Differentiating Between a Responsible Breeder and a Backyard Breeder

Differentiating Between a Responsible Breeder and a Backyard Breeder

Responsible breeders, often referred to as “show breeders,” do not breed puppies solely for profit. Their motivations stem from a genuine love for dogs and a desire to enhance the breed. In fact, many reputable breeders barely break even on a litter of puppies due to the substantial expenses involved. Medical testing, stud fees, shipping costs, supplies, vaccinations, and registration fees all add up, not to mention the time and effort put into ensuring the well-being of the puppies and their mother. Responsible breeders rarely sell their puppies at bargain prices, as they prioritize finding suitable homes and ensuring the well-being of the dogs they breed.

Cost and Responsibility of Reputable Breeders

While responsible breeders may charge more than backyard breeders, their prices are typically lower than those of pet stores. The cost of a puppy from a reputable breeder can vary depending on the breed, but generally falls within the range of $800 and up. Despite the modest profit margins, reputable breeders are discerning in selecting buyers and have strict criteria in place. They take full responsibility for the puppies they produce and often require spaying or neutering contracts to prevent irresponsible breeding.

Buyer Selection and Health Guarantees

Furthermore, a health guarantee is usually provided with each puppy, ensuring that the buyer is protected in case of any genetic disorders. Reputable breeders are committed to the well-being of their dogs even after they leave their care. They offer support and guidance to owners, and are willing to take back a dog if the owner is unable to care for it. Additionally, many responsible breeders are involved in rescuing abandoned dogs from shelters, further demonstrating their dedication to the breed.

A reputable breeder’s commitment extends beyond breeding; they actively engage in learning about the breed, participating in dog shows, and competing in various events to showcase the qualities of their dogs. By joining breed clubs, conducting research, and participating in competitions, responsible breeders strive to improve the breed and uphold its standards.

Importance of Genetic Testing

While some backyard breeders may claim that the parents have been checked by a vet, this does not guarantee the overall health of the dog. Proper genetic testing goes beyond a simple examination by a veterinarian and involves specific tests to confirm the health of the animal.

The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) is a renowned organization often associated with hip dysplasia. This debilitating condition starts as arthritis and progresses, causing immense pain and immobility in dogs. OFA conducts various genetic tests, with hip x-rays being a prominent method to diagnose hip dysplasia. Waller advises choosing a dog from a lineage with at least two generations of OFA clearances to reduce the risk of hip dysplasia, although it does not guarantee immunity. Reputable breeders should provide documentation proving that both parents are free of hip dysplasia, and interested buyers can verify this information on the OFA database.

Penn-HIP (Pennsylvania Hip Improvement Program) is another assessment tool to evaluate a dog’s hip quality and measure hip joint laxity, aiding in predicting degenerative joint disease associated with hip dysplasia.

CERF (Canine Eye Registry Foundation) is a valuable resource recognized by responsible breeders, maintaining a database of dogs certified free of heritable eye diseases. Certification from CERF is valid for one year, requiring reexamination for continued registration. Breeders should be able to furnish proof of current CERF certification for their dogs.

A reputable breeder distinguishes themselves not only through genetic testing but also by the quality and quantity of dog supplies and facilities on their premises. They invest in whelping beds, puppy pens, grooming tables, and premium dog food to ensure the well-being of their dogs. Clean and safe environments for the pups, along with transparency about the breeding process, are hallmarks of a responsible breeder.

Active Engagement in Breed Improvement

A reputable breeder’s deep involvement with their dogs allows them to understand each dog’s personality, temperament, and potential. They meticulously track a puppy’s progress from birth, enabling them to match each pup with the most suitable buyer. While show-quality and pet pups may differ slightly in price, responsible breeders raise all their dogs with care and attention to ensure they become cherished pets or competitive show dogs.

Genetic testing is a vital aspect of responsible dog breeding, ensuring the health and quality of future generations. By working with reputable breeders who prioritize genetic testing and health certifications, prospective dog owners can make informed decisions and welcome a healthy and well-bred companion into their homes.