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Common Misconceptions about Reputable Breeders
Reputable Breeder vs. Bad Breeder
Questions to Ask a Breeder
Common Misconceptions about Reputable Breeders
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Here I will address common misconceptions about breeders.
If you know a misconception that should be here, please tell me about it.

1. Dogs have been having puppies for centuries without "reputable breeders" and so "reputable breeders" are not needed.
(This one in the words of my Dogster friend, Tiller. Tiller has a way with words and explains this better than I ever could.) The concept of registries and record keeping in the world of dog breeding is actually very new in the wider scheme of things. In times of "ago" (minimally before the 1850's) dogs were bred to function from some point of necessity (give or take). Now of course this turns into a bit of a grey area when you get into the lap warmers and the like, but be that as it may, there was some REASON that breeds came to be beyond the dog being pretty and nice, for societies were far less priviliged then and the majority of breeds were developed with some eye to function and need. During this time, as there was no "pet market" per se, dogs were bred to function, meaning to the purpose for which they were intended. Dogs that met those aspirations were bred on and those that did not were not. Moreover, there was no governing registry body, allowing for genetic diversity. In example, all the Giant Schnauzer used to be was a larger version of Germany's favorite all purpose farm terrier, the Standard. He was not simply scaled up in size, but rather had different jobs and was bred towards that. Same for the Mini...a Standard, but more as a house terrier. Giants used to come in a rainbow of colors...chocolate, white, brindle and so on...suggesting the myriad of breed influences. Today, we can see vividly the Great Dane, Standard Poodle and Bouvier were commonly used, but the point is a Giant Schanauzer litter may have been breeding two Giants together, a Giant to some other groovy dog, a Standard to some larger breed, et al. There were no "closed books" in those days because there were no was just people trying to breed a good dog within cultural favor. In other words, if today I wanted a bolder Poodle, I couldn't breed one to an Irish Water Spaniel and get away with calling the resultant puppies Poodles because the book is CLOSED. Now we can only breed Poodles to Poodles and call them Poodles. In breed history, sometimes strong breed type was developed and stuck to, breeding like to like, at least leading to closed books in theory, but I think you get the general idea. SO....what does all this mean. Well for starters, breeding strong individuals only was following nature's law, and so it worked. The best working Border Collies were bred on. The quicker learners, those with the intensity were the ones bred on. Much the same for there not really being closed registries. You worried less about genetic problems when there was no genetic limitation, as it were. Flip to modern times, and the rules are different. Now, rather than farmers, hunters, warriors et al breeding dogs to function, we have shows that tell us which dogs are the cream of the crop and now that the books are closed we are stuck with limited gene pools and need to sentry them to cull bad tendencies out. Thereby, only those wishing to establish the quality of the dogs and test for their potential genetic integrity are on a par with how dogs used to be bred. They are not doing the SAME thing, but the best adapted version of it. I loathe using this example but as this is a closed group of dog savvy people I will, as it was something I saw that gave me a lens back in time. I worked at a horse farm once and there was a dog there who was legend as a hunter....he was a mutt, something like a Pit and Bluetick. When someone in the area had a good hunting female who looked approximately like him, they'd bring her over. If the resultant puppies hunted well, then perhaps a female from the litter would be bred to the latest dog of the moment amidst the regional hunters, whereas if the resultant puppies had "no hunt" there would be no breedings from the litter. So this is much as it was...good dogs bred on, bad genetics lasted only a generation. SIDE NOTE. Just a personal issue, but I myself do not consider all reputable breeders reputable. I feel strongly that dogs need to be continued, in some way, in the roles for which they were intended lest you lose breed character. The Pyr, for example, was a flock guard and THAT was what made him noble, discerning, responsible, independent, brave and intelligent. If you are not making SOME effort to maintain your dog close to his role and making your breeding decisions off that, then in time you will end up with Pyrs who are effusively outgoing, handler-focused and naive. That's about as Pyr-true as a black coated dog. Breeding to type is good, breeding to function is even better, for then you maintain the character of the dog, which is what preserves its history and allows the pet owner the best choices. Non-reputable breeders break natures law....they are not breeding quality to quality. Whether you are talking about rams cracking horns, female crocs chasing competitors off a prime male's territory, a bird doing the perfect courtship dance, or your daddy impressing your momma, that's the way the system works. Violate it, and you are messing with nature, leading to dogs not protected by the positive outcomes nature ensures when you play by the rules. Additionally, the closed genetic books of purebreds leads to a genetic minefield. All you can do to protect the breed, and to ensure healthy and thriving members, is to promote and focus upon the strong genetics and cull the bad ones out. Scary imagery, but think of an isolated small town no one new ever travels through or moves to. Odds are, over time things would start to go wrong.

2. "Reputable breeders" want people to quit breeding except for themselves so they can make more money.
It's very easy for it to seem like that, but not so. With all the health tests and things that good breeders do, they are lucky to break even. By health tests, I don't mean a vet check, though that is important too. By health tests, I mean doing the OFA and CERF and others. OFA (Orthapetic Foundation for Animals) offers a test which checks for the presence of hip dysplicia in the dog. If the dog passes, then he can be used for breeding. CERF (Canine Eye Research Foundation) checks for the presence of eye problems such as PRA. Other tests include checking for the presence of vonWillebrands disease (blood-clotting disorder) and testing the thyroid. Breeders also breed to help keep the breed as according to standard as possible. There are some things in the standard that make a certain breed a great match for someone. No dog fits the standard perfectly. And reputable breeders encourage other reputable breeders.

3. I don't need to find a reputable breeder, I just want a pet.
Breeders sell puppies as pets all the time. There are two qualities: breeding quality (AKA showing quality) and pet quality. Most dogs are pet quality and should be spayed/neutered. Others are breeding quality and are used by reputable breeders to help improve the health and quality of a certain dog breed.

4. Reputable breeders cost too much money, I'll just get a pet store puppy.
The puppies at the pet store are likely to cost more money in the long run because of health problems. The puppies in a pet store are more likely to have health problems because they come from puppy mills, who do no health testing with their breeding dogs - not even a vet checkup. Puppy mills are infamous for keeping their dogs in cages all the time with no exercise, no vet care, no genetic testing, no socialization, selling the puppies to pet stores before they are ready to leave their mother, the dogs are bred on every heat, and the like. Puppy mills breed only for money and do not care about the dog itself, only the money it can bring them. I have a link to a site about puppy mills in the link section of this site.

5. Show dogs are all inbred.
Most good breeders don't breed closely related dogs. The exception is line-breeding, which can be very helpful but requires the breeder to be knowledgeable in genetics a(nd be an experienced breeder). Not all breeders who show their dogs are reputable.

6. I don't need a "show" quality animal.
Though they breed only show quality dogs, not all the puppies in the resulting litter turn out to be show-quality. Responsible breeders usually have a waiting list, and there are no dogs immediately available for those not on the list. Reputable breeders are a good source for dogs of breed type.

7. I want to be able to see BOTH parents on site.
Reputable breeders try to find the best match out there for their bitch, so usually they use a stud from another breeder. In some cases (such as when artificial insemination is used), the stud may even be out of the country.

8. Only reputable breeders have registered dogs.
Puppy mill's dogs are registered with kennel clubs, that should tell you how much the papers are worth. No kennel club is free of bad breeders being registered with them.

Why don't "reputable breeders" just quit breeding until the crisis of pet overpopulation is over? Wouldn't that solve the problem?
No. Reputable breeders are instrumental in keeping the dog breeds healthy. To stop breeding until the crisis were to pass would bring about many other problems. Not only could the dogs that are breeding quality grow too old to be bred while waiting for this to happen--causing a shortage of dogs that will keep the breed healthy--but without them around, BYBs and puppy mills would be the only ones breeding and dogs would still continue to flood shelters and rescue groups. If everyone only bought from reputable breeders and shelters/rescues, on the other hand, BYBs and puppy mills would go out of business and the problem would be solved.

And because it is not reputable breeders who contribute to pet overpopulation since they go to great lengths to screen their buyers carefully so that their dogs end up in responsible and loving homes. And if the buyer should have need to get rid of the dog, the reputable breeder will always take it back. Reputable breeders do their best to educate people on responsible dog ownership, and encourage adopting from shelters and rescues in addition to supporting reputable breeders. I ask you, where would dogdom be without these caring people?


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