Do you know where your dog came from? What the Sire and Dam lineage was? Does your dog have papers, or come from a show line with any type of recognition? If you do not know the answers or if you don’t think those qualities matter, I will explain why they are of importance.
Backyard breeders, or BYB, are what the people are called who bred dogs that should not be bred under any circumstance. Most breeds have at least one health concern that is specific to the breed. Many have more than just one. For example, Dobermans have von Willebrand’s Disease. The disease is actually a condition that affects the platelets of blood in a way like hemophilia. The difference is that the platelets aren’t lowered but the proteins that stick together have changed and will not form clots to stop bleeding. Labrador Retrievers and most other large breeds have hip dysplasia. It is a genetic disease that could be prevented. If both the male and female are tested before breeding and have no hip dysplasia in the genes, chances are close to unlikely that your pet would receive the condition.
The difference between a BYB and a responsible breeder is the preservation of the breed. When a responsible breeder wants to breed a dog, all common health problems that breed has will be tested prior to being bred. They will also show the dog or have it win awards of some type to prove that their dog is an exceptional example of the breed. They do not breed for money and after properly raising and taking care of the puppies they make very little money. The only intention of a BYB is to make money by selling dogs. They will not test their health or show the dog. Most puppies are raised in a dog house outside on store brand food with little nutrition and in extreme weather. The end result is the dog you pay for will end up costing you more in the long run from a BYB. Health problems further down the road, which otherwise could have been avoided, will be costly.
Reputable breeders will always help you with future problems with the puppies too. The give a lifetime health guarantee that will either replace the dog or help you cover expenses caused by hereditary health issues that could have been avoided. They will encourage training, grooming ideas, and other breed tips. If you can no longer keep the puppy, they will either take the dog back or find the dog a new home. BYB do not care about the future of the dog or the well being of the dog while it is in the buyers care. Most of the time, a BYB will not even know common breed knowledge of the breed they are selling.
Here are some warning signs that may prevent you from buying a dog from these breeders. Make sure the puppy your intending to buy has been health tested according to common problems with the breed you are intending to buy. Always visit the home or place of breeding and trust your instincts. Make sure the conditions are sanitary and loving. A responsible breeder will never put a dog in a horrific situation. Never buy a puppy that is under 8 weeks of age because the puppies should be fully weaned of the nutrition from the mothers. Breeders that care about the health of the dog would never sell a puppy younger than 8 weeks to provide the puppy with adequate nutrition. The mother should never be bred earlier than 2 years of age because of the stress it will cause on her body. If you find an ad in the paper or see a stand at a flea market, that is the most important sign. Good breeders almost always have waiting lists on unborn puppies and would never sell to anyone without doing some kind of check to make sure the new home is suitable. Reputable breeders do not want their puppies to end up in shelters or abandoned. A spay and neuter contract is mandatory for “pet quality” purchased dogs. If the puppy you buy will only be a pet, the breeder will require you to spay or neuter to reduce overpopulation.
Buying a dog from a BYB can cause many problems. Chances are you will end up with a dog with costly medical bills and no information of breed characteristics (such as energy levels, shedding problems, health tests, and training techniques) among a long list of other problems. Most of the dogs the BYB sell end up in shelters because the buyer had no knowledge of the dog or being put down early because of health issues.
Always do your research, check out warning signs of puppy mills, BYB and look for reputable breeders.