When looking for a dog breeder...

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Chickerdoodle13, Nov 15, 2011.

  1. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

    Mar 5, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    What are some things you consider before choosing the breeder to buy from? I guess mostly pertaining to purchasing a dog for a pet more than show. I know quality is a huge thing to look at when buying an animal to show or breed.

    I'm asking because my uncle is looking to buy a puppy or young female dog. I want to make sure I have covered all the bases when he asks for advice regarding things he should ask about or look for when searching breeders.

    I know you should always ask to see the parents and health certificates of the parents, but what health certificates, specifically? He is interested in a collie or a shetland type dog. I know every breed may be prone to different health conditions. What are some specific things he should avoid when choosing a breeder of these types of dogs?

    Thanks in advance!
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2011
  2. carolinagirl58

    carolinagirl58 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 30, 2011
    Lugoff, SC
    It does not make any difference whether the dog is for show or pet......you need to get a pup ONLY from a reputable breeder. Preferably one who's a member of the breed's parent club (the club recognized by the AKC). Do not get a pup with CKC registration (Continental kennel club). CKC registers anything that looks purebred, or is the result of breeding two purebred dogs together. Most puppy mills and back-yard breeder's dogs are CKC. Make sure your breeder does all of the health testing for health conditions that are common to your breed and will provide you with the OFA certification numbers. Pick a breeder that not only shows their dogs, but also works them.....either herding or agility or obediance....so you know the dogs are just not a pretty face but have some working ability. Make sure your breeder has some sort of health guarantee. Since OFA certs can't be done until the dog is 24 month old, make sure you don't get some worthless guarantee that only covers hips for a year or something like that. Be prepared to pay more for a pup from such a breeder. Probably even double what a back-yard breeder will charge. But divide that extra money out over the life of the dog and you are only talking about pennies per day, which is a bargain when you consider getting hips operated on costs thousands. Be prepared to sign some sort of contract too. Most (if not all) reputable breeders will require some sort of contract of you.
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2011
  3. Rusty Hills Farm

    Rusty Hills Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 3, 2008
    Up at the barn
    Collies, especially, have eye problems BIG TIME. Educate yourself on those issues so you know what to ask about and will recognize when the breeder is avoiding answering. Dogs who cannot see have crappy lives no matter how much love and attention you lavish on them.


  4. punk-a-doodle

    punk-a-doodle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2011
    In my case, I'm looking for very specific things for our next cattle dog. So, I can tell you how we chose a breeder for the next puppy we want to get (will be at least a year from now), but it is not general advice, but rather very specific. Only including it because it might help show how to focus on what is important to you.

    For my husband and I, we fell hard and fast for cattle dogs after adopting our current girl, and getting to know the breed from the owner's side of the fence (they can sure be... not friendly looking from the stranger's side). The cattle dogs I grew up with were more like the show lines. That is, stocky and kind of wombaty in build. Our girl is leaner and more slender all over. It's a harder build to find, but can be seen in some working dog lines. Right now, this is the only place we are seriously considering buying from:
    Henri" looks very much like our dog in build, but also in the personality showing through in photos of him. It has been specifically mentioned that he contributes to gentle and sweet mannered pups. We like that this ranch has working cattle dogs rather than show, since they are truly a working breed. Our two main considerations are always health and temperament rather than appearances, but we like how these dogs seem to have the first two, plus the body build we like best. We like that some of the pups are being used for therapy training, and that the dogs being bred are bred on a smaller scale. I love that you can visit the ranch, and that the people who own it seem genuine and friendly.

    So to sum up, specifically to me I am looking for a very particular body build, and I'm looking for a dog from a truly working background.
    On more general terms, I am looking at the health of the dogs being bred, the environment they are raised in, the ammount of care and attention being given to temperament and socialization, and puppies I can go to see in person. I do not want to go to the sort of breeder who will choose the puppy 'that best suits me'.

    Of course...we may always end up adopting another adult heeler instead of buying a puppy. X) Anytime we see one in a shelter that is either purebred or has the heeler personality showing through in a mix, we just crumple up and have to fight not to take them home. The eyes look at you in that heeler way, and the body alternates between being shoved against the bars for petting and rolling over to explose the belly, or sometimes, they just hide in the corner (that was our girl...we had to work with her a ton to get her where she is today). But always, there is that eerie, eerie quietness...the only dog not barking in the entire shelter. Very nearly ended up taking one home who's time was up just a week ago, but thankfully there was a 'do not euthanize, dog being picked up tonight' tag on the cage.

    Other people may be looking for additonal or different things such as:
    -Conformation/breed standard
    -Papers from particular groups
    -Vaccinations/health care/genetic screening
    -A breeder who is involved in showing (and winning)
    -Possible training or free training lessons provided
    -Possible agility or working trial titles

    Basically, I would take the answers you recieve and look at what is most important to you personally. [​IMG]
  5. Duramaxgirl

    Duramaxgirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 12, 2010
    On health certificates: look for
    OFA Hips, elbows and heart
    OFA stands for orthopedic foundation for animals.
    Hips come in 3 ratings, excellent, good and fair.
    Elbows are either displastic or not
    Heart: make sure the dog is certified by a cardiologist and not a regular vet... I think that's what they call the heart DR's [​IMG]
    CERF: canine eye registration foundation.
    Is the eye clearance paper work you'll need to look at.
    I used to raise golden retrievers and did all of these health clearences and more.
    I'm sure there's more just can't think of them right now.
  6. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

    Mar 5, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    Thank you guys. I will be sure to forward him all this information.

    As an aside, punk-a-doodle, my family has a cattle dog and we love him. I agree that they aren't so great on the stranger side of things! [​IMG] Our guy is more like the way you described yours, and similar in stature to the ones in the link you posted. Here's a pic of our guy, Dalton. We really couldn't ask for more in a dog!

  7. punk-a-doodle

    punk-a-doodle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2011
    Oh my gosh! What a cutey. <3 I haven't seen that all over blended color look before, I don't think. It's really handsome on him!
  8. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

    Mar 5, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    Quote:Thanks! He was out of a littler born under the steps of a cow farmer's house and from a long line of cow dogs! It's funny because we'll find one of his distant brothers or sisters every now and then. The people we bought him from must have been one of the area's main breeders. They did have some really nice animals, even though they were considered a "backyard breeder". The vet didn't know what color to consider him so he called him a blue/red. I think he's more red now, but as a pup he was a pretty cool mix. I would love to get a blue heeler some day. I think the next dog my dad wants to try is an australian shepherd or a border collie. We got lucky with him and have never had any real health problems (except for the one time he got ahold of some horse wormer. THAT was pretty scary!)
  9. Squishy

    Squishy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 2, 2011
    Aside from what everyone else has told you.... two very important things no matter the breed of dog are...

    Make certain the puppies are housed *inside* with the family and handled often. Breeders with kids are great for this. RUN away from any litters raised in kennels.

    Make certain the puppies are left with the mom until 10 - 12 weeks of age. The more weeks you have passed the normal "8 weeks", the easier socalization will be. The mom is a better teacher than any human on what the puppies can and can not do with their mouths. Puppies re-homed at earlier ages are much more "mouthy" and it can be hard for them to "get it" when it comes to learning not to mouth people.

    We raised a couple of litter of JRTs years ago... but since Rosie was long ago spayed, I found myself in the market for a new pup over a year ago. I selected what I thought to be a reputable breeder and asked that the breeder hold the puppy for me till 12 weeks. She assented so easily I thought that was part of her normal plan.... but months after I had the puppy and was haing some issues I contacted her about with questions, she just comes out and tells me that his littermates were re-homed at 8 weeks and the mom re-kenneled [​IMG] So my puppy was kept alone, in a BARN, for 4 weeks of his puppy-hood with little human interaction! [​IMG] - Thats from a supposedly reputable AKC breeder who shows her dogs! [​IMG]
  10. FourPawz

    FourPawz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 2, 2010
    Quote:Here is a link to the state directors of the Collie Club of America. I'd contact the one for your state and any other close by state and ask for breeder recommendations:

    Here is a link to the American Shetland Sheepdog Association's breeder locator page:

    One caveat. You still need to interview any breeder you find from these links. They in turn, if they are really dedicated, will want to know their pup is going to a great home and they will ask you questions. This is a good thing. It means the person cares about his or her dogs.

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