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Hello! I am new to adopting a pup from a breeder, and I hope someone here can answer my question: Is it OK for a breeder to use a sire that is 18 months old? I've seen guidance that both genders should be at least 2 years old so they can mature and hips can be tested, etc. I'm pretty confident this breeder is caring for her dogs and its not an abuse situation--but it's not clear to me how problematic it could be that the sire is under 2. What are possible effects? We have a 6 year old boy who is so eager for a dog and would be crushed if serious health problems popped up. Also, I just want some reassurance that a responsible/ethical breeder could breed a healthy, 18 month old male who has passed the other genetic tests.

Thank you! I have learned so much on this site!
 

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I'm so glad you're asking this important question, and I'll be checking back to see the responses.

I know Peggy's sire was WAY too young. I got to meet him and spend time with him and yet I didn't even think to ask his age. Sigh. It wasn't until I saw some of his old puppy photos, months later on social media, that I did the math. Good for you for doing your homework.
 

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From your perspective, there are two big reasons to be concerned:
1) Assume a puppy's hips will rarely be better than the parent's and might be worse. Eighteen months old dogs can't get hip certifications. Maybe the sire will mature with decent hips, maybe not. You won't know.
2) Some other diseases with a genetic component don't manifest until the dog is older.
 

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As far as I know, there are a few reasons why dogs are preferred to be over two years of age. Hip testing can't be completed until 2 years, so testing is going to be incomplete. I think they can do preliminary hip tests, but it's preferred to have the final ones complete. Another reason is that waiting until a dog is fully mature lets the breeder make the best decisions in regard to pairing conformation. An immature dog will have a different conformation, and structural faults may not be apparent at younger ages. A mature dog will have a different temperament as well, and I appreciate being able to see the temperament of a mature dog. I know with standard poodles, using older sires is especially useful because Addison's disease runs in the breed and likely would not be apparent until middle age. With females, you have additional reasons related to physical maturity and whelping a healthy litter.

If the dog has had preliminary hip tests with good scores (and has several generations of good hip scores behind him), I would ask the breeder about their decision and make up my mind after hearing their side and thinking things through.
 

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Can’t PennHIP testing be done before 2 years of age?
They can, it's true, though at least in poodles it seems OFA is used much more than PennHIP. From what I understand the two tests actually measure quite different things and a good score on one doesn't necessarily mean a good score on the other. PennHIP is concerned with how tightly the ball of the femur stays in the hip joint, where OFA looks at how deeply the ball fits into the cup of the hip joint. Another way of thinking about it is that OFA looks more at the structure of the bones, whereas PennHIP looks at how well those bones are connecting with the aid of ligaments & tendons. I don't know enough to know about the preference of one over the other. To evaluate a PennHIP score in terms of the likelihood of hip dysplasia, it is a bit harder because the ratings are compared to all other dogs of the breed. So a dog with "good" hips could rate quite poorly on PennHIP if the breed has a very low incidence of hip dysplasia.

Regardless, I believe breeders generally like to wait until 2 years and get the final OFA evaluation done.

Note, please forgive any inaccuracies. I am still an amateur at this stuff. If I am wrong I will hopefully be corrected.
 

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All good info and cautions above. It might make some very small difference if this is a toy or mini vs a standard. What size is the sire? Are the testing results available to be seen on the OFA or the testing lab site for sire and dam? I mean can you see them, do you have the sire and dam's registered names or the kennel name to look them up on OFA or does the breeder have a public profile on the testing lab site so that you can see the results for yourself?
Pedigree info is helpful too so you can look up previous generations, tho those are often seen as part of the results history.

FYI, here's a PF thread with excellent descriptions of Penn Hip and OFA Hip testing:
 

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There is no way I'd be using a breeder that would breed at 18 months. Most dogs are not physically mature at that age and also are not able to have all final certifications in place. What's the rush to breed the dog at that age anyway, even if she has had some prelims like hips done? If the dog is so spectacular, it will only get even better as it matures. Has the dog been shown? Is it a finished Ch.? And what other genetic tests is the breeder telling you the dog has passed? Because most of them can't be done until the dog is over 2 for certification and listing in the OFA databases for a CHIC number. At the very least, go to PCA's website and look at the list of minimal tests required for whatever variety your potential puppy is. Sounds like whatever bitch she wants to breed is coming in season now and she wants to use this male so she has a litter instead of waiting until the next time the bitch comes in. If she wants to breed her bitch and the male is young, there are any number of nice studs out there of the correct age with all health testing in place.
 

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Here's the PCA link
And from Versatility in Poodles

This link gives more detail including ages the tests can be done.
Even when testing is done within the acceptable age range, it's best to wait until maturity is reached with some time to see how the potential sire develops.
Even with the proper measures taken, look at testing as bettering the odds significantly rather than a guarantee.
 
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Discussion Starter #10
I'm so glad you're asking this important question, and I'll be checking back to see the responses.

I know Peggy's sire was WAY too young. I got to meet him and spend time with him and yet I didn't even think to ask his age. Sigh. It wasn't until I saw some of his old puppy photos, months later on social media, that I did the math. Good for you for doing your homework.

Your girl is beautiful! 😍 Is she healthy? It's so hard to sort through all the info and tests and availability etc. I feel like it's easy to miss a red flag!
Hello! I am new to adopting a pup from a breeder, and I hope someone here can answer my question: Is it OK for a breeder to use a sire that is 18 months old? I've seen guidance that both genders should be at least 2 years old so they can mature and hips can be tested, etc. I'm pretty confident this breeder is caring for her dogs and its not an abuse situation--but it's not clear to me how problematic it could be that the sire is under 2. What are possible effects? We have a 6 year old boy who is so eager for a dog and would be crushed if serious health problems popped up. Also, I just want some reassurance that a responsible/ethical breeder could breed a healthy, 18 month old male who has passed the other genetic tests.

Thank you! I have learned so much on this site!
Thank you for your in-depth responses and links, everyone! Based on this information, I will "pass" on this pup--and will let the breeder know the reason. I am grateful to have access to all of you as a resource!
 

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If you would like some breeder suggestions, let us know what size pup you're looking for, what part of the country you're in and how far you'd be able to travel to meet a breeder and pick up a pup.
In the meantime, if you haven't seen this resource, here's the link:
 
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