The Miller five-dog pack, which included a Scottish Terrier, a Pomeranian, and an Australian Kelpie, used to include two mixed-breed canines and three purebred animals. One purebred was found as a stray, one came from an animal shelter and was adopted, and one came from a friend who could no longer care for her.
Every week, I receive a number of calls from people asking me to recommend a breeder to them. But it has been more than 20 years since we bought a dog from a breeder, and I bet I won’t buy another dog until I die. Years of working in the animal protection field have unfortunately made me aware of how any breed of dog you could possibly want is readily available.
The Top Five Caveats of Purebred Dog Buying
1. Carefully research the breed you want to buy to avoid typical breed issues. Some genetic flaws are ingrained in the gene pool of every breed.
2. Set an unreasonable bar for your breeder. Purchasing a puppy from an irresponsible breeder encourages them to keep adding to the problem of pet overpopulation. If you decide to purchase from a breeder, make sure they most nearly match the aforementioned description.
3. Avoid the snare “trendy breed trap Find out more about the breed that interests you. Don’t get a Jack Russell, Border Collie, or Siberian Husky because you like “Snow Dogs,” Wishbone, or “Babe.” All three of those breeds can provide greater difficulties for inexperienced dog owners.
4. Be cautious of “breeder agreements Untrustworthy breeders frequently try to sell their unsold young puppies who have outgrown the “cute stage” or their “used up breeding stock” by fabricating a tale about how the dog was a show hopeful who fell short and is now willing to give you a great price. In actuality, the breeder should be paying you to take the dog off his hands because these dogs are frequently incredibly badly socialized, have received no training at all, and are a genuine liability. If whatever the breeder says to you seems false, “it’s probably off. Be prepared to spend money on a reputable behavior consultant’s services if you decide to accept one of these breeder bargains.
5. Steer clear of unrealistic expectations. Not all Collie puppies can become Lassie. Will you love her despite her defects and honor your promise to love and cherish her until death do you part, even if your German Shepherd pup’s ears never grow up as tall as they should, your Bichon Frise never takes it to Madison Square Garden, or your Australian Kelpie is scared of cows?
The truth is that purebred dogs are commonplace. They are offered for adoption in shelters, by rescue organizations, for free in the newspaper, as strays on the streets, for sale by breeders, and, regrettably, at pet stores. Each of these options has advantages and disadvantages; while you can get good dogs from any of them, you can also get dogs from them with moderate to major behavioral and health issues. The majority of the dog breeding industry appears to follow the “the caveat emptor principle. The typical dog owner is mostly on her own when it comes to getting a new canine friend, so she should proceed with extreme caution. Let’s look at the pros, cons, and ugly of each purebred dog supplier.
If you plan to exhibit your dog in conformation (or any other type of show), “registration documents are required for the breed ring. You need a very good quality dog with papers if you wish to succeed participating in the breed ring. There are reputable breeders who sell high-quality canines and dishonest breeders who market ill and unsound animals. Puppies are sold by both with papers. Sadly, there are many careless breeders while there are few conscientious ones.
I have evolved a rather strict concept of a home after spending more than 30 years working in and near animal shelters and witnessing countless numbers of purebred and mixed-breed dogs put to death due to lack of homes “trustworthy breeder. According to me, a responsible breeder only breeds puppies to advance the breed; she does not do it to make a profit but to try to produce the greatest dogs she can.
Sire and dam are rigorously examined in a reputable breeding program for any health issues that are known to be prevalent in that breed, and matings are decided on the basis of how well one dog’s traits complement the other. Dogs of breeding quality are shown and titled in conformation and at least one competitive canine sport to show that they have intelligence as well as beauty. Dogs with questionable temperaments or health are never bred.
A responsible breeder will supplement the dam’s diet before and during pregnancy to protect the health of both the mother and the puppies, and they won’t hesitate to get their animals the veterinary attention they need during pregnancy, whelping, and puppy growth.
To avoid any potential behavioral issues brought on by the puppies’ lack of exposure to other people and their environment, they are kept in a clean environment after birth and are socialized to the utmost degree starting at around four weeks of age. Even before they are placed in new homes, good breeders start educating their puppies, giving them a head start on manners and preparing them to feel at ease in crates and away from the pack.
A responsible breeder carefully vets potential new homes and doesn’t just sell puppies to the first person who shows up with a check in hand. If the buyer reveals under direct interrogation that he is unfamiliar with the breed, she enlightens him about all facets of that breed, not just the cuddly characteristics.
Good breeders simply don’t sell their puppies before they are eight weeks old, and they sterilize and neuter pet-quality puppies before placing them (juvenile spay/neuter techniques now make it safe to sterilize puppies as young as eight weeks old; for more information, see “Spaying and Neuturing Information”). These breeders will be pleased to provide you with the names and contact information of a number of people who have purchased her dogs; call these people and find out how happy they are with the health and temperament of their dogs. If they claim to no longer have the dogs, pay attention!
A reputable breeder might insist on going to the buyer’s house to check out the puppy’s future surroundings and might refuse to sell a puppy to a house without a securely fenced yard. Knowing full well what a difficult task it is to raise two young dogs together without behavior issues, a competent breeder rarely offers two pups to the same buyer. Since they have made sure to have potential buyers for any puppies they produce well before the breeding takes place, good breeders also rarely advertise in the papers. They also never sell to pet stores.
Last but not least, an ethical breeder pledges to always take back any pups she has produced at any point during the life of that dog, if the new owners are forced to give them up for whatever reason.
You can see that there aren’t many breeders who fit my admittedly high standards. There wouldn’t be as many purebred and mixed-breed dogs accessible from other sources, including shelters and rescues, if more breeders were of this type. Any breeder who falls short of this actively contributes to the serious issue of pet overpopulation in this nation.
On the plus side, finding a breeder that is truly excellent is rare. She produces healthy puppies of high quality, gives those who are fortunate enough to buy from her a worthwhile education, is a great resource for her customers after the puppies have been delivered, and develops a lifelong friendship with her puppies and their new family.
Of course, purebred dogs can be found elsewhere, and many dog sports do not require registration in order for them to participate. For mixed-breed and unregistered purebred dogs, many organizations offer contests and titles; these organizations are more focused on performance than pedigree. Even the most rigid enforcer of “purebred-only standards,” the American Kennel Club, grants “Indefinite Listing Privileges” to dogs that look to be purebreds, even in the absence of registration paperwork. With the exception of breed rings, dogs with ILP numbers are permitted to compete in all AKC-sanctioned events, including obedience and agility, and they are also eligible to win all AKC sports competition titles.
The majority of people are shocked to learn how many purebred and mixed-breed dogs and puppies wind up in animal shelters across the country. I’ve visited and worked in shelters all around the country over the past three decades, and never once did I fail to see purebred dogs in the adoption kennels.
There are several benefits to adopting a dog from a shelter. To start, you might just save a life. Adoption pups at many shelters only have a short window of opportunity to find a home before overcrowding causes animal care employees to choose which dogs to put to death. Additionally, you can manage to save money. Many adoption fees include a comprehensive package of shots, a license, ID tags, and spaying/neutering, all of which are much less expensive than the cost of the actual services from a private veterinarian, not to mention the price of a puppy from a private source.
Although some dogs with behavior issues wind up in shelters, the majority do not. Many animals have no issues at all, while others may have wandered off and their owners didn’t care enough to come look for them or pay impound costs. Some have small, easily remedied behavioral or health issues that the prior owner couldn’t be bothered to remedy. Still some “ideal dogs” are abandoned at shelters because their owners are making adjustments to their way of life without including Fido.
Being cautious is necessary when adopting from a shelter. You should travel further and adopt from a shelter with a strong disease control program if your neighborhood shelter has a well-deserved reputation for housing distemper and parvovirus viruses. Additionally, some shelters perform a better job than others at selecting qualified dogs for adoption and finding them suitable homes. To locate the shelter’s hidden gems, you might need the assistance of your go-to dog trainer.
Breed matching services are provided by the greatest shelters. You can enter and be accepted as a prospective adopter, and your information will be added to their database for that specific breed. They can call you to arrange a visit when a dog of your preferred breed arrives looking for a home. The thrill of knowing you gave a shelter dog a second chance at life is well worth the time it might take to wait for the appropriate pup to show up.
Animal rescue organizations have increased their prominence for their efforts over the past few of decades. There is a rescue organization today for every breed imaginable, as well as for mixed-breed and crossbreed animals, and there are rescue organizations in every neighborhood. Several places, including shelters, breeders, private residences, Greyhound racetracks, and law enforcement efforts against puppy mills and hoarders, provide rescue dogs (animal collectors).
Rescue organizations can be very excellent or very evil, just like shelters and breeders can. Dogs from reputable rescue organizations are thoroughly vetted, spayed or neutered, and have had their temperament assessed. They carefully vet potential adopters and thoroughly disclose any known or anticipated behavioral issues. Being an expert in her breed, a competent rescuer will make sure you are equipped to handle the quirks of the breed you have chosen.
Rescuers should be on the lookout for hoarder syndrome. Rescue workers who care about animals can occasionally fail to realize when their obligations exceed their capacity. Because of their deep commitment to saving lives, they can wind up taking in more animals than they can care for or animals who need much more rehabilitation than the average adopter or them can provide.
Be ready to pay an adoption fee for the dog you saved. To rehabilitate and place their wards, good rescue organizations invest a lot of money. Your adoption fees will assist cover part of their operating and animal care costs since they rely heavily on contributions.
Good breeders don’t need to advertise in their local media, so they don’t. Although they commonly advertise, backyard breeders and puppy mills are not a good place to find your new family member.
However, if you are diligent and can resist the urge to adopt the first fuzzy face you come across, you can locate your ideal dog in the newspaper. Look for a private owner that has to give up a specific dog for whatever reason, usually a change in lifestyle or the sober understanding that getting a dog for the family was a bad decision. Make careful to thoroughly assess the dog before bringing him home, and be explicit with the owner about your capacity to return him if he doesn’t suit your needs.
The sole benefit of buying a puppy from a pet store is that you saved the dog in the window, which is nice for that particular puppy. While some customers are completely satisfied with their purchases from pet stores, we strongly advise you to never even consider making such a purchase. The hazards exceed the benefits by a huge margin.
To begin with, buying a puppy from a pet store contributes to the abhorrent puppy mill trade. With every dollar you spend to save that seductive face in the window, additional pups grown in subpar conditions are produced, marketed, and sold. By “By clearing out that puppy’s cage, you essentially give the pet store owner permission to order other puppies, whose moms will serve as the puppy farmer’s breeding machines. Pay no heed to the store manager’s promises that the puppies are from reputable breeders “breeders who are ethical. Puppies are never sold to pet shops by ethical breeders. None.
Every dog breed carries the risk of developing particular illnesses or medical disorders; when genes pass along features for a particular coat type and color, conformation, and temperament, they also pass along the risk of hip dysplasia, heart defects, cancer, etc. from the parent. The likelihood that your puppy will get one or more of these life-altering problems is much higher because pet store parents are unlikely to have had any testing for genetic defects; they may even be leftovers who already have the inherited conditions. It’s possible that the parents and the puppies missed out on crucial health care procedures like deworming and a healthy diet.
Puppy mills and other irresponsible breeders will start going out of business the sooner consumers stop purchasing pups from pet stores, which will lead to pet retailers ceasing to sell them.
Get the Right Dog for the Job
The American Kennel Club (AKC), the most well-known breed registry in this country, accepts registration applications for 150 different dog breeds, and numerous smaller registries also recognize hundreds more. Think about the functions the dogs have been bred for as well as the environment you can provide for him when making plans for your next four-legged family member.
Based on the purposes for which the breeds were initially formed, the AKC divides its recognized breeds into seven categories. For breeds that are still being considered for recognition, they also have a Miscellaneous Class. However, aside from Miscellaneous, the category your desired breed belongs to might reveal a lot about his expected traits.
These “bird dogs”—setters, spaniels, pointers, and retrievers—are frequently used by hunters to locate and capture “game birds” including ducks, geese, pheasants, grouse, and other similar species. They have a propensity for being attentive, energetic, and extremely talkative—the retrievers in particular. Being trained to work closely with humans, they require a lot of exercise and are naturally quite perceptive of people.
These are hunting canines that either pursue their target with their eyes (sight hounds) or their noses (scent hounds). Both types of hounds are bred to chase after prey without thinking about where their owners are; by nature, they are more concerned with the environment than with people. They are easily trainable, but the handler needs exert more effort to persuade the hounds that participating in the training game is worthwhile. As they are raised to “sound off when following prey,” the scent hounds (Beagles, Foxhounds, etc.) have a tendency to be extremely loud.
These dogs have been bred for guarding, dragging sleds and carts, and performing water rescue. This group includes breeds that guard sheep, such as the Mastiff, Rottweiler, Newfoundland, Husky, and several more. We shouldn’t be shocked that they can get into serious problems when mistreated because they are often huge, protective, and somewhat independent. Except for sled dogs, many of them have a tendency to be calmer than many other breeds. A Bernese Mountain Dog, for instance, despite its size, would be a better option for apartment life than the tiny but active and frequently boisterous Jack Russell Terrier.
They come in a variety of sizes, from the relatively small Norfolk or Cairn Terrier to the enormous Airedale Terrier. Terriers generally don’t tolerate other animals well because their predecessors were raised to hunt and kill vermin.
other canines. They are notorious for having a “attitude” and are prone to become offended if you try to coerce them into doing something.
These young animals are born with genetically strengthened inclinations for cuddling. These magnificent dogs can become amazing companions, therapy dogs, and service dogs if properly trained and socialized. They can be little terrors if not. Since they are typically small and simple to handle, many owners choose to neglect training and ignore undesirable behavior. Unfortunately, this has earned certain toy dogs a bad reputation for unpleasant but easily fixed behaviours like jumping up and “yapping.”
These are the different dogs that the AKC classifies as not falling under any other category. They range from the Bichon Frise to the Chow-Chow, therefore there is no uniformity. To decide if one of the Non-Sporting canines is the correct choice for you, you will need to conduct further in-depth study.
These dogs were bred to herd animals for their slower human handlers, as their name suggests. Therefore, it seems sense that they exhibit a stronger than usual attraction to moving objects (and a related, sometimes uncontrollable desire to nip aforesaid moving things). They frequently speak out and have a lot of enthusiasm. It is no surprise that Border Collies, Shetland Sheepdogs, and Australian Shepherds consistently place first in competitive obedience and agility; they do share this trait with the Sporting breeds. However, unless they are closely monitored, their strong herding instincts may make them unsuitable for living with youngsters; their innate urge to chase and nip can get them into trouble.
These fleeting appearances by the many breed groups barely scrape the surface. If you’re looking for a new dog, think carefully about the kind of dog you want; don’t just adopt the first fuzzy face you come across. Then, make sure you’re ready to accept the breed’s inherited behavioral quirks by doing extensive research on it.
If it’s too late to conduct pre-purchase research, at the very least learn more about the dog you currently own so you can appreciate why he behaves the way he does rather than being upset with him for being who he is. The first step in changing undesirable behavior is understanding; anger just gets in the way of instruction.
Finally, keep in mind that not all members of a breed will exhibit a particular trait just because they are of that breed. If you have your heart set on a Border Collie that will excel in agility and herding competitions, keep in mind that not all Border Collies are energetic or even remotely interested in sheep. Make sure you spend enough time vetting the prospects to acquire a high-energy sheep-magnet.