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Theoretically, any owner of a male and a female dog that are not neutered can become a dog breeder, simply by letting them do what comes naturally. It is not, after all, hard to produce puppies.
However, there is an awful lot more to being a responsible breeder and producing good, healthy puppies than throwing a dog and a bitch together and letting them get on with it, and a lot more going on behind the scenes of all good breeders than most dog owners ever realise.
Responsible breeders, be they commercial operations or small-scale dog lovers, will only breed their dogs with the intent of producing healthy, good quality puppies, from pedigree dogs that are a good example of their breed and with a known demand for the resultant puppies. Even commercial dog breeding operations should operate on a small scale, in order to ensure that the parent dogs and the litters are healthy and well.
If you are in the market for a new puppy and want to avoid making a costly mistake, or inadvertently buying a pup from an irresponsible breeder, read on to learn about how to judge the authenticity and veracity of a dog breeder.
One of the best ways to find the perfect puppy from the perfect breeder is by word of mouth recommendation, so if you really like the look of a dog that you see out and about, get the owner talking about where the dog came from, and what their experiences were of buying the dog.
Most dog owners know of a couple of breeders, either that are local or that they have used themselves, so canvass opinions, and you will start to get a feel for what is available.
One of the most eye-opening stages of the buying process is to visit breeders at their own premises, to assess their operation. This can give you a whole host of information about the breeder, how they work, and what their dogs are like.
Look for clean, secure and well looked after premises that do not have too many dogs present, and be ever-watchful for the potential indications of a puppy mill, such as multiple different litters of different breeds of dog, a poor quality living environment, or a lot going on behind the scenes.
The dogs and puppies that you do see should all be healthy, well nourished, adequately provided for, and well socialised and confident around people.
Unless the breeder that you visit is very new to the game or only breeding a one-off litter, you should be able to get references from them from the previous buyers of their pups. Check these out independently, and make contact with at least a couple of owners, to ensure that they are happy with how everything went.
Virtually every breed of pedigree dog will have some elevated risk factors for some potential genetically inherited conditions, and every breeder should be able to talk about these knowledgably, and offer insights into the health of their lines. Find out if the breeder has performed any health tests on their dogs, what the results were, and what steps the breeder takes to ensure that they only produce healthy, good quality puppies.
Breeders will usually have a whole host of paperwork to go with their operation, from the official pedigree papers for their dogs, to the history of the lines and their health checks, to insurance, council licences and professional registrations. Find out what the breeder has, and ask to see the paperwork.
Pedigree dog breeders will register their litters with The Kennel Club in order to receive the appropriate pedigree recognition for the pups, and many good breeders will also be enrolled in The Kennel Club’s Assured Breeder Scheme. Ask the breeder if they are registered in the scheme, and check the veracity of this with The Kennel Club itself.
Finally, most dog breeds have an online presence to connect owners and enthusiasts of specific breeds, and these websites can prove very helpful in aiding you with finding the best breeders for each breed of dog.
Check out lists of accredited breeders, and find out if there are any local groups of breed owners nearby that you can talk to about your planned purchase. Breed clubs are generally very helpful, and will greatly respect your endeavour as a new potential owner in doing your homework ahead of time, so don’t be afraid to make contact and ask questions. You may even find that you can meet and talk to breeders directly thanks to local breed clubs, which can give you head start in your search when you come to planning your purchase.
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