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I thought we could start a good list of "check marks" to look for in a breeder. It is sometimes hard when researching a breeder to remember everything (speaking from experience here). You sometimes dont have a list of questions ready, or forget some.
I think if everyone posted a "red flag" or two it would be helpful to everyone, and a good guide. :D
 

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I have lots, but I'll leave some space for others to put theirs in too. :)

Basic:
- Full recommended health testing (with proof via OFA website or copies of the certificates)
- No breeding before the age of 2 for minis/ standards or 1 for toys
- Some sort of proof of quality (conformation, performance or ideally both!)
- Limited number of litters per year (max is around 4, 1 or 2 is ideal)

Red flags:
- Large number of male and female dogs that are always bred to each other (no use of out of home studs)
- Website focused primarily on value of dogs as breeding stock/ selling of puppies rather than achievements of dogs
- Breeder always has puppies available (suggestion of high volume)
 

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Check List
  • Breeding dogs and puppies are raised inside the home
  • Small number of breeding animals
  • Current photos of dogs/sires/dames groomed and in action (if they have a website)
  • Pricing is equal for all puppies
Red Flags
  • Dogs raised in a kennel/run/outside
  • Large number of breeding animals (10+)
  • Outdated photos/no photos of parents
  • Pricing by color/sex/quality/
  • Gimmick words or phrase like Tea Cup/Royal/Offering a "rare" color
 

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Not sure this will help -- but when I looked for my first dog, I kept a spreadsheet of the questions I wanted to ask. I printed one off for each breeder I spoke with and filled it out. It really helped as I talked to about 27 breeders! I know, I am a nerd - but I still have that spreadsheet and go back to it sometimes just to remember that I came awfully close to making some dumb decisions!

I love the lists above and can't wait to read more.

Claudia
 

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I have some red flags :

Breeder has paypal to pay for pup. Now I know some do not give paypal info up until the breeder has spoken with them etc... I am talking about breeders who allow you to just flat out buy puppy with out talking to them

example

http://www.staryorkie.com/ ( I know these people and they are getting pups from korean PUPPY MILLS )
 

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One of my red flags is if a breeder doesn't know the individual temperaments of each of their puppies. They are all different and the breeder should know enough about the individual puppy by handling it and playing with it one on one to know it's strengths and weaknesses. Another is if the breeder isn't exposing the puppy to regular grooming from a young age. Grooming is traumatic for puppies when they haven't been exposed and a future owner needs to know how this puppy acts on the table even if they are going to take it to the groomers. In between there will be brushing and other things like baths that the pup is going to need to sit through and the future owner needs to be able to do these things without fail or know that they will need to spend more time working with that particular puppy to get them used to it.
 

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This is a great thread!! Can't wait to see other suggestions. Will someone be compiling a list of the suggestions?
 

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How about some checklists for those who breed and sell puppies. I know many a breeder to utilize an extensive application form for potential buyers to complete before they are even considered for purchasing a puppy:

Does applicant have a fenced yard?
Has applicant raised a puppy before?
Does applicant have adequate financial means to properly care for the dog?
What is the applicants history with past dogs? How many dogs have they owned and what happened to them. Are they dog "recyclers" aquiring and getting rid of dogs for fuzzy reasons.
Does the applicant have the personal time it takes to adequately raise a puppy, including socialization, training etc. Many people simply underestimate the time required to raise a well rounded puppy.
What is the expectation of the applicant for what it will take to raise the puppy to be a well rounded dog
Does the applicant know how to properly socialize a puppy
What does the applicant expect of the puppy being placed? Are their expectations in line with the breed's temperament.
What is composition of the family members of applicants home? Children should be old enough to safely interact and understand puppy boundaries.
What are the temperaments of the family members and their lifestyle? Are the personalities correct for the breed being placed.
Is the home environment correct?
Can you visit the home and see what the environment is like.
Will the puppy be a key member of the household
Will the puppy live inside
References are a plus.

By answering these questions, we can hopefully ensure all our puppies have appropriate homes.
 

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I think it is super important that the breeder send out or post tons of photos and videos of the litter. First of all, it makes those who are buying from afar a part of things. If a breeder is posting gazillions of pics and videos, it would be pretty hard for them to cover up everything if there is something shady going on there. You would be spending all of your time staging the photos and have time for nothing else. Do you see the pup you are interested in interacting with its littermates and Mommy and the other pets in the breeders home? Have you seen it on different surfaces- grass, concrete, wood, gravel, laminate? Have you seen the puppy playing with children, and being cuddled and held by the breeder?

I think it is very important too that if someone WANTS to visit, that they be most welcome. There are decontamination measures we can all take at the door, so there is no excuse for people to not be allowed to come and see the situation. The premises should be clean and not smelling strongly of Doggy odours, the puppies should be clean and happy and sociable and excited that the visitors are there. The breeder should be happy to answer any of your questions and brag about their accomplishments.

Personally, for me, the biggest red flag is going to a web site in the first place and seeing litter after litter after litter being whelped each year, with leftover puppies from older litters still available and those pups mothers being pregnant again.
 

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I saw a breeder's website, where buying a puppy was called "placing an order"- puppies aren't merchandise, and shouldnt be treated as such.

I like to see breeders who do not let you pick any old puppy, but instead pick the right one for you, according to your lifestyle and the pups attitude.

I like to see recently groomed and well kept dogs. I LOVE to see those dogs acting as part of the family.

as far as sanitation goes, I have a breeder friend who allows visitors, but has them sanitize their footwear, slip on those little footies that doctors wear, and wash hands before handling dogs.

as far as websites, I want to see OFA Chic and any other health testing numbers up front. I want to see no more than one litter per year, per bitch.

I DO NOT like high volume breeders.

breed for quality, not quantity

I also like to see contracts, and see a buy back or give back policy where the breeder will take back the dog at any time, no questions asked. whether or not they compensate you financially is up to them, but I like the open door policy.
 

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I agree with all of the above! Remember though, CHIC indicates the dogs were tested for three items, not that they have to pass to get the CHIC number. These things can be smoke screens for upstart breeders. That being said, breeders should know their lines over many generations and have done extensive pedigree research, as so many common poodle issues like epilepsy, Addison's, ect cannot be tested for. Finally, good breeders are always trainers to some degree, otherwise they simply cannot truly evaluate a puppy's suitability to your home and situation.
 

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Absolutely, make sure that the dog passed the tests. And ideally that the breeder does more than that which is "necessary" to get a CHIC. There is so much more available to us now. Claudia
 

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Absolutely, make sure that the dog passed the tests. And ideally that the breeder does more than that which is "necessary" to get a CHIC. There is so much more available to us now. Claudia


Should have said -- make sure you see results to tests, not pass.
 

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I know a lot of people don't like to see "kennels" but... when a breeder works full time, I would rather see that their dogs have a safe, secure place to play indoor/outdoor kennel for 8+ hours a day (not in an area where they will bother anyone of course) instead of caged.

I think the term "raised in a kennel is a good phrase someone used.
As they might be raised in the home but a kennel for when the owner/breeder is away ..?

Number of dogs... if a breeder is doing a "program" meaning they have a goal in mind, for which they are combining lines and keeping resulting pups, that they will have to have more than 3 dogs. Of course if they keep one or two from their own breeding (which is usually a breeder's goal)... well before long the number increases. 10 dogs seems more than reasonable.

There is one city in Ontario (Guelph maybe ?? I can't find it now) that has a hobby breeder license in which a household could have 10 dogs.
That number seems very reasonable for one person to manage (groom, socialize, train) and for a Breeding Program, in my opinion.

Meeting the breeder and their dogs sure eliminates a lot of questions right off the bat. I like to see dogs groomed well, clean and nails maintained. Nothing worse than meeting stinky dogs, with ear infections and nails so long they are curled and mats in the coat are also not nice to see as that is just minimal care that should be done.
 

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I know a lot of people don't like to see "kennels" but... when a breeder works full time, I would rather see that their dogs have a safe, secure place to play indoor/outdoor kennel for 8+ hours a day (not in an area where they will bother anyone of course) instead of caged.

I think the term "raised in a kennel is a good phrase someone used.
As they might be raised in the home but a kennel for when the owner/breeder is away ..?



How old would these pups be that are being left in a kennel for the day??? Personally, I am not ok with that, and would not buy a pup from a breeder who thinks it's acceptable to leave the home and leave their pups and bitch outside unsupervised for eight hours a day!

Number of dogs... if a breeder is doing a "program" meaning they have a goal in mind, for which they are combining lines and keeping resulting pups, that they will have to have more than 3 dogs. Of course if they keep one or two from their own breeding (which is usually a breeder's goal)... well before long the number increases. 10 dogs seems more than reasonable.

There is one city in Ontario (Guelph maybe ?? I can't find it now) that has a hobby breeder license in which a household could have 10 dogs.
That number seems very reasonable for one person to manage (groom, socialize, train) and for a Breeding Program, in my opinion.



Do you mean ten dogs all living in the same house?? I really don't agree with ten dogs being a reasonable number of dogs to manage and socialize. If you had ten standard poodles and had to groom all of them plus the puppies they had you wouldn't have time to socialize the animals. Heck-you'd barely have time to go to the washroom!

Meeting the breeder and their dogs sure eliminates a lot of questions right off the bat. I like to see dogs groomed well, clean and nails maintained. Nothing worse than meeting stinky dogs, with ear infections and nails so long they are curled and mats in the coat are also not nice to see as that is just minimal care that should be done.

:doh:
 

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Meeting the breeder and their dogs sure eliminates a lot of questions right off the bat. I like to see dogs groomed well, clean and nails maintained. Nothing worse than meeting stinky dogs, with ear infections and nails so long they are curled and mats in the coat are also not nice to see as that is just minimal care that should be done.
Well I can agree with this point. Care for the dogs is extremely important and really a minimal requirement! But all of the other points you mentioned would not be on my breeder checklist.
 

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Well I can agree with this point. Care for the dogs is extremely important and really a minimal requirement! But all of the other points you mentioned would not be on my breeder checklist.
Personally those would be giant "red flags" to me.
 

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I agree with all that was already mentioned but can not stress enough to insist on seeing results of all tests done !!!!

I was told numerous times that all testing was performed just to discover that it was NOT :fish: !!! If the breeder says that he/she just did not have time to post it on OFA than ask for a copy to be scanned and sent to you via e-mail.

Also - pay attention WHAT name is on the certificate ( yes, had that happen too - got tests of another dog in the line :doh:)

DO NOT GET BLINDED by "famous" names and lines - check it all yourself !!!!

Second most important thing for me is the Sale Contract - if it is not written in professional manner and is not clearly stating warranty and for what period and what conditions and how will possible problem be resolved - I do not consider it a contract !

Third - if the breeder is "too busy" to answer your questions while you are negotiating possible sale - than do not expect that breeder to be available for numerous questions about puppy upbringing when you take that puppy home. Courteous and kind breeder is a must and any breeder who is truly in love with his/her dogs will LOVE to talk about her/his lines and especially about puppies !!!

And yes - good breeder should know each puppy temperament in detail - saying : "oh, they are allll just lovely and sweet" is definitely not detailed or good evaluation .

Puppies also should have had intensive socialization while babies - exposed to different sounds, people, car rides, grooming , handled daily !!!! So , any breeder who has 2 simultaneous litters of 16 pups or more total CAN not physically perform all of that socialization and I would always opt for a breeder who has one litter at a time and not more than 2 litters a year .
 

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I cannot agree more. People say they have done testing or when they start the evasive talking as to why they don't need to do testing, walk. I get so sick and tired of people saying "oh all of my puppies are sweet." Well yeah that maybe but they are all individuals so tell me about boy green collar and not what they are like as a group.

This is the biggest red flag to me is when a breeder talks a lot but says very little. When you ask questions and they start to belittle your questions or get defensive. Don't trust someone that won't be 100% forthcoming and provide any and all answers to even the most simple of questions with a kind caring manner. Remember if this person cares about their puppies and the homes they go to, they will be in your life for a very long time and should be willing to help out with things as they occur with your puppy. If they won't respond or are evasive or are not kind in their manner that is the same treatment you will receive when you really need them later.
 

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Puppies also should have had intensive socialization while babies - exposed to different sounds, people, car rides, grooming , handled daily !!!! So , any breeder who has 2 simultaneous litters of 16 pups or more total CAN not physically perform all of that socialization and I would always opt for a breeder who has one litter at a time and not more than 2 litters a year .[/QUOTE]

I agree with everything you said... well done... but there are exceptions with the last statement. That belief could also have you miss out on an exceptional puppy.
I have that going right now... and believe me, yes it will not be easy but if it's your commitment then yes, it can be done.
See, you may say state that opinion, (and have every right to, but for me, I I feel that way about buying from a breeder who works full time. (and there are many out there) There is NO WAY they can do what I do, and work outside the home. I am fortunate to be able to spend all day and night with my puppies. I am able to handle everyone daily, with lots of play and new experiences given. I have lots of good neighborhood children that will come everyday (if I let them... 4 came yesterday to hold 6 day old puppies just yesterday)
Grooming... my stuff is in my kitchen/great room so it's used everyday, starting at 4 weeks old... sometimes just to feel a brush or vibration of a clipper. Is all this a lot of work and time consuming? You bet it is. Sadly, some don't get the credit it seems.

For me, the toughtest part will be the car rides. Although it will get done, it's no fun transporting them and cleaning them up if they puked. :)

Done with my vent. <g> I hope I won't regret writing this!
 
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