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How To Find A Reputable Breeder

(From the Boston Terrier Club of America Website)


If you are looking for a puppy to buy, PLEASE, buy from a reputable breeder not a "back yard breeder, a "Kitchen" breeder, pet store or a puppy mill. These people have no idea what goes into producing a fine, healthy, sound temperamented specimen typical of the breed. They have no more intention of standing behind this puppy than does the pet store beyond the usual 48 hour health guarantee.


Neither the pet store nor the backyard breeder is capable or willing to be there at 2 am when you're concerned that perhaps there's something wrong with the puppy. Although you might pay less for the breed of your choice from a pet store or backyard breeder, it's almost a given that in the long run, you'll pay a good deal more in vet bills and perhaps emotional bills (if the dog has to be euthanized due to a health or temperament problem), than you would from a reputable breeder.


A reputable breeder is a person who is breeding to "improve and preserve" the breed.


A reputable breeder will sell their puppies with a health guarantee and a sales contract.


NOTE: No breeder can guarantee against all hereditary diseases, but a reputable breeder is well informed about their breeds health issues, routinely tests for them, and informs prospective puppy buyers of any problems they have found. Buying from a reputable breeder is your best bet for a healthy pup. They should be able to show you the certificates on their dogs.


Good,reputable breeders do not advertise in the newspaper because they get more than enough referrals from other good breeders and their breed clubs. They produce good health, good temperament, and good conformation, and there is often a waiting list for their pups.


A reputable breeder will ask you many questions, may even ask you to fill out an application. He/she will ask about your family, lifestyle, previous dogs you have had, your experience, your yard, and your plans for your pup. He/she might even require references. He/she is not being nosy. They just care about the pups they have brought into this world, and want to place them in the best home possible. They want to be sure this is not just an impulse buy that will result in the dog needing a new home in a year. Be leery of a breeder who will sell their pups to just anyone, no questions asked.


A reputable breeder is willing to show you their facilities. You should be able to meet the dam. There will probably even be other dogs: aunts, uncles, cousins, of the litter available. Breeders are usually very proud of their dogs and love to show them off! The sire of the litter may not be available, as often the best match for a particular bitch is a different kennel's dog. But there should be photos, pedigrees, and health test results of the sire for you to see. They should be able to provide references of satisfied puppy buyers. Follow up, ask those people if they are happy with their dog.


Reputable breeders are usually actively involved in the dog fancy. Ask what clubs they are members of. What activities they do with their dogs. They should be regularly showing their dogs in conformation, as that is how good breeders know they are on the right track with their breeding program.


The reputable breeder will stand behind his breeding and the puppy. You should be required to sign a contract for any puppy you buy. This contract should include a health guarantee for a certain period of time, and a clause stating the breeder requires that the Boston (or what ever breed) be returned to them if you should ever decide to not keep it (no matter what age or what reason). If the pup is sold as a pet, it should include a spay/neuter clause. It should list the medical treatment the pup has received, including any vaccinations and any parasites it was treated for.


A reputable breeder should strive for the best health, temperament, and conformation. They should have a strong interest in the health and welfare of all Bostons (or their breed) and their future. Their motive with each breeding should be to try to maintain the breed's unique characteristics, produce dogs that very closely adhere to the AKC breed standard, while always considering the health and temperaments of the dogs they produce.


The AKC is just a registering organization. AKC registration papers do not guarantee quality, only that the pup's parents were also registered. It is up to you as a consumer to do your homework when deciding where to get your puppy. Beware of breeders who scoff at health testing, saying their line is problem free. DO NOT buy in haste. Be willing to wait for a pup that has the best chance of living a long healthy life. The purchase price is only a small percentage of the money you will spend on a companion you will have for years. Increase your chances of a healthy pup by following the above guidelines when choosing a breeder.


Questions Should Ask A Breeder


Most of these were addressed above but some good information.

While some dogs bought from newspaper ads and yard signs are healthy and happy, far too many are ill, poorly socialized, genetically flawed dog-catastrophes waiting to happen.


When you are trying to screen prospective breeders, here are some questions that might be useful.


How long have you been in the breed? What others have you bred?


You probably want to avoid anyone who has "switched" breeds every couple of years, from popular breed to popular breed. Otherwise, look for someone with some experience with the breed you are interested in. If they are new to your breed, do they have experience with a similar breed?


Also, be very wary of people who have multiple dog breeds. It is not uncommon to find people breeding more than one kind of dog (for example, quite a few Akita breeders are also interested in Shibas), but a breeder producing litters of many different breeds of dog is not going to be your best source, and probably should be suspected as a puppy-mill or disreputable breeder.


What kind of congenital defects are present in this breed?


What steps are you taking to decrease these defects? Avoid anyone who says "none", or "not in my dogs!" There are genetic problems that are present in almost every breed. Do some research here, and make sure you know what kind of answer you should be getting from the breeder. A reputable breeder should be able to tell you what kinds of problems might be present in the particular breed (for example, Deafness, hip dysplasia, entropian, thyroid problems, etc) and what kind of testing is available to find it. It goes without saying that the breeder should be doing those tests on all their breeding stock. Any dogs that are showing signs of any of these problems should not be bred -- avoid anyone who is breeding dogs with genetic problems, or who is not testing their dogs and bitches.


I can't stress enough that you need to have a good idea of what the correct answers are here. Get any good dog book, call the breed club, find out what to expect before you fall in love with that cute puppy face! A breeder that can't tell you what kinds of things affect their dogs isn't going to be breeding to avoid them.


Do you have the parents on site? Can I see them?


Many breeders will not own both dogs. You should be able to see the mother and any other dogs on site when you visit. If the breeder hesitates, you should wonder why - Are the dogs kept in clean, healthy conditions? Are they too aggressive to let loose? You should be very comfortable with any reason not to see the dogs.


However, remember that you should not be interacting with very young puppies, and might be prevented from seeing puppies that are less than 4 weeks old. This is ok, and is simply the breeder trying to eliminate any chance of illness in the puppies - they don't know what kind of dog diseases you may be carrying, and don't want the litter to get sick.


What are the good and bad points of the parents? What titles do they have?


Usually, breeders will start to gush at this point and enumerate all the wonderful qualities of their dogs - and the best I've talked to also will point out their flaws. What you're looking for here is temperament, possible aggression, how they deal with people, how they're not "perfect".


As for titles, reputable breeders show their dogs, and they should be carrying points towards a championship, if not champions already. This is important - while there are many wonderful dogs out there that haven't seen the inside of a show ring, if the breeder is truly trying to improve the breed, they will be comparing their dogs to other breeders and trying to breed dogs that match the standard. The only way to do that is to show their dogs. Many breeders compete in obedience as well, and will have Companion Dog (CD) or other obedience titles for the parents. Often, this is a good benchmark for temperament and behavior.


Can you explain the puppy's pedigree?


A good breeder should be able to tell you something about dogs on your puppy's pedigree. Have them explain the often cryptic letters and titles awarded, and get a good feel that they know the lines they are breeding from. At the very least, they should be able to provide you with a 4 generation pedigree and be able to tell you about the dogs.


You might see the same dogs listed a few times on the pedigree - the breeder should be able to point out any linebreeding and inbreeding and explain the benefits and dangers of both.


Where were the puppies raised? How have you socialized them?


What you're looking for here is an indication of what kind of socialization the puppies have had. Ideally, you want the breeder to have raised the puppies in the house, around the normal daily activities of a household so they are used to the noises and activity of humans. Someone who says "in the garage" or "in the kennels" can also have well socialized puppies, but you need to be more careful. Have they spent enough time with the puppies?


Socialization is so important to getting a well-adjusted, well-mannered dog. Puppies should have been exposed to people, other dogs, new situations, normal household sounds and activities in order to learn. A puppy raised without this important social interaction can be shy, fearful, aggressive, or have other problems as they get older. Dogs need to know how to play, how to handle new situations, how to relate to people.


How many litters do you have a year?


Breeders producing more than 2 or 3 litters a year are probably not paying enough attention to the genetics and health of the puppies. If it is a small breeder, even two a year may be too much to be able to make sure that the breeding is going to be successful and produce healthy puppies.


Definitely avoid anyone who "always has puppies", or who is breeding their bitch every year. I have talked to several people with more than one litter at a time. If someone has three litters (especially if they note that it was "unexpected") on the ground at the same time, they are certainly not planning these puppies! All puppies should be "expected" and well planned. If they're not, it's a crap shoot as to whether you're going to get a good puppy or a nightmare.


What guarantees do you have for this puppy?


At the very least, the breeder should guarantee the puppy against any debilitating genetic problems, and insure that the puppy is in good health.


A breeder should be prepared to take any dog back for any reason - part of being an ethical breeder is making sure that the puppies have a good home and that it stays that way.


When can I take the puppy home?


Puppies usually go home between 9 and 12 weeks. Avoid anyone sending tiny puppies home.

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