Choosing a Responsible Breeder!

This blog post is written by my friend Karen, she has been training dogs and puppies for a long time and wants to invite you on her journey of finding the perfect next puppy from a great breeder to set her up for success!

Find out how a trainer and competitor in dog sports choses a responsible breeder of her next sports dog project!

Picking a responsible breeder 

I’m getting a new puppy!

Or at least I hope so.

I am looking at a litter of Portuguese Water Dog puppies from a long-time breeder and good friend. The good friend part is a bonus but the reason I would like one of her puppies is that she is an ethical, responsible breeder.  What does this mean? So many things:

What makes her an ethical and responsible breeder?

  • All of the bitches she breeds and the dogs she breeds them to are health tested for hip, elbows, genetic conditions common to the breed, and certain genetic mutations that may occur in the breed.
  • Using the breed health and litter database, research is done on previous litters sired by the dog.   
  • She knows her breed and is open about what to expect from life a PWD puppy– in a nutshell, it’s not for sissies When I started looking at Porties (I’d had Bernese Mountain Dogs for years) one highly regarded breeder/judge told me he was going to try to talk me out of it!
  • The puppies are exposed to as many experiences, sights, sounds, surfaces, and people as possible before they go to their new homes.
  • The puppies are evaluated for structure and temperament at 7-8 wks. of age. This information is used to help place the puppy with the home/family that will be the best match.
  • She is available to her puppy people for the life of the dog.
  • If for any reason a puppy/dog is not able to remain in its home, she takes them back without judgement or critique.
Why chose a breeder that takes health clearances, testing and temperament serious?

Yes, these puppies are expensive. No, these puppies don’t come home with a lifetime health guarantee or promises that they will be showing in Westminster or become obedience, agility, or herding champions, an amazing therapy dog or the best family dog ever. But I will know they have been bred with health, longevity, and the potential to become any of these things in mind. The rest is up to me and my dog. Read here about the philosophy of one of the best breeders I know. You can call yourself lucky if she picks you for one of her puppies.

Which brings me to what I’m looking for in a puppy.

My almost 6 yr old male Portie is awesome. He is titled in Water Work, Obedience, Rally, Agility, Scent Work, Nose Work, has a Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America Novice Draft Dog title, and more but…..he is extremely high energy, still has difficulty with impulse control, and requires vast amounts of time in play and training (they’re the same thing to him) activities.

He is also insecure with other dogs in some situations and can be reactive at those times so I’m also looking for a puppy with a temperament he’s likely to feel safe with. I am looking for a female who is confident, able to handle herself in new situations, adventurous, drawn to people, comfortable with other dogs but not needing to say hello to all of them, smart, biddable, active and energetic but able to settle. Not asking for much am I? I blame Dillon for that because he’s so much more than I ever expected in a dog.

In this litter are 2 males and 3 females. They are almost 5 wks. old and are developing so quickly. 

I’ve been visiting them twice a week, spending several hours each time observing, handling and now playing with them.

Why am I doing this?

Well, because it’s amazing to watch how much they change from week to week, even day to day, but mostly because I hope to have a good idea when they are 7-8 weeks old, which puppy will be a good match for my almost 6 yr old PWD and for me the activities I hope to enjoy with her thru her life.

What am I looking for?

I already know the puppy’s sire and dam had all the health testing available to rule out, as much as possible, the genetic conditions known to the breed. I know the puppies come from a long line of performance dogs. Because my dog is insecure around other dogs, I am looking for a female who is confident. She should be able to handle herself in new situations, adventurous, drawn to people and comfortable with other dogs, active but able to settle.

There are 3 girls. One is very active and energetic. She is often the first to wake and last to settle. Although I really like this in a puppy, Dillon is very high energy and 2 dogs at his level would be a bit much.  I am very much liking what I’m seeing in both of the other girls. More about them and the things we’re doing, to socialize all the puppies next time.

Looking for your next pup? Shoot me an email and let me help! 

Interested in puppy training 

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