Monday, September 9, 2013

How do you know if it is a puppy mill?

Recently "The Whole Dog Journal" published an article on how to tell if you are dealing with a puppy mill versus a truly dedicated hobby breeder. I realized my own ignorance of this subject prior to becoming a breeder. Most people haven't a clue how to distinguish a puppy mill from a reputable breeder and most people haven't a clue how to find a quality puppy. So, I have been developing a list of caveats that puppy seekers should know when they begin their search:

Red flags for puppy buyers:
The breeder is not a member of their national breed club
There are multiple breeds being sold by the same person
Both sire and dam are "on site" (good breeders usually go to the best stud and don't use what is just handy)
The breeder does not compete their breeding dogs in conformation shows to establish their quality
The breeder will sell you a dog without meeting you
The breeder will ship a puppy unaccompanied
You are not encouraged to meet the dam and see the where the puppies are raised
The breeder pursues you to make a purchase
The breeder uses the internet to market their dogs with cute pictures involving toys and bows
The health testing is vague. A good breeder should list what tests were done and the results.
The puppy is sold through a commercial outlet like a mall pet store (100% mill puppies)

Why should you avoid buying a puppy from a puppy mill? If you "rescue" a puppy mill dog by paying for it, you are part of the problem. These breeding dogs are kept in abusive conditions. If the market for their puppies dries up, they will no longer be used as breeding machines for profit. It's always about the money. A good breeder is happy if they break even. And a good breeder should be able and happy to supply you with the names of their buyers who can provide references.  I marvel that so few people think to ask for references! This is a big and expensive purchase. Why not approach it by doing your research as you would with any important decision you will have to live with for years to come?

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