Updated: Sep 12, 2020
How many times have you heard it, "Hes a papered, purebred XYZ breed; he must be great!"? Let me state before this piece that here at BP4WT we believe in adopt OR shop. We have purebred dogs from breeders and rescued/rehomed dogs. What I want to get you thinking about is the quality of the person or place you are getting your dog from. I do not want you to get caught up in buzz words you may not even understand because it was said to you in some magical way.
If there's one thing in the dog world I strive to change, it is people getting the wrong dog for their life because they did not understand about dog breeds and what they were bred to do and what goes into true breeding programs. Now you can of course use some of this when adopting too, if you have an idea of the breed(s) of the dog in front of you. So here are some things to have in mind when presented with breeders or a rehoming purebred dog.
If a breeder: "Papers" simply mean a dog's family can be traced. This can be a good thing if you plan to show, or start breeding yourself, or competing in other sports. That is all a "registration" means, this dog is purebred and here's X amount of that lineage". Awesome. BUT if showing or trialing is important to you, have any of those dogs titled in anything? I'll give an example. When we bought Bailey 10 years ago it was not for hunting. It was for the potential to dock dive train her (Which we unfortunately never did and I still regret that) and to have a dog keep up on 10+ mile hikes with us (Which she can still do at 10 years old!). We knew about the traits of GSPs from vast research, and we had an outlet for them even though it wasn't her exact purpose. Now however I am hunt training GSPs, so if I was to buy a puppy today you bet your butt I'd be looking for parents and grandparents who have field tested and done well, because even if I don't field trial my dogs they come from dogs who have proven their hunting ability to an extent (a lot does depend on how they were trained too of course). Because of this, I know what letters to look for on their AKC papers; such as AFC (Amateur Field Champion), CFC (Field Champion), CGF (Grand Field Champion). I also know to ask about North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association trials and titles. I know what you're thinking; but I don't want a hunting dog, what does that all matter to me? My point is, I go in knowing what's important what isn't.
So you want a pet dog, what do you look for? Well, that depends on the type of dog you are looking for. If you follow this link, https://www.akc.org/breeder-programs/akc-bred-with-heart-program/requirements/health-testing-requirements/ , you will find breed by breed health testing requirements. Now, not everyone is an AKC breeder. But if these tests have not been done you should run the other way. These tests are ethical and important to promote health of the dogs being bred and their off spring. The breeder should also have an understanding of early socialization and training or at the very least have a trainer they work with to refer you to. You should at very least be able to see the mother, and how the dogs are housed. Many people will not allow you into the actual puppy room because they have had safety issues with people trying to break in, which is understandable, but they should have some way for you to see a part of their property where puppies spend time. Puppies make messes of course, but they should appear relatively clean, not covered in pee or poop. If they scheduled this meeting they knew you were coming and had time to clean. If they did not, red flag. If they don't have a large list of questions for you, also a red flag. Good breeders care where their puppies are going to. They should care about the dogs you currently have in your home, any kids that will have access to the puppy, how many hours a day the puppy will be alone etc. So much goes into a proper breeding program, and not all are created equal. Do not just buy from the first place that will take a deposit. Use your head, not your heart. Here is the hardest pill to swallow: you are not saving a puppy from a bad situation, you are increasing the demand for those people to keep breeding. I know that's hard to process, but if we are to stop back yard breeders, we must stop the demand for their "product". Only buy from open, honest, ethical breeders.
If you need ANY help adding a dog to your family, please reach out. I am more than happy to help you.
For the Dogs,