“How to Evaluate A Breeder”
(reprinted with the permission of the author, Peggy Adamson)  

The reputable breeder is like the head of a family. He feels responsibility toward the breed itself, toward the dogs he breeds, the dogs he hopes to breed, and additionally to all the people who have dogs of his breeding.  He spends astounding amounts of his time and money on matters he thinks are for the best interest of his breed.

It is this awareness of responsibility, combined with a sense of continuity, that marks the difference between a true breeder and a mere “puppy-raiser”.  The breeder is an artist, motivated by a drive to create perfection; the puppy-raisers and the dog dealers are motivated by the desire to make money.  They are truly in the dog business, selling puppies like over-the-counter commodities to anyone who can pay the price.

The breeder is the link between the past and the future.  Since he is well aware that the buyers of today may be the breeders of tomorrow, he does his best to educate the people who come to buy his dogs and to instill in them the ideals and values on which he has built his reputation.

Fortunate is the novice-buyer who purchases his first dog from a reputable breeder!  Whereas puppy-raisers may sell whole litters to dog-dealers, the breeder insists on direct contact with those who buy his dogs, and sells only after the most careful screening of a would-be purchaser in order to ascertain the mutual suitability of dog and buyer.

While often not fully appreciated until AFTER the dog is bought, this screening by the breeder is the greatest protection a dog purchaser can have.

The puppy-raiser and the dog dealers are often high-powered salesmen. They never ask questions—their only concern is to sell dogs, and to get them off their hands as soon as possible in order to avoid additional expense and work.  Their interest ends when the sale is completed.

The attitude of the reputable breeder is very different.  Though the cost of properly caring for his dogs many cause him sleepless nights and untold worries, he will never let a single puppy or older dog leave for a home that is not as good or better than the one he is providing, Even when the dog is sold, the breeder’s help and advice do not end but continue throughout the dog’s like, a responsibility cheerfully accepted by him without expectation of compensation.


What are the hallmarks of a truly responsible breeder?

Responsible breeders seek to improve their breeds with every litter. To reach this goal, they must devote hours to continually learning as much as they can about their breeds, including health and genetic concerns, temperament, appearance and type. They also need to know about general dog behavior, training and health care. In short, they become canine experts.

How can you acquire this expertise?

Each breed has a national club (or “parent” club), and there are about 2,500 local clubs devoted to individual breeds. (Local clubs are also called “specialty” clubs.) There are thousands of other clubs across the country, including all-breed clubs and clubs devoted to obedience, tracking or performance events. Most clubs sponsor educational programs and events that will help you increase your knowledge.

Study your breed standard.

The breed standard is the official guide by which dogs are judged at dog shows. Each breed of dog recognized by the AKC has its own standard (written by the parent club). The standard may specify everything from the curvature of a dog’s tail to the color of its eyes. You can obtain a copy of your dog’s breed standard and order breed-specific educational videos from the AKC. Many parent clubs offer more detailed information on the standard, such as amplifications and illustrated standards.

Attend dog events. Dog shows, obedience trials and performance events provide the opportunity to observe purebreds in action. You can learn about different lines by viewing real dogs and studying the pedigrees of those you like. Many people competing at dog shows are experienced breeders. Attending shows can give you the chance to meet and learn from these experts.

Read, read, read! There are many books and magazines available about every aspect of the dog experience. There are books devoted to individual breeds, groups of breeds, breeding and whelping, genetics, behavior and training and many more topics. The AKC publishes books such as the Complete Dog Book and Dog Care and Training, along with numerous videos. Responsible breeders are familiar with AKC rules and regulations concerning the sale and registration of AKC-registrable dogs.

A responsible breeder is objective. Virtually every dog is the best in the world in the eyes of its owner. Responsible breeders have the ability to separate their love for their dog from an honest evaluation of its good and bad points. Why is a detached point of view necessary? Breeding is hard work. Every breeding is a carefully planned endeavor to produce a better dog.



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