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Finding a good breeder(14 Posts)
We would like to get our first dog together but want to make sure its from a reputable breeder. How is the best way to find one?
Contact the breed club of whichever breed your in. They should point you to a list of registered breeders and often will know of available litters.
Thoroughly check out any websites etc they may have. Check for show or working results. There’s no excuse to breed from a dog unless it’s proven to be an excellent example of the breed or does it’s job very well.
Check how many puppies they have registered in the past couple of years. Look at how often they breed.
Ensure the puppies are kennel club registered. If they are not it’s usually because the bitch is too young or overbred and the puppies aren’t eligible for registration.
Check the health checks of any animal they are breeding from. Your breed club should tell you which are required for the breed your interested in. If they aren’t health tested with results walk away. Often the adverts say health checked- this isn’t relevant. What you want are hip scores/eye scores/dna tests etc with certificates.
Then I spoke to mine in depth. Ask about the temperament of both parents and any other puppies they have bred. Look at how they are raised, is the environment they are born and raised in for a minimum of 8 weeks going to nurture development? If not then walk away.
It’s a minefield but I would really take your time to vet anyone properly before commiting to any puppy that your going to live with for the next 10 years plus.
There have been a lot of threads here about what makes a good breeder and how to find one. Everyone's 'good breeder' metric differs, and some of it depends on what you want the dog for: if you want a chilled family pet, you don't want a Eurohound, and if you want a Eurohound, you're not going to care about KC registration (though you will probably care about the pedigree).
This is going to be long.
The key points are (in no particular order):
The conditions in which the dam of the puppies lives, and where the puppies are born and raised. Clean? Plenty of food and water? Warm enough? Regular weighing? Lots of human attention and some handling? Habituation to domestic noises like washing machines, the radio, cars starting, doors slamming, raised voices, children screeching? Things for the puppies to do - cardboard boxes to climb in and out of, different surfaces to explore, the odd toy? What food are the puppies being weaned onto? Have they been brought up with other dogs around? (Our youngest dog was 'nannied' by the other bitch in the house, and she has a rock-solid temperament now.)
Temperament: how does the dam seem when you meet the litter? Are there any other related dogs around that you can see and interact with? Can you contact the owner of the stud if you want to? How does the breeder interact with the dam and what she is like in return?
Health: dam and puppies in good shape? Has the dam been health tested for any conditions prevalent in the breed? If she hasn't been, has the stud - you don't need to health test both parents for genetic illnesses that are simple recessives, because carriers will not be affected. If a breed has generally good hips, and the stud has a low score for hip dysplasia, and the dam hasn't been tested, you'll need weigh up if that is a risk you're prepared to take. There is a lot to think about here, and some of it is breed-specific.
Co-efficient of inbreeding: Ideally, below 5%. The higher the COI, the higher the risk of genetic illness (including ones that cannot be tested for or have not been identified) and immune problems. If you get the pedigree names of sire and dam, the KC website will calculate the COI of any puppies for you - just google 'Kennel Club mate select' and you'll find it).
KC registration: if a pedigree puppy is not KC registered, I would query why. It's a cost the breeder can recoup in the sale price so expense is not an excuse. It might be that the dam has had too many litters for any further ones to be registered, or that she was 'endorsed' by her breeder, which means that none of her progeny can be registered unless her breeder lifts the endorsement. Breeders often do this to cover things like health (the dam must have passed various health tests) or working ability (she must have won a field trial, for example).
What sort of dog you want your puppy to be: if you want a chilled family pet, you don't want a working cocker out of field trial winners or need a labrador who parents were both placed at Crufts. The parent dogs need to be thoughtfully matched, healthy (and health tested if relevant) and of sound temperament, and the puppies well brought up with plenty of human interaction - that is really all you need. The idea of only breeding show winners just serves to further narrow already narrow pedigree gene pools. You do, though, want the parents to have sound conformation, and if you're not confident that you can assess this yourself, it's as well to see if there are show-winning dogs in the recent pedigree, or workers who have gone on in the field over the age of ten.
How do you find breeders like this? Everyone always says via the breed clubs, but you can also find excellent breeders on ChampDogs. There are even some decent ones on pets4homes - though that is a minefield and you need to be pretty confident about what to look for and what questions to ask, because a lot of puppy farmers (and puppy smugglers) are bloody clever and determined and will go to extreme lengths to convince you that they are legit breeders of their lovely family dachshund...
And ask questions. Ask lots and lots of questions. Why did you want to breed the bitch? How did you select the stud? How much do you handle the puppies? What influenced your choice of weaning food? Will you breed the bitch again? Why? Have you got any photos I can see of her before she had puppies?
I have tried to contact the chair of the breed in the local area but no response. Any other suggestions?
Try phoning a few KC assured breeders, or people who have had recent litters on ChampDogs. Or check out recently used stud dogs in the breed (also on ChampDogs, for the contact info) and see if they know of any likely future litters so you can chat to a few breeders well in advance.
I don't think anyone would find that odd: I know someone who was contacted by a buyer after she had homed her litter, but she was happy to put him in touch with the owner of her bitch's sister, who was about to be bred.
Learn about your breed. At a minimum know what health screening tests are standard (as well as what extra ones can be done), conformational weaknesses of the breed and undesirable behavioural tendencies.
Start with the KC list, this is not a guarantee, just a beginning.
Look up the websites of all the breeders. Discount anyone who breeds multiple breeds or multiple litters a year.
Call up the ones that remain. See what questions they ask you, they should be very picky. Ask them open ended questions and evaluate the answers they give you, e.g. “What do you think about health screening? Our dogs are healthy you don’t need to worry” is a crap answer, “Here are documents proving generations of health screening” is a good answer.
Talk to them about their breeding programme and why they selected this bitch and dog. If what they are trying to achieve matches what you want for a puppy arrange a meeting.
Go to meet the breeder and dogs NOT to pick up a puppy. Check out the living conditions, the temperament of the dogs, etc.
If all goes well then book a puppy from a specific mating.
If you can't get hold of the local breed club chair, contact the national club puppy secretary?
Word of mouth. Do you or your close contacts know anyone locally or via work who has the same breed/s? Consider a rescue - they are often available for a specific breed. Do you want to say which breed or breeds you are interested in?
Be picky, thorough and patient, and expect the breeder to be - expect it to go slowly. If the breeder isn't any of these things, discount them.
It can take a while.
I hadn’t decided on a breed so I started researching medium sized dogs and made a very boring spreadsheet. Once I had narrowed it down to a few breeds I went to meet them at dog shows and spoke to some breeders/owners.
When I has finally narrowed it down to the breed I want I looked at who was KC registered, how many puppies per year and whether or not all puppies were registered. I then expressed interest to ones I liked the look of (lots have online forms) by calling the breeder to ask a few things.
I asked about breed specific health testing
Where mum lives
How often the mums have a litter
Are all pups registered
Are they insured?
Vaccinated/microchipped at eight weeks
Are they wormed?
Do they foster returned dogs until they find a new forever home
Why are they breeding etc
Two seemed good from phoning them due to their answers but they also invited me to visit and one requested a video tour of my home so they could see where a potential puppy would be living. When I visited the dogs were happy, it was clearly doggy homes and not homes that had been made to look doggy. Neither had enclosures in their gardens to put the dogs in when no one was there. The one who requested the video of my house also doesn’t rehome retired dogs which was a big plus for me. She also runs a small puppy/dog training school including the good citizen award.
I was thoroughly interviewed by both and approved by both, I chose to be added to one of their waiting lists in March 19. I will be collecting our puppy next Thursday. I have been having video calls with the breeder, she has given me lots of advice (I have also asked other dog owners), asked me to show where the dog will sleep, how he will travel home safely.
What breed are you after and whereabouts are you? Maybe someone here could recommend someone for you?
Thank you. Lots of really useful advice. I have emailed a few breeders over the last couple of days to begin to.make contact. Lots haven't replied but have had a couple of useful email conversations.
We are looking for a miniature black and tan smooth haired boy dachshund. If anyone can recommended a breeder or help that would be great.