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Discussion Starter #1
I am Facebook friends with several of the breeders I am considering purchasing a puppy from.

I am in California and one of the breeders is in Northern California. We have been ravaged by fires these last few months, prompting mandatory evacuations in some areas.

The breeder made a post regarding being told to possibly evacuate and said that it would be nearly impossible for them to do so because they have 20+ adult dogs, not to mention puppies.

Is this too many dogs?

I reviewed my notes I’ve taken from this forum and it seems that they may qualify as a high volume breeder?

The breeder came highly recommended from this forum a few years ago, they do all of the testing and follow the recommended practices I’ve been told to look for in a breeder. A few participants here have told me they’ve gotten their dogs from this breeder and they love the breeder.

I’ve spoken with the breeder in depth about getting a puppy in the near future because they breed the color I want most and more than a few of their dogs have gone to become service dogs.

Now they have phantoms, partis and browns when they were solely breeding one color when initially looked into them. From what I understood, this breeder played a prominent role in the breeding world regarding a certain color so the multitude of colors now offered was a little shocking to me.

They have puppies all through out the year (at least this year, litters have been available all year), which was something else I liked because it’d give us a good chance to meet the puppies when we’re ready to buy in the next few months instead of waiting for a litter to drop.

Should the number of dogs and the color expansion concern me or am I overthinking it?

Thank you guys so much for all of your help. Again.
 

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Yes, that is WAY too many breeding dogs. Please PM me and let me know who this is, and I will try my best to help you. That is bizarre that they would go from breeding one color to all of those unconventional colors if they are in the show world. Red flags already! I can tell your gut is telling you this!
 

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It depends. Are all of the 20 dogs living in the home? If a kennel facility, what are the conditions? Some people are okay with kennels but, it might warrant a visit. Are some of the dogs non-breeding, even other breeds that are family pets?

Hobby breeders usually raise only a few litters a year, so that the puppies have the attention needed during critical developmental periods. Are all of the litters being raised by the breeder? Or do they have guardian homes or co-owners who are raising puppies?

It’s not unusual for a breeder to have more than one color. There are breeders of partis that breed to improve the parti lines. I’ve seen (responsible) breeders of reds who also have blacks, breeders of browns who also have blacks, whites and blacks in the same litter, etc.

More details are needed. And then you need to decide what’s important to you.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Yes, that is WAY too many breeding dogs. Please PM me and let me know who this is, and I will try my best to help you. That is bizarre that they would go from breeding one color to all of those unconventional colors if they are in the show world. Red flags already! I can tell your gut is telling you this!
The color expansion was alarming to me. I realize when you breed animals you can't foresee 100% what color puppies will be produced but they have litters of each color now.

I don't know if all the dogs are breeding dogs but I know they have posted several litters being born this year and several more going home to their new homes.

I will PM you as you may know more about the breeder. I was under the assumption that they specialized, for lack of a better word, in one color but I do not know what breeding entails and maybe they need the different colors to get the one color?
 

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It depends. Are all of the 20 dogs living in the home? If a kennel facility, what are the conditions? Some people are okay with kennels but, it might warrant a visit. Are some of the dogs non-breeding, even other breeds that are family pets?

Hobby breeders usually raise only a few litters a year, so that the puppies have the attention needed during critical developmental periods. Are all of the litters being raised by the breeder? Or do they have guardian homes or co-owners who are raising puppies?

It’s not unusual for a breeder to have more than one color. There are breeders of partis that breed to improve the parti lines. I’ve seen (responsible) breeders of reds who also have blacks, breeders of browns who also have blacks, whites and blacks in the same litter, etc.

More details are needed. And then you need to decide what’s important to you.
I am not sure if all of the dogs are breeding dogs but the pictures posted and the statues posted, along with the website says that all the dogs stay at home with them. I do not know if they are kennel breeders but they do have a large property (according, once again, to Facebook pictures and posts). Some of the pictures show some of the newer litters in kennels outside but I do not know if that is for training or other purposes.

I get that litters can produce different colors no matter how careful you are but this breeder has litters of browns, partis, phantoms, apricots and silvers. That just seemed alarming to me because when I spoke with them initially they only reared one color with the occasion black or white puppy in the litter.
 

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If they breed toys or minis, it is not unusual to see good breeders have that many dogs who are kept in the house as pets, shown and bred.

For spoos, I would think it’s not possible to have that many in the house. I wouldn’t buy from someone who doesn’t keep their dogs indoors as pets.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
If they breed toys or minis, it is not unusual to see good breeders have that many dogs who are kept in the house as pets, shown and bred.

For spoos, I would think it’s not possible to have that many in the house. I wouldn’t buy from someone who doesn’t keep their dogs indoors as pets.
These are standards, I should have clarified.

I have not been down to the property personally so I can not say how the dogs are kept for certain, just by what I’ve seen on Facebook.

This breeder does show as well, they have several champions. I do not know if all of the dogs are breeding dogs though.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Also, I want to clarify that these dogs seem to be very well taken care of. There are always pictures and updates of health testing, vet visits, outings, socialization, etc. they seem very loved and I’m not questioning if there is neglect. I am just wondering if the number of dogs is something I should be mindful of before I purchase from this breeder.
 

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The breeder came highly recommended from this forum a few years ago, they do all of the testing and follow the recommended practices I’ve been told to look for in a breeder. A few participants here have told me they’ve gotten their dogs from this breeder and they love the breeder....

Also, I want to clarify that these dogs seem to be very well taken care of. There are always pictures and updates of health testing, vet visits, outings, socialization, etc. they seem very loved and I’m not questioning if there is neglect. I am just wondering if the number of dogs is something I should be mindful of before I purchase from this breeder.

  • DNA tested and cleared of genetic diseases - check.
  • Hips tested fair to good - ?
  • Available original health testing documentation papers OR posted on OFA or at lab testing site - ?
  • Several dogs are champions - check.
  • Is either the sire or dam of a particular litter champion, or are at least half of the four grandparents champs - ??
  • Healthy well fed appearance? - check.
  • All 20+ adults and litters living indoors? - highly unlikely.
  • Large property - is there a fenced area or dog runs for them the play in? - unknown
Off the top, I'd wonder:

  1. On health paper documentation, lab site documentation, and/or the OFA site if the the sire and dam are microchipped, and if those numbers are consistent. This is the reason why.
  2. Where are the puppies kept and at what age are they sold?
  3. Does she have at least one assistant to help her with the care of the dogs?
Thoughts:

If the DNA and other health clearances check out, the puppies are genetically sound and healthy as far as testable tests are available. As with humans, we can't know what diseases our dogs might develop in life. Every time we dare to love, we take a risk that one day that person or beloved pet will die prematurely, just as they do with us.

Combined with numerous show champions in the pedigrees, we can assume that most or all of the puppies will be attractive and have good body structure that conforms to the standard of the breed. Hopefully temperament was also a factor in the matings.



As for the breeder trying out different colors, I don't see this as a big deal. People like to try new things. The other colors and phantoms likely caught her eye, and she widened her net. I've seen some breeders try showing and breeding a second type of purebred they also like as much as poodles.


Personally, I could not care less if she has 20 adult dogs as long as they're well cared for. Ideally they would sleep in my room or bed and have run of at least part of a home, but with that many, not a chance.

If their primary living quarters are in a separate building that is clean and several of them sleep together with plenty of space to move around, this is preferable b/c a dog sitting in a cage by itself for long periods of time is probably not very happy. This is b/c dogs are pack animals.

Another factor is if the go outside to play each day (and for how long) when she lets them out to relieve themselves and gets to run around. California has great weather most of the time, so it's a plus if they're outside most of the day to run, play, and sleep.

In that case they're probably happy if that's all they've ever known.

Until flea collars and dips were available around the 1960s, followed by much better and less toxic flea control products later, this is how many dogs lived - outside. That's because exterminating fleas from your house was quite hard until then.

You otherwise would not want to put a 4 or 5+ month old lap puppy or house dog in an outdoor kennel, he/she may never be completely happy as it would miss that style of living and the previously frequent one-on-one affection.


So if health documentation checks out to be true, the puppies are likely to be sound in body and genetics. This is what most buyers want. You'd probably want to buy one from her at 8 to 10 weeks of age so it can adjust quickly to your lifestyle and get more socialization and start housebreaking it.

If you choose this breeder, just take your time to select a pup that has a pleasing temperament that matches your needs, i.e., very calm or active, and likes you too.


Btw, many of the top show breeders have a bunch a dogs they talk about publicly or to the buyers. You talk to enough of them and form a relationship even on the phone, and often you discover this. Many may also have photos of half a dozen of the best breeding dogs on their web page, but when you ask who the parent of a particular litter are, one of them are not listed on their site. Darn few will also let you tour their property.

One said that "What separates them from puppy millers are their dogs are genetically health tested, healthy, win ribbons, some to many make championship, that they own 'only' a dozen or two, and the size of the crates are larger and they get to go outside a lot and play with each other and humans." I'd add that a smart staff to dog ratio would be critical so good care would not be compromised.

I don't know if that particular lady would be called a medium or high volume show breeder, but it's clear to me that while those who do this run a business which doubles as an expensive passion from the love of the breed.

If they provide quality care of their poodles, select the best to breed, and are honest in their dealings with others, I see no reason to not buy a puppy from them.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
The breeder came highly recommended from this forum a few years ago, they do all of the testing and follow the recommended practices I’ve been told to look for in a breeder. A few participants here have told me they’ve gotten their dogs from this breeder and they love the breeder....

Also, I want to clarify that these dogs seem to be very well taken care of. There are always pictures and updates of health testing, vet visits, outings, socialization, etc. they seem very loved and I’m not questioning if there is neglect. I am just wondering if the number of dogs is something I should be mindful of before I purchase from this breeder.

  • DNA tested and cleared of genetic diseases - check.
  • Hips tested fair to good - ?
  • Available original health testing documentation papers OR posted on OFA or at lab testing site - ?
  • Several dogs are champions - check.
  • Is either the sire or dam of a particular litter champion, or are at least half of the four grandparents champs - ??
  • Healthy well fed appearance? - check.
  • All 20+ adults and litters living indoors? - highly unlikely.
  • Large property - is there a fenced area or dog runs for them the play in? - unknown
Off the top, I'd wonder:

  1. On health paper documentation, lab site documentation, and/or the OFA site if the the sire and dam are microchipped, and if those numbers are consistent. This is the reason why.
  2. Where are the puppies kept and at what age are they sold?
  3. Does she have at least one assistant to help her with the care of the dogs?
Thoughts:

If the DNA and other health clearances check out, the puppies are genetically sound and healthy as far as testable tests are available. As with humans, we can't know what diseases our dogs might develop in life. Every time we dare to love, we take a risk that one day that person or beloved pet will die prematurely, just as they do with us.

Combined with numerous show champions in the pedigrees, we can assume that most or all of the puppies will be attractive and have good body structure that conforms to the standard of the breed. Hopefully temperament was also a factor in the matings.



As for the breeder trying out different colors, I don't see this as a big deal. People like to try new things. The other colors and phantoms likely caught her eye, and she widened her net. I've seen some breeders try showing and breeding a second type of purebred they also like as much as poodles.


Personally, I could not care less if she has 20 adult dogs as long as they're well cared for. Ideally they would sleep in my room or bed and have run of at least part of a home, but with that many, not a chance.

If their primary living quarters are in a separate building that is clean and several of them sleep together with plenty of space to move around, this is preferable b/c a dog sitting in a cage by itself for long periods of time is probably not very happy. This is b/c dogs are pack animals.

Another factor is if the go outside to play each day (and for how long) when she lets them out to relieve themselves and gets to run around. California has great weather most of the time, so it's a plus if they're outside most of the day to run, play, and sleep.

In that case they're probably happy if that's all they've ever known.

Until flea collars and dips were available around the 1960s, followed by much better and less toxic flea control products later, this is how many dogs lived - outside. That's because exterminating fleas from your house was quite hard until then.

You otherwise would not want to put a 4 or 5+ month old lap puppy or house dog in an outdoor kennel, he/she may never be completely happy as it would miss that style of living and the previously frequent one-on-one affection.


So if health documentation checks out to be true, the puppies are likely to be sound in body and genetics. This is what most buyers want. You'd probably want to buy one from her at 8 to 10 weeks of age so it can adjust quickly to your lifestyle and get more socialization and start housebreaking it.

If you choose this breeder, just take your time to select a pup that has a pleasing temperament that matches your needs, i.e., very calm or active, and likes you too.


Btw, many of the top show breeders have a bunch a dogs they talk about publicly or to the buyers. You talk to enough of them and form a relationship even on the phone, and often you discover this. Many may also have photos of half a dozen of the best breeding dogs on their web page, but when you ask who the parent of a particular litter are, one of them are not listed on their site. Darn few will also let you tour their property.

One said that "What separates them from puppy millers are their dogs are genetically health tested, healthy, win ribbons, some to many make championship, that they own 'only' a dozen or two, and the size of the crates are larger and they get to go outside a lot and play with each other and humans." I'd add that a smart staff to dog ratio would be critical so good care would not be compromised.

I don't know if that particular lady would be called a medium or high volume show breeder, but it's clear to me that while those who do this run a business which doubles as an expensive passion from the love of the breed.

If they provide quality care of their poodles, select the best to breed, and are honest in their dealings with others, I see no reason to not buy a puppy from them.
Thank you so much for this insightful bit of information. It has definitely alleviated some of my concerns and given me more knowledge to go off of.
 

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Personally, I could not care less if she has 20 adult dogs as long as they're well cared for. Ideally they would sleep in my room or bed and have run of at least part of a home, but with that many, not a chance.

If their primary living quarters are in a separate building that is clean and several of them sleep together with plenty of space to move around, this is preferable b/c a dog sitting in a cage by itself for long periods of time is probably not very happy. This is b/c dogs are pack animals.

Another factor is if the go outside to play each day (and for how long) when she lets them out to relieve themselves and gets to run around. California has great weather most of the time, so it's a plus if they're outside most of the day to run, play, and sleep.
First of all, I have 6 dogs that I care for and that is way overboard for any one person. So 20+++ dogs is just insane for one person (if she doesn't have an entire family or hired help).

Secondly, my poodles would be MISERABLE being in some other building away from the family. That qualifies as a MILL in my opinion.

Thirdly, I live in CA and my dogs prefer to be inside the house on beds and sofas 90% of the time. And I live in the BEST part of CA, weather wise. Other places are way too hot in the summer and cold in the winter. Miserable for a dog like a spoo.

I would NEVER deal with a breeder like the one you describe. You didn't PM me with the name, but I can probably figure out who it is via my poodle connections.
 

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So 20+++ dogs is just insane for one person (if she doesn't have an entire family or hired help).
Of course! I'd be shocked if there were not numerous people involved in supporting 20+ dogs.
 

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Of course! I'd be shocked if there were not numerous people involved in supporting 20+ dogs.
You never know until you visit--never assume anything! I know of a famous poodle breeder in the Bay Area who was once supposedly great, but then became a hoarder. She lives alone and still breeds spoos. Wondering if this is the same person.
 

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Of the 20, some could be with a handler showing, others in a co-owner arrangement, and hopefully a few are retired, enjoying the California weather, furniture privileges. If there are 20 breeding pairs, it’s on a commercial scale and they need kennel staff. For me, the colors, veering from the wide range of accepted AKC colors to phantoms, parti’s etc. gives me pause. You don’t normally see better breeders going that route.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Of the 20, some could be with a handler showing, others in a co-owner arrangement, and hopefully a few are retired, enjoying the California weather, furniture privileges. If there are 20 breeding pairs, it’s on a commercial scale and they need kennel staff. For me, the colors, veering from the wide range of accepted AKC colors to phantoms, parti’s etc. gives me pause. You don’t normally see better breeders going that route.
Thank you for your input. The color range alarms me too, especially with the phantoms and partis. When I first joined this forum I was in love with phantoms (I still think they are striking) and you all were very helpful in explaining to me the recognized colors, genetics and breeding for betterment and not popularity.

I don’t know if the phantoms are purposefully being bred or if the litters were accidental.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Personally, I could not care less if she has 20 adult dogs as long as they're well cared for. Ideally they would sleep in my room or bed and have run of at least part of a home, but with that many, not a chance.

If their primary living quarters are in a separate building that is clean and several of them sleep together with plenty of space to move around, this is preferable b/c a dog sitting in a cage by itself for long periods of time is probably not very happy. This is b/c dogs are pack animals.

Another factor is if the go outside to play each day (and for how long) when she lets them out to relieve themselves and gets to run around. California has great weather most of the time, so it's a plus if they're outside most of the day to run, play, and sleep.
First of all, I have 6 dogs that I care for and that is way overboard for any one person. So 20+++ dogs is just insane for one person (if she doesn't have an entire family or hired help).

Secondly, my poodles would be MISERABLE being in some other building away from the family. That qualifies as a MILL in my opinion.

Thirdly, I live in CA and my dogs prefer to be inside the house on beds and sofas 90% of the time. And I live in the BEST part of CA, weather wise. Other places are way too hot in the summer and cold in the winter. Miserable for a dog like a spoo.

I would NEVER deal with a breeder like the one you describe. You didn't PM me with the name, but I can probably figure out who it is via my poodle connections.
I sent a PM but it looks like it didn’t go through. I won’t send another one because my goal isn’t to bash or bad talk this breeder, Just to get some understanding.

They are an AKC registered breeder and with the opinions on this post, it seems they may be a good breeder overall. I most likely will not go with them just because I would like to get a puppy that comes from an environment I feel is more intimate. There is a breeder with the same color in AZ that’s on my list as well so I’m not completely out of luck.
 

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I sent a PM but it looks like it didn’t go through. I won’t send another one because my goal isn’t to bash or bad talk this breeder, Just to get some understanding.

They are an AKC registered breeder and with the opinions on this post, it seems they may be a good breeder overall. I most likely will not go with them just because I would like to get a puppy that comes from an environment I feel is more intimate. There is a breeder with the same color in AZ that’s on my list as well so I’m not completely out of luck.
That's interesting, because I've been getting/sending out PMs with no problem the past few days...

"AKC registered" means nothing in terms of quality. We have a puppy mill rescue dog who is AKC registered.

Anyhow I'm glad you are going with a smaller breeder. I think that's a very wise choice. I wouldn't worry a bit about color, but all about the breeder's honesty, integrity, health testing, temperament, number of dogs, etc.
 

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...I'd add that a smart staff to dog ratio would be critical so good care would not be compromised...
In case anyone missed this sentence, there it is. And yes, one person taking care of more than a half dozen poodles is too much. So family or staff-to-dog ratio is critical.


...Secondly, my poodles would be MISERABLE being in some other building away from the family. That qualifies as a MILL in my opinion.
Of course they would, and so would mine; they grew up as house pets.


On the other hand, let's all sit back and enjoy another perspective.

See these guys below? I kinda doubt they got to or get to run around the house or sleep on a sofa after a day's work:




And let's not forget Poodle hunting duck/gun dogs used today and throughout history, and even more recently as Truffle hunting dogs. Yep, nothing like hard working poodles with muddy feet tracking through the house and lounging around on one's sofa. :)

My point is our PF poodles are pampered, but over the centuries, nature and humans designed them to live in a variety of conditions - but like all dogs, not to live in puppy mills or with abusive or neglectful owners. Those people might have a special place in Hades.



Regarding the unnamed breeder that the OP discussed:

... I can probably figure out who it is via my poodle connections...
Yes, and then what? Seriously, MF, then what? If you haven't visited her set up and seen the poodles, and had a meaningful conversation to learn first hand how she/they does what she does, then everything you guess is speculation particularly if everything you hear is based on opinionated 2nd, 3rd, or 4th party rumors, rather than facts that this show breeder "is running a puppy mill." That's just wrong. A judge would fry you in court.

I know close to ten well-known show breeders in the US who have over a dozen breeding poodles, several who have been recommended here.

Good for them, I'm glad they're replacing the poodle population with quality dogs. Who am I to complain and judge that they might sleep in an external building that the breeder spent a lot of thought and money designing? As long as they're well-fed, clean, warm, get to play a lot outside, go to their shows or activities for socialization, have good healthcare and testing, and not overbred past the age of five, they're taking care of those poodles and lucky to break a little better than even.

I mean, we're not talking backyard breeders who stick a bunch of poodles in a shed behind their trailer, or their laundry room in small crates strictly for profit. We're talking about the better show people who are breeding knowledgeably and compassionately out of their love for the breed.

My best guess is what the OP described is only the tip of the iceberg. It is a business, often by accident and sometimes by design once anyone starts showing and breeding multiple poodles, otherwise they'd go broke quick, fast, and in a hurry.

This is why I have never put top show breeders on pedestal with a few exceptions like Arreau who places most of her breeding dogs in foster homes.

Otherwise I prefer educated, small hobby breeders who might have a champion stud or two, a few good females, or contract with a champion stud owner. In other words, these breeders have only a few good poodles and home-raise them.

******

Pragmatically, my concern is that when we (PF members and otherwise) are negative toward knowledgeable breeders who do things differently than we would, it is folly to somehow try to informally make things hard for them.

Why? As poodle lovers we are shooting ourselves in the foot.

How many times have I said on PF that too many of us already are wait-listed for months and have to go state-hopping to find a well-bred, health cleared poodle with a good pedigree? It's not like they're a dime a dozen and an hour drive away from our homes. I could look this weekend and find a nice, health tested Golden Retriever or Labrador pup nearby. But a poodle? Nope.

We need the top show breeders to continue the best of the breed so our beloved poodles won't end up on an endangered list. This has already left the door wide open for puppy millers taking up the slack and pumping out 2nd rate poodles with DNA and other health problems that make us cringe.

I don't expect for some/many of you to agree publicly or otherwise. This is the beauty of different opinions on this site and the pros and cons of our viewpoints, and what to look out for. Respectfully to all, consider mine only food for thought.
 

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I don't have time to read this long post, but here are some thoughts:

I can have whatever opinion I want to have. I never said anyone had to agree with it. But, I have strong opinions. That's what makes me someone who always stands out in life's flock of sheep.

Anyone who needs a staff to take care of their dogs is running a business, and I don't think it's ethical to make money off of living creatures. Break even after paying for show expenses? Sure.

My dogs are titled in many different sports, including coursing and barn hunt (and they would kick ass in hunting if it were offered around here). They are not frou frou dogs, but by the same token, when they are done with their sport, they come home to relax on the sofa. No companion dog should ever live outside.

I'm not sure what waiting lists you're talking about, as I could find a health tested spoo to buy tonight. Toys and minis from good breeders are harder to find since they produce much smaller litters.
 
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