By Teresa Patterson
When searching for a puppy, perhaps a specific breed for a specific purpose, you’ve probably searched for breeders and have been bombarded by websites reporting about puppy mills. You may find a reputable breeder in the midst, but you’ve heard many horror stories you don’t know how to differentiate between a professional breeder and a puppy mill. All breeders aren’t bad, money hungry people. Reputable breeders are doing it because they love the breed and love the animals they are producing.
A professional dog breeder carefully selects dogs based on a well-documented history of health and temperament in the family line. Their business is driven by quality animal care and healthy breed lines. A reputable breeder is passionate about one or two breeds and is knowledgeable about standards and potential breed-specific genetic problems.
They will welcome you to see where the dogs spend most of their time and encourage you to visit with the puppy’s parents. They also rely on a strong relationship with a veterinarian and will provide documentation of the puppy’s vet visits, medical history, and any genetic tests that were performed. Each puppy comes with a written health guarantee and the breeder should ask you to sign a contract stating that you will return the dog to the breeder should you be unable to keep the dog at any point during its lifetime.
When I wanted a labrador retriever I knew I wanted a hunting dog, and a loving companion. I searched websites, made a list of a few then began calling. First on my list was Barnes Puppy Love Kennels in Roaring Spring, PA. I liked all the pictures on their website from past buyers and their puppies. I called and was invited to view the Kennel and meet the parents of one of the litters I was interested in. Not only did I ask them questions, I felt as if I was being interviewed to be sure their puppy was going to the best home. This was a great sign the Barnes’ loved their dogs.
When looking for a puppy, look for consistency of “greatness”. You can have a great hunting dog, but will he be a great family companion and vice versa. Ask questions, visit the kennel, get buyer references, veterinarian references and be prepared to be questioned. A little research can provide you with the perfect dog from a loving and caring breeder.