The 137th annual Westminster Kennel Club dog show was held February 11-12, 2013 with the largest showing ever. This year 2,721 dogs were entered representing 179 different breeds. Throughout the show the Westminster Kennel Club made the announcement that no dog seen at the show was a product of a puppy mill or came from a pet shop. For those looking to add the love of a dog to their family the best source is that of a responsible breeder.
Responsible breeders never sell their puppies to pet stores or dealers. They do not sell them over the internet or ship a puppy to a buyer they have not met. An ethical breeder will want to meet the buyer and ask them questions. A prospective buyer may be asked about children and other pets in the household. What kind of home they have, a house or an apartment, a fenced or unfenced yard? Who will be responsible for care and training?
They encourage the buyer to spend time with the puppy, its littermates and their parents. Reputable breeders will show the areas in their home where the puppies and parents spend their time. These areas are clean and spacious, not overcrowded and dirty. Puppies brought up in kennels or garages, separated from people, don’t get the exposure needed to grow into a friendly, outgoing companion.
Responsible breeders give extra care and attention to the health of their dogs. They can provide the veterinary records for the puppy and may ask for a veterinary reference if the buyer has had other pets. A reputable breeder will provide a written contract, sales agreement, pedigree and a health guarantee that their pups are free of genetic problems.
Puppies may be classified as show, breeding or pet quality. Pet quality puppies may be sold at a lower price because their coat type, markings, size or color may not meet show standards. Buyers will be asked to sign a spay/neuter contract if they are not going to show the puppy. Registration papers will be provided along with a contract that the puppy may be returned at anytime for any reason.
A responsible breeder is actively involved with state and local breed clubs. Responsible breeders participate in breed rescues and support changes in the pet industry. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) works with responsible breeders to stop supporting the cruelty of puppy mills. There are many purebreds waiting for homes in shelters. Adopting a puppy instead of buying one is a sure way to help stop puppy mills.