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Hi! I have been doing research into many breeders trying to find a reputable one for a miniature or moyen. I have found several that do appropriate genetic and health testing but I noticed one fo them has bred dams as early as 1 yr of age, which seems too early. Is it ever okay to start breeding that young? If all else seems reputable is that a dealbreaker?
 

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Small dogs mature faster physically but even with the smallest breeds the absolute minimum is 1.5 years. So that would be a deal breaker for me yes.
 

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Huge deal breaker, Dogs mature and fill out all the way til 2-3 years old
 
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Nobody should be breeding such young dogs, and if they are, I'd want to know why. So many health and behaviour issues can emerge with maturity.

Peggy's sire (I learned after the fact) was just a baby himself. :( I wish I'd asked the right questions and I'm so grateful for the education I've since received from Poodle Forum.
 

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It sounds like you're doing your homework. Just as a sort of checklist I'll drop my personal criteria for selecting a breeder. There's links to the OFA site, AKC registry to look up verification of registry, and a couple of links to older threads here at PF with some of our members, some breeders, discussing breeding age.

My criteria need not be yours but I think it's important for a potential poodle owner to understand why these criteria are important in choosing a conscientious breeder and to get a well bred puppy to share life with for many years to come.
Every one of these is a talking point a conscientious breeder will welcome, just not all at the same time :)


My ideal breeder is someone who is doing this because they love the breed.
They want to see each new generation born at least as good as the previous, ideally better.
They provide for every dog in their care as if that dog is their own.
They will be there for the new family, and stand behind that pup for it's lifetime, rain or shine, with or without a contract.
They will know the standards and pedigrees of their chosen breed, health and genetic diversity of their lines, and breed to better them.
They will know of the latest studies in health standards for their chosen breed and variety and do the health testing of their breeding dogs.
They will have as many questions for me as I do for them.
They invest in their dogs. They don't expect the dogs to support them.

Breeding Program
! to maintain, improve, strengthen the breed by breeding to standard, and for health and genetic diversity,
and will prove their dogs meet these standards by showing or competing or by breeding from titled parents.
It's not the title, but what it shows
! focus is on quality, never quantity
! they do not cross breed
! they limit breeding to one to two breeds
! they limit breeding to only a few litters per year *

Breeding Parents
! registry information available
AKC Registry Lookup
https://www.apps.akc.org/apps/store/search/dog_lookup.cfm?returnpage=undefined&_=2770
! not too old or young for breeding
! not overbred
see https://www.poodleforum.com/threads/asking-questions-from-a-breeder.273579/post-3294246
and https://www.poodleforum.com/threads/frequency-of-breeding-a-bitch.20388/
! genetic health testing done appropriate to breed and variety
! other health testing by exam such as annual eye, hips, patellas
! results of testing on own website, OFA site or testing lab
see http://vipoodle.org/health/health-related-publications/
and OFA Lookup https://www.ofa.org/look-up-a-dog

Living Conditions
! in home with family
! breeder allows, even encourages home visits

Puppies
! routine and urgent vet care, immunizations, dewormings
! socialization
! first groomings
! registry papers
! they will not require spay/neuter before physical maturity
! health "guarantee" generally favors the breeder, not the buyer.
health guarantee is no replacement for health testing of dam and sire.
does the contract/guarantee/warranty rule out covering conditions the parents should have been tested for
do you fully understand the terms of any contract/guarantee/warranty and can you live with them
beginning housetraining is a bonus
temperament testing is helpful

Advertising
! individual website to detail history of breeder, goals for their program
! information on dams, sires, puppies
! no trend pricing for color, gender or size,
! no marketing gimmick terms like "teacup" "royal"


! Anything not found on a public online site should be provided by breeder before buying.

* Many people prefer small scale breeders because they feel the puppies will have better socialization and it's very unlikely to be a puppy mill-like operation.
This doesn't mean that larger scale breeders can't do things right. The breeder of record may not be hands on with every pup or poodle on the place but they should make sure that all the quality of life and attention are paid to all their dogs.

If a breeder wants me to believe that they believe in their dogs, they won't stop the investment when it comes time to find the new families. If they want to cut costs by using free advertising sites like craigslist or listing on retail marketplaces like puppyspot or puppyfind, or other classified ad sites such as newspapers, I wonder what else they've cut costs on.

Contact a few breeders to introduce yourself. Even if they don't have or don't offer what you're looking for, it can be a close knit community. They may know where to refer you.
 
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