Chapter 5
How To Know The Best Source For Your Dog
Companion/Pet Dog Breeders. A companion or pet dog breeder is a breeder who focuses on producing dogs that make great pets. These breeders aren't focused on whether the dog looks exactly right according to the breed standard, or has the right stamina and skills for a working dog. Pet dog breeders' sole focus is on breeding dogs for people to use as companions. Companion dogs bred by a companion dog breeder may not perfectly match the breed standard and may lack the strong instincts of their breed. However, in most cases, these dogs make wonderful companions and typically cost much less than show line or working line dogs. Companion, or pet dog breeders, are typically the most casual dog breeders in the breeding world. Unfortunately, breeders who fall into this category may be the most likely to practice irresponsible breeding practices. Anyone can become a pet dog breeder just by owning a dog and producing a litter. People can become pet dog breeders accidentally when their unspayed female dog becomes pregnant. Pet dog breeders may or may not engage in a well thought out breeding program. In some cases, pet dog breeders do pay attention to pedigrees and match dogs with suitable temperaments to produce quality companion animals. In other cases, however, pet dog breeders may simply know a friend who has a dog of the same breed and set up a breeding program without checking the pedigree or considering the genetic suitability of the match. Pet dog breeders may also be the most likely to breed dogs exclusively for profit. They may intentionally produce as many puppies as possible, as quickly as possible, without regard for the genetic health of the dogs. They may also produce mutts or cross-breeds because their dog is unspayed and they have an unexpected litter. Even so, responsible pet dog breeders are probably the best choice for families who are looking for a companion animal. Purebred pet dogs are typically less expensive than either show dogs or working dogs, and good pet dog breeders produce puppies that have wonderful temperaments and are well-suited to family life. To ensure you get a high-quality canine companion that has a reduced risk of inheriting a genetic disease, make sure you research pet dog breeders thoroughly before you decide to purchase your dog from one. Some things you might want to ask include: • How many litters do you produce a year? • How do you decide which dogs to breed? • How long have you been breeding (name of breed)? • Where do your puppies live? • How are your puppies socialized? • Do you conduct health or temperament testing on your dogs? Just because a dog isn't a show or working line dog doesn't mean breeders should exempt themselves from conducting health or temperament tests on their dogs. Hold pet dog breeders to the same standards as show and working line breeders; make sure they conduct OFA and CERF testing on breeds prone to genetic health-related issues. Look for breeders who talk about the temperaments of their animals, and beware of breeders who can't comfortably answer your questions. When you're talking to pet dog breeders about pedigrees and registration, beware of pet dog breeders who have certifications from the Continental Kennel Club, the ACA or the APRI. These are 'dog registries' that will register virtually any dog, without a pedigree or registration history. Registration requirements vary, but may be as simple as providing two signatures 'certifying' that the dog is a purebred, along with photos of a dog. These registries don't verify registration history, don't require DNA testing to validate purebred claims and have no bearing whatsoever on producing quality or purebred dogs. If you encounter a pet dog breeder that advertises his dogs as belonging to one of these registries, you will likely reduce your risks if you move on and keep looking for a more reputable breeder.