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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there,

I have been researching dog breeds for a while now, and have decided to bring a standard poodle puppy into my life!

I've read quite a bit about how to identify a reputable breeder and I feel confident about the types of questions that I would ask him / her. However, I've been getting a near-zero response rate. Is this typical? I've sent out probably 15+ inquiries over the last week, and I've only heard back from one breeder who rejected my application with no explanation. It's worth noting that I'm primarily filling out forms on the website and e-mailing - should I be calling instead? Texting? Even the AKC MA poodle club has not been responsive to me (I've e-mailed multiple members).

I'm also not clear if I should be limiting my search to my geographical area (I live in Massachusetts). There seem to be more / better breeders in the South and Midwest, but I'm concerned about the ethics and logistics of sending a tiny dog on a cross-country trip when it's so young. It seems like I ought to be able to find a breeder near me, but I can't seem to get any to engage with me. Has anyone had a puppy shipped to them?

Lastly, I have a question about colors - are apricot and brown standard poodles extremely rare? These are my preferred colors, but I don't seem to be able to identify many breeders that have them (especially around me in New England).

Ideally, I'd love to identify a breeder by word of mouth, but I can't seem to make a connection with one. Can anyone help me?

For reference, I would want to bring the dog home in Fall-2021. I have no idea what the lead time is on these things, which is why I'm starting early.

Thanks in advance!
 

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Right now is a very difficult time to be puppy hunting. Normally your lead time would be fine, but this year is a little weird. When I got my boy at the start of 2020 the breeder had several other puppies weaned and available. Now the same breeder is taking reservations into 2022.

Apricot and brown are rarer colors than black and cream, so you are increasing your difficulties by limiting your choices to these colors. Black and cream are more likely to be available. You might want to expand your search to areas within a day's drive of Massachusetts. Gooddog.com lists a fair number of breeders who claim to do health testing. Since you are looking at an autumn timeframe, you might also want to consider breeders in Quebec and Ontario. Hopefully the Canadian border will reopen once the Covid vaccine becomes more widely available.
 

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Hi and Welcome!

Is this the Poodle Club listing you've been using?

Have you seen this Breeder List? It's not a comprehensive list but you can check against the breeders you've contacted, in case there's some listed here that you haven't already seen.
It's stickied in this same forum and has health resources and combined and individual breeder listings, in the US and some international listings.

There should be a number of excellent, quality, conscientious breeders within a days drive of your location. Some seekers have had to expand their search territory but you're well placed, generally.

Taking a week or even more to respond given the inundation of folk looking to fill their home with a puppy in these times isn't unusual.

I'd suggest either a second simple email, describing yourself and what you have to offer a pup, what you're looking for in a pup, and what you like about this breeder, asking when a good time to connect by phone might be, or a phone call asking when you might communicate at more length. Be prepared to give that same info and ask some few basic questions, to allow you and the breeder to learn a bit about each other.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hi and Welcome!

Is this the Poodle Club listing you've been using?

Have you seen this Breeder List? It's not a comprehensive list but you can check against the breeders you've contacted, in case there's some listed here that you haven't already seen.
It's stickied in this same forum and has health resources and combined and individual breeder listings, in the US and some international listings.

There should be a number of excellent, quality, conscientious breeders within a days drive of your location. Some seekers have had to expand their search territory but you're well placed, generally.

Taking a week or even more to respond given the inundation of folk looking to fill their home with a puppy in these times isn't unusual.

I'd suggest either a second simple email, describing yourself and what you have to offer a pup, what you're looking for in a pup, and what you like about this breeder, asking when a good time to connect by phone might be, or a phone call asking when you might communicate at more length. Be prepared to give that same info and ask some few basic questions, to allow you and the breeder to learn a bit about each other.
Hi there! Yes, that's the MA poodle club I've been using. I did actually get one response from a breeder who says that he may be breeding later this year, but it sounded like a very small operation and he wasn't sure if there was a littler planned.

I am looking at your breeder list and it's similar to what I was looking at before. I'll do another cross-reference and consider Canada, too as someone else suggested.

I was able to make a connection today (over the phone) with what I believe can be described as a "high volume breeder" that I see has been thoroughly criticized on this forum here: another high volume breeder site

I have an advanced degree in biochemistry and was impressed by the breeder's knowledge of genetics in his breeding program, but I admittedly know nothing about purebred dogs or poodle breeding protocol. It seems like folks here have taken issue with the standard of dog that this person is selling, but I honestly have had to dig way deep for any negative feedback about this breeder anywhere else on the Internet. Their Facebook page is full of people raving about their happy and healthy dogs, and many families have bought 3+ dogs from this breeder over decades (why would they be a repeat customer if this breeder was really so horrible?). I'm honestly inclined to put a deposit down with this person because he was so communicative and transparent, but I'm having second thoughts based on what some people in that thread are saying about this person. Also, what is "bloat"? It seems like some forum members were saying back in 2011 that his dogs are more prone to bloat because of their lineage.

Thanks in advance...this is all a bit confusing when the seemingly "legit" breeders are so unresponsive...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The poodle is a rare find and such a family member. Color is not an issue. The bond the poodle and the family will share is unlimited. Mine is white. If he was black and blue you could not tear us apart.
I understand. He sounds lovely. I hope I have a good pal soon, as well. :)
 

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They’re unresponsive because they’re experiencing unprecedented demand due to covid. The world’s pretty topsy turvy right now.

I don’t know which breeder you’re referring to, but poodles shouldn’t be treated like livestock. No puppies should. Have you read Dr. Ian Dunbar’s “Before and After Getting Your Puppy” yet? (If not, I highly recommend!) There’s good info in the “Before” section about choosing a puppy, and this is one thing he considers non-negotiable.

So if by high-volume you mean poodles living their lives in outbuildings, I would personally consider that a dealbreaker.

I would also caution against any breeder with an abundance of public reviews. Large operations may incentivize reviews, whereas the best breeders out there may have none. If you really do want to go with a breeder who has a ton of reviews, this is a situation in which I would recommend looking hard at the negative ones. It’s when things go wrong that you learn the most about a business’s ethics.

Peggy, for example, came from an inexperienced breeder who made some mistakes. When we were struggling with Peggy at a young age, her breeder stepped up 100%. She was accessible, supportive, and committed to working with us in whatever way would ensure the best life for Peggy.
 

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P.S. I was extremely happy with the pet store dog I purchased in my 20s. Love of my life. But does that make pet stores okay? It’s not just about the dog you get; you have to consider the lives of the dams and sires, and the litters that came before and will come after.

I am also very aware that she and I got extremely lucky. So even as I could write a rave review about her complete awesomeness, I can only imagine the horror stories that some of her siblings likely endured.

Not saying the breeder you’re considering is a puppy mill, just that you have to take reviews with a grain of salt. And I actually do know some folks—personally—who have been repeat customers of Amish puppy mills in Ontario, Canada, where I’m from. So yes, even horrible operations get repeat business.
 

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I couldn't see what breeder was being talked about.

Whoever it is, check that the breeder a) does something with the dogs. You want someone unbiased to say 'oh these are nice dogs" - a conformation title or a performance title (not just a CGC)shows the dog has good temperament (able to compete and win in a high stress environment), and, if confirmation title, is reasonably well put together.

Then -check that the dogs has all the OFA recommended tests. This includes hips, eyes, and the genetic testing.

Then - ask what socialization is being done with the puppies. I know from experience how much easier a good tempered well socialized puppy from a caring proactive breeder is, compared to an anxious poorly bred dog from a BYB. I have one of each in my house and never plan to get another of the latter type.

If you are interested in genetics, I highly recommend spending time on the VGL site/Betterbred. This is a program that aims to reduce inbreeding and inbreeding depression in poodles and several other breeds through genetic testing and understanding of what phenotypes are rare. It's all about breeding for the future of the breed, to prevent bottlenecks and preserve diversity. There is some great info there.

 

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Then - ask what socialization is being done with the puppies. I know from experience how much easier a good tempered well socialized puppy from a caring proactive breeder is, compared to an anxious poorly bred dog from a BYB. I have one of each in my house and never plan to get another of the latter type.
This x a million.
 

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I was able to make a connection today (over the phone) with what I believe can be described as a "high volume breeder" that I see has been thoroughly criticized on this forum here: another high volume breeder site

I have an advanced degree in biochemistry and was impressed by the breeder's knowledge of genetics in his breeding program, but I admittedly know nothing about purebred dogs or poodle breeding protocol. It seems like folks here have taken issue with the standard of dog that this person is selling, but I honestly have had to dig way deep for any negative feedback about this breeder anywhere else on the Internet. Their Facebook page is full of people raving about their happy and healthy dogs, and many families have bought 3+ dogs from this breeder over decades (why would they be a repeat customer if this breeder was really so horrible?).
I haven't looked at your link yet but I think I know exactly which breeder you've linked to.

I never want to rain on a happy owners poodle parade but a happy owner isn't necessarily an informed owner, and is often simply a lucky owner, even thru several generations. Quality, conscientious breeders are working to breed the diseases out as well as increase diversity.

If you look at the sheer number of "special needs" or "older or adult" (terminology may be different as I still haven't looked at the link) poodles still needing homes, well, they aren't running a rescue or shelter. Those are pups still in waiting but they keep breeding and adding to that list.

They also don't show their dogs in any conformation competitions which are intended to prove how close to the breed standard, structural soundness, their poodles are bred to. The ribbons are irrelevant to whether the dog is structurally sound and able to fulfill their purpose, whether competitive activities, service, therapy, or family pet.

Breeding for temperament and drive is something to consider also.

If this is the breeder I'm thinking of, they may well be versed in the genetics of diversity, which is what they tout on their site but there is little to no phenotype or genotype testing for the health issues, some of which were largely brought on by the Midcentury Bottleneck. This was actually several breeding bottlenecks.

"genetic diversity statistics, internal relatedness, principal coordinate analysis, and DLA haplotype frequencies showed a marked imbalance with 30 % of the diversity in 70 % of the dogs. Standard Poodles with SA and AD were strongly linked to this inbred population, with dogs suffering with SA being the most inbred."

"Fast forward nearly 70 years later and there are no Standard Poodles left on earth without some ancestry attributable to the MCB. Most dogs owe at least 50% of their ancestry to the MCB, and many dogs, especially show lines, owe much more. Some unusual lines only have a small amount of influence from the MCB, but these tend to be quite obscure."

That said, I'll check my supposition now :)
 

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One option to consider while you continue your search would be to sign up as a foster home with local shelters and rescue groups. I know you’re a first-time owner, but your home might be perfect for a senior pup who can’t handle the stress of a shelter environment, and I’m sure you’d learn a lot from the experience. You could help each other. :)
 

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I guessed incorrectly as to which breeder was being named primarily in that thread but with exception to specific website reference to the "special needs, older" category, the overall information is valid.

I'm looking over the site which was primarily named in that thread and see what I can learn from what they present to the poodle seeking public.
 

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Compare their contract to a contract from a breeder who does the health testing. Compare not only the differences in the health terms but also the primary focus of each.

What seems most important to each breeder?

) The Buyer agrees to provide a life-long commitment, comfortable environment, prompt medical attention, proper grooming and responsible care. This includes keeping this puppy/dog parasite free and up to date with inoculations, proper nutrition, which consists of a good quality feed given at regular intervals, and fresh water available at all times. The Buyer promises to provide a safe environment for the dog, and never allow the dog to roam freely without proper fencing or supervision. The Seller strongly recommends that the puppy/dog be microchipped in order to facilitate his return if lost or stolen.

2) The Seller guarantees this puppy/dog to be of sound health and temperament at the time of this sale. A health record of all shots and wormings will be provided by the Seller. This dog is in good health and free from communicable diseases to the best of Breeders’ knowledge. If the dog becomes ill within 14 days of receipt by Buyer, the cause of which is clearly attributable to the Seller. Breeders will reimburse Buyer for veterinary expenses related to the illness or Buyer may return the dog to Breeders for a full refund. Buyer shall notify Breeders, by telephone or electronic mail, within 48 hours of the diagnosis of the illness. Buyer shall take the dog to a licensed veterinarian of her choice within 72 hours of receipt of the dog for the 14 day health guarantee to be effective. Buyer is responsible for health, care, and feeding of the dog as of the date of receipt.

3) This dog is guaranteed free from serious inheritable diseases, including, but not limited to, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, patellar luxation, hip dysplasia, thyroid abnormalities, sebaceous adenitis, juvenile cataracts, diabetes, and Addison’s disease. If the dog develops any serious inheritable disease during their lifetime, Breeder shall either refund up to 100% of the purchase price or provide another dog to Buyer, The choice between a refund or a new dog shall be made by Buyer. Moreover, Buyer will not be required to return the dog to Breeder in order to receive the refund or the new dog. Breeder may request that Buyer obtain a second opinion with respect to any diagnosis of an inheritable disease. The medical cost of the second opinion shall be borne by Seller.

4) The Buyers agree not to use this animal for breeding and agree to have it spayed/neutered at the age recommended by their veterinarian. It is strongly suggested by the Seller that the puppy not be spayed/neutered until it has reached it’s full growth as to do otherwise may cause long term health concerns. The Buyer understands that the AKC registration papers do not accompany this puppy as part of the sale. A copy of said papers will be included at the time of the sale. However, after the above mentioned puppy has been neutered/spayed and the certification has been forwarded to the Seller, the Buyer will receive the AKC Registration papers at no additional cost. The Buyer agrees to register the dog using the kennel prefix.

5) If at any time the Buyer can no longer retain possession of this dog, the Seller is to be notified and unless the Buyer is given written permission to place said dog, this dog must be returned to Seller by the Buyer. Refunds, if any, will be at the discretion of the Breeder/ Seller. The dog will be returned with all AKC papers and medical records. Should any circumstances arise that affect the quality of life of this dog, the breeder/seller is to be informed so that they may participate in determining the future of the dog. The Breeder/ Seller reserves the right to approve/prohibit any transfer of this animal to a third party. Under no circumstances will this dog be sold, leased, traded or given away to any pet shop, research laboratory, animal shelter or similar facility.

6) The Buyer agrees to contact the Seller immediately if any questions or concerns arise about the dog, such as housing, diet, health or training. The buyer agrees to keep the seller informed of any treatment as it occurs. This provides the Breeder/Seller with an opportunity to follow up on puppies and gives us important feedback and information on the health or our dogs for future generations.

7) It is understood at the time of sale that this is a pet quality dog and it is representative of its breed. It is structurally and temperamentally suited as a companion and/or performance dog. Training classes are recommended for a happy relationship between the dog and family.
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I just wanted to say "thanks" to everyone who weighed in here - I am taking all of this information in (it's a lot!) and doing some more reading. I really appreciate the time that you have all put into helping me. :)

I still have questions, but I think I am starting to understand some of the concerns raised about that particular breeder.

I will probably ask some more follow-up questions later. Thanks again for your support! :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Keep the questions coming! I absolutely rushed our Peggy purchase because I wanted a puppy NOW.

You’re already on a better path than I was, because you’re planning ahead. :)
Yes, I am not always the most patient person, but I figure that I have enough lead time that I can figure out some way to bring home a pup this Fall!

I didn't mention it in my first post, but I'm also working on buying my first home right now, which is what's enabling me to have a dog in the first place! So, if all goes well, I should be moved into my place in late summer, enabling me to be ready for a puppy a few months later. It's a lot of things to manage, but one of the main drivers for buying (versus continuing to rent) is to have a home that allows me to have a dog. Exciting!
 

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So exciting!! Congratulations on the massive life event. :) Getting a puppy is also a massive life event, which some people really struggle with. Having some extra breathing room between getting settled in your new home and bringing home a poodle wouldn’t be the worst thing. I suspect this year is going to fly by for you!
 

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Also, what is "bloat"?
Nearly forgot this, sorry.

Bloat, also known as gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV) complex, is a medical and surgical emergency.

As the stomach fills with air, pressure builds, stopping blood from the hind legs and abdomen from returning to the heart. Blood pools at the back end of the body, reducing the working blood volume and sending the dog into shock.

If this isn’t enough, there is yet another scary thing that happens, and it is devastating to see. As the stomach flips, it drags the spleen and pancreas along with it, cutting off the blood flow. The oxygen-starved pancreas produces some very toxic hormones. One, in particular, targets the heart and stops it cold. In fact, a dog can go through successful treatment and seem to be out of danger, when suddenly the heart stops.

Even in the mildest case of bloat, which is extremely rare, dogs die without treatment.

Veterinarians start by treating the shock. Once the dog is stable, he’s taken into surgery. We do two procedures. One is to deflate the stomach and turn it back to its correct position. If the stomach wall is damaged, that piece is removed. Second, because up to 90 percent of affected dogs will have this condition again, we tack the stomach to the abdominal wall (a procedure called a gastropexy) to prevent it from twisting.

Risk of bloat is correlated to chest conformation. Dogs with a deep, narrow chest — very tall, rather than wide — suffer the most often from bloat. Great Danes, who have a high height-to-width ratio, are five-to-eight times more likely to bloat than dogs with a low height-to-width ratio.

In addition to Great Danes, large- or giant-breed dogs at greatest risk include St. Bernards, Weimaraners, Irish Setters and Gordon Setters, Standard Poodles, and Doberman Pinschers.
Males are twice as likely to bloat as females. Neutering or spaying has no effect on risk.

If a dog has relatives (parents, siblings, or offspring) who have suffered from bloat, there is a higher chance he will develop bloat. These dogs should not be used for breeding.

A recent trend is to perform a preventive surgical gastropexy on an at-risk dog. Often performed when a dog is sterilized, some veterinarians now do this procedure laparoscopically to reduce the invasiveness. Unfortunately, the hardest part is determining which dogs are at a high enough risk to warrant this surgery. It could be said that all the above-mentioned breeds should have this surgery performed. We just don’t know if it is cost-effective. Consult with your veterinarian about this option.



and on spay/neuter age

from the website (if I now have the right breeder)
We recommend neutering and spaying prior to six months or as your Veterinarian states.

from a current study at UCDavis School of Veterinary Medicine
Poodle, Standard
The suggested guideline for males, based on the occurrence of one or more cancers with neutering at 1 year, is to delay neutering until 2 years of age. Lacking a noticeable occurrence of increased joint disorders or cancers in neutered females, those wishing to neuter should decide on the appropriate age.

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