Want a dog? It’s about to get much harder to get one
I am pleased that Lucy’s Law is coming into effect from 1 October this year. Anything which helps to protect the welfare of animals is a good thing. If it helps to prevent people from importing and breeding dogs and cats en masse, as if they were mere commodities has got to be a good thing. But how on earth are you supposed to find a dog when you want one? And how is it going to affect a hobby breeder like myself?
What is a ‘hobby breeder’?
I breed from my pet Border Collies because I love my dogs and I want to share that love. Other reasons include:
- Loving watching the puppies grow and develop, not just from birth but into adulthood as well
- Cuddling puppies!
- Doing it well – as a previous business owner and entrepreneur, I love to think I can produce dogs that are the absolute best they can be. I love being professional about it, creating a positive experience for the new owners right from the start
- Producing healthy, happy dogs, that are a real asset to the families they go to.
Because I strive to do it well, I am a Kennel Club Assured Breeder, and proud to be one. It was hard work to ensure I did everything necessary to pass the assessment and I feel that it is an accolade worth having.
Breeding in this way makes me a responsible breeder, but it also means that I do it as a hobby, not a business. You cannot make a profit of any significance producing puppies this way. That is not what I want and it is not what it is about.
The cost of producing puppies
To do it well, there are many costs, both large and small, in dog breeding. These include:
- Health testing – these range from £300-£400 for the hip x-rays to £50 for an annual eye test. That is for the adult dogs – the puppies must also be health tested
- Good food – well bred dogs require good quality food and this is certainly more expensive than a supermarket own brand
- Toys and equipment – well bred dogs live in comfortable surroundings with plenty of stimulation
- Training – all my adult dogs attend weekly training classes and I think most breeders do the same. This is part of ensuring that dogs are well behaved and are happy and healthy
- Time spent with the puppies. I rarely leave the house when I have a new litter. I sleep with them for the first week or so. I have many visitors to the litter, to ensure that they are used to a variety of people and experiences. (It’s a difficult thing to do if you have an actual job!)
People complaining about Lucy’s Law say things like:
“It’s impossible to get a dog from a rescue centre. They won’t give you one if you have young children. You can get a child if you have a dog, but not a dog if you have a child. How mad is that?”
If you have young children you are busy and your home is hectic. Can you supervise your children at all times with your puppy? What if they tease it and it bites them? I know it’s unfair, but we want the best for the dog, don’t we? We must learn to be critical. Look at my advice on Dogs and Children and think carefully before getting a dog with young children.
Want a dog now?
I have already talked about the buying process you need to follow when buying a puppy. That post is about having patience and doing research. It explains that you need to present yourself to the breeder and convince them that you are the right home for a puppy. This is more true than ever now that we will have new legislation.
But how do you judge the place you get a dog from? What do you look for when you want a dog? Again, I have already talked about the definition of a Puppy Farmer and I have covered some Questions to ask a breeder.
Problems with the new law
Problem no 1: Hobby breeders like myself may require a licence in order to sell their puppies.
Now don’t get me wrong, I have absolutely nothing against having a licence, BUT at the moment Local Authorities are not staffed or skilled in the issue of these licences, particularly in being able to discriminate between hobby and professional breeders (ie puppy farmers). They are more likely to issue a licence to the latter, as it can appear that they are more ‘business-like’ in their approach. By the time the LA come to visit my puppies, they will have gone off to their new homes. I am an Assured Breeder, which is much better.
NB: Do not expect small scale breeders to produce a licence.
Problem no 2: How on earth are we hobby breeders supposed to meet the demand for dogs in this country?
Everyone wants a dog, but a breeder like me only produces around 6 puppies per year. I am able to choose the very best homes for my puppies, so what is everyone else supposed to do?
Top tips if you want a dog
- Research the best dog for you
- Wait. For the right dog, or the right time, or the right home
- Find an actual, purposeful breeder who takes the trouble to produce the best dogs
- Look for a story with the dogs
A top breeder will be able to tell you their dog’s life story. She will be able to show you pictures and certificates of both parents of the puppies. You will see pictures from the day the pups are born and then every stage of their development, until they go to you. A breeder like this will expect you to visit more than once. They will help you choose the right puppy for you.
Ask for help?
You are very welcome to CONTACT ME to ask for my advice. I can help you with a variety of issues and problems around getting a dog and suggestions for tackling training issues. Go to the What Dog? page for more information on my service.
Please let me know if you have found this post helpful?
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