Breeders...Who Deserves YOUR Business?
Practical advice on how to choose a reputable breeder
Thanks to the recent mass-media publicity, the horrific details about the puppy and kitten mill business has become mainstream. More than ever before, people understand what they are supporting when then buy a companion animal from a pet store and/or other questionable outlets. Thankfully, this knowledge has encouraged many pet lovers to decide to adopt their next animal.
But for many people, raising a pure-bred puppy or kitten is something that holds a great deal of allure. For individuals who plan on entering the show ring or other activity where a pure-bred dog or cat is a necessity, it is important to take the time to research the most humane and reputable alternatives for bringing that beloved pet into your life.
Finding and deciding upon a reputable breeder will take time and effort. You may find that you will not be able to get your pet immediately. Patience throughout this process is key in order to support humane breeding practices and to be completely comfortable with your final decision.
Signs of a reputable breeder include the following:
1. The pets live inside as cherished family members---not in outdoor kennel runs or in overcrowded catteries.
2. The pets appear happy and healthy. They are excited to meet new people and don’t cower in the presence of visitors.
3. The breeder invites you to tour the area where they keep the animals. It should be clean and well maintained.
4. The breeder invites you to meet and spend time with the parents of the litter.
5. The breeder only works with one or two types of breed and is highly knowledgeable about the "breed standards". Standards include parameters determining things such as size, coat, color and expected temperament. The breeder should also understand and be able to speak to any typical medical conditions that could occur over the lifetime of the pet.
6. The breeder has as a strong relationship with their veterinarian and willingly shows you records of the medical care that has been provided for the puppies or kittens.
7. The breeder should be able to provide documentation indicating that they have addressed any breed specific genetic concerns that may have afflicted the puppy’s parents and grandparents. Ideally, breeders will spay/neuter at the first sign of problems so that they can prevent passing genetic defects from generation to generation. Additionally, this is the most humane thing to do for the animals.
8. The breeder should be willing to provide references from other families who they have worked with.
9. The breeder should be encouraging multiple visits and inviting your entire family to meet the babies.
10. The breeder should provide you with a written contract and health guarantee. You should be allowed plenty of time to read and thoroughly understand the document.
11. The breeder does not sell their puppies or kittens to pet stores.
12. The breeder will let their females "rest" between litters because breeding every heat cycle will ultimately be to the physical detriment of both mother and litter.
13. The best breeders want to maintain the integrity and quality of the bloodlines of their animals. Consequently, they will require you to sign a contract agreeing to spay/neuter within a specific period of time. Many will require you to furnish proof that you have honored the agreement. If they decide that the puppy or kitten that you purchase is an individual that they WOULD like to breed, they will require that you work with them rather than on your own.