How do you find a good breeder?

Discussion in 'Dogs - General Dog Chat' started by wcladymacbeth, Apr 9, 2009.

  1. wcladymacbeth

    wcladymacbeth New Member

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    I never realized how much there was to it. I figured if they're not a puppy mill, they can't be too awful. Shows how much I know. I was considering looking into a blue merle sheltie that was going for $400 by a breeder in PA, and Beanie did some research and helped me realize it's not that simple. I don't want to support a breeder that's not any good.

    So how DO you find a good breeder? It makes me feel tired to THINK about all the research you must have to do. I guess you would have to know everything about the breed that you want, what kind of health testing is required and how often, etc. Is it possible to tell a good breeder just from a website?

    Take this one for instance.
    Belmark Shelties - breeder of sheltie puppies, adults for sale. Champion stud service.
    I think it sounds great. The dogs are really cute and they have show dogs available, or companion dogs for a little cheaper. It has the contracts on there that require your companion dog to be spayed or neutered. It does seem like maybe there's a lot of dogs listed for one little family farm, and from what I've read on here that could be bad.

    If you can't tell a good breeder just by having your good friends on Chaz check out the website, then what do you do? Call the breeder and ask them questions? What are you supposed to ask them? Is it better to go to the breeder's place and check out the actual conditions? What would you look for if you do that? I mean, obviously if I see a bunch of pregnant dogs locked up in kennels, I'll run like hell, but is it always that obvious?

    If there's a previous thread that goes over all that, feel free to direct me towards it. Sometimes it's just so much easier to start a new thread and ask.

    All I really want is a confident smart healthy dog, and Justin seems to want a sheltie. I told him they bark a lot but that's still what he wants, lol.
     
  2. Romy

    Romy Taxiderpy

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    If you have a specific breed in mind you can go to the breed club's website and they usually have a referral person who can send you a list of breeders in their area. These people usually have an idea of who might have litters coming up as well.

    When we were looking for a griffon I read everything I could, and had a bunch of questions. Then started e-mailing everybody that looked promising saying I wanted to learn more about the breed, would they mind answering a few questions, and also asked them about their health testing, etc.

    If the person has the dog's registered names on their websites you can look them up in the OFA database to see if health tests have been done and what the results were. I did that with Charlie's parents before we bought him and wowee! I have never seen such an extensive record of immediate family and extended family with great scores on everything.
     
  3. ihartgonzo

    ihartgonzo and Fozzie B!

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    Personally, I like to meet breeders... or at least know & trust some one who recommends them. I've been interested in plenty of breeders, and I've found out BAD things about them that I would never have known, through people I know in the breed.

    I recommend immersing yourself in the breed. Try to get out to Sheltie shows, Sheltie club events, etc. By doing so you will also learn a lot more about the breed itself and have the opportunity to meet tons of Shelties, and get an idea of what "type" of Sheltie you like, and what lines/breeders are your favorite. I found the Cardi breeder that I was going to buy a puppy from (before I found Fozzie) because I adored the Cardis on my Flyball team, who happened to be from dogs from their lines. It is so important and invaluable to have a breeder who you build a relationship with, and who is always there for you and your pup. I hope I can find one, someday! :) I tend to stay away from people who are short and uninterested in me, talking to me, and getting to know me. That's #1 for me, because a breeder who truly cares about their dogs and the future of their puppies is much more likely to be breeder who is improving the breed... of course, that's besides all of the BASIC breeder requirements that Beanie and Romy covered.

    The breeder that you posted has gorgeous dogs, and they seem very reputable. But, they do seem VERY show-focused. I didn't see any other titles on their dogs. IMHO, any herding breed should at the very least have a HIC on them before they're bred. I would prefer something a bit higher to prove that they have the brains as well as the beauty. CGC's, TDI's, Obedience, Agility, etc titles are also something that I look for and that I don't see on any of their dogs. They do have a loooot of Shelties.
     
  4. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

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    Shelties are a hard breed to find breeders for imo. I thought about going that route instead of a bc for the next dog simply because shelties are familiar and not quite so high drive as a bc. I live in an apartment so that's a consideration.

    When we got Trey, our breeder had HIC's, agility titles, and obedience titles on her dogs as well as conformation Ch's. I didn't realize how rare that is. Trey's breeder no longer breeds. Even then, Trey isn't the type of sheltie I'd want in the future. I've looked for similar titles on dogs now and all I see are really Ch's on most lines. I have found lines with only Ch's that produce good sports dogs, but it's annoying and I'm beginning to wonder if that type of sheltie even exists much anymore. I did find one with good dogs and performance titles but she was very short with me in emails (basically a 'I will have X litter at this time') and the only breeding she was doing this year the parents only had show titles and no performance.

    I think I know someone who has a dog from Belmark, but maybe I'm wrong. :confused:
     
  5. wcladymacbeth

    wcladymacbeth New Member

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    Thanks for the helpful tips, guys :) I've never been to any kind of dog show, might be fun to check one out a sheltie show. I should also probably figure out what all those abbreviations mean :D HIC, Ch, CGC.... hehe I'm clueless.
     
  6. blackmaskrott

    blackmaskrott New Member

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    I have this on my site. Maybe it will help with all those abbreviations.
    black mask rottweilers titles
     
  7. Fran101

    Fran101 Resident fainting goat

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    one thing i always suggest is to email the breeder, talk to them and get to know them.
    Also google and rip off report can be very helpful, if you find something bad on those sites, talk to the breeder about it.
     
  8. Lizmo

    Lizmo Water Junkie

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    Here are a few questions to ask yourself when visiting a breeder. . .

    What are the dogs in the kennels like?
    Are they barking mad at you?
    Are they growling?
    What does their dogss coat look/smell like?
    Are they over-weight?
    Are they listening to the owner/handler when they tell them something (like a "quiet" command?)
    What are the dogs living in?
    What does there kennel look like?
    Is the kennel covered in there waste?

    If you can't meet the breeder before you get the dog/pup questions to ask him/her in email (or even if you can talk face to face) would be. . .

    How many litters do you have a year?
    How are your pups raised?
    When do they let them go to there new homes?
    What are the contracts like? Comepletely outragous?
    What titles to your breeding dogs have?
    What health tests are done? (that would depend on what health tests your think are needed for that breed)


    Conversation will naturally go from there. And if they are a reputable breeder they will usually be more than willing to answer any and all questions you have and even some you may not think of.
     
  9. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

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    The one thing I would add is to meet the dogs. The most important thing to look for in any breed but especially shelties is a good temperament. There are a lot of shy/fearful shelties out there.
     
  10. vanillasugar

    vanillasugar just call me Nilly

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    This doesn't really apply to you directly, but incase there are lurkers reading too ;)

    For us Canadians, there is a magazine called "Dogs In Canada" which puts out an annual catalogue of breeders (the lists are also on the website Dogs in Canada Home). I don't know what the requirements are to be listed in the magazine, but the breeders all seem to be good. It is of course not an exhaustive list, and not the best place to look for sport dogs (they seem to all be show breeders), but it's a good place to start.
     
  11. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

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    I'm sure Beanie's already given you this site but here you go just in case...

    The American Shetland Sheepdog Association

    There's also a working sheltie club but neither Beanie or I have no idea what they actually DO. It sounds like a good idea, but there's just no information on their site...
     
  12. Beanie

    Beanie Clicker Cult Coordinator

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    I'm sorry, LOL. I didn't mean to make things more complicated for you. I'm on my way out the door to work but I'm taking my notebook with me from when I looked for a breeder, I'll type up all the questions I asked and the responses I heard.

    It might also help to call a few vets in the area and ask for a recommendation for a sheltie breeder. That also gives you a starting place when you call the breeder, to say "I got a recommendation from such-and-such-breeder and was hoping to talk to you."
    If you have ANY contacts in shows or anything at all, regardless of breed, ask them, too. We actually found our breeder through the girlfriend of a friend of my dad... who owns/races/shows whippets, LOL. But this guy was like "Oh, let me ask my girlfriend if she knows anybody!" and voila - she sure did!
    Oh yeah, and it's agility season - you could start going to trials and asking around, too. Agility is fun to watch anyway, you would probably have a great time. =>
     
  13. Zhucca

    Zhucca Lab Love

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    Echoing Laurelin that is the hardest part.. finding a breeder who titles in other things *besides* showing. A good breeder friend of mine is a show breeder and although she trains her dogs in agility, it's more so for fun. I had the option to take one of her dogs however they're just so.. unactive. I wanted a agility dog and she would be better going to a companion home.. which is too bad since she was some cute.

    Talking to people in the sheltie club bawking at high energy dogs (listening to them tell me I was crazy for liking tollers and others, LOL ).. well thats my image of shelties, while not a border collie they should still be high energy dogs.. not couch potatoes like they are apparently turning into.

    I like this one, however doesn't seem to title the females in conformation. Weird.
    Herdabout Shelties and Herdabout K-9 Academy ... ( 705 ) 429 - 0833
     
  14. Beanie

    Beanie Clicker Cult Coordinator

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    Okay, this is what I have written down in my notebook. Most of this pertains just to shelties, but it might be useful for people looking for other breeds as well:

    First I have just a list of things you might want to see:
    - parents medical records (I didn't ask to see these, FYI - I forgot)
    - pedigrees 3-5 generations back
    - OFA (hip) & CERF clearance - as I said in the other thread, I also like to see elbows done for shelties, but hips are really the big part
    - screening for Von Willebraun's Disease
    - thyroid checked

    Next, the stuff to ask about/what the breeder should tell you:
    - puppies should be sold between 8-12 weeks (I personally like 10-12 weeks for shelties)
    - dewclaws removed? when?
    - colour, sex, and height of dogs
    - cost
    - socialization
    - how long have you been breeding?
    - do you show dogs as well?
    - copy of sales contract BEFORE you buy, including exact terms of sale & health guarantee; spay & neuter contracts, limited registration
    - diet?


    The first time I talked to Auggie's breeder I think we spent at least an hour on the phone. This is what I jotted down while on the phone to her...
    She told me the expected due date for a litter she was currently breeding and told me what she usually charges for a pup. She told me about the health guarantee and the screening that she does on her dogs (I have check marks all over the list I posted above as she told me about them.) She required some form of permanent ID such as tattooing or microchipping, and required references from people we know about how we are with dogs - she doesn't normally do home visits but you will find breeders that like to do home visits.
    Her dogs are all sables, all in size, and the dogs that were being bred were about 15" tall. Deposits are $500.
    I also have written down "boarding is cool with her" and remember her telling me she is perfectly willing to board my dog if I had to go on vacation or something, so I wouldn't have to use a vet.

    After we talked on the phone, we went out to her house. We spent at least two hours out there talking to her and her husband. She gave me copies of her contract, she gave me copies of the pedigrees of the dogs she was breeding, she showed me all KINDS of stuff. We talked about agility, which I was sorta considering but wasn't positive about yet. We talked a lot about the different health testing, we talked about the temperaments of the dog and the socialization.
    I gave her my deposit that night. We weren't sure if there was going to be room in the litter for me to get a little boy because there were people ahead of me, and it's hard to know what the litter size will be (and most of the other people on the waiting list also wanted little boy dogs.) but I already knew, regardless of when, that I wanted a dog from her.


    For me, what is more important than the fact that she had all the right answers for things and was super knowledgeable is the fact that I felt completely comfortable with her and her family. We sat around their kitchen talking dogs for hours on end. When I met the dogs I wasn't just swept away with how cute they were or anything, but I was downright impressed with their temperament.
    That is really more valuable than anything... I DEFINITELY think it's important to go out to the breeder's place and meet them, meet their dogs. Talking on the phone is one thing and you can still get a feel for somebody on the phone, but in person you get a better feel for the kind of person someone is, IMO. I really think when you meet the right breeder and meet the right dogs... you just know. It's a gut reaction about how you connect with the person and their dogs, how they connect with you, and their connection with their dogs.


    I agree with Laurelin that it's really hard to find a good sheltie breeder. I think it's difficult to find quality breeders in the first place, but when you add on a situation like the sheltie's where what a sheltie SHOULD be is so far from what the general public THINKS a sheltie is (or accepts a sheltie as), it just makes things more complicated.
    I have no idea how I was so lucky to be able to find Auggie's breeder - and so lucky to be able to have enough people ahead of me on the waiting list not quite ready for a dog yet, allowing me to end up with the Auggie doggie.
     
  15. wcladymacbeth

    wcladymacbeth New Member

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    Thanks everyone :)

    Beanie if I can't find a good one in Ohio I might just be tempted to drive to Illinois for yours, lol. I want an Auggie!

    Thanks for all the tips though. I appreciate everyone's help :) And I hope this info can help someone else, too.
     
  16. Maxy24

    Maxy24 Active Member

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    I agree with everyone's advice. If you are just scanning through websites to find some you want to look at closer check for titles (show or working or both), health screenings (OFA, Cerf, Penhip, OFA is most common, if your breed is prone to something in particular make sure they scan for that. From the breeders I've seen they look like they are prone to Von Willebrand disease). After that I check for number of litters per year. I prefer no more than one but if they are outstanding and have two I wouldn't cross them off the list. Make sure pups live with the family, not outside in a kennel (unless of course someone was looking for a sheep guarding dog who must be raised with the sheep, that is of course not your case). I'd really like it if all breeders would get TT, therapy dog titles or at least CGCs on all their dogs but most don't unfortunately, I would give preference to those who do.

    As for the breeder you linked to, they look good for the most part but they have a LOT of dogs. I don't know if they are all owner by them or if some are co-owned but if all those dogs are at their property I might be skeptical.

    After that start calling and e-mailing to find out more. Here are some I found that look good. I would look at them yourself and then decide if you think they are good. I have some issues with a few and will tell you what they are. These may not be the greatest breeders on the face of the Earth, I cannot tell by just a website, but it is a good starting place.

    Ancient Day Shelties Home of quality Shetland Sheepdogs (some dogs don't have OFA info (though many are too young), "Spice" the one that gave birth recently does not have OFA info but does have CERF and VWD clear, I'd ask why she is not OFA'd (Dad is though). The site itself does not have a whole lot of info about them as breeders so you'd really need to talk to them and visit them)


    Home (not a ton of info about the breeder but the dogs look good).

    page2 (First thing you'd need to ask about it health screenings, i almost didn't add them because of lack of those on almost all of the dogs but I loved all the things they do, including temperament tests so I added them. You'll need to check on those screenings though!)

    Falmist Shelties - HOME (don't appear to check for VWD. i do like that they do some herding though.)


    Gypsy Shetland Sheepdogs (missing info on some dogs)


    Heartfelt Shelties-Shetland Sheepdogs - Home (my only problem with them is it appears they bred sparkle before all her tests were finished, possible it's just that they didn't update site)


    Karastar (not too much in the way of titles but they do show)


    Ohio Shelties Breeder (not a ton of info about the breeders, and again not many titles although they do show)

    New Page 1 (not a lot of titles but they do show)


    I started get kinda tired while looking at them but hopefully I wasn't too sloppy. Remember that this list is in no way a definite "these are good breeders" list, just some to look into. Good luck in your search. I wish i could find more that were really serious about herding, maybe I'll try again later.
     
  17. wcladymacbeth

    wcladymacbeth New Member

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    Wow thank you Maxy!! Nice list. I'll definitely have to look into those. I really appreciate you doing research for me :D
     
  18. colliewog

    colliewog Collies&Terriers, Oh My!

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    I know a Karastar dog personally (one they sold) - awesome little performance dog with a great temperament and conformation.
     
  19. setter-chick

    setter-chick New Member

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    If you just browsing through websites... look for dogs with titles.. Both front and back. look for show picures to. Puppy mills dont do those types of things. Even if the pedigree has CH's it could be a fluke. One of my breeders puppy got sold to a puppy mill (Looong story) and he has a amazing pedigree, and the good kennel name.
     
  20. adojrts

    adojrts New Member

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    I know of at least three people that are listed as breeders in Dogs In Canada.........and they are nothing more than byb's at best and seriously leaning towards being classified as a puppymillers.

    The other thing to add to the rest of the advice given.......Very important to see proof of the genetic testing AND also proof that not only the dam and sire have clearances but also THEIR parents/grandparents are also clear, and recently clear not years ago. I want a pedigree full of dogs that don't have issues even in their old age, granted its no guarantee but it sure improves the odds.
     

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