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A Guide to Responsible Breeding

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Responsible Breeding

   

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Border Collie Rescue Texas is pleased to offer the following information for those of you who might not have been able to find what you were looking for with us.  If you are interested in purchasing a puppy from a breeder, the following is a guide to help you to find the best breeder possible. This profile is what we believe would be the ideal breeder, not every breeder will be able to fit the profile perfectly but we hope that you are able to find one that does.  Please do your research to find out the Breed Standard and the predisposed genetic problems for the breed you are interested in before you buy.  If you have any questions about the Border Collie please email us and we will be happy to help.  If you are interested in becoming a breeder, we hope this will help you to become a better one.  Please also visit the Virtual Breeding site to learn about the many situations a breeder can expect.

1."How long have you been involved with the breed?"

Backyard breeders are often new to breeding dogs. It's important that the breeder know a lot about the Particular Breed and it shouldn't be someone who just takes two of their dogs and breeds them together.  Ask if the breeder belongs to a breed club or organization. Almost every Reputable Breeder belongs to a local or national club that sets standards for breeders.


2."Do you work or show your dogs? What titles do your dogs have? If they are working dogs, do they have any working trial titles?"

While you may be looking for a pet or a show dog, the parents of your puppy should have working, obedience, or show titles in their pedigrees. This demonstrates the commitment the breeder has towards improving the breed. Some Dog breeders of the puppy’s parents may not have titles, but the breeder should be working towards improvement of the quality. Become familiar with the titles available for the Particular Breed and ask for proof (original awards and certificates). Most breeders are happy to brag about their dogs.


3."Why did you breed these two dogs?"

Reputable breeders strive to improve the breed. They may talk about improving certain conformation of one dog with another or may say this is a repeat breeding, and they really liked the dogs out of the previous breeding. Most good breeders keep one or two puppies but occasionally sell the entire litter if they did not achieve their purpose. Backyard breeders will typically answer, "We wanted another dog", or "We wanted a puppy out of Fido", or worse "We wanted our children to see puppies born".  Be wary of those that say, " We wanted to make money".  Good breeders don't breed solely for financial gain.  Ask why they chose the stud dog. The answer should not be, "Because I own him", or "He was close by".  Reputable breeders may own the stud but chose this dog because it had the better qualities that they were looking for.


4."Do you breed to AKC (or breed club) standards?"

Breed specific breeders, have a Standard to breed by, so be familiar with the Standard. Learn the Standard and understand its intent. Stay away from breeders who breed two different breeds together and sell them as a New Breed. Know the Standard of the particular breed before you buy! Please check out the AKC Canine Health Foundations Buyer's Guide.


5."How many litters do your dogs have each year?"

Most reputable breeders don't encourage multiple litters every year or breed more than two females at the same time. If the breeders say something like, " Puppies are always available," you may be dealing with a puppy mill or a breeder that is “title hunting” in order to later sell just because they have Championed all the dogs. Titles are good, but some abuse them for later making money on the puppy’s parents. A good breeder strives for Quality and not Quantity.


6."How old are the puppies parents?"

Most breeding dogs and bitches are mature, most breed clubs and AKC have a standard rule for when you can breed a dog and a bitch, or they will not register the litter. Puppy mills will not wait for a bitch to fully mature but will breed her as young as 6 months. Backyard breeders out of ignorance will breed their dogs young.


7."Can I see the parents in person or photographs? Can you tell me about the dogs in this puppy’s pedigree?"

Good breeders know the puppy’s ancestry and should have documentation. They should be willing to show you photographs of the parents and related dogs or let you see the parents if both are on the breeder’s property.  Make sure the dogs look clean, healthy and happy.


8."Are the Breeders willing to tell you the possible genetic problems in the breed you are interested in?"

Every dog is predisposed to certain genetic problems, and specific breeds are prone to specific problems.  A good breeder will tell you the problems common in the breed you are looking for and explain them to you. Do your research before hand in order to ensure that you are getting the genetic screens that are necessary for the breed you are looking for.  Good breeders strive to breed for the betterment of the breed and remove the dogs that have genetic problems from their breeding program.  When buying a dog, make sure that the breeder is concerned about health problems and is breeding for good health, temperament as well as good conformation.  Request a written contract.  It is a good idea to ask a breeder if they have ever seen any type of genetic problems in their breeding stock, even if it is not common in that Particular Breed.

Genetic Screening Results to be provided:  

  •     Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) will certify patellas in dogs over a year old, get certified X-rays of Hips and patellas showing no signs of  

  • Patellar Luxation

  • Hip Dysplasia

  • Legg-Calve Perthes (LCP)

  • Cardiac problems 

  •     Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF) is dedicated to the elimination of heritable eye disease in purebred dogs through registration and research. Certified ophthalmic examination using mydriatic, slit lamp biomicroscopy and gonioscopy showing no inherited diseases. All breeding stock should be retested yearly for any signs of Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA).

  •      Veterinary Dental Records showing sire and dam to have the correct dentition for the specific breed standard.

  •      Blood panels taken for thyroid showing levels in normal ranges.  

  •      Negative Brucellosis test – this is a contagious disease of dogs which can cause abortions and infertility in females and testicular atrophy and infections of the prostate and epididymis in males. Dogs may appear completely healthy or have only mild symptoms. This disease is caused by Brucella canis, an intracellular, microscopic parasite in the coccobacillus family--there are three commonly used blood tests to diagnose the organism, however, the results can be equivocal at best. Please consult with your veterinarian for testing options in your area and to discuss staging your female's estrus cycle to determine the best days to breed (usually between days 9 and 13).  It is recommended to get vaginal swabs for cytology to determine peak estrus and/or blood levels of progesterone.  

  •      The BAER (Brain Auditory Evoked Response) test is a safe and painless testing device to determine if a dog has a hearing loss.  A BAER test is performed by placing an insert earphone into the ear canal, while recording needle electrodes are inserted in the skin at the base of each ear.  Each ear is tested individually.  A series of one thousand clicks are transmitted via the earphone to stimulate a response.  The needle electrodes, transmitted to the BAER device, where it is recorded, detect the response.  The click series starts at 70 decibels and is gradually increased to 105 decibels (if hearing is not detected at the lower levels).  By recording the response signals from the needle electrodes, the BAER device can then produce a graphic display of the dog's hearing responses.  A flat line depicts no response, therefore, no hearing.  A wave line of peaks and valley depicts responses and hearing sense in that ear.   A dog that is labeled unilateral has hearing in only one ear. Bilateral normal has hearing in both ears.  

 

9."Do you offer a guarantee? Do you have first right of refusal? Will you take the dog back if I can no longer keep it?"

The guarantee usually offers compensation of another puppy or refund. Sometimes the guarantee includes conditions, and terms, but the new puppy’s owner should easily meet them. Many Reputable Breeders will want right of refusal. This means the breeder will take back the dog at any age if you no longer want it.  The breeder looks at breeding puppies as a life-long commitment that does not end when the puppy leaves the breeder. Responsible breeders do not want the puppy to end up in a shelter, abandoned, or as a laboratory test animal, or a puppy mill stock animal. Often breeders will request that you notify them if you move. They want to hear how your dog is doing and will stay in contact with you in case genetic problems arise later.


10. "What do I need to know to bring the puppy home (puppy's age, vaccinations, food)?"

Reputable breeders will not allow you to take the puppy from its mother and littermates before 8 weeks and some will not until 12 weeks. Puppies need that time to socialize with their siblings and learn basic lessons from their mother. Without this important time, the puppy may develop temperament problems that can continue throughout life.  

All puppies need vaccinations to protect them from diseases. Some breeders give their own shots but should have a complete record of all that has been done for that puppy, before you buy. And should advise you on what to do once you get home with your new puppy. They ask that you take the puppy to your veterinarian with in a certain time frame for an examination, and provide you with further information to help you with your new breed. Puppy Mills and Backyard Breeders may not vaccinate, worm or have their puppies veterinarian checked before you buy, you then end up spending more than what you expected.  Most good breeders will send you home with vet records, an arm full of food, information and maybe that puppy's special toy, or a piece of their clothing that they have worn and cut up so the puppy has a comfortable transition to its new home by having a smell they know.  


11. 
"Do you have a contract? May I see the contract? AKC papers (if applicable), parents certification and pedigrees before I purchase (or put a deposit down on) a puppy?"

The contract, a Bill of Sale between you and the breeder, will specify guarantees to expectations of you as an owner. Never buy a puppy without a contract. The AKC registration papers are not a binding contract. Read the contract before you put money down. Some breeders will make stipulations in the contract, such as stud rights, or so many breedings to the bitch, and how many puppies they will get back from this breeding. If you don't see them or don't understand them until after you have agreed to buy the puppy, and have already put your deposit or full payment down, then you have no recourse. If there is something you don't understand, have a lawyer read it. Some breeders require the owner to take the puppy to obedience training or to spay or neuter it. If you are buying a puppy as a pet, be sure there are no stud or breeding rights in the contract. The breeder should not coerce you into breeding a pet.  


12."Can you provide references?"

Breeders should be able to provide references from previous buyers and other breeders familiar with their practices. Most breeders will encourage you to look at other breeder’s dogs to gain a better understanding of the breed. Most important is that breeders should honestly tell you the breed’s negatives and positives.  


13."Can I inspect your breeding facility in person or photographs? Your home if that is where the puppies have been birthed and whelped?”

Good Breeders should be willing to allow you to see their facilities, you can learn a lot about the value a breeder places on the animals they breed based on the condition of their facilities.  Make sure they are clean and well cared for.  Under no circumstances should you purchase a dog from someone who will only meet you in a parking lot or under some other similar circumstance.   

 

Please be aware that just because a puppy is registered it does not mean that they have been bred responsibly.  The policy for the AKC, arguably the most respected breed club in America, is that should you have a question regarding the reliability of a specific breeder you should refer to your local Better Business Bureau. 

 

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