Finding a Responsible Breeder
What is a responsible breeder? The definition of a reputable dog breeder is one who has the best interests of the breed at heart! Reputable dog breeders protect and defend their breed, and will want to know about you, a potential buyer. Reputable breeders provide optimal care and conditions for the mother and her puppies, in a safe, clean, home environment. They will enforce a requirement that the puppies they sell will be spayed or neutered. They will provide a health guarantee. They make a life-long commitment to their pups, and will take them back if that becomes necessary. Contrary to what is said on the web, a reputable breeder may be hesitant to allow visitors, especially casual ones, until their puppies have had all their first vaccinations.
How do you find them? A good start is online, look up the breed in which you are interested, and then find the information about the National Breed club. The breed club will have breeders listed whose ethics and behavior have placed them in good standing. Dedicated breeders have a tight network and should be able to refer you to a reputable breeder in your area. If not, contact the national secretary of that breed club with your requests.
When you talk to a breeder for the first time, ask these questions: (1) Tell me about your particular line of dogs, and (2) Tell me about the three top health concerns of this breed. It is unlikely that a puppy mill breeder will be able to answer those questions. However, you will still want to get references! (3) Ask for several names of people to whom they have sold puppies. (4) Ask for the name of their vet, so that you can speak with him. Responsible breeders will be more than happy to provide this information for you.
Sounds like too much trouble? The joy of seeing a happy, healthy puppy grow into a happy, healthy adult companion will be worth every bit of research and effort you put into finding him! Make it into an adventure for you and your children. What you learn along the way will serve you well for any future purchases. You will also have the satisfaction of knowing that you have not helped to support a puppy mill, with all its cruelty.
Instant gratification from buying that adorable puppy pictured online, which could be a stock photo, could result in ongoing expense and heartache. The effort you put into due diligence will pay for itself.
by Joyce N. Lewis