Dogs, especially puppies are among the cutest creatures on the planet and the process of bringing one into your life can feel quite magical and fantastic.
However, many individuals who buy puppies for the very first time may make the mistake of purchasing them from breeders they are not supposed to buy, such as backyard breeders or puppy mills (also puppy farms or puppy factories).
If you are buying a puppy for the first time, you may be wondering how to avoid the wrong breeders and how to differentiate between a responsible and a backyard breeder. Well, let’s dig a little deeper into the topic so that you can have a clear understanding of it.
What is a Backyard Breeder?
Backyard breeding is a term that can be used to describe those individuals who irresponsibly breed animals just for the sake of money. These individuals don’t care about the welfare of the animals and their only concern is to make a huge profit while spending as little as possible. These people either lack the right knowledge or ignore it as they think that they can produce good quality show dogs and sell them for big money.
Read: Small Dog Syndrome
Signs of a Backyard Breeder
Many dog lovers ask how can they identify a backyard breeder. Well, if every breeder was a responsible breeder, the animal shelters wouldn’t have been overflowing (irresponsible dog owners are equally responsible for this though). Keeping that in mind, you need to be well aware of the signs of a backyard breeder. To help you out in this regard, we have listed down some of these signs that will help you identify a backyard breeder.
No Screening of Potential Buyers
While responsible breeders would have the best interest of their dogs in mind, the only concern of backyard breeders would be money. Ethical and responsible breeders would want to have complete information regarding the home that their dogs would be going into as it would tell them whether their dogs would be taken care of or not.
We have witnessed many responsible breeders who have prepared a special questionnaire for those who are interested in getting a puppy from them. Many breeders would also reject selling their puppies to potential customers if they don’t feel right about them.
Selling on Platforms Like Craigslist and Gumtree
As discussed before, since the primary concern of backyard breeders would be money, they would want to earn it in any possible way. Since Craigslist and Gumtree attract buyers who deal by just meeting up and exchanging cash for a puppy, responsible buyers won’t sell on these platforms. Most of the responsible breeders have a full-fledged website and a Google My Business account listing where the buyers can get full information about them.
Read: Bernedoodle Puppies
Minimal Medical Security
Usually, health contracts are made between the buyers and the breeders at the time of purchase. These contracts ensure the health of the puppies for at least 1 year (and at most a lifetime guarantee) starting from the date of the purchase. The backyard breeders won’t care much about the health contracts or offer health contracts for a short period.
No Proof of Genetic Testing
Genetic testing goes hand in hand along with health guarantees and responsible breeders test for most, if not all of the most common genetic defects. The proofs of these tests are then listed for all of their breeding dogs.
Irresponsible breeders will lack this proof as they would be least concerned about the defects that are prevalent in the breed of the dog that they are selling. For example, if you are getting a large dog that is prone to hip dysplasia, the breeder should provide you with the hip score of the dog.
No Veterinary Records
Puppies are supposed to receive their first veterinary visits, dewormers, and shots between the age of 6 to 8 weeks. This ensures that the dogs have been examined thoroughly by a professional veterinarian for health issues.
Even though it is legal for the breeders to give the first puppy shots themselves (different countries and states may have different laws for this), the responsible ones would have the shots given by a vet as proof that they were given correctly. All of this documented proof may not be available with a backyard breeder.
Why Backyard Breeders Should be Avoided?
Breeders often tend to ignore particular details that must be considered to allow successful and healthy breeding. To maximize their profits, they usually allow the dogs to reproduce freely without considering their hereditary history, health, behavior, and meal patterns.
Several health risks and genetic abnormalities may result as a result of such ignorant behavior of the breeders. They might seem more economical than most of the other breeders but in the long run, you will be able to see that you’ll still be paying a lot more than required if all you are getting is a dog that might have serious health and behavior issues.
Most irresponsible breeders tend to get rid of such unfit puppies by giving them away for free. As tempting as this may sound, you cannot ignore the potential issues this can lead to. Getting a puppy with an unknown genetic history comes with a lot of risks hence it is better to avoid getting one. However, if you are okay with adopting such puppies, it is better to get them from a reputable animal clinic or rescue sanctuary as dogs there are checked and looked after by qualified veterinarians.
Read: Health Benefits of Dogs for Elders
Different Between Backyard Breeders & Puppy Mills
Backyard breeders usually breed on a smaller scale as compared to puppy mills, puppy farms, or puppy factories. They have a small indoor setup and they usually breed a couple of litters every year depending on the number of available breeding dogs.
A puppy mill (puppy factory or puppy farm) breeds dogs on a larger scale and at a time there could be hundreds of puppies available with them living a miserable life. Once a puppy mill was raided by authorities and around 700 puppies were rescued from their premises.
Reputable Breeder vs Backyard Breeder
How to differentiate between a reputable dog breeder and a backyard breeder? The two most definite ways of getting a dog are through a reputable breeding source and if not that, then by contacting a backyard breeder. The main difference that sets these options apart is the effort and investment made by the breeder.
A reliable breeder pays particular attention when breeding his dogs. They consider the genetic history, behavior patterns, and other important factors before breeding dogs to minimize the risk of any health risks or defects. They even have veterinarians that perform regular health screenings for both the parent dogs to ensure healthy puppies.
On the contrary, a backyard breeder tends to be careless when it comes to the breeding process as for them, profit matters more than the quality of the breed. Moreover, their knowledge is limited, and don’t have the means to invest a lot in the health of the puppies.
Experience and Knowledge
The most prominent differences between them are their knowledge and experience. Most reliable breeders are a part of local breed-specific organizations. They are quite experienced and can answer most queries related to specific breeds. Reliable breeders take special care of their dogs to ensure they remain in perfect health condition.
The reputable breeders make sure that their female dogs don’t get impregnated before they turn two years old. Reputable breeders make sure that their dogs start to breed once they are mature however in the case of a backyard breeder, as soon as their reproductive cycle begins, those dogs start breeding regardless of their age or maturity. There is a specification or control on how many times a dog can breed.
Healthcare Facilities and Investment
The dog’s health is a primary concern for a reputable breeder as they want to make sure their new breed is healthy and has low risks of developing any defects. However, since most backyard breeders are commercial-minded, they pay little attention to their dog’s health.
Reliable breeders tend to own their breeds and care for them even after they have been purchased. They take full responsibility in case of any health issues and make sure to treat their sogs in the best way possible. On the contrary, backyard breeders don’t take responsibility for their dogs in case of any health issue which is why they cannot be trusted or relied upon when purchasing a puppy.
How to choose a responsible breeder?
While getting a new puppy, first, you should research the breed if you are getting it for the first time. Once you have finalized the breed, start looking for the most reputable breeder of that breed in your area and neighborhood. Make sure you do the following while choosing the breeder:
- Check their website.
- Ask your friends and family
- Check local review websites and find what their customers say about them
- Request a visit or a video conference call and check their premises
- Ask for health certificates of dogs and puppies
- Prepare a questionnaire and get them to answer all of your questions
Questions you should ask a breeder:
- How long they have been breeding this breed?
- Are they registered and licensed to breed this dog?
- How often do they breed their females?
- Have the health tests of parents been performed or not?
- Ask them to meet the parents.
Read all the questions you should ask the breeder.
You wouldn’t want your human child to be born with genetic issues and defects, right? Similarly, as a responsible dog parent, you wouldn’t want your dog to be born with genetic issues and defects. So, always get a dog from a well-reputed breeder, although it would cost you more, it will be beneficial for you and the dog in the long run. And yes, if possible, adopt a dog from the shelter instead of getting one from a breeder because hundreds and thousands of dogs (and other pets) are waiting to be adopted. Read Why should you adopt a dog?
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