If you go to see puppies, it is fair to ask what they are doing with their dogs to prove their worth for breeding, especially if they have a kennel full of dogs. Being able to breathe air is NOT a reason for reproduction. If the person is not actively competing with their dogs in conformation, obedience, or in the field, by what checks and balances are they determining the correctness of their dogs? Competition against other dogs is how one learns if the dogs they own, are worthy. Dog shows are NOT beauty contests. The dogs are judged against the standard of the breed. Dogs within the standard can best perform the duties they were bred to do. One excellent guide is to ask them what clubs they belong to. If they tell you that they don't want to be a part of some "snobbish" club, you might consider that it is the club that won't have them. If that is the case, there is often very good reason. Beware of people who breed to make a quick buck.
That being said, lets look at some of the nonsense you can find on the Internet or hear from a breeder themselves through email or phone calls:
If you stumble across a really outrageous statement, send it to me. If it applies, I'll be happy to use it and comment as I have done to the quotes found on the Web below: Many of the following were sent to me by people who stumbled across them on the web.
| "Labradors tend to act reserved around strangers and make good watchdogs." ||"Reserved"? hahaha !! |
"Watchdogs"? Ummm.. well...they'll watch someone steal everything you own, and willingly go home with the thief.
'We don't allow you to see the puppies or our facilities until you come to pick your puppy'
Some breeders are very afraid of viral diseases being brought in, however, there are ways to reasonably protect against that. Every breeder is different with respect to physical interaction with their puppies, however, not even allowing you to come and see them, or the kennel, or the place where they're raised? Ouch.
If you haven't met at least the mother of the litter, how can you know if this is the right puppy for you? How could you be sure of the conditions in which your puppy is being raised? More important, as the breeder, how can I know you are the right family for my puppy if I have not met you in person?
|*WARNING SIGN* Long involved contracts with demands of puppies back, threats to sue if contract terms not met, and the privilege of paying almost double the going price of a Labrador Puppy ||If the contract you're asked to sign basically marries you to the breeder for life, and requires you to jump though unreasonable flaming hoops, you might reconsider buying a puppy from said breeder. Often these breeders have website that speak to them being the best breeders this side of heaven -- Be careful, or you'll find yourself in a living hell. |
|*WARNING SIGN* Websites involving the viewer in the breeders personal legal issues. ||Does the website speak to the different clients the breeder has personally sued? Imagine your name on those pages! Enough said. |
|"We have been training, hunting, and raising Labradors since ... [year given here].." || |
There is no problem with this statement. However, remember, a breeder can do it right for 30 years or wrong for 30 years.
Do you see proof on the website of said training, hunting, etc.? Do the dogs have Obedience titles or field titles?
|"We clear eyes every TWO years, because of the expense of checking eyes is high" || The standard is to clear eyes YEARLY. The cost at the eye clinic given by our club each year is $20/dog. HARDLY costly! Not even one fraction of the cost of a puppy out of that dog. How can someone charge you hundreds of dollars for a puppy, then claim that $20/year is too much to pay? Are you willing to bet the vision of your puppy on their need to save $20? |
|"Our dogs come from other States, because the local snobbish breeders won't sell to us" ||Best that you contact those "snobbish" local breeders, and see if you can gain any insight. Are they really snobbish, or are they protective of their dogs? If it is the latter, there may be a very good reason they won't sell a dog to an individual. Don't expect a breeder to bad-mouth anyone. You will have to use your intuition here. |
"We recommend you visit the following sites (giving lists of Labrador clubs in the area and nation wide)..."
Although not nonsense, often used to fool the reader into thinking they're members of a club.
Is this person a member of these clubs, or giving a long list of clubs in order to make you THINK they're a member of those clubs? Verify club membership. Responsible breeders join their local clubs, not for fun, but for continued exposure to educational topics. Most breeders are members of one or more clubs related to their breed.
Why would they encourage you to visit club sites, when they themselves belong to none?
|"We have sold our puppies to ______(put your favorite celebrity name here) ||Big deal. This doesn't mean a thing. You're being fed nonsense information. |
|"Prior to breeding, we have our dogs x-rayed for hip and elbow problems" || |
Just X-Rayed or CERTIFIED after x-ray? Remember, just having the x-rays are not enough. They must be sent to the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) for certification. Ask for the OFA number, look at the certificate, and/or go here, to check that information:
Just put in the name of the dog, or the OFA number to confim the info you are being given.
Take the names of the adult dogs on any breeders website, and do a search on that name. Remember, that dogs who are not being bred in that kennel may not be certified, but any dog who is reproducing should be (any dog under two years will not be found in the database, as they're not old enough for certification). It is a common practice to breed young males on preliminary readings. Be sure you are allowed to *see* those readings.
If a website gives you pedigrees, but only lists the call name of the dog in question, and not the AKC registered name, do a search on the name of BOTH of the parents of that dog. If you don't find they BOTH have certification, best you use great caution, as it is likely if the grandparents are not in the database, there is a very good reason (like their hips were never cleared).
|"This is a chance of a lifetime...pups and guarantees like this are rare" || Have you figured it out yet? The word "rare" is a buzz word for "please pay me more money than this is worth" |
|'We don't sell puppies.........you will be charged a Boarding fee, in exchange for our work.' || Oh, this one is beautiful. They're covering themselves against legal issues that name them as the "breeder" of your dog. According to their statement, they're not the breeder, they're just a boarding facility! |
| "We will provide all shots to your puppy after it goes home, except for rabies, due at four months of age. Just come back to us and we'll provide it for a greatly reduced fee than you would get from your vet. " || |
There you go, you don't have to get your puppy vet checked until it is four months old. The "breeder" will provide their shots for you. Of course, you'll never know if your puppy has a heart murmur, worms, or some other problem, and the breeder can practice veterinary medicine without a license for four months!
(note: it is legal to give your own personal animals innoculations or medications, but not the animals belonging to others. Once a puppy goes home with you, anyone practicing medicine on your animal without a veterinary license, is subject to legal prosecution).
|"Our puppies are raised on wire mesh (or other non-solid metal flooring)..... to protect them from bacteria." || |
California Health and Safety Code
"122065.5. It shall be unlawful for a breeder to primarily house a dog on wire flooring."
Bacteria grows on every surface known to man. Wire mesh flooring will not protect puppies from bacteria. You could raise them on the ceeling of your house, and they'd still come in contact with bacteria. Harmful bacteria is avoided by keeping puppies in a clean area.
Raising puppies on an elevated wire floor is a common practice of puppy mills. If you see puppies on wire flooring, you can bet you are in the WRONG place to buy a puppy. They do this, so that fecal matter and urine pass through the mesh to the ground below it, without the puppies coming in contact over it. Sadly, this allows the owner to clean less frequently, and the puppies live over the filth and stench of decay and waste.
You want your puppy ready to start life in your home, and be comfortable there. Do you live on wire mesh? Do you want your puppy to be raised on a wire mesh flooring? Think about it.
I want my puppies comfortable and happy on the same surfaces I walk and live on. Yes, it's important to bleach or use other cleaning agents (Parvolan is one such product), and to and keep the environment clear of any virus that could be brought in on your shoes or hands. Bacteria? NO.. unless the breeder lives in a sterile bubble, bacteria is everywhere your puppy is... no matter the surface. Harmful bacteria is prevented by breeder cleanliness.
|"We have several litters of puppies -- all colors available" || |
Ask the breeder how many litters they have each year. Does this seem to be a reasonable number? Ask them how many litters they currently have. Does their answer seem to be a reasonable number? (for me, 2 litters at one time is pretty much my max. It's hard to give more than two litters the individual attention they need). What is appropriate differs with each breeder, however, you should not get the sense that there are *always* puppies available, or *always* multiple litters.
Ask yourself: are they breeding to improve the breed, and as a hobby or passion, or are they breeding as a business. If it appears someone is supplementing their income on the backs of their dogs, then you already know they're doing it for the wrong reasons. Someone who 'always' has puppies available, is doing it for the wrong reasons.
Run, don't walk away!
Webesite has photos only of females who are obviously nursing or have recently nursed a litter. There are few if any non-nursing photographs.
|This is done, because the people don't allow her a break between litters, and therefore, HAVE no photograps to offer where she was in good photographing condition. |
|"We accept major credit cards..." || RUN AWAY ! This is a business. Breeding dogs should not be a business, but rather a well loved, well tended hobby. |
Photos on the website are of poorly positioned dogs. No evidence of competition.
|What qualifies these dogs for breeding, if they are not being shown, actively hunted, or used in some manner that proves their worth for breeding? What is the breeding criteria? Having a head, four legs, a tail, and fur, is not good breeding criteria. |
Bragging about "International champions" only (not AKC Champions).
|Be aware.. "International Champion" is NOT an AKC awarded title. There are lesser registries and clubs that award this sort of title with *VERY* little competition, but AKC does not. |
| "Champion Sired puppies....." || |
Out of INTERNATIONAL Champions? See above.
Has AKC champions three or four genertions back? Those dogs will have very little influence on your puppy.
All litters are the result of breeding a stud dog and brood bitch, both owned by the same person
While every breeder may breed their own two dogs together on occasion, every breeder should be looking to the BEST mate for their dog. What are the chances the best dog for any given female lives in the same kennel she does?
Again, on occasion, I will determine the best mate for my dog is one who lives here, but that is done after a great deal of soul searching. I must assume, with all of the outstanding dogs across the U.S., that the very best mate for my girl probably doesn't live here.
"Akc Registered Labrador Puppies Available At All Times. We Raise Silver, Yellow, Chocolate And Black Labradors. Most Of Our Females Are Ofa'd. We Have Some Of The Finest Silver Bloodlines In The World."
| "Most" of their females are OFA certified? Ouch.. The rest didn't clear? ... and they sell "Silver" Labs too! Best you use caution before purchasing one of these "FINE Silver " Labradors! |
| Pay attention to claims of "Silver" Labradors with AKC titles as being something unique or special. ||If you found a stray dog that was identifiable as a specific breed, you could petition, and get, what is called an AKC ILP number, in order to compete in Obedience and Field: |
And then there is the subject of the conditions you find when you go to look at puppies... Is everything chaos? Is everything a mess? Dogs, kids and clutter everywhere? IF the dogs are clean, the dogs are in good condition, and obviously well cared for, perhaps this is not important, however, remember that what you find when you visit is only a small glimpse of what things are like when you are not there. If there are several males and females running loose and together, you have every reason to wonder if the sire of the litter you are looking at really IS the sire of that litter. However, if you find filth... THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR FILTH ! Leave immediately!
You should find the dogs in a clean environment. The dogs should be happy to see you. The dogs should be in good condition, obviously well cared for, and well socialized. If you purchase a puppy because you feel sorry for it, you have just guaranteed the next litter to be born to these "breeders".