A little about the passion of dog breeding...
As a general rule, reputable breeders DO NOT make money breeding dogs! This is not commonly understood by those looking to purchase a puppy as a companion for their family.
Reputable breeders are "in dogs" because they LOVE the breed. When you talk to them, the love and pride they have in each of their dogs should show. I sometimes talk to pet homes who are upset by the level of screening done by reputable breeders. Please understand that to a reputable breeder, a puppy is not a commodity. A puppy is a living, breathing creature who deserves the very best life we can give him/her. When you buy from a reputable breeder, you are not getting a puppy who has had the minimum of care and socialization, you are getting a puppy who has had the maximum of care and socialization.
Breeding is very expensive, time consuming and heartbreaking to do correctly. Reputable breeders put their heart and soul into each litter. A reputable breeder screens each home carefully. They do this because each puppy is full of emotional investment.
Reputable breeders do not just throw two dogs together to create puppies. They usually plan each breeding in advance and spend months waiting for a female to come into season, another month worrying over whether or not she is pregnant and the next month worrying about the safety of the dam and the puppies. Then, there are two months of puppy raising which requires time off of work and sometimes around the clock care. Reputable breeders put a lot of time and energy into learning the best ways to raise a litter and the best ways to socialize puppies. Reputable breeders are breeding for themselves first and foremost, so each puppy is treated like a future show, agility, obedience prospect.
Having puppies is expensive!! Here is a list of typical costs paid in our area:
- Cost to buy the dam: price of a puppy
- Hips & Elbows OFA Certified for the dam: $300.00
- CERF exam for dam: $30.00 each year
- Optigen Test for dam: $195.00
- Misc. Health Clearances (Cardiac, EIC, CNM, etc.): $50.00 - $200
- BAER Testing: $50.00 for the dam and per puppy
- Pre-breeding exam: $70.00
- Progesterone testing: $75.00 - $300 (often more than one is needed)
- Stud fee: Typically the price of a puppy
- Shipping fees to fly the dam to the stud dog: $500.00 - $600.00.
- Shipping of semen and surgical AI: $1000.00 - $1400.00
- Relaxin Pregnancy test: $60.00
- X-Ray to check size and position of puppies: $100.00
- Heated Whelping Disk: $300.00
- Misc Whelping supplies: $100.00
- Microchips: $40.00 per puppy
- Vaccinations/Worming supplies: about $20.00 per puppy
- AKC registration, advertising, club dues: Various costs
- Here are some emergency expenses:
- C-section: $700.00 to $2000.00
- Emergency vet visit for puppies with diarrhea: $100 - $300.00
This does not even list the costs for owning and showing dogs on a regular basis. Even if a breeder is lucky enough to make profit on one litter, there will later be a litter with a single puppy or the daily vet expenses of maintaining multiple dogs which will keep a reputable breeder from ever making a profit. If someone does not have an income other than breeding dogs, they are NOT a reputable breeder. It COSTS money to breed reputably. It is a HOBBY, not a money maker.
|1. Motive for breeding:
"fun", "good for kids", "to make money". Does not screen
buyers and seldom refuses to sell, even if buyer is unsuitable.
||1. Dedication to
producing quality dogs is serious avocation. Has so much invested in dogs that he
struggles to break even, not make a profit. Will sell pups only to approved buyers.
Breeds the family pet to any convenient pet of the same breed just to have purebred pups.
Has no understanding or concern with genetics, pedigree bloodlines, or breed improvement.
Can explain how planned breedings are used to emphasize or minimize specific qualities through
linebreeding, outcrossing, or more rarely, inbreeding.
|3. Though the pets (sire/dam of pups) may be
well loved, they were not tested for hip & elbow dysplasia or for other genetic problems such as PRA and
heart disease (TVD).
||3. Does not breed females younger than age 2. Has breeding stock
x-rayed to check for hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, as well having eyes checked by a certified canine opthalmologist.
Can produce certification to prove claims.
Offers no health guarantee beyond proof of shots, if that. Unqualified to give help if
Written contractural commitment to replace a dog with genetic faults or to help owner deal with
|5. Seller has little
knowledge of breed history, the national breed club or of the AKC breed standard. May claim this does not matter
for "just pets".
||5. Loves the breed and
can talk at length about its background, uses, and ideal type.
Pups raised in makeshift accommodations, sometimes unsanitary, indicating lack of long-term investment in
breeding and lack of true care for the puppies well-being.
Has an investment in dog equipment and the puppies environment is sanitary and loving.
|7. Even when selling
"just pets", may produce AKC papers or "championship pedigrees" as
proof of quality. Yet seller does not increase his own knowledge through participation in
national, regional, or local breed clubs. Is not involved in showing their dogs to "prove"
||7. Belongs to national,
regional, and/or local dog clubs, indicating a love for the sport of purebred dogs. Shows their
dogs as an objective test of how his stock measures up.
May be unwilling to show a buyer the entire litter or to introduce the dam of the litter.
Cannot or will not compare/critique pups or pups ancestors.
Shows litter and dam in a sanitary environment. Helps buyer evaluate and choose a pup.
Explains criteria for "show prospects" versus "pet picks".
|9. Prices are at the
low end of local range, since must move pups quickly. Advertises in the local newspaper classifieds.
||9. Prices will be at
the high end of local range. Price will not reflect all that is invested in
the pups. A reputable breeder never profits from the sale of puppies. Does not advertise in the newspaper. Has an
established waiting list for the pups.
No concern for the future of individual pups or the breed as a whole. Does not use
AKCs limited registration option or ask for spay/neuter contract to guard against
the breeding of sub-standard pups. If you cannot keep pup, tells you to take it to a dog
pound or to sell it.
After purchase, will help you with grooming or training problems. Will take back a pup you
cannot keep rather than see it disposed of inappropriately. Sells pets with spay/neuter
agreement and on AKC limited registration.
A Few Guidlines for Selecting a Labrador Retriever Breeder
1. A reputable breeder will not breed their females under the age of 2.
1. A reputable Labrador breeder will conduct (and can provide proof of) the following genetic health tests on their
breeding animals and will require them of the sire (father) should they "hire" a stud dog for the litter:
OFA Hip & Elbow Clearances
CERF Eye clearance done yearly
EIC DNA Clearance of at Least One of the Parents (sire or dam)
Beware of breeders who scoff at genetic testing and say their particular breed/line is problem-free.
2. A reputable breeder requires that "pet-quality" are not used for breeding and sells them on Limited Registration.
3. A reputable breeder provides a written contract with the sale of the pup. This will vary from breeder to breeder,
but usually spells out the rights of the seller and buyer, health information, genetic health guarantees (should be at
least 2 years), required altering and return policy.
4. A reputable breeder typically has a waiting list for unborn puppies.
5. A reputable breeder shows passion, love, and tremendous knowledge about the breed. He or she cares about
placing puppies in excellent homes and will often interview potential buyers thoroughly, ask for references and will refuse to sell a dog if the home is not appropriate for the breed or
for a puppy.
6. A reputable breeder will hold on to puppies as long as it takes to place them in the right homes.
7. The environment (typically a home) in which the breeder keeps the dogs should be clean and well-maintained.
8. A reputable breeder is actively involved in the dog fancy, including showing, hunt tests, obedience, and/or breed clubs. While there are exceptions--like a
retired individual who has shown dogs for 20 years. A person who is not involved with others in the breed can be suspect.
9. A reputable breeder is willing to provide answers to questions you may have and is willing to provide names of others who
have purchased pups from them.
10. A reputable breeder will allow you to meet the puppies parents if available and, if the father isn't available, they will show
you pictures and provide you with the information on how to contact the owner of the sire(father).
11. A reputable breeder wants to hear about the puppies. He or she is interested in how the pups develop physically and mentally,
difficulties in the owner/dog relationship and health problems.
12. A reputable breeder will not let puppies leave their home prior to 7 weeks of age OR older (commonly 8 weeks of age).