This article explores the question: What kind of breeder do you want to encourage?
Just because you are not a breeder does not mean you have no influence on breeding. Just because you personally would never dump a dog in the pound (shelter) does not mean you have no influence on whether that happens. Big changes come from losts of small decisions. You can't change things by yourself. But your choices over where to get a dog contribute to either the problem or the solution.
One day I received an e-mail. The complete message read:
I AM INTERESTED TO GET SOME MORE INFORMATION OF THE PUPPIES....WHEN AVAILABLE AND PRICESI think I must have been a little tired and irritable that day. This is how I responded:
Is that really all you want to know? Are you sure you don't want to ask what steps have been taken to make sure that the puppies will grow up healthy and free of genetic disease? Are you sure you don't want to ask how the puppies have been socialized? Aren't you curious about the temperament and activity level of the parents? Does it matter to you whether the puppies have the qualities you expect in the breed - or will you be just as happy with a puppy who grows up very different? For example, what if it needs a lot more grooming and exercise than is normal for the breed? Do you care whether the puppy will be accepted back if you can't keep it - or do you accept the common idea that once it is sold the breeder washes their hands of it.
The dog you get will hopefully be with you for a long time. You deserve a health and sound pet, don't you? And you want to encourage people to breed dogs that will be healthy?
OK, I agree, it was snarky. I just get so frustrated sometimes at how undemanding puppy buyers are. No wonder we kill millions of dogs a year. To continue:
For people who want a puppy - I hope to teach people to force breeders to care by only doing business with breeders who care. For more information see http://www.dog-play.com/ethics.html.
If you are going to encourage a person to breed puppies by paying them for the puppies I hope you will encourage only the very best breeding practices. The best breeding practices are those in which the health, temperament and future of the dog matter to the breeder. I love my dogs. They are terrific dogs. But my dogs come from careless breeders who didn't know or care enough to make sure they were free of genetic disease, had stable temperaments, and would be placed in permanent homes. That is why my dogs were in the animal shelter - the breeder either didn't know enough or care enough to keep them out.
I don't want to encourage breeders who let the dogs they produce end up in animal shelters. I get the animal out of the shelter. I know that because my dogs were not carefully bred they have a higher risk of health and temperament problems. Indeed my dog Tanith has an inherited back problem. I'm willing to take the risk to give a needy dog a home. If I wanted have the best chance of getting a healthy dog then nothing but the best of breeders would satisfy me. I would want someone who cares about dogs and knows about dogs.
And - I have no idea where you got your information from but I don't have puppies, and I have not had them for over 20 years. I've made it my goal to reduce the numbers of dogs killed in shelters by teaching people how to do a better job of getting a dog they will want to keep, and how to breed responsibly. I'd guess you got my name from one of the many messages I've written encouraging people to learn how to identify a good breeder before they make contact with one.
Good luck in your search for a healthy dog.
To the above I would like to add that one of the best ways to learn how to identify a good breeder, and what kind of health testing and research is necessary, is to join a discussion group about the breed. See Where to Find a Good Breeder and Checklist for a Good Breeder
Copyright © 2000-2005, Diane Blackman
Created: March 25, 2000
Updated November 12, 2007