What makes a “good” breeder?
It’s a lot more than pointing to two pretty dogs and saying “let’s make some puppies!” It’s someone who knows what they are doing, why they are doing it, and agrees to abide by the parent Breed Club’s standards. Why is agreeing to a breed club’s standards important? These standards usually include ethical practices, such as:
- requiring minimum health checks of both parents
- limiting the amount or frequency a stud/bitch is used
- maintaining genetic diversity and health
- insisting that only healthy parents free from inheritable traits be bred
Just because a dog has won some awards or ribbons doesn’t mean they should be bred (a title or ribbon doesn’t mean that dog is free from genetic issues!) nor does a lack of titles or awards on a dog mean that it should not be bred (although it does beg the question “why?”)
Good breeders know that no dog is perfect-not even their own! They should be able to tell you what their dog’s weak points are, and what type of mate they are searching for to compensate for those issues.
Good breeders have whelped litters before. Everyone starts somewhere, but do you really want to partner up with someone who has never done this? Good breeders mentor others in the breed, they know how to help studs perform, when to intervene during whelping and how to help pups thrive.
Good breeders have raised litters before. There’s a lot more to raising excellent puppies than knowing when to wean them and giving them their first shots! They know what is “normal” behavior, and what is concerning. They help maximize each puppy’s potential even before it leaves for its forever home.
Good breeders have plans for their kennels. They know how many times each dog they own will be bred, when, and start planning their litters years in advance, reaching out to other breeders to evaluate and stay informed of potential mates.
Good breeders will co-own many, if not all, of the puppies they produce. As they strive to create that elusive “perfect” dog, they retain access to the reproductive future of their puppies, working closely with the other owners to determine which dogs will be bred. Sometimes these choices become clearer with time.
Good breeders will always be interested in the welfare of each puppy they created. This varies, but most ask for at least an annual update-how’s the dog’s health, temperament, quality of life? Most ethical breeders insist on being the first to know if a dog will not be living with the family to whom it was given, and are willing to take back their puppies should the need arise.