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Thread: How to Buy A Breed

  1. In vino veritas
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    How to Buy A Breed

    Recently this was brought up, so I decided to write something to help people. Getting a dog is a responsibility that can last 20 years, so it is smart to always put lots of thought into it before you buy a breed.
    When looking into breeds of dogs, key words are used to describe breeds temprament. So many people come to vets and don't understand why their dog lunged at a stranger who walked into their home when they looked into a breed and the breed was described as 'loyal' 'protective' etc.. So, a quick breakdown:

    If a dog is described as:
    Loyal: be wary, this may not me good with new people, including new babies, in a home
    Energetic: This does not mean a walk around the block will suffice. These dogs will eat your home if not given physical AND mental stimulation every day. This means jogging, hiking, feeders toys, play time- every day.
    Intelligent: May be easy to train, may also need LOTS of mental stimulation or may eat your shoes
    Low activity = walks
    Moderate activity = jogs 3 times a week
    High activity = jogs every day, rain or shine or snow or whatever. 5 k. Every day.
    Independent: Really. Listen to that. May not be good with kids.

    ***Do not get a dog for the life/activity level that you want. Get a dog for the activity level you HAVE. Do not get an active dog in hopes it will force you to get in shape- it wont change your habits, it will just drive you insane***

    Also important to look at what the breed was bred to do. If a dog was bred to be a family dog, chances are, your dog will be a great family dog. If your dog was bred to chase strangers away from stagecoaches (Dalmations), it may be more reactive to strangers. If your dog was bred to hunt (think retrievers), dont be surprised if, after keeping it cooped in the house all winter, it turns its energy towards eating things, driving you crazy or, worst of all, turning its energy inward and becoming aggressive. If your dog was bred to herd, dont be surprised if it herds you, your kids and things like shadows. These dogs may become neurotic (seriously, the number of herding dogs we have to put on puppy prozac because they develop OCD and bark every time a shadow moves is saddening). This is not to say these breeds are bad, they can be AMAZING dogs, you just need to know how to work them, both mentally and physically, and be prepared to do that before you buy.

    The first question to ask yourself is: What do I want to do with this dog?
    Do you want it to mostly be a pet that you walk with once a week? Do you want to jog with this dog every day? Do you one day want kids? Do you have kids? Do you want a hunting dog? These questions can all help you in your quest. When looking into these breeds, look at what they were bred to do vs. what you want? Do these match up reasonably well? If you want a house pet and you want to buy a breed that was bred to hunt, you may have some problems. They can be overcome, but it may mean putting your dog in puppy kindergarten every day so they can play, or perhaps doing an agility class twice a week- something to mentally stimulate them, in addition to walking them daily. Want a running partner that was bred to be a lap dog? Probably not going to happen. Making sure your desires match up with the purpose of the breed can help prevent a number of potential problems.

    So, you think you have decided on a breed, now its time to find a breeder. Where to start? The AKC website ( American Kennel Club - ) has some breeders on there, although they are by no means promised to be good. However they CAN lead you towards good breeders. Look on there. Type in your breeds name into google and look for the 'American' version of it. For example, my fav breed, the wire haired pointing griffon, has a website called the American Wire Haired Pointing Griffon Association. The key is that they are the Parent Club for the AKC. They should have parent clubs for most breeds, and these websites often have an extensive list of breeders in your state/region. Again, this does not mean they are good, so, some questions to ask potential breeders...



    Are the dam and sire x-rayed free of hip dysplasia? May I see their OFA certifications? (Applies to certain breeds, look up information as to if your desired breed has hip dysplasia before asking this question)

    Is the dam and sire clear of any eye abnormalities? May I see their CERF forms? (Again, applies to certain breeds, look up information as to if your desired breed has eye abnormalities before asking this question)

    Is the dam and sire clear of any heart abnormalities? May I see their CERF forms? (Again, applies to certain breeds, look up information as to if your desired breed has heart issues before asking this question)

    Have the dam and sire been tested for Tan Point? (K-Locus Genetic Test) May I see the results? (Again, certain breeds)

    Are the dam and sire free of any hereditary crippling diseases?

    What traits do you breed for? What were you goals in breeding these dogs?- this is important. Good breeders should have goals for the breed, not just to breed.

    Do you offer a guarantee?

    How many years have you bred dogs?

    How many litters do you produce a year? (A good breeder should breed each bitch once a year...MAYBE breed once, and then breed again, but deffo not have 2 litters a year per bitch. Also good breeders will generally only breed one kind of breed, not 2, 3, 4 or more, as many puppy mills do. This may mean you will need to be on a list for 6-8 months before you get a puppy. This is both normal and good- it means the breeder is most likely not a backyard breeder or a puppy mill. It means they are caring about each litter and each pup).

    Have you ever shown dogs in conformation, obedience, rally, field trials, agility, tracking or other events?

    May I see the pedigrees?

    May I see the dam and sire?

    May I see the medical history of the puppies?

    Do you provide the AKC registration at the time of sale?

    Do you sell with a spay/neuter contract, full registration, limited registration, and co-ownership?

    ****If the breeder acts shady about any of the above questions, or gives answers such as no to CERF exams, no to checking the premises (for any reason- oh we arent home, oh its easier for us to bring the pup to you), or anything that makes you question if its a legit breeder, do not buy. It may be a well disguised puppy mill****

    Also know that sometimes the breeder will get sperm flown in from another part of the country, so you wont always be able to meet the sire, but you should never have trouble at least getting in contact with the sires owners to talk to them about their sire and his health.


    Does the dam have the kind of temperament and personality I desire in a puppy?

    Are the premises clean? Can I see them? (Seeing the home where th dam/sire/puppies are is a GREAT indicator of if this is a good breeder or not)

    Are the dogs clean?

    Are the dogs happy?

    Do the dogs appear to be healthy?


    Why do you want this dog? This breed?

    Do you have the proper facilities to care for this dog?

    Do you realize that owning a dog is an expense?

    Do you realize that owning a dog is an everyday thing, not a fad of the moment?

    Have you owned another dog(s)?

    What happened to them?

    Will you keep in touch as to the progress (and any problems) of this dog?

    Do you plan to attend training classes? What type?

    Do you plan on training this dog to hunt?

    Will you test the dog for its natural ability?

    Do you plan on showing this dog in conformation, obedience, field trials, agility, tracking, and other events?

    Do you plan on breeding?

    Will you call me first if you ever feel you have to place this dog in another home?

    Do you currently have a veterinarian? Be prepared to supply name, address and telephone number.

    A good breeder will not make money breeding dogs- they will simply break even. Good breeders breed for the love of the breed, and for bettering the breed and breed standard. This means that the cost of a well bred dog will be no less than $1000, and usually are more like $1200-$1500. This is because of the cost of multiple veterinary visits, CERF and OIE exams (which often need specialty vets, not just your local vet), the cost of getting semen from a good sire with good genetic quality etc... Dogs that are $300, $600 usually even $800-$900, are most likely not going to be dogs that were well bred or well cared for as pups. They are most likely puppy mill pups, or backyard breeders. I STRONGLY recommend against buying these dogs, along with pet shop puppies, as they often are the ones that end up with terrible genetic diseases (hip dyspasia, eye abnormalities, heart defects, brachycephalic syndrome etc..). This is not to say a well bred dog can't get these problems, but your chances are lower, an chances are the problems won't be as severe, as breeding selection occurred to try to eliminate those problems in your pup.

    Hope this helps! Any questions? Feel free to PM me!
    Last edited by Dr.VinoVet; 06-21-2013 at 04:35 PM.
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    Great info!
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    My DH just put one of these together for people here in Germany.
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    Well said!
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    Fabulous info
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    great info!
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