Archive for the ‘puppy mill’ Tag

Finding a Responsible Breeder   3 comments

After reading our previous post on the many different places your new dog or puppy could come from you’ve decided you do not want to contribute to pet overpopulation and the suffering of dogs in puppy mills, and so you will be getting your new companion from a shelter, rescue, or responsible breeder. You want a specific kind of puppy, and none of the shelters or rescues near you have any available right now, so you want to find a responsible breeder. How do you make sure the breeder you buy your puppy from is responsible, and is not a back yard breeder, or worse, a puppy mill in disguise?

  • Visit the home of the breeder. Meet the parents of the puppies, or the mother at a minimum. The parents should live with the family in the home as pets, and should appear friendly, well-socialized, and healthy. Remember, behavioral tendencies can be inherited, if mom is skittish there is a good chance her puppies will be, too! The puppies should be in a clean, safe environment within the home, and if they are 5-6 weeks or older they should be out in the hustle and bustle of family life so they can get used to it. Too much isolation can lead to a fearful adult. Looking at pictures of the home is not enough – puppy mills can take pictures of homes and put them online – this does not mean the puppies are actually raised there! If you cannot visit the home, have someone you trust do so for you. If that is not possible it is safest to look elsewhere. Be sure you meet in the home, meeting in a “neutral location” is often code that you are dealing with a puppy mill.
  • Make sure they only breed one type of dog, or two at most. Every breed has their own potential health problems, and a breeder should be well-versed in them. By focusing on one breed the breeder ensures that they are fully prepared for all of the potential issues that could come from breeding these dogs.
  • Ask what health and genealogical tests have been done on the parents. The breeder should have given both parents full medical exams before the breeding, and should have checked that no congenital problems were present in either parent. They should also have looked back at least three generations in the parents’ history to ensure that there is not a history of congenital problems and that the parents are not closely related.
  • The breeder should ask you questions about yourself. A responsible breeder will want to know where his puppies are going, that they will be cared for, and that you are ready for everything that goes along with the specific breed. They should also be available for contact with questions even after the puppy is home.
  • Ensure they will take back any puppy at any point in her life if her family cannot keep her. This is one of the most important criteria to me. Even if you cannot foresee any condition in which you would need to give up your puppy, such situations can happen, if not to you, then to other owners. If every breeder took responsibility for every puppy they bred for their full lifetime, there would be no need for shelters.

There is nothing wrong with wanting a puppy, as long as you make sure that puppy is coming from a place that is good for dogs and good for their people! A puppy from a responsible breeder will be healthier, happier, and less likely to present behavioral problems, saving you money and heartbreak as you spend the next 10-20 years with your newest family member. When you are looking for a puppy, be sure the breeder you find meets all of the criteria listed above, and you’ll be off to a great start!

Share and Enjoy:

DiggFacebookMixxGoogle BookmarksRedditStumbleUponTwitter