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Does your breeder pass the test?


Terriers are wonderful dogs but they are not for everyone.  While their clever, happy, gregarious and intelligent dogs those same traits can make them difficult to live with.  That’s why you should be very careful choosing a breeder to purchase your dog from.  Once you’ve decided what type of Terrier you want remember this dog will be your companion for many years.  Many Terriers will live to be 14 years of age or more, that’s almost as long as your child will live with you!


A responsible breeder cares very deeply for all dogs but most especially their own breed. They will devote time and money they can’t spare in order to do what is best for their dogs.  They are so devoted to their breed they will do anything possible to assure that a puppy receives a proper home.  Often this will mean that you have to pass an extensive background check and endure a lengthy wait for the newest member of your family.


Why should you go to this extreme you may ask.  Why should I wait?  Why do I have to answer all these questions?  Why not go down the street to the local John’s Puppy Place and buy a dog there?  I can put right on my Visa card!  This is the worst possible idea. The reason is the majority of puppies in pet stores are purchased either from puppy mills or brokers who act as a middle man for puppy mills.  Puppy mills are horrendous places.  A puppy mill is a commercial breeder who produces puppies and kittens only for the money and with no thought as to the welfare of the animals.  Dogs often spend their entire lives in wire cages (similar to a rabbit hutch) with the filth accumulating beneath them.  They receive no love and attention and are often severely neglected.  Females produce puppies each and every season.   They receive no prenatal care.  No testing is done for inherited disease.  If they die whelping they are merely replaced with another.  Puppies, if they survive, receive no special care.  They are often weaned at 3 to 4 weeks of age and are transported across country to pet stores.  Many times they are packed into trucks for transport and do not survive the trip.


NO RESPONSIBLE BREEDER EVER SELLS THEIR DOGS TO A BROKER OR PET STORE or anywhere the well being of the puppy is in question.


Each person who buys from a pet store is putting money back into the system to keep the puppy mills and pet stores flourishing.  Many times you may want to rescue that poor sickly puppy from the pet store but it will only put money back into the puppy mills pockets and assure you of costly Veterinary bills.  Many puppies in pet stores are sold with communicable disease and if they survive will cost you dearly, just not financially but in terms of heartbreak. 


A Back Yard Breeder is a broad definition of either a small puppy mill, your neighbor who decides to breed Fluffy to Duke down the street or someone who is only breeding to make money.  Some BYB are nice people who when educated will see the error of their ways and want what is best for their dogs.  The ones that are strictly in it for the money will turn a deaf ear to this education and often justify their behavior in misleading ways.

BYB do not perform health checks or temperament testing.


Irresponsible breeders fill shelters and harm dogs.  Avoid buying from them by doing your homework.  Shelters are not filled with just “mutts” but also purebred dogs from unscrupulous, uncaring breeders.  If you do not purchase from them then you are taking money out of their pocket and preventing them from making a profit from dogs.



One Plus One does not always equal a litter!


It can be as easy as putting a male and female together to produce a litter of puppies.  Breeding dogs is an art.  It takes research, education, devotion, time and money with a little bit of instinct thrown in.  If you want to breed dogs the first question you need to ask yourself is Why?  Because of a lack of responsible caring homes millions of dogs, purebred and mixed bred are put to sleep each year.  There are thousands of puppies in shelters waiting for loving homes.  Unless you are committed to breeding better dogs it would be best to spay or neuter your pet.  Breeding dogs is not something to due on the spur of the moment.  Breeders spend hours researching pedigrees and bloodlines, learning genetics and large sums of money on health tests and exhibiting their dogs.  Do you have the resources to breed responsibly?  Are you prepared to have to put a newborn puppy to sleep?  How about that puppy you’ve lived with for six weeks only to find out it has some terrible disease?  How would you feel if you lost your bitch while she was whelping?  Could you take the time off from work to bottle feed the litter?  What if someone returns a dog to you after 4 years would you be prepared to take it back?  In short, are you willing to do everything within your power to make sure your dogs receive good health care and good loving homes?


If your answer is still yes to all these questions then your ready to begin your “canine education”. If you’ve decided upon a breed then you need to start researching bloodlines and pedigrees.  What are the health issues in the breed? Learn about structure, temperaments and type.  Most often you’ll want to start with a female.  Many long time breeders are hesitant to place a show quality female with a novice and may require extensive contracts and co-ownerships.  If you have second thoughts about this you might want to begin with a male and establish your reputation then acquire a female at a later date.  Before you enter into any contract or especially a co-ownership with another person make sure you both understand exactly what is expected of each other and that you are totally comfortable with that person.  Many a budding relationship has gone bad from a lack of contract or from misunderstandings.  Either way a show contract may be a lengthy agreement as most breeders want to be sure about the person purchasing a dog.  Be wary of the breeder selling “breeding stock only” or “breeding quality”.   Most ethical breeders want only their best dogs used in a breeding program and currently the only way for a novice to validate that quality is with a judges critique in the show ring. 


Once you have found a breeder of your “show potential” puppy that person will ideally become your mentor in the breed.  They will be there to advise you on everything from diet and grooming to which shows you should enter under which judges.  They will educate you to the breed and help you develop your breeding program.  This is a person you will want to cultivate as they will pass on to you enormous amounts of information and advise and you will hopefully have a long standing relationship with.  They will teach you about the different bloodlines and types, steer you away from that “flashy top winning” stud who has a front all wrong for your bitch and towards one that will compliment her.  They will know which dogs have “skeletons in their closets” since they are “long term” breeders.   Your mentor will help you develop in your mind what the perfect dog of your breed would look like and how to work towards that goal.  When the time comes to whelp your first litter it would be best of your mentor or some other experienced breeder can be on to help you deliver the litter as problems can and do arise. A good Veterinarian is a must and ideally will be available for emergencies.


The most important part of being a responsible breeder is finding quality homes for your pups.  You should always be ready to keep pups as long as you need to until that perfect home comes along.  Even though you may have a waiting list and deposits buyers back out.   To protect your pups, the buyer and yourself you should have a purchase contract.  This will outline what is expected of you and the buyer but is primarily designed to protect the puppy.  The contract will cover your guarantee, what care you expect the puppy to receive, a spay/neuter agreement and your first right of refusal should the purchaser no longer be able to care for the dog.




Are you ready to breed?




Breeding dogs can give you the greatest joy and sense of accomplishment but can also bring you the greatest of heartbreak!