There’s a lot of confusion about Breeders. In essence anybody that has a litter of puppies mixed or purebred is essentially a breeder, but that doesn’t mean this is ‘qualified’ or responsible breeders.
The purpose of this article is to differentiate between breeders. To educate the puppy purchaser and enabling them to decide where they want to buy from. Maybe to encourage ignorant ‘breeders’ to become true breeders with all that implies.
Depending on what you are looking for (as a pet), you should try to get hold of the correct type of breeder for your purpose, and your budget.
Typically befalls individuals who happens to have an un-spayed female that fall pregnant. This can be by accident if the family also owns a male dog, or this unplanned pregnancy can even be compliments of a stray or neighbouring dog. Thus litter will not necessarily be of the same breed.
Usually puppies from breeders like this will be rather cheap, or for free, as the aim was never to have a litter of puppies in the first place. These breeders only incentive would be to find homes (with no discrimination as to what kind of home) for the litter as soon as they can.
Mostly a litter like this will not be registered, not necessary of pure breed, and probably not raised in the ideal environment.
In cases off ‘accidental’ litters pups are often taken away from the mom and litter mates way to early (anything less then 8 weeks).
These are also the most likely dogs to end up at dog shelters.
There will be no health checks, the lineage will be totally unknown, or little known, and purchasing a puppy from this kind of breeder, might have you ending up with a dog with future health issues, especially since no bi-weekly deworming or any other health or genetic precautions were followed..
Hopefully one of the 2 parents will be spayed/neutered for a future repeat, but the sad truth is that sometimes accidental breeders become backyard breeders as they have seen potential of income from selling the puppies.
This group are breeders who probably started of as accidental breeders, and decided they should ‘do the right’ thing by not breeding again with ‘mixed’ breeds, and also get ‘decent’ money for the efforts.
Basically this is anybody who owns a dog and a bitch, and breed the same pair repeatedly. If they didn’t have a purebred bitch, they will now purchase one, and a purebred male from anywhere. THUS purebred dogs, unrelated, but of the same breed. They might get registered dogs, or only ‘purebred’ dogs, without any registration (as this would be cheaper).
From there on they breed the ‘pair’ over and over, without any monitoring or conscious, and repeating the same faults/health issues, and making the bad/faulty gene pool bigger and bigger . The aim is financial gain.
Popular also is to have the parents KUSA registered, but not the offspring, (as this cost extra money), and such puppies are advertised as ‘parents KUSA registered.’ The uniformed person, would assume puppies are registered also.
Considering no thought was given to the background of the ‘pair’ or, if the genetic material would actually be to the benefit of the offspring. No consideration is spared to question if the said pair is good representatives of the breed at all.
These type of never educate puppy buyers to spay/neuter dogs. Therefore litters of puppies are put out in the world to reproduce again.
Also these dogs are sold at a cheaper price than those of professional breeders, but more expensive then ‘accidental’ breeders do. And the price is usually just enough to make it quite a profitable business. Especially if one don’t need to pay the fees for registration and constant vet fee’s, it just might be possible to make money out of it.
‘Professional’ breeders very seldom ever repeat mating’s. It’s a waste of energy to do the same breeding’s over and over, as it doesn’t benefit anyone.
This is a group of breeders who purchased 2 dogs of the same breed (registered or not), of different sexes, with the main purpose to ‘someday’ maybe having a litter of puppies. The dogs are carefully selected, but the selection is based on pet characteristics, and not sound genetic material (Phenotype as oppose to Genotype).
The incentive isn’t necessarily to make money. Sometimes it to teach young children the ‘miracle of life’, or to go through the experience of raising a litter (and let’s face it, it is a rather nice experience). Sometimes it’s because they ignorantly believe that a bitch needs to have at least 1 litter before she is spayed. And sometimes it’s an attempt to ‘clone’ the beloved family pet.
At least with this group of breeders, you can be fairly certain that a lot of love and care went into the planning, and raising of said litter. Depending on where parents were purchased, some background information might also be available, but probably from only 1 generation back.
Mostly health screens won’t be done (hip tests etc) due to the high cost, compared to the once off litter that is planned. A high emotional attachment between breeder/family and pups will exists.
Mostly these types of breeders won’t repeat the exercise due to the realization of cost in both time and money, not to speak of the emotional involvement.
In the cases that the novelty DID NOT wear off, mostly they will put more care into the next litter, and in time would probably become responsible recommendable breeders.
This is the group of breeders to be most ‘beware’ of. They either came into breeding as accidental breeders, or sometimes as experimental breeders.
However, the incentive here is that it’s driven by money. So the more puppies can be produced the better. It’s not to say however that dogs would be mistreated. As a matter of fact, they might have very state of the art kennels, and 24 hours care facilities. They will breed from registered stock, and will take good care of pregnant dams, and available studs.
Sometimes these breeders breed more than one kind of dog, and mostly popular or expensive breeds. The ‘downside’ is that little care is taken to study the progeny, or the outcome of breeding’s. They don’t monitor the health of previous litters, to be certain all went according to plan. They seldom do health screening, and they also don’t allow bitches resting periods between litters. They often overbreed ‘popular’ dogs, and bitches that constantly gives small litters will be re-homed as soon as possible, as they cannot produce as required. Basically dogs would be treated much the same as a commercial beef farmer will handle his cattle.
The ‘producing’ parents are mostly (but not always) kenneled, and they are not seen as ‘pets’ by the residing family/owners.
Potential puppy owners are not screened, and no responsibilities are taken for dogs that need to be rehomed later on for whatever reasons.
Puppy farmers seldom attend shows, and they don’t scrutinize between breeding lines. As long as the parents are not related, they don’t really care from which background breeding dogs come from, and will even take in rescued dogs, to breed with.
Puppies are sold via pet shops and newspapers, and even puppy brokers. Thus homing for puppies are never discriminated against, and no guidance are provided for the new owners that may be new to the breed.
Called so, due to the fact that they are honestly thinking of themselves as breeders, and it will cost a mind shift to realize they are NOT.
This group consist of breeders with a love of a specific breed (or sometimes more), and started off as accidental breeders, but then decided they want to do ‘the right thing’.
Next move is now to get ‘good’ dogs. And of course a ‘kennel name . Internet is searched and now possibly 2 bitches and one male is chosen. No deep knowledge exists (yet) about pedigrees, breeding co-efficient or health screenings. No mentor to guide them and teach them the finer points.
They now produce 1 or two litters per year, thinking they are doing ‘good’. Selling puppies as ‘Good quality’ or even ‘top quality’. Litters normally sold through junkmail and the likes. They have some knowledge about the breed, but only the ‘basics’ (and sometimes this is very basic).
In a lot of cases these breeders even have websites, but websites mostly have pictures of the parents and the litters, with some pedigrees for ‘authentication’ and the incentive of the website is to get puppies sold, not to educate or share breed information.. If one study the ‘pedigrees’ on such websites you’ll notice it’s never line breeding’s, and the same combinations often occurs (since they have limited sources for studs, and only 1 or 2 bitches). Normally also no Champions or other ‘great’ dogs in the pedigree. All no-name brands.
These breeders doesn’t belong to a club, and also doesn’t exhibit and ‘measure’ actual quality of dogs. They operate in a vacuum, and mostly new owners are not educated about the breed as such. Only current litter is marketed, and not the breed in general.
“Problem” with this type of breeders is that they honestly doesn’t understand /know that they are NOT doing great. They have limited amount of dogs, and produce limited no. of puppies (Thus not puppy farmers), they plan breeding’s, take care of puppy’s, and even pre-screen potential owners. Stock is ‘decent’ (in their opinion), and do think they are producing quality.
This group doesn’t have a deep understanding or interpretation of the said breed STANDARD. They are ignorant as to exactly how to look for incorrect conformation, chooses future breeding stock on markings only, and NOT conformation. They do not do health screenings of breeding stock.
They are un-aware that beautiful MAX are indeed badly cow-hogged, and can’t move, or that ‘stunning’ Phoebe has an incorrect front assembly (That is VERY HARD to breed out), or the fact that DUTCHESS produced a ‘rare’ blue eye, and that this makes her the genetic carrier, and that they are now spreading this incorrect gene all over. In their mind Dozer is a HUGE male, but in reality he is JUST making the standard minimum height.
Mostly this type of breeders never put blocks on their puppies (for breeding) and never follow up on litters a year later, and compare pictures of previous litters to measure quality. They also don’t have any contracts, or health guarantees on puppies.
Basically they are ignorant about all the smaller details and knowledge that makes one a ‘professional’ breeder. Some of these breeders might get the mind shift once faced with true quality dogs. If a show is attended and ‘correct’ specimens are seen face to face, this often pushes them to REALLY become breeders.
Professional /Reputable breeders:
This group of breeders came into existence mostly from ‘experimental’ starts, and then got a love for doing it. Sometimes this breeders might even be ‘second generation’ themselves, learning the ‘trade’ from their own parents or close friends.
By ‘professional’ I do not mean that a living is made out of the trade, rather that it’s a fine art with knowledge gained over many years, thus making such breeders ‘professional’ in the art of genetics, constantly producing sound dogs, and good people skills, with an immaculate reputation. People with a deep love for the art of breeding..
They take care of their dogs very well, and mostly have VERY good dogs overall. Temperament wise as well as sound conformation, and of course good health.
But each of the dogs in the kennel/home was painstakingly picked from own bred litters, bought in from other reputable breeders, or imported. But dogs didn’t just ‘came’ into these kennels by accident. It’s not random or spur of the moment. The pedigrees would’ve been scrutinized, and much research would’ve gone into each individual dog, the health, and the genetics. Each dog is very well known, not only in body and mind, but also heritage and temperament. Mostly line breeding’s are done, and even in-breeding’s, and back-breeding’s, to set lines well. (And if they don’t understand these terms, they are not ‘professional)
Health screens would be done, maybe not every time, and with every dog, but from time to time to monitor specific concerns, or if new genetic material was introduced or out-breeding’s were done out of the original ‘line’.
They do care were puppies are homed, and thus future owners will be well screened, and they also take responsibility for each dog ever bred, and will provide shelter for dogs that they bred and needs re-homing for whatever reason.
These breeders will also monitor previous litters, to make sure no unpredicted health issues occurred, and that new owners are happy with their purchase.
Mostly such puppies are sold on contract, to make sure dogs are well looked after, and prospective buyers are well educated prior to the purchase. Especially if new to the breed.
Reputable breeders do attend shows, and other canine disciplines, as this is a very serious hobby to most of them. IF they cannot attend shows themselves due to distance or time, they would try to sell dogs to show homes, or get someone to show prime specimens for them. All this effort is to make sure the dogs in the kennel ‘measures up’ against same breed animals outside of said kennel.
Only when measured, and performing well, the breeder can be certain of quality dogs.
Litters are planned for, and not every bitch is bred every year. NO breeding will be done, unless they are of the opinion that it will better the next generation. The motivation is not financial, but rather towards genetic achievement and a deep satisfaction once something
Accredited breeders: This type of breeders isn’t really much different than above, except that there are a prescribed set of ethics that needs to be followed, and after screening from the registration body (KUSA) these breeders will be ‘accredited’.
Basically it doesn’t have any benefit to the breeder itself, but it’s rather aimed at the consumer (Potential puppy owner) to be certain that they are buying from a reputable breeder.
Some reputable breeders don’t care to be accredited, and others might not get accreditation due to some minor points on the code of ethics. It doesn’t make them less valuable, but from the consumer’s point of view, it will mean that certain breed/kennel/breeding ethics are followed, and if there is complaints KUSA will investigate, and might cancel accreditation.
Some of the points that need to be in place if you want to be accredited is as follow:
SOME SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS THAT MUST BE MET:-
- Must have been a KUSA member in good standing for a minimum of 5 years.
- Must have bred at least 3 litters from Breeding Stock that conforms to the requirements of the scheme before applying for Accredited Breeders Scheme status.
- All breeding stock must be registered.
- With each puppy sold, the relevant registration certificate must be forwarded to the new owner as soon as possible. All breeder restrictions that may be applicable must be explained and written and signed confirmation must be obtained from the new owner, on or before the date at which the dog is handed over, confirming that the new owner is aware of and understands the implications of the restrictions and the circumstances under which the restrictions may be removed , regardless of whether the endorsed registration certificate is available at the time of hand over or not.
- Follow KUSA policy regarding, the frequency of litters whelped per bitch and not breed bitches under the age of 12 months as specified and adhere to any breed specific registration requirements. It is recommended that bitches be mated for the first time only upon reaching full maturity and development, and thereafter be bred at the maximum, every alternate season.
- All breeding stock must be irrevocably identifiable by either microchip, tattoo or DNA profile. The agreement of sale must clearly stipulate that puppies must be micro chipped upon transfer to new owner.
- Make use of health screening schemes, relevant to their breed, with all breeding stock. These schemes presently include DNA testing, hip, and elbow dysplasia grading and inherited eye conditions.
- Puppies should be socialized prior to hand over to new owners and written advice on how to continue socialization and how to exercise and train the puppy, must also be provided.
- Provide written advice on feeding and deworming programs.
- Provide a vaccination certificate signed by a veterinarian and details of the vaccination program to be continued.
- Inform buyers of the objectives and requirements of the KUSA Accredited Breeders Scheme and grievance procedures to be followed in the case of dissatisfaction.
- Make sure that whelping facilities accord with good practice, that whelping boxes appropriate to the size of bitch and appropriate in design are used.
- Breeders seeking membership to the scheme must attach a copy of the standard agreement of sale, routinely used, to the application form.
- An agreement of sale between Breeder and Purchaser must be signed for each puppy sold