Question: How can I tell the difference in a High Volume breeder and a Puppy Mill?
Answer: : A high volume breeder: is a breeder that might have multiple litters of puppies at one time. They may have 20+ breeding dogs on their property. Their dogs will be well kept and in good weight without visible matt's. Note** in Oregon and Washington the dogs may be a little wet and muddy this does not mean they are not well cared for it meant they are getting out and exercised. ** Their yards will be clean without excrement all over. It should not smell like poo though there may be a urine smell but should not be overpowering.
There puppies will be raised for a time in the house then moved to an out building. they will have toys and things to play with. The breeder will know each puppy and be able to tell you things about that puppy's personality. The play yard will be clean the puppies will not smell like poo or pee. They will have clear eyes, and be active.
They are active with those dogs by earning AKC, or CAC. Championships, Grand Championships and/or other titles with those dogs. They will screen prospective puppy homes and will be an active member of their local breed club as well as being a member of the national club. They have all of the clearances set forth by the parent club. For goldens that would be annual Eye clearance, a Heart clearance after the age of one, Hips and Elbows clearance after the age of two (Penn Hip or OFA are acceptable clearances for hips).
They are knowledgeable about their breeding program and can tell you about dogs within that pedigree. They will know of issues within their breeding program. They will be honest and upfront about those issues. They keep up on new information and studies that may affect the breed.
The point I am trying to make is that is it not the number of litters that a breeder has in a year or at one time. It is the time and care put into each litter that is the key.
A Puppy Mill is an establishment that will have multiple litters of puppies at one time. They will have multiple breeding dogs some as many as 50 breeding dogs on their property. Their dogs will not be well kept some may be thin with visible matt's. Their yards will excrement all over and will have a strong smell of poo and urine. The do not want you to see this so they will meet you in a parking lot.
There puppies will be raised outside of the house. They will not have any toys or things to play with. The breeder will not know any of the puppy or their personalities. Their play yard will be unclean the puppies will smell like poo or pee. and be in need of a both.They may have goopy eyes, and be lethargic .
They are not active with those dogs and have not AKC, or CAC. Championships, Grand Championships and/or other titles with those dogs. They may or may not have all of the clearances set forth by the parent club.
They are not knowledgeable about their breeding program and can't tell you about dogs within that pedigree. They do not know of issues within their breeding program. They will not be honest and upfront about those issues. They do not keep up on new information and studies that may affect the breed.
The point I am trying to make is that is it not the number of litters that a breeder has in a year or at one time. It is the time and care put into each litter that is the key. Quite frankly a breeder can have only one litter a year and not do a good job due to not caring or just being naive
Question: How much should I
expect to pay for a dog?
Answer: This will depend
on the breeder and the part of the country in which you live. Here in
the Pacific North West. You should expect to pay between $1800.00 to
$2600.00, for a quality pet from a responsible breeder depending on your location.
Question: I only
want to pay $300.00 for a dog, is this possible?
Answer: There is more
than just the initial cost to consider. A puppy from a responsible
breeder could end up saving you thousands of dollars in vet bills over
the life of the dog. While the initial purchase price may seem
formidable. You should take into consideration that these breeders have
screened their adult dogs for the major hereditary problems known to the
breed. These include orthopedic problems of the hips and elbows, as
well as eye and heart screening. Some of these disorders can result in
early death of the dog or expensive surgical repair. Hip surgery for
example can costs at minimum $3000 per hip. Because these diseases are
the result of complex genetic and in some cases environmental components,
no breeder can guarantee you that a dog they’ve bred will not develop a
hereditary disorder. However a responsible breeder will have some type
of sales contract with a written guarantee as to what they will do in
the event despite their best efforts a pup they’ve produced develops a
hereditary disorder. The extra money you spend in the beginning by purchasing from a responsible breeder can be the best insurance policy
you could buy for your pet. It is not possible to find a well bred
Golden Retriever for $300.00 from a breeder that is responsibly
breeding. Anyone offering puppies at such a price is probably not doing
clearances, and does not warrant their dogs. I always refer to the
saying, “you get what you pay for” this includes the support that you
will receive from a knowledgeable breeder, one that takes the time to
educate not only themselves, but you as the potential new owner.
Responsible breeders screen each potential new home, some use written
applications and contracts, spelling out each parties responsibilities.
There is only one puppy left in the litter. Is there something
wrong with it?
Answer: Often the breeder
will be interested in keeping a puppy out of a litter therefore the
breeder may hold back a puppy or two for themselves, a co-owner, or show
After the litter is
evaluated at around 8 weeks of age it is acceptable for the breeder to place
the puppy or puppies that were held back, if the litter does not have what the breeder is looking to
keep for their purposes, hence an available at the last minute puppy.
Much of the time the puppies are the best of the litter.
Question: My last dog died of cancer i don't want Cancer in the line I get my new puppy from.
Answer: Sadly Cancer is the leading cause of death in Golden's. There are no lines that are cancer free. What I look at when contraindicating a breeding is 1) The occurrences (amount) of cancer in a 12 generation pedigree. 2) The age of the dog that passed from Cancer. I like to see older dogs not young dogs passing from cancer. most of my lines are fairly healthy with our average puppy passing around 10 to 12 years. With that said yes we have had younger dogs pass from cancer. To the best of my knowledge we have had 4 juvenile cancers reported back to me over the past 29 years.
Even with the most careful breeding nothing is 100% when is comes to cancer. If you are looking for a dog that dose not have cancer in its background I'm sorry to say that does not exist.
don’t care about papers, are the dogs cheaper without papers?
Answer: AKC rules
prohibit charging extra for the papers. That does not prevent a breeder
from charging different fees depending on what they believe the quality
of the dog to be, but the papers themselves cannot be charged for with
an additional fee or the reverse, reducing the price by withholding
papers. Dogs cost the same to breed, love and rear whether they have
papers or not. Papers are not an indication of the price of the dog,
more the quality of its heritage.
I want to be sure that I buy a dog with AKC papers so I can be sure the
dog is healthy.
Answer: AKC papers do
not ensure a healthy dog. All AKC papers do is tell you that the parents
of the dog were both registered with AKC as being pure bred and of the
same breed as well as the linage. Healthy dogs come from careful responsible breeding, you
will be much more likely to get a healthy dog from a responsible breeder
than from a pet store or what are commonly referred to as a back yard
Who should pick out the puppy me or the breeder?.
It’s nice to get to choose and in most cases we let people pick from a
few puppies. However the breeder has had the litter for 7-8 weeks
and knows each puppy individually especially a puppies temperament.
The responsible breeder has gotten to know the life-style and make-up of
the adopting family as well, and so, is in a better position to make
the match between puppy and home. We usually let people observe the pups
and ask them which they like. Then we make our recommendations as to which puppy we think is the best fit for your fam;ly.
can I tell the difference between a Responsible Breeder and a BYB?
Answer: A reputable
breeder feels responsibility towards the breed, towards the dogs he or she
breeds and to the families who choose to live with dogs from their
kennel. Support after placement is an investment of the heart, and
provides personal gain through satisfaction of knowing that dogs from
their kennel are placed in loving homes as family members, not just
animals. A responsible breeder is motivated to create perfection in the
breed of his or her choice.
A reputable breeder will
hold membership with the national breed club, in this breed the
affiliation is; The Golden Retriever Club of America www.grca.org . In
addition they may belong to their local breed club and one or more
performance club/All Breed Kennel Clubs. A reputable breeder proudly
display in plain sight plaques, trophies, even ribbons their dogs have
Reputable breeders will
carefully screen potential new owners, most sell with a written
agreement, that provides for the dog and they will ALWAYS take a dog
back at any time for ANY reason, regardless of age or health. States or
puts it in writing, that they must be consulted regarding the re-homing
of a dog from their kennel, insisting that they approve the new home.
A reputable breeder will
give you the pedigree and appropriate clearances for both the sire and
dam. As well as ancestors, explain the bloodlines, heritable traits etc.
They will openly discuss health problems in general regarding the breed
as well as their own dogs.
A back yard breeder (BYB)
may talk as though they are responsible but there will be a difference
in how they interact with you, their over all education level will be
lacking. They will know little more than what you read here on this site
and be unable to elaborate further on some of the finer points.
will not hold these affiliations, beyond possibly being a ghost member,
non active, or no longer a member. They will not have shown their dogs
in conformation or other venues such as obedience, agility, tracking,
hunt tests, field trials etc. Though they may have attended some classes
and done some training. They will not be able to show you awards their
dogs or they have received for notable achievements. Passion and
responsibility is what set’s apart a true responsible breeder from some
one that just raises dogs. Puppy raisers and dog dealers are motivated
to make a profit only.
Often the dogs that BYB’s
have are of a lesser quality, the grooming will be poor or non
existent. They will rarely talk about conformation beyond bragging about
how big the sire is and how sweet the dam is. Their motivation to make a
profit will be obvious often by how the dogs are kept.
Rarely will a
BYB be willing to simply take back a dog nor will they insist upon being
involved in the re-homing of a pet that cannot be kept. These are the
people that keep the breed rescue organizations and the city shelters
packed to the brim. These breeders will often have contracts but rarely
do they uphold what they say the will, and often the contracts are
meaningless even in the wording and place unreasonable demands and
requirements to avoid having to deal with a dog or you after the sale.
BYB’s clearances may be lacking, they may have some of the clearances
but not all. Often they will have just prelims on dogs that are old
enough to hold finals and eye clearances may be out of date. Remember
hips and elbows are cleared for finals after age 2 (24 mos.) heart
clearance is final only after 1 year of age (12 mos.) and eyes are
recommended to be done every 12 to 18 months while a dog is in the
They may not even have a pedigree on their dogs. They
will have little to no information available regarding ancestors beyond
the dogs they have owned. Normally they will have little information
they can share even on dogs they have produced.
In closing ,
check the breeder out; ask to see membership documentation of
Ask for references and check out the references too. Talk
to other area breeders, responsible breeders do not compete for puppy
placements and will only show a concern for you.
Ask for references from
veterinarians or happy puppy purchasers. Check for health testing
results and even search the net. Many breeders have websites now and it
will be apparent from their websites how much breeding they do and
whether or not they have a “track record” for breeding good quality and
healthy dogs for themselves as well as other people. Be aware though
that just because a breeder may breed a lot of litters, it doesn’t
necessarily mean that they are a BYB – a
BYB breeds a lot and sells them
ALL to pet homes where some responsible breeders may breed a lot of
litters but will usually retain at least one either on their own
premises or co-owned with other parties which is intended to be shown
and/or added to their breeding program at some point.
How specific can we be as potential new owners – gender, color, etc
Answer: You are always
more than welcome to have some idea of gender, color etc. in mind as
your preference. You need to understand however, that you are not
ordering and purchasing a new car. Mother Nature will provide whatever
she wishes to in the litter. If you reject whichever puppy you may be
offered by the breeder on grounds of color, gender etc…You may be
passing up the opportunity of meeting the best friend you will ever
have. You may also be passing up the opportunity of EVER getting a puppy
that fits your “requirements” because it has been my experience that if
you have orders for a bitch of a specific color, litter after litter
after litter your litters will consist of bitches of a different color and
dogs of the color asked for. Murphy’s Law prevails in dog breeding!
And lastly – some breeds
have certain “character traits” and “personality traits” which are
particular to specific bloodlines and individual colors or color
patterning – after exhaustive consultation with the breeder of your
choice, it may well be that your lifestyle or personality doesn’t “fit”
your color preference.
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