To help you find the healthiest purebred, this article describes what makes a good dog breeder. There’s little dispute after all, that the health of a dog is oftentimes dependent on its introduction to the world. Since breeders are responsible for how puppies are cared for, you’ll want to get yours from one that’s ethical, responsible, and caring. Here’s how to assess the situation.
A good dog breeder does not allow its dam to reproduce more than once a year. Dogs that continuously reproduce can develop cancer and give birth to unhealthy puppies as a result. You can easily tell if you’re dealing with a breeder who limits reproduction by asking when you can buy one of its pups. A bad breeder will tell you that he’ll go ahead and mate his dam with a sire even though she gave birth to a litter after only a few weeks. A good breeder, on the other hand, will put you on a waiting list or refer you to another one in the event that none are immediately available.
In addition to limiting reproduction, a good breeder raises his or her pups in a clean environment. Whether this environment is a kennel or a home, it’s free of animal waste, trash, dangerous yard care tools, and poisonous chemicals. It provides ample room for its pups to exercise, and it provides access to fresh food and water. It should also provide its dogs with comfortable shelter from the elements (rain, snow, cold weather, etc.) For more information, see our article about what makes a healthy puppy breeder’s environment.
Within the proper environment, a good breeder can raise the healthiest dogs that also look clean, well exercised, bright-eyed, curious, and friendly.
It would be very strange if a breeder left you alone with a litter and additionally left the decision process entirely up to you. A good breeder instead, will encourage you to interact with his or her dam’s litter and help you make the most appropriate choice. And just as you’ll have questions, a breeder will have questions for you too! She may ask how many children you have in the home or how large your backyard is. She isn’t being nosy about asking these questions, she’s trying to figure out which puppy best compliments your lifestyle. A puppy that you’ve set your heart on, for example, may exhibit behavior that’s inappropriate for small children. Maybe you’re attracted to a puppy that’s really too timid to be a guard dog. These are example situations in which breeder interaction is extremely important. They’re also examples of when the breeder knows best.
Don’t be put off by some of the things that a good breeder will ask, say, or suggest. You may find yourself on the defensive side of this interaction, but having a reputation to uphold, a breeder must feel comfortable that his or her litter will be placed into kind, loving and trusting hands. He may, therefore, want to meet everyone in your family and watch how well they interact with his pups. He may even want to visit your home to ensure its puppy-proof!
As you can see, getting a dog from a breeder requires a bit of responsibility on your part. But a good breeder has certain responsibilities as well. One of those responsibilities is full disclosure of her litter’s health. Expect to see a full health report detailing vaccinations, and the results of hip, eye, and ear tests. If there are any health concerns at all, a good breeder will tell you what they are before you buy one.
The health and condition of a breeder’s pups play an important role in what you may or may not do with your selection. That’s why disclosure is so important. A puppy that exhibits a concerning health condition, for example, should not mate and in many cases, may not participate in dog shows.