I wasn’t going to go there… Bad Breeding; When it all goes wrong… 

        I really wasn’t. I had absolutely no intention of talking about this, but it’s been weighing on me for a while and I just can’t let it go any longer. 

        Friends of my family bought this adorable little black poodle mix five years ago. It was friends of theirs that bred the litter. Mom was a “teacup” poodle mix, and dad was a small black male of unknown breeding that they picked up off Kijiji. Mom was bred three times before the age of five (not a bad thing in and of itself), but mom was blind from cataracts by the age of two when she was first bred. She also has knee issues, but has never been to a specialist for diagnosis or treatment because it’s “too expensive.” Dad had a terrible temperament and had to be put to sleep at eighteen months because he bit the owners’ grandchild. He had also blown both his knees by that age. 

        Why am I talking about this? Because my friends are about to take their dog in for *another* surgery on his knees. The dog is five years old and mostly blind from hereditary cataracts. He’s had two surgeries already on his knees and one on his hips. When I talk about ethical and responsible breeding and why it’s so important to purchase from a health testing breeder, this is why. There is absolutely no reason to breed a dog with hereditary cataracts that leave them blind at such a young age, and there is NEVER a reason to breed a terrible temperament. My friends got lucky, their dog is sweet, but he could also have had a temperament like his father and that’s not worth the risk to me. 

        The owners of the sire and dam of this dog are not bad people. They are both living on disability and unable to work, and were breeding their dogs to make enough money to visit their family out west. Their dogs are cared for and loved. But they failed the dogs they produced. There was no health testing, and no contract or guarantee. A responsible breeder backs their dogs. In this case the breeder has taken no responsibility, and thereby is not assisting with any of the costs of the surgeries (several thousand dollars each). 

        From the start this was doomed to fail. Five years ago I was just starting to think about another dog in my home, but I was already in contact with several breeders, getting a feel of where they stood and what they had to offer. I knew what I wanted in a dog, but I wasn’t quite sure where that would take me. I didn’t know then what I know now (and I still have plenty more to go!), but when I saw that adorable ball of fluff and stood him up in a stack I cringed. From toes to hips his back legs were in a straight line perpendicular to the ground, and that’s exactly what it still is today. When I saw a picture of the sire, his rear was the same. 

        I’m not here to bash on the breeders of this dog, and certainly not his owners to whom he means the world. I’m writing today to bring awareness to how important it is to select your breeder carefully. No one can do it for you. You’re not “saving a life” when you buy from an irresponsible breeder; you’re lining their pockets. My friends paid more money for their puppy than they would have for a CKC registered Toy Poodle from a good breeder. Had I known at the time that they were looking for a puppy I would have put them in contact with a Toy breeder that I know. She didn’t have puppies at the time, but chances are good that she would have known someone who did. Breeders try to stay up on what other breeders are doing so we can make recomendations to inquiries, and we usually have contacts for other breeds as well. The theory of seven degrees of separation works well here; someone knows someone. 

© Shari Joanisse 2017