In a day in age where google and facebook forums give birth to overnight experts in a breed, an alarming amount of puppy peddlers talk the talk, where the falter is walking the walk.
Here is where I would like to invite you to please shop around, compare what you learned about us, our dogs and dedication to others. The more you shop, the better we look. The positioning here isn’t fluff or bolstering an ego it will honestly educate you and save you and your family from years of heartache having purchased an unhealthy puppy from unhealthy, un proven parents raised by less than experienced or dedicated people. To help you in finding the perfect new addition to your family the internet is FULL of “questions to ask when buying a puppy” guides, we recommend you use one of those AS WELL. We’ve also made a list of questions to ask a breeder you’re interviewing, and why those questions are important. We know some of these questions may seem odd, but the answers may alarm you. These are not the type of questions you will find on a “typical guide” these questions have answers that will make you feel wonderful about where your buying your puppy from, or will have saved you hundreds, maybe even thousands of dollars.
1. How old are the sire and dam (mom and dad)? All too often we see females being bred on their very first heats or what should be well into their retirement. What possible benefit could come of this? Typically, males reach sexual maturity before females, meaning some males can sire a litter when they are six months old or less. Females take a little longer to mature. But the best practice is to wait until both are fully mature so you can assess their physical traits and find the best mate to breed away from any faults. You should also wait for your dog to fully mature so that you can perform any necessary health checks on them to make sure that they won’t pass on any heritable diseases or conditions. (OFA requires dog be at least 2yrs old to certify their hips and elbows free of dysplasia or degenerative joint disorder). The only motive is money.
2. How many litters has the Dam (mom) had? How many litters do you have a year?
3. Do you show your dogs or participate in any dog sports? The sport of showing orginated as a way to prove your dogs worthiness to be bred, PERIOD. Where a dog was judged to the breed standard and competed against other dog to weed out the best of the best for breeding stock. Breeders who show their dogs are not necessarily better than those that do not. However, if you want a puppy that has show potential, you need to visit a breeder who shows. The same is true in other sports. Even if your puppy is going to be your companion and friend, do not immediately rule out such a breeder. You might end up with a pet that may not be show quality, but an excellent dog. However if a breeder is making boastful statement about the dogs being the “best” without having competed in a ring, proven its worthiness… those are no more than boastful statements.
4. Are the parents health tested? Now while most breeders will say yes, it’s only because they don’t even know what health testing is. Health testing has nothing to do with shots, dewormings or rabies. Frequently an uneducated breeder will answer in all honesty, “yes”. You as the consumer need to know there are only two major certifying organizations, the OFA (Orthopedic Foundation of Animals http://www.offa.org/) and PennHip ( http://pennhip.org). While Pennhip focuses on hips the OFA tests tracks and scores the entire canine genetic health including cardiac disease, congenital Deafness, elbow dysplasia, eyes, hip dysplasia, Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease, shoulder OCD, thyroid, tracheal hypoplasia, and dna testing. While our breed doesn’t test for all of the above, HIP DYSPLASIA, ELBOW DYSPLASIA, TRACHEAL HYPOSLASIA AND CARDIAC DISEASE do PLAGUE OUR BREED. While 9/10th of programs within our breed DO NOT HEALTH TEST their stock an alarming 7/10th DO NOT EVEN KNOW WHAT IT IS!
5. Does the puppy come with Health certificate and certificate of sale? Ask the breeder if he will supply a health certificate for the puppy issued by his veterinarian, most states REQUIRE a puppy being sold to have a valid heath certificate issues no more than 10 days prior to the sale. Some states require also a certificate of sale. A health certificate is a minor expense and there is NO EXCUSE for a breeder not supplying one, both as a safety nets for the breeder as well as the buyer. It does insure at the time the puppy appears healthy and is free of internal and external parasites.
6. Are you a licensed business with the state? LLC, Inc. ? Are your licensed with the USDA? Several new laws and additions were passed by the USDA September 10th 2013, for the protection and welfare of animals that require even “hobby breeders” to hold and license and be subject to inspection. The long and short of the new laws cover almost everyone who breeds dogs to be licensed. The cliff’s notes: If a breeder has more than 4 breeding females (animals with the capacity to be bred, meaning not spayed) on their premises, or they ship puppies SIGHT UNSEEN, they must be licensed. The buyer MUST see the animal IN THE FLESH before purchase, photos do not qualify. The only exempt “hobby Breeder” is one who gross ANNUAL sales are less than $500 and the offspring are going into pet channels, meaning spayed and neutered.
7. Ask for a list of references! I cannot stress this one enough, don’t be shy either, in our glorious technology era you can really get a lot of information easily, but do your due diligence when checking references. Best reference in the world is a “repeat customer” When you can find a breeder who has customers come back again and again over the span of many years you’ve found a breeder you can count on for the next 10+ yrs of your new family members’ life.