Should I get this puppy?

(12 Posts)
MotherDragon Mon 09-Mar-20 10:02:34

Have been to see a litter, their mum is the family pet. Have seen the KC papers of the mum and the litter registation certificate. The dad was a stud dog, have a photo and and KC details for him too. The owner is not an official breeder, she is rearing the pups in her house. She seemed genuine and very happy to answer any questions. The mother dog was clearly their mum, they had a good interaction. The mother was friendly, gentle and quite relaxed. My only concern is that people generally advise to get a pup from a reputable breeder and put your name down for a litter months in advance. Should I go for it?
FYI - breed is springer spaniel. I know they need a lot of exercise and can be loopy. I am a SAHM with kids 11 and 14.

OP’s posts: |
SlothMama Mon 09-Mar-20 10:33:56

Has the breeder do full health testing for the mother, is the stud dog also health tested? And can she provide certificates to prove this?

GrumpyMiddleAgedWoman Mon 09-Mar-20 10:41:35

If you can be certain that this dog is their family pet (e.g. photos), and that the stud has been screened clear of recessive nasties (Fuco and PRA) and had a recent eye test, I'd be inclined to go for it. It's very much better than buying a puppy that has been born in any sort of commercial facility (from the glossy modern variety with two dozen breeding bitches to the hideous lightless barn crammed with miserable dogs).

Before committing myself I'd do two more things:
1. I'd check out the stud - temperament etc. Be aware that springers come in two distinct lines - work and show. If these are working type and the stud has field trial awards, the puppy could well have a very strong prey drive that you could find it hard to reel in if you're not an experienced dog owner, and possibly even if you are. I have working line gundogs....
2. I'd get the kennel names of both dam and sire and plug them into the Kennel Clubs MateSelect tool to calculate the co-efficient of inbreeding (COI). With the COI, the rule of thumb is the lower the better (personally I'd rule out anything higher than about 5%). A low COI predisposes to (but does not guarantee) better health and fewer allergies etc. When we looked for our last puppy, I ruled out any litter with a COI over 5%, no matter how established the breeder and how glossy the website.

As much as exercise, working springers need a big commitment to training. You will have a dog that is intelligent, eager to please, quick to learn and VERY willing to go self-employed if you don't give it something to do. They can make fantastic pets, but you need to be a step ahead.

If you do get the pup, you might find it helpful to find yourself a gundog trainer and enrol in a puppy class to get the basics done.

MotherDragon Mon 09-Mar-20 10:44:39

Neither of the parents have been tested. I can see from the KC registration certificate that the mother's sire has been tested but not the dam.

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MotherDragon Mon 09-Mar-20 10:50:58

@GrumpyMiddleAgedWoman thank you, that's great advice. I'll do that. I have their KC names. Mum is definitely their family pet. I has asked about the temperament of the mum, she seems fine. I don't know about the dad, from his photo he looks like more a show line (based on pics I have seen of both kinds). She also gave me the number of her vet who is going to do the first vax, microchip and vet check on Friday so I can check what brand they are using and see if it's the same as our vet.

OP’s posts: |
Syrrup Mon 09-Mar-20 11:00:34

If the stud hasn't been health tested I'd be concerned tbh. Eye problems (causing blindness), joint problems and epilepsy are common in Springers (as well as lots of other diseases) and the risk can be passed on from the parents.

Do you know the reasons for the litter, were they looking to keep a puppy or is it just to make money? Reputable breeders who are looking to contribute to and improve the breed will put a lot of thought and effort into choosing a mating pair, and will ensure full health testing is done on both parents. It's expensive, but you know you've done as much as you can to ensure you have healthy puppies who will have long lives and that's why good breeders tend to have waiting lists.

MotherDragon Mon 09-Mar-20 11:03:16

@GrumpyMiddleAgedWoman so the breed average on KC website is listed at 10% and the parents came out at 14%
The pedigree data used to calculate this result extended back as far as 20 generations with the first 9 generations being fully complete.

Yes I am going to do some puppy training classes and going to find out about gun dog training. As well as reading as much as possible.

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MotherDragon Mon 09-Mar-20 11:09:58

@Syrrup I think they are breeding mostly for financial reasons. They seem very well intentioned. So they are not just in it for the cash, but equally they are not too well off. Her dog came from a breeder who had tested the sire but the stud doesn't appear to have been tested.

OP’s posts: |
JayAlfredPrufrock Mon 09-Mar-20 11:16:23

I bought my Springer from a local couple I knew. They bred one litter every other year. I used to see his litter mates when out walking and often bumped into his mum. Better that than commercial breeders of any persuasion.

stayathomegardener Mon 09-Mar-20 11:51:39

@GrumpyMiddleAgedWoman "go self employed if you don't give them something to do" grin
I am so stealing that one, will make my Whippet sound productive.

GrumpyMiddleAgedWoman Mon 09-Mar-20 12:24:24

OP, your COI info there is about as good as it ever gets in terms of completeness, but 14% would give me pause. Springer COIs do tend to be on the high side but that's not great. And there are plenty of health-tested stud dogs out there.

stayathome, going self-employed is a gundog term. Not my copyright.

SutterCane Mon 09-Mar-20 12:57:00

It’s worth noting that the KC’s COI calculator is only useful as a measure of very recent inbreeding. In this case MotherDragon that 14% COI is the level of inbreeding that has occurred only over the nine generations for which the pedigree is complete. Any inbreeding which occurred prior to those nine generations won’t be represented in the figure the calculator gives as the data isn’t there to be analysed. Using the entirety of the pedigree as far back as possible to calculate the COI is better but even then genetic testing usually reveals higher levels of inbreeding than predicted. This is particularly the case in breeds with a small number of founders and/or genetic bottlenecks prior to the complete pedigree information the KC uses for their calculations.

I second the recommendation for making sure you go to a breeder who eye tests, including a gonioscopy to check for any signs of predisposition to glaucoma. The breed club recommends this test and the KC actually requires it (as well as a standard eye test plus DNA tests for PRA and duck) of ESS breeders who are part of their Assured Breeder Scheme. I’ve got a dog who had glaucoma (“had” not because it’s been cured, it can’t be cured, but because she’s had to have both eyes removed as a result of it) and it’s absolutely awful, both for the dog suffering it and the owner dealing with it.

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