RESPONSIBLE vs BACKYARD BREEDERS

Responsible breeders...

  1. Register their litters at the Kennel Union of SA.  Very often I see backyard breeders advertised under the category ‘Registered Breeder’.   
  2. Check with KUSA if this is indeed a registered breeder.    Tel 021-423 9027
  3. Do not sell their pups to or through pet stores. Instead, they personally screen     and select homes for their puppies, advise people on caring for the breed, turn away people whose lifestyle, commitment or home situation does not fit the breed, test for and guarantee the health and temperament of their puppies, have detailed documentation of their pups' lineage, demonstrate knowledge about canine health, genetics, socialization and development, and take back their animals at any time and age if the buyers cannot keep them.
  4. Do not sell multiple breeds of dogs, since they specialize in one or two breeds.
  5. Demonstrate extensive knowledge of the breed's history, traits, temperament, and conformation. They have years of experience with the breed.
  6. Are involved in the showing of purebred dogs. 
  7. Value their reputation for seeking to improve the breed. They do not sell pups as a for-profit business. Indeed, many reputable breeders lose money, since breeding and caring for puppies in a responsible, quality-focused manner is typically expensive. They breed only dogs that are themselves good pets and fine representatives of their breed.
  8. Evaluate the health of their pups using sound, standardized genetic and other testing recommended for the individual breed. Tests include hip & Elbow x-ray certification, Heart sonar/ECG, thyroid and other measures. They also test dogs for sexually transmitted diseases, like Brucellosis, prior to breeding a litter. Thorough genetic screening enables responsible breeders to minimize their chances of producing a health-compromised puppy.
  9. Provide full, lifetime written guarantees covering genetic disease and temperament problems.
  10. Take back the dog at any point in his or her life for whatever reason the purchaser no longer wants or can care for the animal.
  11. Spay/Neuter all Pet quality puppies or puppies bought as Pet only.
  12. Provide advice and guidance to purchasers. Interview and usually visit the homes of prospective puppy purchasers, placing pups only with people who demonstrate they can provide safe, responsible homes.
  13. Has at least the mother dog on premises and let prospective purchasers observe the dog and her health and behavior. Responsible breeders breed their female dog to the best male, not the most convenient one.
  14. Breed only dogs over 22 months old, and breeds the dog only a limited number of times.
  15. Line up qualified buyers in advance of birth of a litter and rarely ever advertise.
  16. Deworm and vaccinate their puppies.
  17. Can provide references from happy puppy buyers.

Pet Shop/Backyard breeder Problems

  1. Regardless of staff claims that they buy from reputable breeders, nearly every puppy in pet shops comes from a large-scale commercial breeding operation, also known as a puppy mill.
  2. The main issue here is that the Neapolitan Mastiff is potentially a dangerous breed.  Within the breed there can be various health issues, so it is of utmost importance that the breeding dog’s gets health checked prior to breeding.
  3. Backyard breeders and Pet shops sugar coat the facts about the breed to enable them to sell more puppies more often.
  4. Pet shops typically buy from brokers who get animals from puppy mills, which are commercial breeding establishments that mass produce dogs for resale. Puppy mills and brokers are located across the country.
  5. Puppy mills and pet shops often do not properly socialize their puppies. Many pet shop puppies lack fresh air, exercise, play, and sufficient positive human contact, which help a puppy become well-adjusted.
  6. Unsound breeding practices can predispose dogs to hereditary afflictions like hip dysplasia, dislocating kneecaps, eye problems, and aggression, as well as genetic conditions such as liver and heart diseases, autoimmune disorders, and seizures.
  7. Pet shops usually do not provide full information on genetic disorders prevalent in certain breeds
  8. Pet store pups and animals from backyard breeders typically are not tested for genetic disease and are not adequately protected from illnesses such as parvo, as documented in news reports and in Animal Court cases. Thus, countless families have endured the heartbreak of seeing their pet store pups eventually become crippled by hip dysplasia, lose their sight due to progressive retinal atrophy, lose their hearing due to congenital deafness, die of cardiomyopathy or suffer from many other breeding-linked disorders from allergies to patellar luxation.
  9. Pet shop puppies can be prone to parvovirus and distemper. For example, parvovirus symptoms are not immediately detectable, so a puppy with parvo may share a cage with a healthy puppy. Symptoms may not appear for several weeks, and by then the puppy might be in a new home.
  10. Pet shop puppies typically come into contact with numerous animals at puppy mills and brokers' holding facilities, during transportation, and at pet shops, often exposing them to illnesses and parasites. Transportation stress can make them more susceptible to disease.
  11. Puppies can also be exposed to disease, infections and parasites at the pet shop/kennel.
  12. Pet shops do not typically screen buyers. Impulse buyers may not have prepared sufficiently or have a suitable environment for a puppy. Pet shops do not take back and rehome dogs from customers who later realize they cannot or do not want to keep the dog for life.

Make sure any breeder you deal with:

  • Screens pups for genetic problems and shows you the paperwork;
  • Answers questions with no hesitation or condescension;
  • Takes the time to educate you and does not push the sale;
  • Helps you make the right decision—even if that means you do not buy a dog; and
  • Agrees to provide advice and support for the dog’s lifetime if you do buy a dog.
  • A good breeder will often have a puppy waiting list and always interrogates potential buyers about their ability to care for the dog. 

Questions the breeder will probably ask include:

  • Why do you want a dog?
  • Who will be responsible for the dog’s care and exercise?
  • Do you have a fenced yard? (Some breeders may actually want to visit your home.)
  • If you rent your home, can I contact your landlord to make sure dogs are allowed?
  • What veterinarian have you used in the past so I can call for a reference?
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