Choosing a Breeder

          So you’ve decided you want a puppy… Many people feel that when they are looking for a puppy that they are doing just that; looking for a puppy. They get on the internet -often kijiji- and start looking at all the cute faces people are putting out there of their adorable bundles of fluff. I’m going to challenge you to not do that. Here’s why; buying a puppy is so much more than just exchanging money for goods. You are purchasing a living breathing being that is going to be with you for 14+ years. You want the right match! And a good breeder will make sure that happens for you. So, don’t choose a puppy, choose a breeder. Start looking at websites, go to some shows, and take an honest look at your own life and see what is really going to work for you. 

        When you reach out to a breeder, send them an email to introduce yourself. The breeder on the other end of the email can’t see who you are, so tell them about you and your life; what your home life is like, what plans you have for a puppy, etc. Emails that go something along the lines of “got pups? how much?” typically get deleted. Your email doesn’t need to be a novel, but it does need to give the breeder something to work with. 

        When you are looking for a puppy try to remember that you’re purchasing more than just a dog. Health testing is important. Temperament is critically important. Breeders who use the excuse of “just breeding family pets” without screening for health issues or giving thought to the breed as a whole are not breeders I would consider buying a puppy from. Breeders don’t need to show their dogs to be good breeders, they don’t have to title their dogs in sport either, but they do need to consider the health and temperament of the puppies they produce. I honestly can’t stress enough how important it is to purchase from breeders who health test!

        In Canada, it is illegal for anyone to sell a puppy as purebred if the puppy is not registered. “Purebred but no papers” is not purebred. The Animal Pedigree Act requires that all puppies in the litter be registered, each puppy has to have a unique permanent identifier (either a microchip or a tattoo), and that registration and identifier information go with the puppy when it is sold. Furthermore, it is the breeder's (seller’s) responsability to pay the costs of registration. Please note that registration takes time, and sometimes it will be several months before the paperwork comes back. 

        In this day and age money is always a concern, but price isn’t everything. The “cheaper” puppy from not health tested stock is setting you up for a lifetime of heartache. I promise you that the responsible breeder is not raking in the cash. Breeding is expensive, and we want to keep our puppies affordable to the average buyer. Usually by the time the dust settles we’ve gone out of pocket for several expenses not covered by the sales of puppies, and that’s okay. When you buy from a responsible breeder you are buying into their years of experience and support. Your breeder will be with you every step of the way through your dog’s life – and often afterwards as well. They will be there to guide you through training, grooming, finding a vet, and many other activities of daily life. Never underestimate the value of an experienced responsible breeder, for they are worth their weight in gold. 

        A good breeder will ask you a lot of questions, but we only do it because we want the best for our dogs. The breeder will want to know about your life, your hobbies, interests, activities, social life, etc. They’re not doing this so they can write you off the list; they want to make sure that you are right for this breed and that they can match you up with the right puppy. And if they don’t have a puppy that meets your needs (and don’t expect to in the immediate future) it’s more than likely that they know someone (possibly who knows someone else) who has or is expecting a puppy/litter that will meet your needs. 

        More about the right puppy idea. Australian Shepherds come in a variety of beautiful coat and eye colours, but breeding a litter is not like ordering a car. Sometimes the perfect puppy you’ve described to your breeder comes in exactly the packaging you want – but sometimes it doesn’t. The breeder you’ve chosen isn’t trying to go out of their way to give you the puppy you don’t want. They want you to have the right puppy for your life. The super active puppy that will destroy your house without getting 3-4 hours of exercise every day will not be an appropriate match for someone who’s looking for a light-duty jogging partner, the same way that the more laid-back puppy with low drive will not be the right match for the competitive agility home. If you’re willing to wait -possibly for several years- you may get the puppy of your dreams, but colour is just window dressing and I promise you you won’t even notice the colour when you get the puppy home. I’ve seen many, many people who wanted a puppy of a certain colour or look but instead took the puppy the breeder recommended. It didn’t take long at all before that was their perfect puppy :) 

        A good breeder will have a contract. Directly from the CKC’s website we see, “Breeders shall provide a written sales agreement containing the name of the purchaser, the date of sale, a statement confirming that the dog is purebred, the name of the breed and the dog’s unique identification number. In addition, all terms and conditions of the sale, including a return or replacement policy, shall be clearly defined. The agreement shall be properly dated and signed by all parties. Contracts can be daunting, but they are there to protect the breeder, the buyer, and most importantly the dog. Contracts will vary widely, but they should always include a return clause and a health guarantee. If the breeder never says anything about the dog coming back to them if it needs to be rehomed for any reason? Run.




© Shari Joanisse 2022