WHY IS IMPORTANT TO FIND A RESPONSIBLE BREEDER?
I realized that speaking about a “breeder” many people immediately associate the word to a person who is not nice, a person who uses its own dogs and makes money on them, but it is not always like that, it depends!!
Responsible and qualified breeders are the key for having healthy, mentally balanced and stable dogs, raised in a loving and domestic environment, stimulated and socialized from an early age and given only to selected families. If these were the only breeders supported, whose priority is not the gain, but the welfare and preservation of the breed, there would be a significant decrease in the number of abandoned, abused, bad character , sick and neglected dogs.
Responsible Breeders are ALWAYS available for every puppy they sold. This means that our dogs will NEVER end up in a kennel /shelter. Many breeders also dedicate their time to the rescue dogs of the same breed and constantly teach the “normal people” on the breed and about a responsible ownership of the dog.
If you buy from responsible Breeders, the price of the puppy is honest, justified and proportionate to the work behind it: tests and examinations, selection, training, stimulation and socialization of puppies and adults. (see more on puppy price)
I can absolutely guarantee that you will never regret to have bought a puppy from a responsible breeder.
IMPORTANT POINTS: BAD BREEDERS VS RESPONSIBLE BREEDERS
Dogs without pedigrees cannot be sold as purebred dogs.
There are no purebred dogs with no pedigree: a dog without a pedigree is a mix-breed. If you pay for it, it means that you are buying a mixbreed (even if is very similar to the breed) !!
Don’t be fooled by the price of the puppy: the pedigree costs only 35 euros in Italy per puppy, so there is no big price difference with or without pedigree.
Pedigrees are not “useless pieces of paper”: they are official documents with all the genealogy of your dog, with information on health and breeding lines.
The pedigree is not ready immediately when you buy the puppy but arrives few months later (long bureaucracy).
60 DAYS OLD
Up to (at least) 60 days the puppies must stay with the mother.
They need to grow and learn so many things together with their little brothers and sisters: there are numerous lessons that the mother gives to puppies that we humans cannot emulate.
Usually puppies go to new homes with at least with the first vaccination done. This happens at 60 days old, but we can’t take the puppy home at 61 days old because its body needs up to 5 days to metabolize the vaccine. Attention therefore also to the vaccination and deworming, the breeder must do this before selling the puppies.
Puppies must have a microchip: it is an obligation and it is a very small electronic device (the size of a grain of rice) that is inserted under the skin in the neck area. Each dog has its own microchip with its identification number for the canine club registry, linked to you as the owner. This allows, in case of loss, to immediately find (with a microchip reader that usually have vets and police) all the info on the dog and owner.
The Italian microchips begin with the numbers “380” if you are thinking to buy an italian dog but the microchip number starts differently, it was not born in Italy.
The breeder must insert the microchip to the puppy.
NUMBER OF BREEDS – NUMBER OF LITTERS PER YEAR
A responsible breeder does NOT breed many breeds and has NO puppies always available.
Responsible breeders concentrate on 1-2 breeds. If they breed many breeds, changing them over the years, it means that they are not worried about improving / preserving anything, but they only want to make money following the most request breeds in that years.
The responsible breeder has no problem allowing you to come and see the puppies and the mother and the environment where they grew up in person.
A serious breeder carefully selects the families for their puppies: they are not numbers / earnings, each puppy takes away a piece of heart.
GENETIC TESTS – HEALTH TESTS
There are no excuses for not performing health tests!
If a breeder tells you that they are not necessary because the dogs are fine and healthy, or that the veterinary check is enough, or that they know their dogs and they never had problems, run away !!
There is absolutely no way to value a dog’s genetic health without testing for breed-specific diseases. This includes both genetic screening and hip / knee / eye assessments etc
Most diseases are recessive and are essential to decide mating in order to have healthy puppies.
Any responsible breeder will be proud to show you the results of his dog’s tests, genetic tests and of course the pedigree.
WORKS AND TIME DEDICATED TO THE GROWTH OF PUPPIES
It is also essential to understand how and where puppies grow.
Socialization: a good breeder wants to give puppies the best tools / skills to become safe and well-adapted adult dogs.
When looking for a puppy, ask the breeder what he/she does to socialize the puppies.
Are they left in a dedicated room/space for 8 weeks and rarely let out? BAD
Have they met many different people? Other dogs? Has the leash approach been set?
If the breeder has done all this before sending the puppies to the new homes, it will save you hours of work and unnecessary pain.
Do puppies follow early neurological stimulation programs and protocols? or early sensory stimulation? VERY WELL!
Ask what is the job of the breeder (you don’t live from breeding if done right): how can be possible for a person who works in the office from 8 to 17, to take care of a litter well?! Impossible, the puppies are left to themselves with their mother all day long.
The puppies must be followed, they must have quality time dedicated to them, stimulations, various activities, pampering, experiences, etc.
A good breeder strives to have as much knowledge as possible and dedicate himself to studying his breed.
Every breeder should have a dog culture, at least basic. Experience is not enough, you cannot breed dogs without knowing what they are eg. the calming signals, or stages of puppy growth with all the related developments. If you do not have the skills, time, studies and knowledge necessary to properly raise a litter, it is best to leave the work of the breeder to professionals people who have studied and dedicate their lives to this.
Our job as breeders is to protect and maintain our wonderful breed. This means granting reproduction rights only to those who will use our own ethics: keeping up a healthy structure, testing the health of dogs, socializing puppies extensively, etc.
Most puppies are not the best breeding subjects and many people would not be able to properly handle a litter. Sterilization contracts, or contracts with strict rules for the reproduction of the puppy must not scare you, they are indeed synonymous of seriousness.
Beware of names!!
ENCI / FCI recognized breeding: this simply means that the breeder has registered his affix (the name of the kennel) in ENCI, the italian dog club (therefore automatically also in FCI).
Although registration is one of the first steps to becoming a responsible breeder, this does not automatically entail any seriousness / quality / control.
Attention to fame !!
If a breeder is very well known it means that over the years he has sold many puppies and his name has turned around a lot, but this does not automatically mean that he is responsible, but commercial.
Numerous breeders are nominated and suggested even when their breeding practices are bad: few tests, too many inbreeding, one litter after another.
A responsible Breeder is the combination of all of the above!
This breeder will not always have puppies available, will not breed a big number of breeds, will have a dog training, high standards regarding the care of his dogs, he will be registered, he will carry out all the health tests, his dogs are titled and well kept. He will have plenty of time to devote to dogs and to the growth and socialization of puppies and will offer a lifetime support to buyers.
This is what you need to look for and find.
HOW CAN I FIND A RESPONSIBLE BREEDER?
Dog shows and competitions: there you can see many different breeds, see the external beauty and character difference between various subjects even of the same breed, talk to numerous owners and certainly also some breeders.
Word of mouth: do you know someone who owns the breed you are looking for? Ask where their dog comes from, then do your research about it. (remember, a known breeder is not automatically serious)
Online researches (Google / Facebook): Many breeders have websites, Facebook pages, etc.
An energetic and lively young puppy is not for everyone and not everyone has € 1000-2000 to be able to buy a puppy from a responsible breeder.
If you still want a dog of a particular breed, you can adopt, or buy with less money, adults out of breeding or puppies with some small aesthetic defect that does not allow reproduction but they are healthy and come from a responsible breeder. Or also a good puppy in coownership!!
Alternatively, if you are not interested in a particular breed and characteristics, you can look for a dog suitable for your lifestyle in a responsible shelter. You will save a dog from a bad situation.
All dogs need loving homes.
It is important to support both situations: purchasing from responsible breeders and adopting responsible kennels and shelters. NO to everything in between.