What is a Reputable Breeder? What are Your Responsibilities as a Potential Owner?
A reputable breeder feels responsibility toward the breed, toward the dogs he or she breeds and to the families who choose to live with dogs from their kennel. Support after placement is an investment of the heart, and provides personal gain through satisfaction of knowing that dogs from their kennel are placed in loving homes as family members, not just animals…
Affiliation, a reputable breeder will hold membership with the national breed club, in the case of the Golden Retriever, that affiliation is; The Golden Retriever Club Of America www.grca.org . In addition they may belong to their local breed club and one or more performance club/All Breed Kennel Club.
Passion and responsibility is what set's apart a true responsible breeder from some one that just raises dogs. A responsible breeder is motivated to create perfection; Puppy raisers and dog dealers are motivated to make a profit only.
Reputable breeders will carefully screen potential new owners, most sell with a written agreement, that provides for the dog and they will ALWAYS take a dog back at any time for ANY reason, regardless of age or health. States or puts it in writing, that they must be consulted regarding the re homing of a dog from their kennel. Insisting that they must approve the new home.
A reputable breeder will show you the pedigree and appropriate clearances for both sire and dam as well as ancestors, explain the bloodlines, heritable traits etc. You will usually be invited to visit the puppies and the mother, when the breeder feels the time appropriate. Prior to having puppies most breeders are willing to have you come to visit more freely and usually encourage this. After the puppies are born, there are factors, which each breeder takes into account and may limit visits and have rules regarding the handling of puppies. Please respect the wishes of the knowledgeable breeder here.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN YOU Visit:
1. Cleanliness. Normal dog odors are unavoidable, and puppies are not bathed until close to go home. Adult dogs and the facilities should be clean. Puppies should appear to be clean and in good condition. It's perfectly ok to inquire about routine management of environment.
2. Attitude. Happy, healthy, well-cared for puppies are bright-eyed, energetic, and curious about strangers. Mom's depending on how old the puppies are can look a bit rag tag, and will have coat loss due to normal hormonal changes. Other dogs on site should look happy healthy and well cared for.
3. Appearance. Are all the dogs on site clean and groomed? Remember that puppies can be messy, but unkept adults on site is a sign of neglect.
4. Behavior. An additional health factor and a very important point to observe and question; unhealthy or injured puppies will usually behave differently than the rest of the litter. A reputable breeder will take notice of this and not offer for placement a puppy that is "off". A reputable breeder will be able to tell you something about each puppy and it's general attitude in the pack and away from the pack. Ie: how each puppy interacts with children, adults, other pets and other environmental factors.
5. Information. A reputable responsible breeder will supply a pedigree, not just show a display of pedigree and awards their dogs have obtained. A breeder will provide you with written feeding instructions and a feeding schedule. A lot of hand outs in a package called the go home book. You should be provided with the puppy's immunization record and schedule, listing the dates and types of vaccines used, worming and other pertinent medical info. Pedigree and registration papers do not guarantee health or quality. Any dog that is pure bred from registered purebred parents of the same breed are registrable with the AKC and other registries.
6. References. Ask for a list of others who have dogs from the breeder. A reputable breeder should gladly give you several contacts. Ask if they would purchase another dog from the same kennel. As well ask for references from other breeders of the same breed, this breeders peers.
7. Written Contracts. The written contract should be reviewed and explained in depth. Be sure to go over the terms of the contract and ask questions. Often breeders misuse the word guarantee in place of warrantee. Be sure that you are getting a warrantee. No one can guarantee you health and temperament.
8. What warrantees do they offer? What penalties are imposed for violation of contract? Be cautious of contracts/warrantees that that have conditions in them that you might not understand or feel are unreasonable. Ask for further explanation and/or amendment to parts of any agreement you do not feel you can uphold. Remember a contract is legally binding and by entering into any contract you are saying yes I agree.
9.The pup will come with AKC registration, and "pet puppies" not intended for breeding, should be placed only on a limited registration. The registration application form must be completed and signed by the breeder per AKC rules and regulations at the time of placement if available. If not available, a bill of sale should be given, until the registration application is received by the breeder from the AKC.
10. Some breeders will only provide registration applications after all fees have been paid, and/or spaying/neutering is proven, etc. This depends upon the contract and the breeder and is perfectly reasonable and legal.
11. A reputable breeder will allow some time (min. 48 hours to 10 days) for return of pup/dog, in the same condition as time of sale, for any reason with full refund of purchase price. (?) This allows you time to have your pup examined by your own vet. However, remember a reputable breeder will take back any dog for any reason regardless of age. You may not receive a refund if it is determined you are the cause of the reason for return, or may be asked to wait to receive a refund pending investigation of such.
What You should Expect over all:
1. Sells by written contract. Or has presented you with a good verbal agreement you feel comfortable with. At the very least some sort of a written agreement is strongly encouraged. Even a simple document that states the basics of the breeders intent to be responsible for the dog and fair with you as the new owner.
2. Sells puppies with a health statement and some promise of a warrantee given there might be a problem down the road. Not all reputable breeders care to spell out exactly what they will warrantee in a document, and this should be respected and appreciated. For instance in many warrantees there are conditions such as, but not limited to the warrantee is null and void if you feed anything other than brand XXX feed. Or if you allow your dog to be run on uneven ground the warrantee is null. Written warrantees are only as good as what is written. A verbal agreement in many cases is much more user friendly and often will cover more than the basics.
3. Insists upon getting the dog back if the buyer is no longer able to keep the dog.
4. Does not have more litters than they can keep well groomed and well socialized.
5. Tests breeding stock for known hereditary diseases and breeds with the aim of decreasing the incidence of such diseases. Does not breed affected animals of even unknown hereditary diseases.
6. Is very concerned with producing puppies with excellent temperaments and health.
7. Is willing to help educate you and answers questions about the breed and their individual dogs. May supply a forum for sharing on line with others who live with dogs from the kennel, a list group. Or sends out kennel updates and/or questionnaires. Or simply contacts you with some degree of frequency, or requests that you keep in contact. Remember a responsible reputable breeder is in high demand and while they are interested it might be up to you to make the contact.
8. Wants to be informed of any health or temperament issues puppies might develop through out the lifetime of each dog. As well as positive information.
9. Is available for help, advice, and education to the buyer throughout the life of the puppy/dog.