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Recognizing an unethical breeder

When you talk to people about their puppies, there are a few warning signs that you may be dealing with a disreputable, unethical, or irresponsible breeder:
The "breeder" lacks knowledge about the breed
The "breeder" shows ignorance or denial of genetic defects in the breed
The "breeder" has no involvement in dog sports
The "breeder" doesn't let you observe the puppies or adults, or let you see the kennels
The "breeder" has no documentation and cannot provide a pedigree
The puppies are not socialized
How to read those ads!
Here are a few more things that you ought to look out for.
"Champion lines" -- look instead for Champion sired or Champion parents. All Champion Lines means is that there is a dog somewhere in your puppy's family that was a champion - it says nothing about the quality of the parents at all. Anyone can buy a puppy from a champion, but it does not mean that they have any other interest in the breed but to bank on the name and make money. The puppy may have been sold as a pet (since it had some problems that prevented it from being shown) and an unethical person did not have the dog desexed and is still breeding puppies.

"AKC Registration" or "AKC Papers" -- So what? AKC registration does not guarantee quality. AKC papers are much like the title of a car - papers are issued on the junked chevy on blocks in your yard just as easily as they are on a brand new, shiny Jaguar. AKC does not control breeding, approve litters, or guarantee soundness. Unfortunately, in the hands of some unethical breeders, it doesn't even guarantee that 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 shouldn't be treated as one.

Be wary of other "registrations", as well. There are several groups that are registering dogs, occasionally even mixed breeds, for a fee. This registration means nothing, and is of no value to you. Not that AKC papers really mean much, either.

"extra-big", "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 the puppies is suspect, in my opinion. Usually, these dogs are outside of the breed standard and are subject to their own medical problems due to excessive size or lack of it.

"rare" -- Why? Is the dog showable? Are there too many defects for the animal to be bred? What kind of problems does this "rare" color or size or pattern entail? There are many people buying "rare" white Boxers and Shepherds, not realizing that they are not show-prospects, and that they are buying a dog with medical problems from lack of pigmentation, and possible behavioral problems as well.

There are even some people selling unusual cross breeds as "rare" dogs, and people buy them thinking they are getting some unique treasure. I don't want to be too harsh about this, though -- every breed we se today is the result of some specialized and "rare" breeding to create a certain look or behavior. Shepherds herd, retrievers retrieve...because we have selectively bred them to do so. A breeder who is trying to 'recreate' a lost breed may fall on either side of the ethical divide. Shop with care.

"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 you can see both parents, it often means that the person had two dogs in the back yard and didn't supervise them carefully enough, resulting in puppies.

I probably get more mail on this one statement than anything else -- people who legitimately have both parents are incensed that I would suggest that they are unethical and bad breeders. That is not what I am suggesting -- there are some good and very reasonable reasons to have both parents on site. However, you need to ask the right questions and understand why this is true. If the breeder doesn't have an answer, or the answer is something like "well, they were just such cute dogs..." or "we bought another dog so we could have puppies" you need to evaluate whether this breeder is doing the right thing. They might be, they might not. It's up to you to ask.

"Must go now!" Why? Are they too big to be cute anymore? Need more money? Is there a problem? Be very wary of this one.

There really is no secret to buying a good purebred dog. It all depends on the knowledge of the buyer and the willingness of the buyer to utilize that knowledge when confronted with a bunch of cute fuzzy balls of fur. An informed buyer is less likely to be taken in. If only there was a Consumer Reports on dog breeders.

The first step in the process is deciding which breed is right for the family.

The Internet offers several venues for testing your personality and matching it with certain breeds. A family with small children? Perhaps a smaller breed would be a better choice with an emphasis on temperament? An active lifestyle? Maybe one of the sporting breeds would be best. Large and giant breeds (over 60 pounds) are nice but remember they cost more to feed and should the dog get sick, require more medicine because of their size. Reading all you can about breeds of purebred dogs and familiarizing yourself with traits and characteristics is a must.

Once a breed has been chosen, the search for a breeder is next on the list.

Pet shops are certainly an easy way to buy puppies but these puppies are more likely to have been mass produced and little attention has been paid to health. Also, these puppies are sold with hefty price tags. Guarantees are sketchy at best and a return policy is usually for thirty days. After that, you are on your own.

The next option is the backyard breeder. These people have two dogs, one of either sex and decide that Rover should have some fun with Roverette. After all, the children need to see the miracle of birth and Roverette has to have a litter before she is spayed. Surely a litter of puppies is money in the bank. This sounds like a good idea to the breeder but to the buyer, it may be a disaster waiting to happen. These are the puppies where no health testing or pedigree research has been done on the parents. They might be registered and this fact is supposed to be a selling point.

Next is the sophisticated backyard breeder. He may dabble in showing in conformation and/or obedience but maybe has not accomplished much. He may have some knowledge but more than likely, hasn�t had enough experience or contact with people in the breed to be of any real help. His main selling point may be that there are X number of champions in the pedigree and these puppies may be show quality. That seems to be the catchall phrase and meant to impress the buyer. In fact, many things are done to impress a buyer and marketing is important. Again health testing is probably not done on the parents of the litter. If there is any health testing, it is minimal.

The last breeder is the serious breeder.

These are people who are truly interested in their breed. They are involved in showing, have champions and have years of experience under their belts. Their reputation depends on the puppies they sell so they are very careful about the pedigrees of their litters and the health testing done on the sire and dam. They have a lot of money invested in their breeding stock and take care of it. The best companions for a family come from show stock. Yes, the best pets come from show stock. Not only do the dogs look good but temperament is more likely to be even. The serious breeders are dedicated to the welfare of their chosen breed. They rarely advertise because their dogs sell themselves. The waiting lists for their puppies are long.

After researching the breed and finding breeders, the buyer needs to start the interviewing process.

By no means should this be done via email. The buyer either should make contact by phone or in person. This is a two way street. The buyer can see and/or hear what the breeder is like and the buyer is showing the breeder how dedicated he is in his search for the right puppy. The relationship between buyer and breeder is very important. Who else will help the buyer at 3 a.m. in the morning with a puppy question? A good breeder will be available to answer all questions, day and night, on weekends and yes, even on Christmas.

Be sure to familiarize yourself with the terminology.

Know what a pedigree is, know what AKC stands for and know what OFA is. Ask questions if you don�t understand something. If the breeder claims to show, ask to see pictures and be leery of a bunch of blue, red, yellow or white ribbons. In essence, this means nothing in the quest for a championship.

The buyer should ask the breeder questions and if the breeder doesn�t have the answers, the choice of that particular breeder should be reevaluated. Some of these questions should include:

1. How many years have you been involved with this breed? (Preferably over fifteen.)

2. Why did you decide this was the breed for you?

3. Do you show your dogs? How often do you attend dog shows? How long have you been showing your dogs?

4. Do you have both parents on the premises? (This is a trick question. If the sire of the litter is there and is not a champion, this was probably a convenient breeding and no research has been done on pedigrees. Run.)

5. What health tests have been done on the parents of the litter? A visit to the veterinarian last week doesn�t count when it comes to health testing. (At the very minimum, OFA hips, CERF, and thyroid testing should be done. Do not accept the statement that the parents are very healthy and don�t need to be tested. The breeder should be able to back up a claim of testing with certificates. Actually take the time to look at the health papers and study them.)

6. Are the sire and dam registered? (A word here about registration. American Kennel Club or AKC registration is preferred. There are other registries out there but they are less stringent about their registration procedures. Don�t be taken in by the answer of �yes�. Ask to see the registration papers.)

7. Is there a pedigree for the puppies that I can look at? (A good breeder will have one of these available.)

8. Are the dogs conformation champions, obedience title holders or do they have CGC (Canine Good Citizen) certificates? Are these certificates available for viewing? And if so, do the names on the certificates match the names on the registration papers? (All these things are ultimately temperament tests and very important things to consider for the future member of your family. If the breeder boasts about certain accomplishments, don�t take his word for it. Have him prove it)

9. Why did you breed this litter? (If the answer to this is anything but �I want to keep a puppy�, run as fast as you can. Litters of puppies are hard work and expensive to produce. Serious breeders don�t breed just to have puppies. They want to continue their lines and of course want to keep a puppy to show, etc.)

10. Do you have a sales contract? Ask to see a sample. (Companion dogs should be sold on limited registration. If there is nothing in the contract about spaying and neutering, ask yourself if this is a person you want to deal with.)

11. What health warranties do you have? What is the health history of the sire and dam of the litter? What did the ancestors of the puppies die of and how long did they live? (A minimum of three years for a warranty is fair for genetic defects such as hip dysplasia and progressive retinal atrophy or PRA. Know beforehand what diseases afflict your chosen breed. Every breed has something.)

12. What happens if I can�t keep this dog? (A good breeder will take the dog back at any time, no questions asked and find another home for it. The dog is the breeder�s responsibility for the dog�s entire life. This is called a right of first refusal clause.)

13. Do you have references? Ask for names.

14. When you see the puppies, are they clean, friendly and well fed? Runny eyes or puppies that hide in the corner are indications of problems down the road such as an illness or a fear biter. Ask to see the whole litter. Don�t accept the excuse that the rest of the puppies are sold and you don�t really need to see them. It is very important that you do see them. Maybe there are problems with the other puppies that the breeder is trying to hide.

15. What are the temperaments of the parents like?

16. Are the puppies raised in the home? Socialization is important for a well-adjusted puppy. If the puppies are kept in a shed out in the backyard or a kennel run, thank the people for their time and drive away.

17. Is the breeder a member of the parent club for his breed or an affiliate club? These clubs have their own screening processes for membership. If the breeder claims to hold membership, ask for the name of the president of the club and check this out.

18. How does this person interact with the dogs? Kindly? Harshly? How do the dogs interact with him? Friendly? Fearful? Dogs have a sixth sense about people and observing a dog�s behavior serves as an important barometer.

19. Ask other people in the breed about this person. What is the reputation of the breeder? Beware of long silences or responses like, �I can�t recommend them�. If you are going to deal with this breeder, he should have a sterling reputation in the breed.

20. Lastly, what is your gut feeling about this person? Trust your instincts and people skills. Be wary of the fast talker, the one who boasts extensively. If they can�t provide proof to any claims, then they aren�t the breeder for you. You should feel comfortable with dealing with this person because you will have a long term working relationship with him.

Now it�s the breeder�s turn. The questions you are asked may be rather pointed and personal but don�t take offense. A good breeder wants to make sure you can supply a stable environment for the puppy. Breeders are sometimes leery of unmarried couples and people who rent their homes. Problems can crop up with these situations and more than likely the dog will end up going back to the breeder. Also, the breeder will ask you for references. Be wary if these things don�t happen.

The least favorite thing a breeder wants to hear is that you �just� want a pet. This implies that you are willing to sacrifice quality for a lower price. This will jeopardize your chances of buying a puppy from a good breeder. You need to dedicate yourself to finding the right puppy for you regardless of the price. Certainly a budget can be made and things have to be taken into account like feeding and vet expenses but think very carefully about what you really want. A healthy puppy that looks like the breed it is supposed to be will cost money. However, in the long run, it will also be a money saver. Vet expenses will be kept to a minimum over time. This dog will be a member of your family for years to come.

As with anything,

buying a purebred puppy is a buyer beware market.

Do your homework, take your time and be careful.

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Be wary of other "registrations", as well. There are several groups that are registering dogs, occasionally even mixed breeds, for a fee. This registration means nothing, and is of no value to you. Not that AKC papers really mean much, either.
i beg to differ the arf and the abra wount let u redashure your dog with out a 5 generation ped and if in there lind there is any cross breedind say scott ab with pit they wont reg it

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Puregrover said:
i beg to differ the arf and the abra wount let u redashure your dog with out a 5 generation ped and if in there lind there is any cross breedind say scott ab with pit they wont reg it
=D> ARF is the oldest REG.. for the AB out there to date both my guy's are ARF ABRA AND NKC REG... :wink:

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Puregrover said:
i beg to differ the arf and the abra wount let u redashure your dog with out a 5 generation ped and if in there lind there is any cross breedind say scott ab with pit they wont reg it
=D> ARF is the oldest REG.. for the AB out there to date both my guy's are ARF ABRA AND NKC REG... :wink:
One thing to add UKC is the largest registry to date other than AKC.
UKC has alot of shows and has been around along time.
It depends on what type of dog you own aswell.
Like APHA says ARF is the oldest for AB's and NKC is 2 most popular BUT UKC is the largest most repected other than AKC for every dog not just AB's. As for ABRA they are really growing fast and very active respected registry in the AB community. Also one thing to add here UKC is pretty much exepted by all the other registries. NKC is exepcted for bulldogs only by UKC. There are other registries that are specificly for bulldogs too ABA but it cast alot of money to register your dog with them. Not that that should matter but there is no real reason for it If you have your dogs registered ARF ,UKC.

this is my stick to measure for American bulldog registries If there on this list there OK to deal with.
Question: What registries are recognized by UKC?

Answer: AKC, Canadian Kennel Club, The Kennel Club (in Great Britain) and any FCI affiliated registry ( a group of foreign registries, mostly in Europe and South America) are recognized for every breed of dog. Some of the breed specific registries recognized by UKC are listed below:

American Field Society
Master Of Foxhounds
National Stock Dog Registry (No MA prefixes)
ASCA (No M, A or B prefixes)
Canine Federation of Canada
Boykin Spaniel Society
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club
Coton De Tulear Club Of America American Coton Club
American Coton De Tulear Assn
Dogue De Bordeaux Club of America
United States Dougue De Bordeaux Club
International English Shepherd Registry
United Schutzhund Club of America
Icelandic Sheepdog Association of America
Jack Russell Terrier Breeders Association of America
Jack Russell Terrier Club of America
Leonberger Club of America
Patterdale Terrier Club of America
Xoloitzcuintli Club of America

you will notice other registries have very simular lists If you dog is not registered with one of these he should be.

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Just adding some more to your list

Some of this may be a repeat. This is one I wrote for another forum that is quick and easy plus newbie friendly :)

think these need to go here too as I'm noticing more and more newbies are being taken advantage of by BYBs. I know there are several post with the info all spread out so I put some of the top things that are easy to spot to indicate the breeder is a BYB

Too many people make comments or excuses like oh but they are nice people , or Oh but the pups are so cute or I felt bad for the dogs. PLEASE look at the big picture before supporting a BYB!!!!

First off, good dogs are where you find them rescues, shelters, breeders, out in a ditch. It isn't the dogs fault obviusly that the owners/breeders are irresponsible. However supporting and paying for a dog from a BYB you become part of the downfall of the breed sadly IMO.

The main red flags that the breeder you are talking to is a BYB:
(things to RUN from)

-Titles and health tests and true working dogs even those who aren't titled in a specific event are not the end all be all of a reputable breeder, but those things are huge improtant tools that help prove a dog worthy of being bred. Those who don't use any of the tools available to them are in the BYB category to me.

- someone who says Oh yes I health test , but think health tests mean the vet looks over the dog every now and then and doesn't knwo anything about OFA or Penn Hip etc

-A breeder who only breeds for color or any other one trait and discounts the total dog

- A breeder who uses any of these things as a selling point:
Any specific color,
HUGE size,
Short and wide,
The word RARE

-A breeder who does not use the standard as a blue print for the breeding practices

-Can't quote from the standard to compare their dog to it and explain why he/she is a good example of the breed and worthy of being bred

- says there dog has NO faults... FYI no dog is perfect

- Can't tell you why the pedigrees and why the particular dogs were matched up for a breeding

-A breeder who breeds females under the age of two

- Breeder that places puppies under 8 weeks of age

- A breeder who doesn't know how to eval a litter

- a breeder who doesn't help pace the right pup in the right setting

- a breeder whodoesn't now the difference between show, working and pet quality

- A breeder who doesn't understand or know how to eval for their adult dogs structure and temperament

- someone who doesn't give the first set of shots and worm the puppies

- A breeder with no contracts or agreements

- anyone selling unpapered dogs or mutts

- A breeder that doesn't screen new owners and ask questions of them

- A breeder who can't or won't answer questions of the buyer

- A breeder who doesn't offer to mentor new owners

-one who breeds litter after litter and has several on the grounds at once

- someone who doesn't want you to see the pups or dogs in person before buying

I can go on and on but those are some of the major red flags.

So if you are not going to rescue and are buying from a breeder...the old saying buyer beware is something to think about

Don't be taken by fast talk

Hope that saves someone some heartache

To find a good breeder and what you are looking for in a dog

RESEARCH and knowledge are your friends when buying a puppy

Go to shows and working events and talk to people with the breed. Look around to see what you like

Learn the standard

Look at different sites

Contact breeders and ask questions

Ask questions on the forum

If you are not going to show or work your dog and even if you are consider a rescue... there are even papered rescues and you can get Limited registration papers to work an unpapered rescue. Also, there are plenty of pups and dogs in rescue that are quite worthy of great homes they just had a bad start with crappy owners
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