Intentional, Ethical Breeding
I've really debated what to say here and how to say it. The breeding "world" is small for ethical breeders because we rely on each other to consult, to recommend, to brainstorm a puppy or a mother through a particular challenge. These are people I trust and respect, and interact with often. I care about these ethical breeders who sacrifice to bring dogs into a family in an intentional way. I care about you as a new puppy owner, and above all, I care about these dogs. Because of this, I thought it might be helpful to give you some behind the scenes information about the different ways to obtain a dog.
This will be helpful to you as you make a decision of where to purchase your pet.
Ethical Professional Breeder
There is no substitute for education or experience. Many of us started as hobby breeders, and then, because we realized the vast amount of focus, experience, and time necessary to breed correctly, paid for education, learned by experience, and became professional full time breeders. Some choose to breed in a kennel environment, and some choose to breed in a home environment, as we do, because we feel that is the best way to socialize a family pet.
Think about your own profession - are you better at what you do after you've done it hundreds of times and learned by hard experience? Is this experience and knowledge able to help you process information and understand data? Are you producing better results more efficiently now than you did at the start of your career?
Paying for genetic and health testing (absolutely necessary), and being able to interpret those results and make appropriate breeding choices, is a complicated process. We've learned from experience and education. My husband and I both have Masters degrees - his in healthcare, with years of shock trauma ICU experience. I completed university level chemistry, microbiology, anatomy, and physiology courses, and paid for education from respected and established breeders. We still learn new things every day. That is part of what makes breeding so fascinating and fulfilling.
We do this because we love the puppies, the developmental side of training, the sweet snuggles, the science, and the satisfaction of a gorgeous well bred puppy who will bring years of quality to another families life. Because our Developmental Puppy Nursery. is the focus of our life, we are happy to make the significant investments in quality breeding stock, genetic testing, high quality health care from our Board-Certified Canine Reproductive Veterinary Specialist, humane transcervical inseminations, semen analysis, ultrasounds, nutrition, training programs, and quality play equipment. These things give the puppies diverse and appropriate experiences while they are young and impressionable. We are up every single night for one reason or another with a puppy or dog. I am not overstating when I say that breeding has affected every aspect of our lives, and it has been a joy.
Someone who loves their pet and thinks it would be fun to have puppies. There are varying levels. Some educate themselves and pay for genetic/health testing. Some decide they just want to buy an adult dog quickly to capitalize on making some money. Some charge as much as I do now after producing hundreds of puppies and learning from experience. Some play with the puppies in their home like we do. Some leave them in a crate in the garage for 8 weeks. My advice to you is this: Make sure you are able to see what happens with those puppies on a daily basis. Ask to see adult puppies, as genetic "furnishings" and other physical characteristics will manifest later. Ask to speak to other owners (not made up reviews on a website), who can tell you about temperament and their experience with the breeder and the puppy. Are you buying from a puppy matching service or directly from the breeder? Do your research, pay for experience, and be patient.
This is a very very sad reality. Puppy Mills do not pay for genetic health testing. Often they do not even pay for basic healthcare for the mom and puppies. Inbreeding is common, as the parent dogs do not come from pedigreed lines so lineage can be tracked. Inbreeding causes issues like deafness, blindness, and other serious issues that may not be apparent as puppies, but will definitely be apparent in your vet bills (and the suffering of the pet) later in life. Parents are kept in kennels in dirty conditions, fed cheap food, and overbred to the point of exhaustion. You will not be allowed to see where these puppies and dogs really live. They are much more likely to experience behavioral issues later in life because of lack of socialization.
Puppy Mills are a major contributor to animal shelters.
These poor dogs need loving homes as much as any dog does. It takes a special person to be able to give them the patience, healthcare, and remedial training they may need. This doesn't make the dog of any less value. Dogs have always been bred to perform specific "jobs". Our puppies have been bred to do the job of a companion and family pet. It is in their DNA and their early socialization to give snuggles, play gently, have even temperaments, and be tolerant of a family environment. Rescue dogs will also be able to contribute meaningfully to a family. Sometimes this is smooth sailing, and sometimes it's not because breed origin, health, and training backgrounds are unknown or unfavorable.