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How to find a Responsible Breeder

A breeder can be anyone who arranges matings between male and female dogs (preferably of the same breed). That's a broad definition, so how can puppy buyers know whether they are dealing with responsible, reputable breeders or simply with "fast buck" breeders? Fortunately, you don't have to be a dectective to find some clues.

Responsible breeders want to know all about you and your plans for a pup. They will ask if your yard is fenced, if anyone in the family has allergies, if you're planning to move anytime soon, if you have children, and so on. They may even ask you to fill out a questionnaire for their files, or even to provide references. They don't mean to pry, but they do want to ensure that their precious, carefully raised pups will go to the right homes. If they don't believe you're the right person, they may refuse to sell you a pup.

Fast buck breeders are always happy to take your money and hand over puppies without many questions.

Responsible breeders provide proof of registration. If a pup's registration is still being processed, they'll show you the litter registration and/or the dam and sire's registration certificates.

Fast buck breeders may insist the pups are purebred, while telling you, "We didn't bother with papers cause they cost more." Some might tell you that you could get papers if you're willing to pay more.

Responsible breeders put a lot of thought into producing litters. They may ship females long distances to be bred to the stud dog that seems a perfect match. They have females checked for appropriate health clearances, and will be happy to share the results with you. They will also verify that stud dogs undergo similar testing and are clear of known hereditary problems.

Fast buck breeders may breed to any dog that's handy, completely ignoring hereditary health and temperament issues.

Finding a reputable breeder may not be easy. Newspaper classified ads may lead you to more of the fast buck kind. The best way to find a breeder is to ask the veterinarians in your area, call the local kennel club or the:

Canadian Kennel ClubAmerican Kennel Club.

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