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Choosing a dog breeder


bulletThings to think about in selecting a breeder

1.) If a breeder claims to have "show quality" dogs, ask if they are involved in conformation competition. How would a person know how to recognize "show quality" if they themselves have never been to a dog show?

2.) "Championship lines" means nothing. In the first place, breeders who claim to have "champion lines" often mean there are one or two champions in the pedigree. Often, in the pedigrees we deal with there are only one or two who are not champions! Besides, those who breed quality dogs know that there are champions, then there are champions. The fact that a dog is a champion does not necessarily ensure its quality, nor does it mean that the breeder knew what they were doing in breeding Champion A to Champion B.

3.) Can the breeder provide you with photos or videos of their dogs? If they can't, why not?

4.) In what conditions have the puppies been raised? The ease of the housebreaking can be highly impacted by how clean the puppies were kept as they were growing up --- puppies raised in unclean conditions may never be housebroken.

5.) Is the breeder knowledgeable about raising puppies and proper socialization techniques? Puppies that are raised without gentle handling, human contact and a wide variety of noises and experiences may exhibit a wide variety of behavioral problems.

6.) Have the puppies' temperaments been evaluated and can the breeder guide you to the puppy that will best suit your lifestyle? A caring breeder will know the puppies and be able to make good matches between puppies and homes.

7.) "AKC registered" means very little in reference to the quality of the puppy. AKC is merely a registry. All that "AKC registered" means is that the dog is purebred, assuming the breeder (and the breeders before this one in the pedigree of the dog) have been truthful about breeding purebred to purebred and registering the puppies as such. AKC does not police kennels or breeders for any other offense than not adhering to AKC's record keeping and dog identification rules.

[Note: The American Hairless Terrier is not registered with  the American Kennel Club (AKC), it is registered with the United Kennel Club (UKC). UKC is the second oldest and second largest all-breed dog registry in the US.]

8.) "Pedigreed" does not indicate the quality of a dog. All a pedigree is, is a family tree. A mixed breed dog in the street could have a family tree, if the person who bred that mixed breed dog knew who the father and mother were, and who their fathers and mothers were. So, the person who states, "My dog has a pedigree as long as my arm" is essentially saying he knows who the dog's parents were, and who their parents were, and so on. Yet, it does not in any way indicate the quality of those dogs.

9.) Did the breeder ask you questions about your family, your lifestyle, your home? A concerned, caring breeder wants to know all about where his or her puppies are going!

10.) Did the breeder ask you how much information you have about the breed, and did the breeder offer to answer your questions about the breed or their breeding program? Did the breeder discuss the good and bad things about owning the breed with you, or did it all sound "pie in the sky"?

11.) Is the breeder willing to refer you to people who have purchased puppies from them in the past? Surely if a person has bred before, then there are people who provide a reference for the breeder --- people who will tell you how happy they are with their dogs from this breeder. If not, why not???

12.) Are pet puppies sold on already spay/neutered? Or on a spay/neuter contract with limited registration? If not, why not? This is a hallmark of a responsible, caring breeder.

13.) Does the breeder have a WRITTEN contract? If not, why not??? A responsible breeder will stand behind his or her puppies and cares about them for their lifetimes, not just until the check clears the bank!

bulletQuestions to ask a breeder

1.) How long have you been breeding this breed and dogs in general?

2.) Why do you breed?

3.) What are the strengths and weakness of your breeding program?

4.) In what conditions was the litter raised?

5.) Are you familiar with the health problems in the breed?

6.) Can you tell me why you put these 2 dogs together? May I see a pedigree on the litter?

7.) What shots & wormings have the puppies had?

8.) Who graded the litter and what qualified them to grade the litter?

9.) Do you show dogs in conformation and/or obedience events?

10.) What age do you let your puppies go to their new homes? Do not take a puppy before it is AT LEAST 8 wks old, no matter what!

11.) Last but not least what kind of contract/guarantees do they offer on the puppies? This is the most important question you can ask.

[Note: If you are getting an American Hairless Terrier because you are allergic to dogs, be sure to discuss this with the breeder as well.]

bulletTips for recognizing profit-focused breeders

1.) They make their living from selling dogs. They usually have a number of breeds, sometimes even as many as 10 or more.

2.) They don't ask you many questions, and they don't want to answer many, either.

3.) They do not know about (or care about) genetic problems.

4.) Price comes up early in the conversation (usually first).

5.) They will sell to anyone, for any reason. Their definition of "screening a buyer" is to be sure the person's check will clear the bank!

6.) They have no contract. No guarantees. The only thing they are concerned with is the money!

Posted with permission from Lynn K. Poston, Kalon Cresteds

[Note: Notes have been added by me.]

If you are looking for AHT breeders, contact the AHTA club for breeder referrals and information about available pups or older dogs. Go to my AHT Links page and scroll down to club listings.

NEVER, never, never buy a dog from a pet shop! Reputable breeders will never sell dogs to pet shops!!! A must read article - Buying Pet Store Dogs. More good articles about getting a dog on that same website.

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