Chapter 5
How To Know The Best Source For Your Dog

Reputable Breeders

Characteristics. Reputable breeders take their results seriously. They engage in a well thought out breeding program where they intentionally match parents to produce puppies with specific characteristics. In theory, reputable breeders breed dogs because they care about the breed- not to make money. If you buy a dog from a breeder, working with a reputable breeder gives you the best chance of buying a high-quality dog free of genetic diseases. Reputable breeders monitor the health of their dogs, match dogs for temperament and breed dogs in a manner that allows a reasonable interval between matings. Because reputable breeders typically have much more emotional energy invested in their dogs, they tend to care more about them. As a result, they will work hard to evaluate and understand your interests then match you with a dog that is well-suited for you and your lifestyle. And if the match does not work out, most reputable breeders will take the dog back with no questions asked, although you are unlikely to get a refund. In fact, the sales contract used by a responsible breeder may stipulate you must return the dog to the breeder if the match does not work. A reputable breeder may also offer health guarantees for their puppies. Health guarantees vary significantly from breeder to breeder, and may cover any health problems that your dog ever develops, include only a specific list of health problems, or may exclude specific health problems. Health guarantees may also range from 72 hours to years, depending on the breeder. In most cases, health guarantees simply enable you to return the dog to the breeder if it develops a health problem covered by the health guarantee. A breeder with a health guarantee typically lets you exchange your dog for another one. Many reputable breeders keep their dogs as companion animals and breed what are referred to as "pet quality" dogs. Others breed their dogs for a specific purpose- such as to show or as working dogs. Some of these dogs, typically those who do not meet the high standard for which they were bred, are frequently sold as pets as well. To select the right breeder for your needs, think about what kind of dog you want then look for breeders that specialize in that type of dog. We will take a look at show, working-line, and companion animal breeders more closely in just a minute. Finding Reputable Breeders. There are many ways to find responsible breeders. For purebred dogs, breed clubs or dog sport organizations are an excellent source for quality breeders. Ask them for a list of breeders who produce kind of dogs with the characteristics you want. The AKC also has a breeder list, and many of your local dog clubs may be affiliated with the AKC. If you are interested in a designer dog, a specialty dog training academy is a great potential source of information and will typically do everything they can to help you, especially if they think you might become a training client. You can also contact your local veterinarian to ask for breeder recommendations. Dog magazines typically have breeder listings in a classified advertising section. The Internet can be a good source for breeder information; especially if the breeder has their own website.