Chapter 5
How To Know The Best Source For Your Dog
Getting the right dog doesn't require you to avoid backyard breeders altogether; the key to getting the right dog is to do the proper research to find a responsible breeder. It is possible to find a backyard breeder who researches dog breeding, implements a healthy breeding program, and breeds only one or two animals for personal enjoyment and improving the breed. Your job as a potential dog purchaser is to find the right breeder; be it a backyard breeder or a professional kennel. But, you might have to look a little harder to find a good, knowledgeable backyard breeder. How to Spot a Backyard Breeder. Backyard breeders may think of themselves as 'genuine' breeders and may not realize that it takes more than owning a female dog to do a good job as a breeder. As such, backyard breeders rarely identify themselves as backyard breeders, but it's possible to spot a backyard breeder if you know the warning signs. Backyard Breeders are Casual Dog Owners. You don't see backyard breeders competing in dog shows, dog sports or other dog-related activities. That's because backyard breeders are casual dog owners. If they provide pedigrees, it's unlikely that any of the dogs on the pedigree have a title. In fact, you can spot backyard breeders by looking for pedigrees laden with stereotypical dog names, such as "Fido III" or "Spot VI." Professional, knowledgeable breeders assign each of their dogs a unique name, whereas un-knowledgeable backyard breeders have a lot of repetitive names or names followed by Roman numerals, which indicate that the names aren't unique and the AKC has had to assign them a number to identify the dog. Backyard breeders typically have informal pictures of their dogs in their homes or interacting with people in every-day life. Compare this to professional breeders that produce show-quality or performance dogs, where you'll see pictures of dogs with ribbons and awards. While casual pictures aren't necessarily an indicator that the breeder is unprofessional, it can mean you're dealing with a backyard breeder that might produce dogs with health problems. Backyard Breeders Can't Answer Questions. Ask a backyard breeder many of the questions from How to Talk to Breeders, and you may get unsatisfactory answers or no answers at all. Backyard breeders tend to be under-educated about dog breeding. They probably won't provide dogs with OFA, CERF or BAER certifications. If you ask about the Coefficient of Inbreeding, you might get a blank look. Breeders who can't answer questions about their dogs' health, pedigrees, breed registries, or how their dogs are raised are probably not responsible breeders and the odds are increased that they are not a good choice for buying a healthy, problem-free dog.