The Professional Breeder

How do I know I have an Ethical Breeder?

There is a deep element of trust when you select a breeder from whom you acquire your new dog or cat. Do you know that breeders are the only people who can sell you a pet that is sick in mind or body or carry deadly genetic diseases which may not show up for years and you have almost no recourse? You buy your puppy or kitten and fall in love only to discover your baby has an illness or genetic disease that can cost you thousands in veterinary fees. Your new pet suffers and may even die. You and your family suffers. Your children suffer the loss of a beloved pet. The grief, the loss and the financial impact can devastate a family.

What is the cost of the puppy? Buying from a breeder who does at least the minimum genetic testing for that breed will go a long way to insure the puppy you choose will have a fighting chance at a healthy life. You can buy puppy from someone who throws two dogs together and makes puppies, either purebred or mixed breed, and spend thousands of $$$$ at the vet trying to keep that puppy alive or healthy. Or you can be an informed buyer and do your research first.

Research the breed: go to “Google” and type in “genetic problems in _Breed__”.

When you contact a breeder about a puppy ask if they test for the most common genetic abnormalities. Most will say “NO”. They want your money and will deny any responsibility when your poor baby has epilepsy, goes blind, is crippled, is constantly sick, has chronic ear or skin infections. Or dies.

Price is no guarantee of quality. “Papers” don’t mean anything except the parents are registered. Health is the responsibility of the breeder. Good breeders test the parents for health and temperament, they provide proper diet for both the mother and the puppies. Puppies raised in the best of conditions to give them a good start, properly socialized, and have at least one veterinarian check up in writing.

The breeder should offer you a written guarantee. Pennsylvania has a “Puppy Lemon Law” for your protection. Look it up and read it. The breeder should also offer to take back any puppy they produce any time during that dog’s life. This will help end the flow of dogs and cats into the shelters.

Pet shops acquire their puppies and kittens from questionable sources and they offer no guarantee of health or temperament testing of the parents. They may offer a guarantee for health for a few days but what about long term issues? Avoid pet shop puppies and kittens at all costs.

Breeding dogs is an art and a science. You have the responsibility to be an informed consumer. Ask questions, challenge the breeder. Support ethical breeders and shun the unethical idiots who want your money and don’t care if they break your heart.

Ask any breeder if they do genetic testing, temperament testing, and properly care for their dogs. When they make lots of excuses why they don’t, then you are not dealing with an Ethical Breeder. You can be smart or not.

Written by Dr. C. Stuart