What is the right kind of breeder?
I’ve just received confirmation that I have passed my assessment to retain my Assured Breeder Status with the Kennel Club; all measures marked as ‘satisfactory’ (the top mark) and no required improvements recommended. I am very proud to remain as a member of this accredited scheme and believe that it demonstrates breeding to the highest standard. However, not all breeders ‘need’ to meet this standard.
What other kinds of breeder are there? I found this great article on the Junior Bulldog Club website.
This is by far the most common type of breeder. Someone who just fancies having a litter from their dog. They probably own less than four dogs. They have a limited range of knowledge and expect everything to be easy. This breeder wants to keep a pup from their dog and thinks that the rest will go to family and friends.
Being a pet breeder is fine if things go according to plan. Unfortunately, ‘there’s many a slip twixt cup and lip’ as they say and many challenges can occur. Ideally, such breeders will enlist the help of an experienced breeder, to act as a mentor. I have been lucky enough to have a number of experienced breeders engaged in supporting me over the years and have learnt a great deal from them.
This is actually how I would classify myself. Someone who has less than 10 dogs (I’m working on it!) and has around 1-2 litters per year. We breed because we are looking to demonstrate skill and competence of breeding the highest quality dogs, with health and breed type being extremely important to us. As the article says:
“They usually voluntary health check their dogs and are active in the canine community whether that being from exhibiting, supporting charitable canine events, education days and may belong on breed committees and sub-committees. They are actively keeping pace with developments and progression in canine care and will normally actively encourage and engage new people to the breed and offer assistance and help where possible.”
Puppies from a breeder like this will be advertised on their own website, on breed-only websites or on the Kennel Club. We usually send our puppies to pet homes, including new dog owners. Breeders like this will ‘vet’ homes rigorously, so expect to be questioned closely.
“These breeders tend to have a waiting list due to the infrequency of their breeding but you’ll probably benefit significantly by waiting!”
This type of breeder takes things seriously. They breed on a larger scale and will have over 10 dogs. They will probably keep their dogs in outdoor runs or kennels, or adjacent buildings.
“They will have adhered to various regulations with respect to the living conditions of the dogs they own.”
These breeders are likely to have additional dog-related businesses, such as grooming, boarding kennels or training classes. Breeders who take out a license want to do everything well, including health testing. They will be well-known within dog circles. They are likely to have a waiting list, but will be able to meet demand, as they have a number of litters per year. Usually, puppies will be advertised on their own website and the Kennel Club.
A word of caution here. Having a Licence to breed dogs from the local council does not necessarily mean the breeder meets the standards set out by the Kennel Club in the Assured Breeder Scheme.
HIGH VOLUME BREEDER (or puppy farmer)
Number of dogs unknown. The dogs/puppies are classed as ‘stock’ and they breed for profit. They are most likely to sell to the pet market for an above average price due to the demand for the puppies they have. At first glance it may not seem apparent and they can seem reputable.
Puppies will probably hold all Kennel Club registration papers, although these might be forged, so won’t be given to buyers. NB: if you are buying a PEDIGREE dog you need a registration certificate from the BREED REGISTER, NOT THE ACTIVITY REGISTER. Because their main priority is to make money they need to keep costs low, the question is how?
Look out for some of these signs!
- Using their own or local stud dogs
- Having multiple (5+) litters from females (they won’t tell you this, but you can ask)
- Mating females on consecutive seasons, giving little time for her body to recuperate (they won’t tell you this – ask how many litters the bitch has had)
- Dogs and puppies are reared on lower quality foods
- They seem to have a constant supply of puppies because they own many breeding females or selling puppies that other people have reared for them
- They have no older dogs because they rehome them once they no longer earn them money
- Cut corners – puppies may not have had full worming treatment or veterinary treatment they required, leading to serious illness and death
- They may breed only ‘rare’ types e.g. colours or size because they can charge more (they are rare for a reason)!
- Dogs and puppies lack the voluntary health initiatives and as breeders they have little interest or education on the benefits they will bring
- They may have multiple other breeds that are easy to breed which will maintain cash flow
- They are likely to advertise in a lot of ‘free’ pet classified websites for exposure – a Google search of the contact telephone number will always give you a rough idea!
I think this is a great summary of the different types of breeder, so I wanted to share it with you. The article also talks about ‘pitfalls to avoid’ including buying from imported dogs, breeders ‘boasting’ that their dogs are related to top show dogs. It talks about avoiding breeders boasting ‘rare coloured bulldogs’. This applies to all breeds – you may want to have something unusual, but don’t pay a premium for it. It may be a crossbreed and therefore not actually what you expect it to be. The article says to avoid ‘flashy’ websites – not many people write as prolifically as me!
Finally, the Junior Bulldog Club website advises caution when looking at the Assured Breeder List. Prior to the assessment visits, it was possible to become an Assured Breeder just by filling in the form and paying the fee. This made it easy for a puppy farmer to register. Nowadays the requirements are much stricter and it is unlikely that a commercial breeder would qualify.
The article suggests that you should buy from KC Assured Breeders with at least 3 of the accolades available: Breeding Experience (which I have), Kennel Club studbook recognition (which I can’t get as I don’t show my dogs) and Breed Club membership (not desirable for me as I don’t show my dogs). I think that advice is outdated.
Ask for help?
As you can see, it’s a minefield! Fortunately there is plenty of help available. If you are buying a puppy, start by looking at the Find a Dog page. Or if you want to breed, read my Dog Breeding Blog and then please CONTACT ME to discuss this, as I may be able to mentor you?
Please CONTACT ME if you want to know more about me and my dogs? And feel free to COMMENT if you want to tell me what you think. If you want to know more, why not FOLLOW ME? Then you will receive an email when there is a new post.