how to recognize reputable breeders?

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Veteran Watchdog
Barked: Mon Jul 16, '12 4:56pm PST 
For a few years, I've been stalking FamilyDobes website. Their info and videos seemed quite reliable. But then I found this thread on dobermantalk: http://www.dobermantalk.com/breeding-breeders/33733-family-dobes-az- utah.html

Anyone have experiences or advice on how to really pick out reputable breeders? Though overpriced, FamilyDobes do list all pedigrees for their dogs. Other than googling, I'm stumped about how to really go about validating authenticity.

Spooky Mulder
Barked: Mon Jul 16, '12 6:27pm PST 
You know, sometimes the best you can do is ask.

Some people seem to be doing everything right on the surface, but be swindlers and thieves IRL. Personally I think FamilyDobes is sleazy as all heck, but I'm basing that off my own personal impression (just a "feeling", if you will) from their site, and what I've read from others. Dobermantalk is a great resource if you're looking into the breed, and if you really aren't sure, ask them.

Something good you can always do if you aren't sure, is contact the breed's parent club or the AKC for information and referrals. The DPCA is a great resource, and I would absolutely recommend people use them when looking for a companion Doberman.

Barked: Wed Jul 18, '12 10:32am PST 
Post on large breed/activity forums asking for recommendations. Good breeders will usually get multiple recommendations and the names that pop up repeatedly are usually good ones to look at.

Rip-off report and many many other sites pop up high on google search lists.

Talk to the breeders/meet them:
Ever get a scummy feeling after talking to someone? There's your sign. Can they tell you why they're breeding a particular litter? Do they actively exhibit their dogs to an objective outside party? Are their dogs health tested to at least the CHIC requirements?

Talk to people who have dogs from that breeder.

Part of a breed/agility/obedience club? The best place to get recommendations is from the horse's mouth. Not to mention a breeder being a part of your club gives you a direct line to assistance should you need it. There is a common root word between Reputable and Reputation for a reason. A bad reputation in a club-type environment is not a good thing and it's probably not someone you want to deal with.

Edited by author Wed Jul 18, '12 10:33am PST



I am the Sock- Bandit!!!
Barked: Wed Jul 18, '12 10:45am PST 
Nice post, Zephyr!

Also, it's becoming more common to...er...'appropriate' someone else's kennel name. There are some unscrupulous people out there mimicking well-known and highly regarded kennel names when they start up their own breeding operation. Unless the kennel name is trademarked, (not something that breeders commonly think to do) there's not much the original owners can do about it. They can ask the AKC to sanction them or something, but still some persist. It's something to watch out for anyway, if a person is new to a breed and looking for a good breeder. Beware the copycats. Again, a good parent breed club will be all too happy to warn you.

The Labrador national specialty was held in my town last summer. It's been an issue within that breed for awhile and man oh man are legit, longtime breeders ticked off!

Pocket Wolf
Barked: Wed Jul 18, '12 11:39am PST 
I agree meeting the breeders is crucial.

CHeck the prices. If they seem too low, it's a caution. If they are too high, they better have vet records and champion lines.

Does the breeder have it's own website that is up-to-date? Don't trust breeders that are solely on petfinder. Never trust any on craigslist.

CHeck the person:
--Is the person cagey, shifty, or sleazy
--Is this person disconnected, disorganized or sloppy
--It is important that the breeder may seem protective, but not overly so. The breeder is, after all, putting a life into your hands, possibly. If the breeder is nonchalant about selling to you, be wary.

CHeck the facilities:
--they have a clean facility for the dogs
--they have running space for the dogs
--there are no chickenwire cages
--There are no junky areas.
--if this is a high output place, are the kennel and runs clean, well lit and well ventilated? If the place does not look at least as tidy as a Humane Society, it's not a good place.
--the backgrounds in the pictures don't match up. IMO pro photos in the studio cost a ton of money that could be better spent on the champion if the breeder owns it. Pro photos are a caution because it removes the setting from the subject.
--Ask for a tour of the place. DOes it stink excessively? Do you hear barking from places they won't let you see, and if so, do they tell you honestly why?

Check the dogs:
--A good breeder will know their mating pairs personalities.
--they will have vet records for the puppies
--the puppies are no less than 8 weeks old. The best places will turn out at 12 weeks or after first shots.
--Look at the state of the bitches, specifically their dugs. If the bitches have swollen dugs that are droopy, saggy, and misshapen, avoid. Dugs get like that in bitches that are forced to breed back to back litters.
--look at the state of the animals, are they clean, flea free, tick free, mange free with bright, expressive eyes
--are the adults as happy to see you as the puppies?
--are the dogs the correct weight

if this place is not a place you would take your kids without shushing them when they ask questions about what they see, it's probably not the best.

Ask about the litter:
--ask about the lineage. Make sure that this breeder is not line breeding. Inbred dogs are a big red flag, no matter how many champions are there.
--make sure the parent dogs are conforming to the breed standard.

tell your breeder about your own place and needs in a dog. For example, my in-laws went to CO to see an airedale breeder. The lady knew every one of the puppies' personalities, and knew which puppy was the best based on what the in-laws told her about where they lived, what kind of traits were the most important, how much time they were going to be spending, what kinds of animals the in-laws already had, were they going to spay or neuter. It's not really the best idea for a concerned breeder to be dumping out the whole litter in front of a buyer. Lots of buyers have no clue, and they think that they HAVE to pick the bounciest, liveliest dog in the jumble, when really one of the more moderate, or even the shyer pup would be best for their lifestyle. A good breeder will steer the customer in the direction of a pup that they know has the best personality and temperament for the buyer.

Edited by author Wed Jul 18, '12 11:42am PST