Buying Dogs From a Breeder
By Daniel Millions
When buying a dog from a breeder there are many pitfalls to
watch out for. Below is list of items that will help guide you
in your decision.
1. Written Guarantee: Good breeders provide written guarantees
against genetic disease. It is essential to get a guarantee on
the hips and eyes of your pup, given the epidemics of hip
dysplasia and various forms of progressive blindness among the
The guarantee entitles you to a refund of the price of the puppy
or a replacement puppy should there be a problem. The guarantee
should also allow you to take your new puppy to your own vet
within a certain period of time in order to have its good health
independently confirmed before the sale is considered final.
Beyond the guarantee of your pup, you want to see copies of the
Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) certificate on the hips
of both parents, plus the Canine Eye Registration Foundation
(GERF) certificate on the eyes of both parents.
Do not take the breeder's word that the parent animals are so
registered. Good breeders will not be troubled by your request.
However, you must be prepared to run into the occasional breeder
whom will not want to comply with your request. You are almost
sure to run into "prominent" breeders who don't believe in
having their dogs' hips and eyes checked, even if they are from
seriously afflicted breeds.
Both in a personal quest for a dog and in researching this
information I had this experience again and again. For instance,
there is a dog breed about which Michele Lowell says in Your
Purebred Puppy: A Buyer's Guide, "He is susceptible to hip
dysplasia and serious tumors." She urges: "Buy only from
A leading breeder of this breed, a person who sits on the
national club's breed standard committee, told me she didn't
have her animals OFA-certified because "I've never had any hip
problems. If I ever start, I'll have my dogs checked."
Even in the midst of a plague of canine hereditary disease, this
ton-of-cure-is-worth-an-ounce-of-prevention attitude is still
common. Be ready to decide for yourself if you find it
2. Restricted Transfers: Responsible breeders are answering the
distress call of America's dogs by trying to minimize
inappropriate breeding. One way to do this is with "restricted
These can involve a contract between the new owner and the
breeder stipulating that the dog will not be bred until it is
old enough to be tested for inherited disease and has been
certified disease free. Some restricted transfers require that
the animal be spayed or neutered at six months of age, with AKC
papers not passing to the purchaser until this is done.
You may not be interested in acquiring a pet under such
conditions, but you can be sure that breeders imposing them are
deeply committed to improving the quality of their breed.
About the Author
Browse our English Bulldog articles or search through our pet
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