De-coding ad’s

We all have seen the small’s ads. Or the online ads. Normally half the price of a well bred one.  But what does all those terms really mean?
People can get immensely creative to make a mediocre litter of puppies seem super special, and especially if you are not very familiar with the
breeding game, and purebred dogs, this might impress the average person.

I will try to shed some light on the subject. The words that is used by creative advertisers, and the real meaning behind it:

PLEASE DO YOUR HOMEWORK! Ask questions. Don’t ever be fooled about fancy wording that sounds promising.

Purebred This normally means that both parents appear to be of the same breed. Because there is no registration for confirmation, one can never really be sure that the lineage is indeed pure. If mom or dad, or grand sire /dam was  mixed a generation or two ago, the current parents may seem to be pure, but without proper paperwork this  is impossible to really know.
 Well bred This is a play on pure bred, but can basically mean the intention of the breeding was ‘well’. It was most probably the family pets that were bred. This means absolutely nothing towards the quality and/or purity or health of a particular litter.
 Pedigreed Pedigreed will imply that the parents were registered, and the pedigree is traceable. It does not necessarily mean the litter itself will be registered.  And the fact that parents were registered, does in no way make a superior puppy. Do not be fooled to pay more, or believe it’s better than ‘purebred’, ‘well bred’ or ‘parents registered’. It’s all the same.
Have Papers  What kind of papers? Newspapers? Does the family read the newspaper? Or do they mean toilet paper? Maybe the dog love to play with toilet rolls?  This means ZERO. “Papers” may imply that the puppies are ‘registered’. But not knowing the correct terms should raise serious concerns. Ask for these ‘papers’. This should not be the Vet booklet, or Breeders booklet/ID books. This should not be some brochure of the breed. It should be an official certificate, containing a registration date, date of birth, registration number, and then a pedigree.
 Champion lines  This is a very over used term, and basically means that there appeared a CH in the pedigree at SOME point.   One CH in a lineage 5 generations back does unfortunately not make for a good dog NOW. Parents provide  the bulk of the genetic material in a new litter, and anything further than grandparents have almost zero  impact on current offspring. It only impresses people who have no knowledge of breeding. Never feel impressed if you see the term Champion, unless you have paperwork to prove Champion dogs include the parents, and /or more than one Champion dog  in the rest of the pedigree. If most of the dogs in a pedigree is indeed CH (the abbreviation) then you can start  to feel you are buying quality. But don’t ever pay more because of ‘champion lines’, unless it is current, and more than one dog in a pedigree
 Imported lines  This term can be read in almost the same way as Champion Lines. This will only really have an influence  in the first generation, and only if the breeding partner was also a very good dog. If there was imported dogs 2 or 3 generations back, it will have almost no influence in the current litter. So make sure you get  some paperwork before, to see where in a pedigree the dogs were imported (Indicated with the abbreviation “Imp.” at the back of a dog’s name). Dogs that are from ‘imported lines’ should not cost  more than any other dogs, unless it was the parents of current litter, and unless it was bred to a Champion.
 Eat and drink independently  This one is good!  If you buy a puppy it’s not a special trick if it can eat and drink by itself. It SHOULD. Most puppies start to eat solids around 3-4 weeks old. And at this point they start to drink water. They will still get some mothers milk in between, but will be fully weaned from mum at 6 weeks. Puppies should ideally only go to new homes around 8 weeks, as this is the psychological point where they are mature enough to have an easy transition into a new home. If you get pups offered that can eat independently at 4 weeks, it’s  normal, but you should never buy a pup so young. They are just not ready to leave mom, even if they can eat ‘independently’. Stay away from offers like this.
 Large breed type / giant  This is another good one!  WE are talking St. Bernard’s.  OFCOURSE they are supposed to be big!. This is not supposed to be something super special. BUT mostly St. Bernard’s that are not from well established breeders normally have smaller physical size. Less bone, and less height (‘bone’,  indicates body mass, and thickness of legs, and rump. A dog can have ‘bone’ without being tall. Ideally you should get both).  If a seller needs to make special reference to size, it’s a good sign that the size is less than ideal.  Stay away. The only thing you can go on is to actually see the parents. But be sure to  compare it to a well bred saint, because if you see only the parents of the advertised litter, you might be  impressed, but it’s only because you are not comparing apples with apples.
 Dad 90 -110 kg’s  Be very careful if people start to brag about weights. MOSTLY the weight is guessed, OR the dogs are super overweight, or it’s just a simple lie!  Really big/heavy Saints like you use to get back in the 60’s mostly does not exist anymore.  Saint males  work on 1kg for every 1cm in height. Measures at the top of shoulders, and dog standing on level surface. BIGGER is not always better. Overweight dogs come with a range of health issues. If claims are made for size, then go see the dog in person, and take your measuring tape with. If the dog is anything below 80cm at the withers, (you measure dog against a wall, and make a mark on the wall), we are talking average. Average males are around 73-78cm. Odds are not great for studs (Dad) to be bigger. This is nothing but a ploy to sell puppies faster. Don’t be fooled
 Lion Type  Another creative way of implying a dog is bigger than average. And as above, the odds of THAT from a fly-by night breeder is not big. Actually this term is proof that you are dealing with someone ignorant. There is no such thing as a Lion Type Saint. Saints are supposed to all be generally big and imposing. You don’t get different variations. Lion Type as opposed to ? Dwarf type??? This term is laughable to say the least.
 Registered parents Sometimes you will also find: One parent registered. This is supposed to imply that the parents is of good quality and therefore the offspring also. The fact that  parents are registered doesn’t mean ANYTHING. You can register the two most faulty dogs, on the planet.. It wont make the offspring any better.  This wording  implies that the litter themselves are NOT registered. The question should be why? Why imply that the parents are better than they are, but the litter not be registered? It only cost R253 to register a puppy. But still people will sell ‘unregistered’ puppies for R2k less. This does not make any sense.  If parents are registered and puppies not, it does not mean anything. If you are dealing with a reputable breeder, puppies will always be registered.
 Top Quality  Very interesting statement.  Who decides when is it top quality? Does top quality mean the breeder own both parents? Are both registered?  To make this statement it should be measurable.  If you claim your pups are TOP QUALITY, find out why?  In the least I would imagine the parents should be registered? There should be more than one CH in the lineage, (parents, otherwise it won’t have an impact). I would imagine health tests were done? HD testing? Heart disease, and maybe aptitude tests of some kind?  Lastly, were these dogs (or then the parents of the litter) measured against like? Were the parents ever shown, and how did they measure up against other dogs of the same breed.  If non of above was done, I don’t think any breeder can claim ‘top quality’.   Don’t be fooled.
 Clean hips  If you read this. Stay far far away.  There is no way anybody can make this claim on 8 week old pups. Hips can only be tested from 18 months old. And since environment and feeding plays a big role in the development of HD it is really impossible to make this statement. The best someone can ‘promise’ is that parents of litter were tested, and clean. But still insist on the paperwork (indicated on the registration certificate).  But no puppies can ever be sold with the suggestion that the hips are clean.
 Crate trained  This is code for scams. RUN. In South Africa we do not ‘crate train’ puppies. In fact I don’t even know families who own a crate the size to house a Saint. And what would be the point?  Normally this terminology is copies from State side, and just used to scam people here. People who obviously are totally ‘clueless’. Other code words for scams is 1 year health guarantee (no one can guarantee a dogs health for a year), AKC registered, current on shots.
 Short haired St. Bernard, specially bred for our climate Saint Bernard’s are not a ‘new’ breed, and were developed in Europe in the Alps. Saints were never ‘developed’ for South Africa, or our hot dry climate.  So don’t be fooled!  In actual fact Smooth haired (this is the correct term for short haired), were used in the Swiss alps for rescue work. This was the ORIGINAL Saint.  The long hair only developed after those dogs were bred with Newfoundland’s, but they were never successful in working in the snow with the long coats. Thus the long haired variety were given away to towns people and travellers, thus got spread over the world, where’s the smooth were the working dogs, that were used by the monks in the monastery.
 Free puppy, but pay for shipping  Classical scam:  They imply that you get your very valuable pup totally for free, but you should just pay for shipping, which is a fraction of the value of a quality Saint pup.  People fall for it, and end up with paying for nothing.  Always insist on looking at a pup before. Especially if you see the ad on-line, or in a newspaper, and it’s not a well known reputable breeder (you can always check with KUSA if the breeder is ‘legit’.) If you always get excuses as to ‘why’ you cannot come look, and as to ‘why’ you cannot pick up the pup yourself, see big reds lights, and stay clear.
 ‘Girl’, boy, mommy, daddy, baby etc.  Terminology people!!! If the seller doesn’t know the correct terms, you need to be worried.  The term for a female dog is bitch. If she is a mother, it’s called a DAM. The father is the ‘SIRE’. When it’s a male, but not the father it’s referred to as ‘dog’.  Boys and girls belong to humans. In doggy terms you refer to bitch puppy or dog puppy.


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