Yesterday, after my human shoveled snow, and we had had our snowy walks and breakfast, she had a good chat with an old friend. Her friend is a dog breeder. I won’t say what breed – because it could be ANY breed – and we’ll keep this a “generic” story.
Her friend was commiserating about a bunch of recent calls that she has had from people who own her breed. But they did not get their dogs from my human’s friend. These people are having problems with health, and behavior issues in their dogs. My human’s friend is a very nice person. AND a good breeder. So she asks the people why they don’t talk to their breeder. Which brings me to my discussion today. What makes a good breeder?
When people are getting a puppy, they are often familiar with the typical questions to ask the breeder: “Ask to see the parents of the puppies. Ask about health clearances. Ask if the breeder’s dogs have had health issues.” Those are the standard questions that a good breeder will easily answer.
But that’s just scratching the surface of what makes a good breeder. And trust me – you WANT a good breeder. My human remembers when she got her first purebred Bernese….
Before the Bernese, my human had two purebred dogs (“with papers”) growing up. In retrospect, these dogs who became amazing family members, were bred by well-intentioned people who were not regular dog breeders. They had a litter. They sold the puppies. And that was that. I’m not even certain they had any health clearances, and frankly, back then, my human wouldn’t have even thought to ASK. Back then, you saw an add in the paper, you called, and you went to get your puppy. Simple.
So when my human went to get her first Bernese, imagine her surprise when the breeder wanted her to complete a questionnaire! A questionnaire? Seriously? My human’s immediate thought was – I’m the one who is paying for this puppy – shouldn’t I be the one asking the questions?! It was at that point that she found out what a really GOOD breeder is all about.
The breeder, who asks what might seem like rather intrusive questions about your training methods, your home environment and where the dog will sleep (!) – is asking those questions because he or she CARES about those puppies that they have just produced. That is a GOOD breeder. That breeder has made THE best effort to breed healthy puppies who will have good longevity and good temperaments. That breeder loves those puppies – and after all the work involved in breeding and raising a litter – he or she is truly sad to see those puppies leave for their new homes. That breeder also wants to be sure that he or she has matched you to the best puppy for your lifestyle. Some puppies may be more of a handful (can you imagine?!) so the breeder will want to be sure that’s the right puppy for you. And IF you have a good breeder, that is NOT the end of your relationship. It’s just the beginning! IF you have a good breeder, that should be the person you are able to contact with ANY issues related to your canine companion. For the LIFE of your dog. Now I’m not suggesting that you have to talk to the breeder every week – and as dogs get older, contact may not be as frequent. But any GOOD breeder WANTS to know about their puppies – because that breeder learns about his or her breeding program from YOU! That GOOD breeder wants to know it all – even when that dog’s job on this earth is done.
If you go to get a dog – and there are no questions asked of you – it’s a red flag that the person isn’t really “in this” for the betterment of the breed. Let’s face it, if you make the decision to share your life with a purebred dog, you want to start off at the right place. Just as you want the right puppy – you want the right breeder! The breeder should be someone you TRUST – and someone you can call on at any time.
My human has been lucky. After she realized WHY all the questions were being asked with that first Bernese, she happily answered them. She admits she has had very good breeders breeders over the years. And ALL of them were more than willing to answer ANY questions or concerns – no matter how old her dog was.
In this day and age when purebreds get a bad rap (I’ve ranted on about this before), and when we are seeing the possible extinction of some breeds, it is critical that people understand what constitutes a good breeder. Frankly, registration papers are not proof that you have purchased a healthy, happy, dog with a good temperament. Papers are just papers. What really counts is who produced those papers. And even though, good breeders can not guarantee a perfect puppy because they don’t control nature – they will have done everything possible to make sure that you have a healthy companion for a long time. And they want to know about your dog – for that long time. THAT is the definition of a GOOD breeder. In my opinion. Just sayin.
So those are my random thoughts for today. Now excuse me while I get my human moving – I think she has more shoveling to do….
Have a good one. Peace and paws up.
Seizure free days: 7