
- carry out all health screening available and take into account other health relatedness factors such as genetic relations.
- look after the physical and emotional well-being of the puppies, e.g. vaccinations, socialization, etc.
- screen potential owners and offer to take puppies back at any point in their lives if things don’t work out with the new owner.

Booboostwo Thu 18-Jul-19 16:47:48

Sorry, autocorrect messed a lot of that up, but hopefully it just about makes sense!

Jouska Thu 18-Jul-19 17:08:00

Ok so I have done all of the above but bred a spaniel and a poodle?

SlothMama Thu 18-Jul-19 17:19:47

Are you asking if you are a backyard breeder in that case?

Also what is the benefit of breeding a spaniel and poodle cross? As there's not guarantee the pups will be non-shedding, and there's so many dogs already in rescue what's the point in yet another cross breed.
I fully understand when breeders cross breed in order to improve the breed, for example some people are trying to help breed a 'healthier' line of pugs. This involves the cross breeding of a pug and a jack russel which makes sense. But I don't understand why there are so many poodle crosses, when the only logical explanation is the breeders just wanting money.

Toooldtobearsed2 Thu 18-Jul-19 17:20:33

I find this question difficult.
My lab was from a KC breeder. It was, essentially, a puppy farm, looking back. But it was KC registered so MUST be okay, yes?
Well, no. I knew that when I saw the pups. All of whome had been spoken for, bar the one I took. I rang her, intending to start some dialogue about getting on a waiting list for a pup (she is very highly regarded). Only for her to say that she had a pup ready to go to its forever home now if I was interested.
I brought him home that day.
I reported her to KC.
She is still breeding, still selling.

My other dog was, I guess, a back street breeder. She let her dog have one litter before neutering. The bitch was a pedigree labrador, the dog a pedigree golden retriever who happened to live a few doors away.
She vetted the potential owners very, very carefully. I went to her house and met mum and dad first, then was invited back to meet pups. Pups lived with mum and I got daily videos of them as they grew.
I am still in toich with her. I paid £600 for KC registered breeder and £100 to the lovely home breeder.
Both dogs are bloody fantastic - kc dog is more 'needy' I guess and home breeder dog is very fecking intelligent, frighteningly so.

I would never buy KC registered again.

Pipandmum Thu 18-Jul-19 17:27:31

It doesn’t matter what dogs you are breeding together - Even if you were breeding your mongrel to another - the welfare part remains the same.
I have two crossbreeds. I was first questioned as to my home, size of garden, work hours, children etc. Both parents were pedigreed and health tested. I was given copies of their pedigrees and saw the health certificates. The puppies were home reared and were socialised with children and other animals and general household noise. I met the mother and saw pictures of the dad. I saw their playpen and home environment. I was allowed to go pick my puppy early on and then return to collect when old enough. The puppies were all clean, plump, curious and friendly. The mother was happy to have us look at her puppies and she looked healthy and relaxed. The breeder only bred every other year and had limited litters for her bitches.
In contrast, a friend went to see a home breeder for a cockerpoo who asked her all the right questions over the phone. The pictures were of a clean kennel with stated access to ‘lots of outdoor space’. She arrived to find it was an apartment with no garden. The mother was thin and timid. The puppies were in a dirty kitchen in a tiny pen with dog excrement and were all huddled together. She left immediately and reported the breeder to the RSCPA. That is a breeder who may not be a puppy farmer but has no thought for the welfare of the dogs.

tabulahrasa Thu 18-Jul-19 17:34:41

The stuff already listed, plus...

A reason to breed a litter that isn’t just to sell them.

A reason those particular dogs were bred over and above I have a dog with working reproductive organs.

Enough knowledge of lines and confirmation of the breed to not do things like pass on IBD or allergies or create knee problems in a breed that doesn’t usually have them.

Low COI of parents, not just the litter...because it’s all very well the litter having a 0% COI, but if the parents are massively inbred then their genes are not the best for passing on...

Jouska Thu 18-Jul-19 17:35:29

It was a hypothethical question - I am not breeding any dogs

I agree Toooldtobearsed it is a really hard question and the KC assured breeding scheme is just open for abuse.

Some posters have been slated on other threads for not being aware of the traits of a good breeder and also back yard breeder term has been thrown around as if they are the devil.

The tone of this thread has been really helpful and non judgemental and has given some really clear indications of what people should be looking for.

Ok so now we have identified good breeders (and it appears that they do no only breed pedigree dogs) where can we find them?

GrumpyMiddleAgedWoman Thu 18-Jul-19 17:52:24

There is a market for small cute fluffy dogs. There has been one since at least the days of the Roman Empire. If I remember correctly, the minituarizing gene came from only one or two sources, so people over the centuries have clearly found it valuable (in the wider sense) for it to have become so widespread. People like small cute dogs and they always have done, ever since the small cute gene first put in an appearance.

So if someone breeds a cavalier and a min poodle, having tested for any recessive genetic nasties shared by these two breeds, and ticks all the boxes in my earlier post, and those puppies end up in loving homes which give them lovely lives... I'd much rather that happened than people bought any puppy from a mass-producing puppy farm, or bought a 100% cavalier puppy which developed mitral valve disease and syringomyelia, as so many of them do...

In answer to an earlier question, to me a puppy farm is a mass production outfit with no more than a commercially necessary interest in the welfare of the dogs (i.e. keep them healthy enough that they don't all cark it and ruin the bottom line). A BYB is somebody who breeds their pet (or pets) mostly for the money and with only a limited idea about what they're actually doing. A hobby breeder is someone with an actual interest in their dog, who is probably intending to keep a puppy from the litter, and who has done all or most of the things back in my first post.

There are grey areas in between.

GrumpyMiddleAgedWoman Thu 18-Jul-19 17:53:41

Cross-post - I spent ages on that one!

WatcherOfTheNight Thu 18-Jul-19 18:50:45

Another thing ,I think a good breeder loves their chosen breed & any litters bred are done to better it.
I know that's what I want.

BorderlineExperimental Thu 18-Jul-19 22:46:15

Ok so now we have identified good breeders (and it appears that they do no only breed pedigree dogs) where can we find them?

I think it's a case of going down all potential avenues (via the KC, Champdogs, Pets4Homes, breed clubs, FB groups, personal recommendations, etc.) and judging breeders on their own merits rather than discounting them purely because of where they've chosen to advertise or because they're advertising at all.

There's a fairly good chance my next pup will be found via either FB or Pets4Homes because that's where people producing the sort of litters I want (very low COI with at least one working parent) tend to advertise.There'd be no point me restricting myself to the KC puppy list, Champdogs or getting breed club recommendations (the supposedly more reliable routes to finding a decent breeder) when they're all very heavily skewed towards the showing fraternity.

Wolfiefan Thu 18-Jul-19 22:51:19

Good breeders aren’t in it for the money. The breeder of our dog wanted the next generation. We had to be interviewed and have references before we were even allowed over the threshold.
Our breeder has stayed in touch and has been a brilliant source of encouragement and information.
Decent breeders don’t advertise online or breed often. Working dogs go by word of mouth and showing lines yes through breed clubs.
Good breeders really care about the health of the breed and that any pups they breed should have healthy and happy lives. They health test and choose parents carefully.
I couldn’t and wouldn’t be a breeder.

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