Finding a Responsible Breeder
You have decided you want to purchase a puppy. You know exactly what breed, but you are at a loss for finding a breeder. Sure, they are all in the papers, bulletin boards, and the Internet, but who do you know which ones are responsible breeders that will provide with you a healthy puppy and advice for life, and which ones breed only for profit, providing you with a sickly puppy and contact information good only for a few days?
To be able to recognize responsible breeders, you need to know the signs of an irresponsible breeder as well. Irresponsible breeders can not answer your questions about the breed; its exercise requirements, grooming requirements, activity level, temperament, among other breed standards. They can tell you about their dog, but the breed in general is a mystery to them. They have done little to no research on the breed or its characteristics. Irresponsible breeders also provide no form of health guarantee for the puppy once it has left their premises. The puppies have often not been checked by a vet, or dewormed, although they will often have had their first shots. Ask for a health record detailing what they have been given. If you are wanting a purebred puppy, registered with a kennel club, ask about the papers if they do not volunteer the information. Never buy a supposedly registered puppy without having the papers in your hands when you leave. There is no guarantee you will ever get the papers otherwise. The papers usually consist of information for you to fill out and send in to the registry, in order to register the puppy.
Responsible breeders do the opposite of all of the above. They can answer almost any question you ask, and if they do not know one or two, they know exactly where to find out. You can ask about coat color, adult size, activity levels, does the breed shed, or any other question, and they will answer them. Ask about general dog information, and they can answer that as well, not just breed characteristics. They can provide references from previous people who have purchased puppies. A health guarantee and record goes home with each puppy, detailing exactly when the puppy was dewormed, the puppy vaccinations it was given and when, as well as when the breeder’s veterinarian examined the pup. The health guarantee can vary in the amount of time given, but usually provides times for you to take the pup to have it examined by a vet, offering a refund if any defects or hereditary problems are found. A responsible breeder willingly provides you with registration papers, and can give valuable advice as to how to fill them out. Above everything else, you will be able to see a responsible breeder’s concern for the breed, and especially for each puppy in the litter. They will give you contact information, and instruct you to call, write, or email whenever you have a question, or just an update. They are always available to help and to answer any questions as your puppy grows and matures, and goes through the various stages of puppyhood
A wide chasm separates a responsible, caring breeder, from a breeder interested only in making an extra buck. Knowing the signs to recognize the two will allow you to find a good breeder, and even more importantly, your new best friend.