Archive for the ‘Breeders & Breeding’ Category

The Small Professional Breeder – Part 2

Alan | October 18th, 2008
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Shopping for a new puppy through a small professional breeder is one of the best choices you could make. These breeders offer much more personal help with questions and interests than larger breeder organizations do, and with more respected care for their puppies than you could possibly imagine.

However, as mentioned previously, small breeders are absolutely meticulous with choosing the right family for their pups. Do you have any children? If so, how many do you have and what are the ages? are example questions you will be asked. And these questions are important to the devoted breeder, as in many instances, very young children are unintentionally cruel to small puppies.

The small professional breeder will also want to make sure that the children, no matter what ages, will not be solely responsible for the puppy’s welfare. Youngsters’ interests wane quickly. As great as their intentions, basketball practice or a new boyfriend can readily replace the constant attention first given to the family’s new puppy.

Do you work? Who is at home during the day? These should be self-explanatory. No puppy should be left alone all day to fend for itself. It certainly cannot be expected to housetrain itself, or teach itself the necessary do’s and don’ts of family membership.

How many dogs have you previously owned? This is the clincher. If you have owned quite a few, be prepared to explain what’s become of them. If, for one reason or another, they have disappeared in rapid succession, it isn’t too much for the breeder to expect that his puppy will join their ranks and turn you down as a customer.

What Difference Does It Make? What Business Is It To The Breeder?

The answer is: PLENTY! If he was on his hands and knees helping his female give birth to the litter, helping her rub life into their little bodies, up nights feeding them with an eye dropper to make certain each pup got its fair share of food then yes, the small breeder will make it his business to make sure that the life he helped into this world is destined for a good home!

The small professional breeder is seldom in the breeding business to make money. They may make money boarding, they may make money with grooming, or even handling dogs in the show ring, but they know there’s no profit in raising two or three litters each year. They firmly believe that the litters they raise are absolutely the best specimens of their favored breed.

You Are Getting The Best Of The Best

By careful and selective breeding, these small breeders have attempted to eliminate any and all known faults, and to improve certain characteristics of the breed. Truly, theirs is a labor of love. You may have to pay a lot more for the puppy you select, but trust me when I say this; the small professional breeder has invested more time, love, and attention in the puppy then what he is being paid for, guaranteed!

One Last Note About Small Professional Breeders

Some small breeders do not like doing business at a distance. Do not be disappointed if you hear: Oh I’m sorry, we do not ship puppies but if you’d like to come and see us, we’ll be very happy to meet you.

In essence, these breeders know that puppies are trusting little bundles of love and they feel that it is their responsibility to do everything in their power to guarantee the most loving and permanent home possible.

The Small Professional Breeder – Part 1

Alan | October 13th, 2008
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If your new puppy hasn’t eaten as much as you think he should, if he sneezes once too often for your liking, if he howls all night when you think he should be adjusted to his new surroundings then you can thank your lucky stars that you purchased the little guy from a small professional breeder.

Help is usually just a simple phone call away. Small professional breeders are like the Doctors back in the days whom, just like in those old television shows, would rush right over if anyone in the family had a cold, always ready and available with a sympathetic ear and good solid advice!

Small professional breeders are usually true and devoted dog lovers in every sense of the word. They are normally very active in breed clubs whose goal is the betterment of the breed. These devoted animal lovers literally eat, sleep, breath, and live for dogs! You can find them ringside at local dog shows and at dog matches. They are professionals, but the smaller breeder is lucky if he or she financially breaks even at the end of the year. For them, it is not about the money at all, it is for the dogs.

Small Professional Breeders Are Very Careful About Selecting New Owners

In dealing with a larger breeder, one gets the feeling that they really care where their puppies wind up; but be prepared when taking on the small professional breeder, because specific questioning they may make you feel like the FBI or the CIA are all conspiring to gather as much information about you as possible!

At times, prospective buyers have found this to be offensive, but actually, it is to be admired. These breeders breed on an average scale. Chances are they have only five or six dogs in their kennel. Some small breeders have only two the male and the female.

The small professional breeder usually will have one or two litters a year, which are products of carefully planned breeding, infinite care, and patience. To place these puppies with the right people becomes the breeder’s sole reason for being. Some small breeders make baby adoption agencies seem pale by comparison.

Be prepared for such questions as: Do you have a fenced in yard? Are there any other dogs in your house? How many and how old are they? What are their sexes? Where are they kept? Where are you planning to put your new puppy? How much time during the day are you able to spend with your new puppy? What about the weekends?

These questions make a good deal more sense than the novice puppy buyers can sometimes understand. Many buyers do not give sufficient thought to the proper adjustments that the new puppy will have to make in his different surroundings. He will be in a new home, having left the only one he has ever known, plus the people who loved and cared for him, as well as his littermates.

The Large Professional Breeder – Part 2

Peter | October 9th, 2008
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Large professional breeders are able to supply you with an amazing amount of detailed information on the dog that interests you. In addition to pedigree information, an exercise and diet program specific to that breed, and records of behavior through the bloodline, you will also receive a health record showing the dates that the puppy received his inoculations, what type, and how many more are needed.

Registration papers are also provided, along with instructions on how to properly submit them to the American Kennel Club so that your new puppy becomes registered with his new name, the name that you have selected for him.

Large Professional Breeders Will Work With You Easily On Any Problems

There are instances when a dog will develop a congenital illness. The dreaded hip dysplasia in may of the medium and large-sized breeds and progressive retina disease found in Collies and Shetland Sheepdogs are two problems which can occasionally slip by even the most cautious professional breeder.

If by chance your new puppy does develop such an inherited defect, the large kennel is normally in a position to make necessary adjustments. This is usually accomplished by refunding your money or providing you with another selection. Not that it eases the hurt of losing perhaps the pup you fell in love with, but it helps to know that the intentions of the breeder are honorable. It wold be wise to reach such an understanding before your purchase is made.

1st Class Travel Arrangements & The Utmost In Care For Your New Puppy

Because the kennel is large and there is usually ample space, many breeders will be in a position to provide you with the unparalleled service of boarding your dog with someone you trust. Facilities for grooming might also be available and this comes in very handy, especially for those dogs who need fancy stripping and clipping.

Many kennels will refuse to ship a puppy by air, while others will ship only when driving distances are too lengthly. Some have been known to deliver a puppy personally, and others will use the airlines claiming that they have had no problems with air travel safety.

If you decide to purchase your puppy from a professional breeder outside of your immediate area, your correspondence with that breeder should include which sex you prefer your new puppy to be, the color you would like, and whether you want pet, breeding, or show prospect stock.

The Large Professional Breeder – Part 1

Peter | October 5th, 2008
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Generally speaking, there are three different types of breeders: the large professional breeder, the small professional breeder, and what is usually referred to as the backyard breeder. Today we will discuss the advantages of buying your puppy from a large professional breeder.

When, and if, you find yourself dealing with a large kennel, you can best bet that you will be involved with people who have been in the breeding business for a long time. They will know what they are talking about. Running a large operation such as that requires a great deal of time, skill, money, and most importantly, a deep passion for their work.

Large Professional Breeders Have Plenty Of Staff Members & Quite The Selection

Many large kennel owners have managers who run things for them. However, if you wish to talk to the owner and make your final purchase from him, by all means do so. If for some reason he can’t be found, tread very slowly. You have every right to culminate any business dealings with the owner if you wish.

Another advantage of dealing with a large kennel is that the selection is usually pretty great. The people and the service you find there may not be as personal as the smaller kennels, but you’ll be able to choose from a large assortment of colors and ages. A more mature dog should be considered if you don’t feel like going through training and time required by the very young puppy.

More Than Enough Information Provided On The Dog You Have Interests In

The professional breeder will be able to discuss the puppy you’re interested in, and very thoroughly. He will know the sire and the dam and will be able to give you detailed information on the pedigrees. You will be able find out about the temperament of the parents, how others in the litter have fared, or how previous litters from the same parents have fared. You will be able to see obedience records, and championships that have come down through the lineage of that particular puppy you are considering purchasing.

You will be given specific information on a feeding and exercise program which can carry your puppy right through to maturity. This may seem novel, but it’s incredible how many dog owners are at a loss when it comes to giving their pet the appropriate amount of exercise which is necessary for that particular breed.

The large professional breeder can tell you the amount of grooming the puppy should have, whether or not he sheds, and how much. Certain breeds shed more profusely than others, and many a new dog owner has been horrified when they have found hairs from a German Shepherd on the couch. My wife hates all of that hair! or He is a short-haired dog, I didn’t think he would shed so much! is usually the complaints before the hapless dog is resold or dropped off at the local animal shelter.

The Best Places To Find A Professional Breeder

Alan | October 2nd, 2008
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What steps should be taken when deciding on who and where to buy a new puppy from when giving the little pup as a Christmas gift or a birthday present?

The first step is to make sure that the person or family really and truly wants a new puppy, and is totally prepared to assume the responsibilities. The second step, and equally important, is to make sure that you are getting the right breed of dog for the right person.

All breeds are not for all people. No two dogs are ever exactly alike, and temperament and behavior characteristics vary tremendously within the different breeds. Many a retired couple has wound up with a loud, whiny, hyperactive little terrier who would have been far better off in a home filled with active children. Situations like this can easily be avoided with a little advanced preparation and a little research having been instituted.

Do Your Research & Look Past The Puppy Stage

Most buyers have a particular breed in mind before they set out to purchase their puppy. But their preferences are frequently based on how cute that type of puppy is, without much thought to what it will grow into.

Regardless of what your breed preference is, it would be wise to have one or two alternates in mind so you can make comparisons between them. It is quite possible you could be in love with a Great Dane on Sunday, but find yourself falling in love with a Chihuahua the following Tuesday.

Dog Shows Are Invaluable For Getting To Know Different Breeds

One of the best places to begin making breed comparisons is at a dog show. There, you’ll be able to see some of the best specimens of many breeds and how well they behave under adverse conditions.

Watch the dogs perform in the obedience rings. Watch the dogs working under control of their handlers. Talk to the exhibitors on the sidelines and get some first-hand information from them. Most professional breeders carry business cards and would be most happy to have you drop by their kennels for a closer look at their particular breed.

A word of caution: Always call beforehand or make a definite appointment whether you have spoken to the breeder personally or obtained his name from your local veterinarian. Never march into a candle unannounced. You may be surprised if you do. You may not be allowed to go through the kennel, handle any of the dogs, or for that matter, even see any of them. There are many good reasons for this and it does not mean that the breeder is hiding anything. It might be feeding or grooming time, or they may be in the process of cleaning the kennels, or preparing to leave for a dog show.

The Best Places To Find A Professional Breeder

The best place to find a professional breeder is in the breeder and classified advertising section of dog magazines or at dog shows. Then too, readers are usually members of their breed’s specialty club, and even various dog training clubs. The Yellow Pages of your telephone book will also yield the names and addresses of a variety of breeders. Many professional breeders list their names with local veterinarians who are always willing to pass their information along to you.

Selective Breeding & The Resulting Health Problems – Part 4

Gemma | September 29th, 2008
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With so much bad breeding practices going on around the world today, how can families choose the right puppy for their home that has as limited health problems possible?

Educate Yourself Before Buying A Puppy

Potential dog owners should undertake a fairly extensive self-education program before committing themselves to the purchase of a pet.

Standard How To Pick A Puppy articles are an excellent place to begin, though too often they tend to rely on AKC registration as the major guide for purchase.

Note: Mongrel dogs (dogs that are the result of various inbreedings) are not recommended, in spite of the fact that they often make lovable pets, because the dog world, like the human world, suffers from a population explosion and every effort needs to be made to limit the number of unwanted dogs. Promoting purebred dogs as pets and encouraging limitations of the breeding of such pets seems to be one of the best approaches to the problem.

Your first decision must be the type of dog suited to your family, and the standard articles offer excellent ideas here on the advantages of large dogs, small dogs, noisy ones and less active breeds. But once you have decided on a breed, you need to learn much more about that breed type. Talk to other owners of the dogs and read about the breed first hand.

Breed Clubs

If possible, check with the secretary of the national breed association. There is, for example, a Collie Club of America. There are similar clubs for other breeds and by contacting them the staff will be happy to supply a list of recommended kennels and breeders in your area.

Memberships in these breed associations are generally by invitation only and the prospective members must demonstrate a strong interest in the breed before being invited to join. Thus, a breeder recommended by such an association is likely to be more dedicated to the improvement of the breed than the turning of a dollar.

When you locate a breeder in your area, talk with him or her frankly about your interests: Do you want a show or pet quality puppy? Do you intend to breed it? Ask about congenital problems in the breed and inquire what kind of health guarantee is offered. What vaccinations has the puppy had and what more does it need?

Finally, be sure that the breeder agrees to a 24-hour examination period during which you may have your own veterinarian check the puppy before the purchase is final.

It’s Well Worth The Trouble

All this, you may say, makes the addition of a puppy to your household a major project, far more complicated than simply reading the paper and finding an ad for a litter of purebreds on the weekend.

Yes, it does, but the experience that so many families go through with dogs that ended up with poor health problems with disease is worth the effort that may ultimately save you and your own family the heartbreak of losing a puppy too soon.

Selective Breeding & The Resulting Health Problems – Part 3

Gemma | September 25th, 2008
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Most new puppy owners are under the assumption that just because their new companion is registered with the American Kennel Club, it is guaranteed to be a healthy purebred.

Nothing Could Be Further From The Truth!

Registration by the AKC means nothing more than that the dog is a purebred, with its ancestry traceable several generations. The slip given with a puppy at sale testifies to nothing more than that both parents were registered. It makes no guarantee about quality, health, or freedom from disease.

It is, in fact, completely possible that both parents were rather poor specimens of their breed, even though it is a purebred and registered as such. Many dogs affected by congenital conditions are not only eligible, but are in fact registered and could be used for breeding by unknowledgable owners.

Such breedings, done without study, are another thing at the root of this problem. Too many owners mate their purebred dog with the neighbor’s purebred dog, register the litter and sell the puppies as AKC registered which in fact they are.

Such backyard breeders contribute to the problems of many breeds simply by their ignorance of the science of dog breeding and, often, their lack of real knowledge about their own breed.

Pay More Money With A Professional & Enjoy A Healthy Pet

Professional dog raisers consider breeding a science and carefully study the lineage of both the male and female before a mating. The aim, of course, of each planned breeding is to produce the ideal dog, but knowledgeable breeders are aware that the same laws of heredity apply to faults as well as desirable characteristics.

The backyard breeding, on the other hand, is planned with only registration in mind and generally overlooks faults in the parent dogs.

Further, many AKC registered pets may have some minor congenital problem which does not matter as long as they are household pets. However, when such a dog is allowed to mate and produce a registerable litter, it passes on the hereditary problem.

For example, many collies carry the genes for collie eye and are themselves affected to some degree, but their eye problem many not be as extensive as others, and they may have functional vision. Such dogs make perfectly satisfactory pets but, if allowed to mate, they will pass on the collie eye genes to their offspring and may conceivably produce a blind dog.

Other problems such as minimal hip dysplasia or undescended testicles are similarly of importance primarily to a breeder but need not disqualify a dog from the pet category.

Remember that if a reputable breeder sells a dog as a pet, he has, for some reason, eliminated that animal from his breeding program, and it might be well to ask why and inquire whether or not he would recommend breeding the dog.

Selective Breeding & The Resulting Health Problems – Part 2

Gemma | September 23rd, 2008
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Selective breeding and the unwanted disease and health problems are not just limited to a few breeds. Other congenital problems affect more than one breed.

Hip dysplasia, for instance, has been demonstrated in almost all large breeds and some small ones. This abnormality of the hip joint has been given so much publicity by dog raisers, as well as the veterinarian profession, that the public is generally aware of the condition – though often unaware that dysplasia is not usually evident in young puppies.

The standard guarantee that a puppy comes from X-rayed stock is only fair insurance that dysplasia will not develop during the rapid growth phase or even later in the dog’s life.

Recent studies report that in some cases, dysplasia causes no apparent discomfort or crippling and is not progressive. In others, pain and inability to walk may become so severe that they necessitate euthanasia for the dog.

Other mutations which occur too frequently in more than one breed include brachycephaly (round head), achondroplasia (short limbs), floating kneecaps, and dwarfism. The frequency of all these conditions can be traced directly or indirectly to constant inbreeding to achieve certain qualities in the various breeds.

Can The Problem Be Stopped?

These genetic flaws could be controlled, even eliminated in some cases, by selective breeding programs, however, it would require years of cooperation among dog breeders, the veterinary profession, and the general public.

Some blame for the spread of genetic mutations must undoubtedly lie with a few commercial breeders. Those, for whom money-making is paramount, unfortunately counter-balance every effort toward breeding programs aimed at improvement of dog lines.

Little, of course, can be done by individuals to harness the damage done by these puppy mills, beyond not giving them your business when it comes time to purchasing a puppy. The American Kennel Club, local kennel clubs, humane societies, and other agencies are constantly striving to tighten licensing laws and take other measures against the worst of these businesses.

Even while professional organizations are striving for long-range alleviation of genetic problems in dogs, there are things that can and should be done by the individual dog owner and buyer.

Much of the problem may be traced to a lack of knowledge on the part of the general public and a blind assumption that any purebred dog registered by the American Kennel Club is eligible and recommended for breeding. This is simply not the case.

Selective Breeding & The Resulting Health Problems – Part 1

Gemma | September 21st, 2008
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Jock was everything we wanted in a collie puppy bright, playful and affectionate. My children thought Jock was going to live forever, a long healthy life.

What could possibly go wrong?

In time we noticed that he was also clumsy, so clumsy that he banged his head on doors, tripped over small toys, tripped over the baby, and never learned to walk down stairs. But we adored him still!

When he was about three months old, Jock developed a slight hernia and off we went to the veterinarian to have it checked. Feelings of relief that the hernia was unimportant gave way to panic when the vet said, Let me check his eyes while you have him here. We make it a point to check all collie eyes.

Trying to pass it off, I made a joke about Jock’s clumsiness, but the joke turned sour when the veterinarian spoke again. I’m surprised this dog gets around at all. He’s totally blind. He has been since birth.


We call it collie eye the doctor continued, He has massive detachments of the retina in both eyes. There is one small retina where he may be getting minimal vision, but not enough to call it functional sight.

The American Obsession With Breeding The Perfect Canine

Jock was a victim of the American obsession with dogs and dog breeding, for his blindness was due to a genetic condition bred into collies during the process of seeking the perfect collie.

Collie eye, technically called ectasia, is a condition of purebred collies, proven to be congenital and hereditary. Fanciers have long prized the narrow head and pencil nosed face of the collie, and breeding programs have continually been directed toward achieving this type of look.

Too little attention has been paid to breeding to eliminate hereditary disease conditions. As a result, it is estimated that up to 90% of all collies to date experience some form of the disease, and the numbers may be slightly higher. And this of course is speaking of only one breed.

Many Breeds Are Affected With Their Own Problems

To cite collie eye as a lone example of genetic flaws in purebred dogs is grossly unfair. There are a few breeds not affected by some kind of inbred problem. One expert claims, for instance, that we now produce Irish Setters that are beautifully gazelle-like but totally lacking in the work habits or capabilities of the original breed.

Another less-kind comment came from an Irish Setter owner who bitterly said that breeding for a narrow head has squeezed all the brains out of the dogs. Poodles are subject to hypoglycemia and progressive retinal atrophy; Basenjis have eye problems too, and so the list continues.

Mating: A Crash Course In The Reproductive Cycle – Part 5

Peter | September 13th, 2008
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During the first 24 to 48 hours after delivery, take the mother and all puppies to see your vet. The purpose of the examination is to insure healthy puppies with no obvious defects or illnesses, to be sure no puppies are retained in the uterus, to correct vaccination deficiencies, and to give the mother a hormone injection which will aid in contraction of the uterus and removal of the debris from stage 3.

The nursing period begins with the secretion of a complex milk-like substance called colostrum. Puppies nursing during the first 24 hours of life get antibodies from colostrum, giving them protection against diseases for the first few weeks of life. Puppies failing to nurse during the first few hours face a stormy start in life and may fail to survive.

Sick puppies, or those unable to survive the competitiveness of a large litter, soon become too weak to nurse. The result is a vicious cycle: the less they eat the weaker they become, and the weaker they become, the less they eat. Weak puppies require extra help; use an orphan formula to feed them. Several products are available over-the-counter for this purpose. For feeding instructions follow the label recommendations of the manufacturer.

Too weak to respond, many puppies fail to cry out in response to pain. Weak puppies are in danger of death and should be treated by your vet.

The nursing period places a heavy nutritional burden on the mother. The nutritional demands of nursing are greater than those of pregnancy, and close attention should be paid to proper feeding during this time. Dog foods of high quality and vitamin and mineral supplements are necessary.

Milk Fever

Eclampsia (known as milk fever) is a severe complication which can develop during the nursing period. The cause is a deficiency of calcium in the blood, resulting from rapid calcium loss into the milk during periods of high milk production. It is identified by severe convulsions and a rapid rise in body temperature. When it occurs, it is usually seen in the second week of nursing. Eclampsia is an emergency requiring immediate medical attention to prevent death.

Final Word

When the basic principles of reproduction are fully understood, the chances for successful mating will be greatly enhanced. However, the problem of how to deal with the excess puppies which result from over-breeding still remains. A number of methods are currently used to control vet over-population; none of them have been particularly successful, however, simply because of the enormous number of animals involved.

Again, attacking the problem at the source by halting unnecessary mating is a more sensible, and humane approach, than allowing dogs to mate indiscriminately and then seeking methods of disposing of the unwanted puppies.