Nolu suggested I move this to its own thread, as I'd sort of planned. Its partially a response to "Are you a Backyard Breeder?" and partially a response to a phenomenon that I've seen a lot on Chaz, and on other dog sites. By Backyard Breeders, here, I do NOT mean the idiots who breed puppy-mill bought dogs, all the time, for cash, with no vet, who dump extras at shelters. Instead I mean that large class of breeders who don't quite meet the modern standards of "responsible" as I have often seen them listed here on Chaz. I've cut and pasted this from my other post, but made some changes too, since it now morning: In my experience, breeders form a continuum, from the depths of puppy-mill hell to the heights of the quintessental "responsible breeder." Reading the various definitions of "responsible breeder" that I see on Chaz, I often feel the bar is being set a bit too high. Not that all of the practices of Chaz-defined "responsible breeders" are not the best way to do things, but I am not sure that anyone who doesn't do all these things is by definition a BYB, and thus somewhere on the level of pond scum. Some of the "responsible breeder standards" I've objected to previously include: Responsible breeders don't breed without a waiting list Responsible breeders never advertise Responsible breeders don't advertise what colors they have Responsible breeders have applications (I'll clarify this . . . I don't see why an interview is not a perfectly find substitute for an application. Obviously people need to be screened, but unless the world is beating down your door for your dogs, do you really need people to fill in an application?) Responsible breeders have dogs with a mess of titles Responsible breeders always do a mess of genetic testing, even if they have a breed with relatively few problems and have never had issues with their lines. Responsible breeders breed for <blank>, when <blank> is something other than heath and temperment. (Another clarification. Health and temperment are supreme, and I don't think anyone really disagrees with this. But requiring some other thing that MUST be bred for gets into mess of other issues. Yes, you should be breeding your dogs for something. Yes, dogs should be bred to standard. BUt how much to standard? WHICH standard? In my lifetime I've watched serveral breeds change appearence rather dramatically, so a grand champion of yesteryear would be laughed out of the ring today. If you breed your dogs to a "style" not currently in fashion, are you not responsible? As for breeding for working traits, rock on! And well rounded dogs that can show and work, rock on! But do we really want every retriever and spaniel out there to show full field traits?) Are all these good practices? Yes, or at least, they aren't bad ideas. But the converse of "responsible breeders do this" is that everyone else is an "irresponsible breeder," a backyard breeder, an ignorant, scummy person adding to the pet overpopulation problem. I beg to differ. I further beg to differ with the author's contention that anyone who buys from someone who isn't a "responsible breeder" is the sort of person who dumps their dogs at shelters when they don't want them any more. The truth is the world is more complicated than that. Three of my mother's four poodles were found through the newspaper. She then went to visit the breeder, saw the parents (or at least the mother and a photo of the father since he was occasionally in another state), examined the puippies (or the return in one case), asked about the lines, looked at the pedigree, and brought home a poodle (or left because she liked neither the breeder nor their dogs). These breeders did show. As far as I know they didn't do genetic testing. They advertised in the paper (with colors!). They didn't have a waiting list a mile long. They didn't ask Mom for an application. I do not believe they were irresponsible. They were perhaps not the stellar height of the absolute BEST way to do things, but "irresponsible" they were not. I have honestly reached the point of being annoyed with some of the demands made by responsible breeders. Long waiting lists even for a pet. Must have a fenced yard. Must own rather than rent. Must have references from everyone from your veterarian to your grade-school English teacher. Must locate them through the breed club. Don't dare ask for a specific color. Someone must be home all day. No children. Must give them your social security number. Etc. Is it any wonder people buy from puppy mills and sleezy BYBs? Half the population can't pass the test to get a dog from a responsible breeder. Heck, more and more shelters have the same requirements. Unless you can provide an ideal home, forget it. Unless you want the dog they hve decided to offer you, forget it. (No, I don't want an ancient basset mix with diabetes. I'm sure he's very nice. But he's not what I want, and stop looking at me like I'm a hard hearted bitch) I've honestly been insulted by some conversations I've had about adopting dogs. . .not because they asked lots of questions (good!) but because the questions were asked in an aggressive, accusing fashion . . . PROVE YOURE A GOOD OWNER YOU SLEEZE BALL, PROVE IT, OR NO DOG FOR YOU. Perhaps I'm old fashioned. I grew up with people who I believe strongly were responsible owners and breeders. But you only went through some elaborate ritual if you wanted a dog for a specific purpose from a top breeder who had a waiting list because the world WAS beating a path to their door. In my world, you looked in the paper for the breed you want, called the person, talked to them to make sure the trip was worth it, went on a road trip, talked to the breeder, looked at the dogs, had some coffee, looked at the papers, and either came home with a puppy or not. It was relatively easy, relatively polite, unconfrontational, and worked pretty dang well. Times have changed. But the constant pushing of standards for both owners and breeders higher and higher is not, to my mind, productive. In the end, you have a few "responsible breeders" selling a few "responsible owners" and all the irresponsible other people thrown on puppy mills, the sort of BYBs that do not take their dogs to the vet and dump extra puppies at the shelter, and the shelters (If they'll give you a dog). Dog ownership is becoming, frankly, elitist. Perhaps this is good . . . but I actually doubt it. In the end, the world will have fewer dogs, fewer people familiar with dogs, and more restrictions on dogs. Sometimes the very declarations of what "responisble breeders" have to do are just more ammunition for dog-restrictive laws and AR . . . "See! Even the dog people think so!" I have always had my own "red flags" about breeders, and although you see them on lists, they are often paired with other "red flags" that are perhaps too demanding, if not arbitrary. Here's my list, sort of the exclusion list for breeders . . . as in, if these things are true, they really are "BYBs": * They are in it for the money. If they are in it for the money, and not for the dogs, run away. Besides, with only a few exceptions, no legitimate breeder is making any sizable ammount of money breeding . . . if they are, then they've lowered their costs in ways that are probably scary. * They can't have a cogent conversation with you about their breed. * They have never won any titles, at anything, or even tried. Or used the dog for the original purpose . . . or in any way tried to evaluate the quality of their lines. (I can think of a few exceptions to this, but there'd better be a real explaination) * They don't know who their dog's grandparents were beyond names on paper. * They don't ask you any questions, other than, where's my check? *Their dogs have not yet had a vet check up or all the appropirate shots for their age *Their dog has a genetic disorder and they bred it anyway, or, they can't coherently discuss the genetic issues with their breed and how they have tried to avoid mitigate them (genetic testing is a bonus but not required). *They won't let you see the parents, or if they don't own the sire, the mother. *They won't agree to, let alone offer to, take the dog back if there's a problem *They, or their dogs, give you the creeps. There are probably a few others I'm not thinking of after a late night last night. But the point is that there are minimum standards for "responsibility" and then there are, to my mind, "bonuses" which may have more to do with a specific breed, or dog sport, or just level of supreme responsiblity, than with being the requirements for buying a dog from this breeder. I'll admit, I'm doing the whole song and dance in the process of getting a Cardigan corgi. But one, I really am well informed, much, much better informed than you can probably reasonably ask of your average dog owner, even your average responsble owner. Two, I'm looking at a fairly rare breed with serious known issues (I'm not going to find Cardis in the newspaper, even if I wanted to). Three, I want something fairly specific. I want a pet, primiarly, but I also want a dog that I COULD do some dog sports with, and who is capable of being trained to a fairly high level. (Whether I use any of that is another issue, but I want the potential, if not to be a top sport dog to at least be a pretty good "for fun" sport dog). This post is probably begining to verge on the incoherent, so I'll conclude: I wonder were the boundary is between demanding responsibility (a good thing) and making a bunch of quasi-arbitrary requirements to make sure that one is part of the "club" of "responsible" dog owners and breeders. I'm not sure where that boundary is. But I'm beginning to feel that the bar is being set too high for both owners and breeders, especially when anyone below that high bar is condemned as dog-mistreating scum, or at least hopelessly ignorant.