Reputable Breeder vs Backyard Breeder
Why Pay More For a Pet Puppy From a "Reputable Breeder"?
Both the sire and dam of this puppy came from top quality breeding stock which was developed over years and years of selective and knowledgeable breeding practices. Each meet the requirements of the written Canadian Kennel Club and Australian Shepherd Club of America standards for the breed in conformation as well as temperament. Often they have earned one or multiple conformation championship and/or performance titles. Both the sire and dam have a pedigree, which has been studied and thoroughly researched. These dogs have been selected to breed to one another because they can both contribute to the excellence of the breed as well as compliment each other.
Before this breeding ever took place, both male and female had, at the very minimum, hip/elbow x-rays evaluated by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA), and annual CERF eye examinations by a licensed veterinary ophthalmologist to determine that there were no physical or genetic problems that might be passed on to offspring. Additional health tests may include but are not limited to, HSF4, PHA, MRD-1, D-Locus, and Thyroid. The breeder is well aware of the genetic problems to which the breed is predisposed and uses no animal for breeding unless it is certified to be clear of defects.
The breeder is an active member in good standing with their local and national breed clubs. They wish to maintain a good reputation. It is their goal is to produce beautiful and sound specimens, which anyone would be proud to own. Profit, if any is made, goes toward future breeding's, always aimed toward the betterment of the breed, or for show entries, handler's fees, equipment and important veterinary tests, all aimed at protecting the integrity of the breed. Both the mother and puppies are fed the highest quality diet. Trips to the vet are made whenever necessary to assure that mother and puppies are thriving under the very best care. The puppies are raised in the home and in a family setting where they are socialized, groomed and exposed to a variety of stimuli. Puppies are never sold before eight weeks of age. Every buyer is interviewed at length and puppies are placed only in forever homes where they will receive the finest treatment.
It is not unusual for the breeder to spend time with each new owner, educating and answering questions. Follow-ups are made to be sure the puppies are adjusting well. Each new owner receives a bill of sale, detailed health record, minimum four-generation pedigree, guarantee of registration with the CKC and/or ASCA and thorough puppy care and nutrition information. Companion puppies are sold with "not for breeding" registration and legally binding contracts that clearly state the terms of placement including a spay/neuter obligation. The new owners are encouraged to continue a relationship with the breeder, and to call and ask questions at any time during the dog's entire life. They want to ensure the dog sets a good example for the breed, both in the home and in public. If at anytime the owner cannot keep the dog, the breeder agrees to take the dog back rather than have said dog surrendered to a rescue organization or SPCA.
Why Pay Less For a Pet Puppy From a "Backyard Breeder"?
The backyard breeder is often unaware of the genetic problems within the breed, or often times ignore them. Trips to the Veterinarian, except for dire emergencies, are considered too expensive. Genetic testing for hip dysplasia and eye defects frequently go undone, putting prospective puppies at higher risk for chronic genetic health problems for the duration of their life span. This often causes the buyer unnecessary heartache and health care expenses. The backyard breeders' hope is to keep expenses down so they can make money off the sale of the puppies.
Backyard breeders' offer no support, and should an owner have the misfortune of having to surrender the dog at some point in its life, they are referred to rescue or the local SPCA. These puppies are considered to be lucky to be born in a box, in the garage, and receive little care and socialization other than what their dam is able to provide. To cut costs, they are weaned on generic dog food and allowed to nurse on the mother as long as possible to keep food bills down. The bitch's health declines due to poor care and lack of food with sufficient nutrition, subsequently the puppies suffer nutritionally as well.
Puppies are sold as quickly as possible, often by the age of 5 weeks. They are sold to anyone who has the cash. Often the backyard breeder does not register the litter. Although the puppy is of very poor quality, it is sold with no consideration or concern for breeding rights. The new owner usually disappears with the puppy, never to be seen again, only to repeat the cycle of back yard breeding for profit. If the market is not good, the breeder takes the leftover puppies to the local market place, or rescue.
Choosing a Breeder...
The comparison you have just read is hypothetical, but very typical of what we see all too often. Although you might pay less for a puppy from a backyard breeder, it is not uncommon that in the long run you will pay a great deal more in veterinary bills and heartache than you would from a reputable breeder.
As there are many breeders with questionable ethics it is advisable to ask a lot of questions when inquiring about their dogs. Such as;
~ Are their dogs and puppies registered with the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) and/or our parent club the Australian Shepherd Club of America (ASCA)?
~ Does the breeder compete with their dogs (show in conformation and/or trial in obedience, rally-o, herding, agility, or other dog sport) other than just breeding dogs?
~ Do breeding dogs have a conformation Championship title (Ch) to prove temperament and correct structure as outlined in the breed standard?
~ Are they aware of the health concerns within the breed and are their breeding dogs fully health tested (minimum OFA hips/elbows evaluations, annual OFA eyes exams)?
~ Are companion puppies placed on spay/neuter agreements and 'not for breeding' registration to protect the future of the breed?
~ Does the breeder provide lifetime support to owners?
Whether you are seeking a companion, performance, or show prospect puppy the answer to these questions should be "Yes" with additional details. If not, you should continue to research other breeders. It is very important to avoid backyard breeders and puppy mills. Those that are seeking a pet deserve nothing less than a good quality, healthy, and stable tempered companion, as well as a breeder they can count on. It is not unusual for reputable breeders to have a considerable wait list before a litter is whelped. Be patient and prepared to wait for the appropriate puppy/dog. Support a reputable breeder or rescue!