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Buying a puppy query(10 Posts)
We are starting to look at puppies, potentially for later this year or early next year.
Where should we be looking? Where do reputable breeders advertise their puppies? Would be interested in border, airedale, Scottish or west highland terrier. I grew up with a wire haired fox terrier and would love another, but have only rarely seen these since - any ideas?
Have you considered adoption rather than buying a puppy? Far more ethically sound.
Absolutely, yes, we're open to that too and will follow local rescues. Just trying to get as full a picture as possible, but want to avoid unscrupulous websites or breeders.
I hope you don't mind me just copying and pasting something I've posted recently on another couple of similar threads (most recently on this one) but I think you will find it, particularly the various links, useful.
First off I'd recommend having a good read through the Puppy Contract site, it covers the basics pretty well.
Breed clubs can be a good starting point but that does depend somewhat on the breed in question. Whilst some clubs are very open and forwards thinking others can be rather economical with the truth when it comes to things like health issues and inbreeding levels within the breed.
Beyond the basics a lot comes down to personal preference, the exact specifics of what makes someone a good breeder will vary from person to person. The best thing you can do is arm yourself with as much information as possible and decide what it is you want in a breeder then look for someone who meets your requirements.
The Champdogs site has some quite good, concise information that might be useful. Their Guide to Buying a Puppy and accompanying list of questions to ask are both good. I'd also recommend reading their guide to interviewing potential puppy buyers, although it's aimed at breeders it gives you a good idea of the level of interest the breeder should be taking in you.
The Puppy Plan is another website worth a read through. Lots of advice on finding a breeder/buying a puppy recommends making sure the breeder is socialising them properly, that site will give you an idea of the basics the breeder should be doing.
Health testing is important and breeders absolutely should be making appropriate use of available tests and screening schemes (this site is good for finding out what tests are available for different breeds and the KC also lists recommended tests under 'Health Information' on their page for each breed), however it's not the be-all and end-all of producing healthy puppies. Nor is it a reliable indicator of how good a breeder is or how healthy overall the dogs they produce are.
Particularly with pedigree dogs genetic diversity (or lack of it) should also be a major concern, both of breeders and puppy buyers. Some breeds are in a much worse state than others but regardless of breed it's something breeders should be thinking about every bit as much as health testing, if not more so in some breeds.
The Institute of Canine Biology blog has lots of excellent posts but I'd particularly recommend the following three:
*Understanding the Coefficient of Inbreeding
*Why DNA Tests Won't Make Dogs Healthier
*Let's Kill the Breeder Myths!
Champdogs is a good online resource. Also try the breed club for the breeds you are interested in, they should have lists of reputable breeders who are involved in the breed and are producing good-quality puppies. Many of them will have a contact for breeder/puppy queries, or you can contact the general secretary.
I start with KC registered breeders, this is a basic minimum, not a guarantee of anything.
Then I look at the websites of the breeders. I reject anyone who breeds more than one breed, more than one litter a year, or dogs that have close genetic connections.
Then I call the remaining breeders. I ask very open questions about health screening. I reject anyone who says their dogs are too healthy to need screening, or they screen but can't provide the paper work, or any other silly excuse.
From the remainder I need them to tell me the right thing about their breeding program and why they have selected this bitch and this dog. Finally I expect them to ask me loads of questions.
This process usually leaves me with one or two breeders and that is when I arrange a visit to make sure everything they have said on the phone is true. I look small numbers of friendly dogs, kept in family conditions. I think you can tell a lot by meeting someone's dogs (once all the other criteria have been ticked).
You can use this link to find rescue organisations for the breeds you are interested in. Registration can take some time so it's really good that you're looking so far into the future.
I'll do a cut and paste from an earlier post as well, if that's alright. It's up to you to quiz the breeder to try and work out where they fall in the rankings. As PP have said, Champdogs is useful.
In my mind there is a ranking of breeders:
1. The A*: those who are in it for the long haul, who health test, who keep a puppy from most of the litters they breed, who won't breed a dog who is not conformationally sound, who understand the risks of inbreeding and avoid it, who won't breed a dog from working lines unless it has been proven in work and/or trials, who have their dogs in the house (not necessarily all the time, but for much of it), who keep their dogs until they die. I include this breeders of breeds that are conformational train wrecks, like pugs, but who are trying to breed more moderate dogs. They sell to vetted owners with a contract. They may or may not endorse their dogs (if pedigree), but if they do endorse they need to be open about the conditions under which endorsements will lifted. Will take a dog back/assist with rehoming.
2. The light grey area. This includes many of those who breed decent dogs together for a purpose (which can just be a temperamentally sound pet), pedigree or not; it also includes people who breed a pet, but educate themselves about breeding, take advice from someone more experienced, and make sure that they have some homes lined up before they even begin. These breeders consider health, inbreeding and temperament, keep their dogs with them all their lives, look after them well (health, stimulation, exercise, training, etc). They have the financial resources to pay for emergency vet treatment if necessary. They quiz the prospective owners and generally use a contract. Will usually take a dog back/assist with rehoming.
3. The dark grey area. People who breed their amazing pet without any actual understanding of whether their pet is amazing or not, and not much thought about the suitability of the mating, or any understanding of how to bring up puppies. People who slap any two dogs together, pedigree or not, and hope to make a quick buck out of it, but at least keep their dogs at home with them. It can be a bit hard to separate these guys from the light grey ones if they put on a convincing patter. In fact, the dividing line can be quite hazy: dogs can be purpose-bred in poor circumstances with little thought for their long-term welfare and without much care for what happens to the puppies, beyond the one that the breeder wanted to keep. What is considered ‘poor circumstances’, though, varies from person to person. I have no problem with puppies being reared in a whelping box in a stable under a heat lamp, provided someone is in and out all day to check on them and everything else is good too, but I’m sure some people would find that unacceptable.
4. Would not touch with a bargepole. Anyone, Kennel Club assured or not, who breeds puppies with a high COI. Anyone who breeds a dog they know to be temperamentally unsound (not just badly trained and therefore a bit barky) or fundamentally unhealthy (breeding a Cavalier you know to have syringomyelia, for example). Anyone who breeds dogs that are conformationally wrecked (and some breeds come into that category). Commercial facilities. And worst of all, puppy farms.
I’m sure that there are things I’ve forgotten or overlooked. Personally I would (and have) obtained puppies from the second rank of breeders. If that group was bigger, we might find that there was less of a market for puppy-farmed puppies, but this is a classic case of the best (the A* breeders) being made the enemy of the good (the second-rank breeders). Equally, if that second-rank group was bigger, it would probably be worth having some sort of KC or council scheme where a prospective pet breeder could sign up and do a course and get a homecheck, giving puppy buyers a level of confidence that they weren’t being scammed by some bastard passing off puppy-farmed fluff-balls as being lovingly home-bred.
And it should also be said that there are unwanted dogs in rescue, but these do not generally come from the breeders in the first two groups in my ranking. Puppy buyers definitely need to be educated that a dog is for a life, but a badly-bred, neurotic dog from a filthy barn is far more likely to end up with the Blue Cross than a cheerful puppy born in someone’s dining-room and reared around a family for eight weeks.
Not much to add other than to echo the balanced posts so far.
Personally, I'd ignore any subsequent posts on this thread that purely tell you that people who buy puppies are obviously promoting puppy farms and that anyone who wants a dog should go through rescue regardless of whether that's right for the potential owner.