We believe that we are responsible for the quality of life of animals in our care. We accept that the activities of man affect all the living things with which we share this planet. But we are slow to realize that as a result we have a duty of care for all living things. That duty extends to the breeding of animals for which we are responsible. When animals are bred by man for a purpose, the aim should be to meet certain goals: to improve a breed or to avoid the introduction and advance of characteristics deleterious to the animal's well-being. These goals should apply whether animals are bred for esthetic or cultural considerations, or as pets. Unquestionably the most daunting task in the search for the perfect puppy is in finding a Responsible Breeder. Yes, we're sorry to report, not all puppy sellers breed their dogs for the right
Primary Characteristics of a Responsible Breeder
- Provides a written contract of sale with a health guarantee and written instructions on feeding, training, grooming and care.
- Provides access to the mother (dam) who should be on site and exhibit a healthy, happy temperament.
- Does not sell puppies until they are at least 8 weeks old or in some cases older.
- Shows you where the puppies are kept. This area should be very clean.
- Provides you with a record of the dates and types of vaccinations and de-worming done, feeding instructions, a pedigree, and a "blue slip" to apply for registration of the puppy in your own name with the AKC.
- Is able to prove he has performed pre-breeding health checks on the parents.
- Provides references of people who have purchased puppies in the
past, the names of other breeders, and the veterinarian who provides care for the breeder's dogs.
- Offers a return-buy back policy and makes it clear that his/her responsibility continues as long as the dog is alive. They should be available for advice whenever needed, and help you over many rough spots.
- Is involved in some way with rescue organizations.
- Abides by code of ethics, typically by belonging to a breed club or association.
- Is very knowledgeable about the breed he or she is selling.
- Requires or encourages the neutering of all pet-quality dogs.
- Sells puppies only to approved buyers and never sells to brokers, puppy mills, or pet stores.
- Can discuss socialization of the puppies and can make recommendations for their continued socialization and training.
- Usually breeds no more than two breeds.
By being a Responsible Dog Owner and buying from a Responsible Dog Breeder, you will be getting a great start on a lifetime of unconditional puppy love.
Sadly, the Responsible Dog Owner seldom meets the Responsible Breeder. Instead, the impulsive puppy buyer meets the puppy mill. The sad consequences of this failure to connect are millions of abandoned dogs in shelters and thousands of abused dogs in already overcrowded rescue organizations.
Since owning a puppy requires a commitment of 10-15 years, we strongly encourage buyers to resist their impulsive urges and instead exercise the same caution and diligence one would apply to buying a house or a car. Don't kid yourself into believing that buying a dog is not a major financial and emotional decision.
The breed information pages on Go Pets America are great places to start your search for unconditional puppy love. Endeavor to expand your knowledge of a specific breed that interests you, by checking a book out of your local library or surfing other dog websites that provide breed information.
Seek a consensus opinion of breed characteristics and look for issues such as shedding, exercise, size, barking, grooming and temperament. You will want to be sure to find a good veterinarian in your neighborhood before you buy. Many breeders, offering a written health guarantee, require their dogs to be vet-checked within 72 hours of ownership to validate their health guarantee. And, please be advised, "AKC Registered" does not come with a guarantee of quality or health!
Your puppy search will not be complete unless you educate yourself on the subject of Puppy Mills. Please take the time to read: Get the Facts on Puppy Mills by the Humane Society of the U.S.