Monday, June 18, 2007

Recognizing an Unethical Breeder

In your search for the right puppy, there are a few warning signs that should alert you to the fact that you may be dealing with a disreputable, unethical, or irresponsible breeder.

(1). The "breeder" lacks knowledge about the breed or the bloodlines of the dogs they have bred.

(2). The "breeder" shows ignorance or denial of genetic defects in the breed. ALL dogs have genetics defects--a good breeder recognizes this as fact and health tests to look for and prevent such genetic problems.

(3). The "breeder" has no involvement in dog sports. Conformational titles are a way that good breeders verify that the dogs they use in their breeding program meets the breed standard via the opinion of judges. It's a way breeding stock is judged to be correct to the breed standard. Obedience titles, temperament testing (TDI or CGC titles), and other working titles also verify that the dog does meet requirements to achieve these titles.

(4). The "breeder" doesn't let you observe the puppies or adults, or let you see the kennels. Be double aware of puppy sellers who meet you away from their home or sell their puppies at Flea markets. ALWAYS go and see the adult dogs and the breeder's kennel set-up. It may give you a prospective on how and why this breeder raises dogs.

(5). The "breeder" has no documentation and cannot provide a pedigree. ANY good breeder should be able to tell you about at least 3-5 generations behind their puppies and include pictures of dogs in that pedigree. No pedigree? Does the parents have registration papers?

(6). The puppies are not socialized. Shy, fearful, urinating, running away from humans--not a puppy for a family.

How to Read Those Ads!

Here are a few more things that you should look out for when reading ads.

"Champion lines"--Look instead for Champion sired or Champion parents. All "champion lines" means is that there is a dog somewhere in the puppy's pedigree that was a champion. It says absolutely nothing about the quality of the parents. Anyone can buy a puppy from a champion dog and bank on it's name by breeding it with the only interest to make money. The puppy may have been sold as a pet (since it had problems which prevented it from being shown) and an unethical person did not have it spayed/neutered and is now breeding puppies.

"Purebred"--OK. Why are they not registered? If one parent is not registered--why is this person breeding puppies? No registration papers or can't get papers should send up a red flag.

"AKC Registration or AKC Papers"--So what? AKC registration does not guarantee quality. AKC papers are very much like a car title--you can get a title on a Junked car as well as a new Porche. AKC simply registers dogs--it does not control breeding, approve litters, quality of dogs bred, or guarantee soundness. Unfortunately, in the hands of some unethical breeders, it may not even guarantee the dog is purebred.

AKC registration is automatic if you buy from a reputable breeder--they will provide all necessary paperwork when you buy a puppy. It is not a selling point and should nor be treated as one.

A word of warning, be wary of other "registrations". There are several groups that are registering dogs, occasionally even mixed breeds--disguised as "designer dogs", for a fee. A registration from this organization means nothing and is of no value to you.

"See both Parents"- as noted in Questions to ask a breeder, this is not usually a good thing. Rarely will a good breeder have the luck to own both dogs for the perfect litter. If they own only one male and multiple females--all of whom are bred to the one male dog--be especially wary. If you can see both parents, it could mean that this person had two dogs in the back yard and didn't supervise them carefully enough, resulting in a litter. Always question any litter where a young mother was bred on her first heat cycle or where multiple litters have occurred on back to back to back heat cycles. Three litters and the mother is less than 2 years old is a definite red flag.

"Rare"- Why? Can this dog be shown? Does it meet the breed standard? What kind of problems does this "rare" color, size, or pattern entail? Will it have too many defects for the animal to be bred? Currently they are people buying "rare" white Boxers and German Shepherds, not realizing that they are not show-prospects, nor do they meet the breed standard, and these buyers are possibly buying a dog with multiple health problems from lack of pigmentation, and possible behavior problems as well.

There are even people who sell unusual cross breeds as "rare" dogs, and people buy them thinking that they are buying a unique dog. If fact, any dog pound probably has one you could adopt.

"Extra-Large or Extra small"--Breeders trying for extremes are rarely raising healthy dogs, and any ad that has to stress the size and weight of the dog to sell puppies is suspect. Often these dogs are outside the breed standard and are subject to their own medical/genetic problems due to excessive size or lack of size.

"Must Go now!"-Why? Are they too big to be cute any more? Too much work or too messy? Expecting more puppies and need the room? Destroying your yard? Need more money? Can't sell them? Is there a problem? Be very wary of this one.
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