Dog Breeders – The Good, the Bad and The Ugly
Dog breeders vary enormously. At one extreme is the very committed specialist who breeds only rarely and then for a puppy to keep, at the other extreme are puppy farmers who raise dogs in cages in barns with very little human contact and no socialisation.
The better a start that a puppy has had in life the better he is likely to be as an adult. Good food, warmth, home rearing and socialising with humans of all ages and plenty of handling will result in a well-adjusted and happy dog, ready to go to his new home with the minimum of fuss.
The Good – Breed Specialists
The specialist is certainly the best person to obtain a puppy from. They will have undertaken all the health screening procedures required for the breed, raised them lavishly in the comfort of the home and socialised them to normal household noises and people, from children to adults. This results in a confident, healthy puppy who is able to make the transition to a new home with the least difficulty.
To buy from a breeder like this you will have to pass a very close scrutiny. The breeder has invested years of her time and knowledge in her breeding programme and she is looking for an excellent home for them.
I Don’t Want a Showdog
This is something quite commonly heard from people looking for a pet. The majority of puppies bred by breeders who show their dogs will never see a showring, and of those who are shown they will, with rare exceptions, be first and foremost pets. What you are getting from a specialist breeder is a puppy who has been carefully bred with profit at the bottom of their list of priorities.
Specialists want great homes for their puppies, homes where their puppies will be happy and spend all their lives as an important part of the family. Generally, they will only breed a litter when they want to keep a puppy themsevles.
The Bad – Pet and Backyard Breeders
These are people who decide to breed from their pet dog, often saying “it will be good for the children” because they are expecting to make a profit from the litter. This kind of breeding rarely results in good puppies because they simply don’t know what they are doing. They will use the closest male dog, regardless of how the pedigrees match and will probably not have screened for hereditary problems. They will have bred with reasonably good intentions but little knowledge.
Pet breeders invariably underestimate the cost, time and energy commitment in raising a litter, particularly of larger breeds which can lead to them letting them go to their new homes before they are really ready. Having bred one litter they will choose not to breed again, having discovered it isn’t so easy as they had imagined.
These breeders operate in a similar way to puppy farmers but on a much smaller scale. Like puppy farmers they are breeding purely for profit and aren’t particularly concerned who buys their puppies, neither is socialising their puppies a priority. These people tend to breed the small, expensive breeds and “designer dogs” as they are physically easier to accommodate than larger breeds. It is unlikely that they will have followed advice on screening for hereditary conditions and should really be avoided.
The Ugly – Puppy Farmers and Dealers
Puppies from a puppy farm or mill will not usually be sold from the place they were born, but sent to pet shops and dealers for selling.
Puppy farms are located in remote locations and need to find outlets closer to city centres. When you seen advertisements listing an extensive range of puppies for sale, a choice of breeds and crosses which are available year round, the probability is that they were bred elsewhere and bought in to resell. These puppies will often be delivered to the dealers at motorway services and similar convenient locations.
These people are motivated entirely by profit, the well-being and future of the puppies they breed is irrelevant.
Prices – Surely Puppies From Show Homes Are More Expensive
Surprisingly this isn’t the case. There is generally little to choose from in price between the best and poorest raised dogs. Bear in mind, too, that badly bred dogs are more likely to have health problems as they won’t have been screened for hereditary illnesses.