Updated: Apr 6, 2019
Tim and I adore our Blaze and Liar and we are so thankful to Mandy for allowing us to have them in our home!
For background, Tim and I have had crosses, rescues, purebred dogs, and have loved them all! This is very important for you to know as we don't feel one dog deserves more in life then another or has a higher "value" then another. Nor do we "look down" on anyone's dog or think they're "less than".
The picture I chose for today's blog is our little rescue "Taxi" who left us a few years back and now waits for us "at the bridge".
Taxi's story is that while going to work one early morning, I had called a cab and the driver (NOT ME) ran over her as she ran through the streets. I jumped out of the cab, scooped her up, vetted her and kept her for another 15 years until she passed away from old age.
Currently in our home though, we are left with two responsibly bred Dobermans. Going forward, if Tim and I choose to get another dog, I'm not sure if we'll rescue or purchase another puppy as we'll have to determine at that time what fits our family.
I write this blog today because so many times I've seen the following statements:
- "ALL Breeders are just money hungry!"
- "I don't want a show dog."
- "They cost too much because they're only in it for the money!"
- "They're the reason we have so many dogs in rescue - they don't care!"
- "Adopt - DON'T SHOP!"
- "There are no RESPONSIBLE breeders!"
The statement "ADOPT - DON'T SHOP" in my opinion is one of the most absurd statements I've ever heard and quite frankly drives me crazy! Why? You are making a lifetime commitment! Before any living being comes into your house, you owe it to them to insure they are the right fit for your family. This may mean rescue or purebred, but please SHOP, which to me means, DO YOUR DUE DILIGENCE! Make a sound decision that you will honor for that dogs life!
When I read or hear the above statements, I've always gotten involved in a discussion that at some point has lead to the question "how do you find a reputable breeder?" and "why should I want a responsible breeder?"
In this blog, I'm going to assume that you've evaluated your home and family, done your due diligence, researched your canines and decided that you want a pure bred puppy from a particular breed of dog. In my case (before Tim and I met), I had determined that my next DOG of choice was to be a purebred Doberman as I was looking for a medium to large breed dog, highly intelligent, active, and at the time being single and hearing impaired, visually "intimidating" and protective. The Doberman fit the bill for me but know also, at that time, I had two rescues in my home, Taxi (pictured) being one of them.
My next obstacle was to find a breeder and I started by doing what so many people do, I Googled! Quickly, I found multiple adds on "buying sites" such as the Canadian classic, Kijiji (which also hosts adds for cars, garage sales and pretty much every product known to man kind). There were a number of "breeders" here advertising Doberman puppies ranging in the price from $600.00 to $2,000.00. As I read through the adds, they had pictures of the mother and a lot of the times the father also. They had cute puppy pictures and sometimes they stated that the parents were "papered", "registered", or "certified". Typically, these puppies were to go home with shots and deworming and maybe have their first vet visit. Most of the time their ears weren't cropped, tails weren't docked and declaws were not removed as I knew was more typical with the Doberman breed. Sometimes, they stated that you wouldn't get "papers" as it was too expensive. It was obvious to me, there were a high volume of puppies to choose from so because I was in no hurry, I could afford time to "look around" and continued "shopping" with Google.
In my continued search, I started to find "Breeder" websites. To say this, I mean that an individual had started their own website and showcased only their dogs and puppies. This was different then Kijiji as there were simply PILES of Doberman pictures that the owner had, as well as their current litter - IF they had a litter. These pictures were different then the Kijiji adds though, they typically had "show pictures" where numerous dogs they owned (not just the mother or father of the current litter) had won ribbons in different CKC (Canadian Kennel Club) or AKC (American Kennel Club) venues such as Conformation, Obedience, Rally etc. But I didn't want a show dog, I just wanted a pet so although it was impressive, at the time it wasn't a big deal to me.
As I went through the various breeder websites I started to notice more and more differences to the Kijiji adds. They typically had information on the Doberman breed ranging from temperament to "breed standards". They listed medical testing they had done on their dogs due to the ailments that sometimes came with the Doberman. They sometimes had "puppy questionnaires" that you had to fill out to find out if they would "approve" me. The websites typically stated they had "waiting lists" and "contracts" that had to be signed IF I was "approved. They also sometimes had "future breeding" where again the mother and father was shown as they were planning in advance a litter. Sadly, the websites even sometimes had a "Rainbow Bridge" page that had pictures and an "obituary" of sorts on dogs they had that had passed away. It was obvious to me that there was a significant difference here - but why and why did it matter?
So lets jump ahead 15 years from my original search and let me tell you what I've learned. This is not to say I think I know it all or that I'm an expert, and I'm certainly not telling you what to do. I simply want to relay information and maybe if you've thrown around one or more of the above statements, maybe you'll reconsider doing that going forward.
Tim and I currently have two Dobermans, Blaze (female almost 11 years old) and Liar (male just turned 7 years old). Gunner, that boy that I originally searched for sadly passed away and is missed everyday! Mandy is the "reputable breeder" of both Liar and Blaze but as the years have gone by, I also consider her to be our friend! She lives in the United States and we live in Canada. I say this as even though we're thousands of miles apart and truthfully, Tim has never even face to face met her, we would welcome her at our table any day!
What makes Mandy a "reputable breeder" in OUR eye (in no particular order)?
- She has spent a large sum of money health testing any and all dobermans she's bred and lists the test results because her personal goal is to eliminate genetic issues in Dobermans.
- She has Championed multiple Dobermans PROVING that her dogs consistently fit the Doberman standard in size, looks, temperament and movement which is crucial for the Doberman breed to do and behave in the manner of what they were originally designed for. She has spent a large sum of money and spent time away from her family to do this.
- She has always texted, emailed, called or on Facebook sent out "Happy Birthday" notices to her "puppies".
- She shares "brags" of her "puppy people" showing how they have succeeded in Conformation, Obedience, Scent work or so forth because she's PROUD of her puppies!
- She's traveled away from her family, home, and day time job, to breed her female to a male in a different US State because she felt HE was the best male for her bitch as opposed to the male she had in her home.
- She has been our "go to" if we've ever had a problem with our dogs, why is that? She's not a vet, but we feel she has an incredible vast knowledge of the Doberman breed and in particular HER dogs.
- Literally, she has ate, drank, slept Doberman for years now and truly loves the breed.
- IF one of her "puppy people" have had a change in life (it happens) where they could not keep their Doberman, she has taken the dog back without judgement, vetted them, and either kept the dog or found them a new loving home preventing this dog from entering the "rescue or shelter" world.
- Mandy has a wait list and contracts.
- In the case of cropping and docking, Mandy has done this with her pups by travelling to a reputable vet (hours away). Before the pup goes home, the ears have healed (but in tapes).
- Mandy has a "health guarantee" on her puppies.
- All Mandy's puppies are chipped and have "papers" or registrations with either full ownership or co-ownership with stipulations on breeding.
- Mandy gave us a booklet she made up on each of our puppies that had health history and lineage of both the mother and father (multiple generations back), as well as medical information on diseases that Dobermans are "predisposed" to. It also included training tips, as well as ear posting techniques.
I'm not saying that to be a "responsible breeder" you have to be EXACTLY like Mandy but when looking for one, that's how I would definitely describe one! She has always made herself available, always helped and always taken full responsibility for every one of her puppies. When I hear or read "breeders are selfish, money hungry people" quite frankly I get damn mad! Mandy is NOT that, Mandy cares about ALL the puppies that she's "put out there" and not just for a few weeks but for that puppies full life!
I want to be "crystal clear" ALL dogs deserve love, comfort, vetting, and most importantly, a safe place to call home for their entire life whether they're purebred, backyard bred, designer bred, crosses, rescues or what have you. Tim and I have had them all and loved them all. But in the case of Liar and Blaze, I chose a puppy and a breed that fit our home, I did my due diligence and found that reputable breeder in Mandy. I did not support a money hungry, pop out piles of puppies person who doesn't give a rip about what happens to them.
I ask that IF you make the CHOICE to have a puppy from a particular breed, take the time, do your due diligence on not only the breed but find AND support a "reputable" breeder.
WARNING SIGNS OF A BACKYARD / DESIGNER BREEDERS :
- No health testing or incredibly limited.
- No papers on the parents or especially YOUR PUPPY. Please note that some "designer dogs" will have registrations on the parents but because they are each of a different breed, their puppies are not purebred and should not be sold under the guise of such.
- The breeder has limited knowledge of the breed and you confirm this having done your due diligence and asking questions.
- The breeder uses incorrect terminology when discussing their "breed" in reference to allowable colors, possible ailments and so forth.
- The breeder will not allow you to their home to meet the mother. Please note, many breeders will not have both the mother and father in their home as a lot of the time they have traveled to "pick the right male". Ask why the male isn't around. Find out why you can't come to their home!
- Words like "doodle, teacup, mini, king, rare" being used to describe the puppies they are selling. Please note that some breeds do come in "miniature" size but you can easily find out with research.
- Confirm the breed being sold is an actual RECOGNIZED breed by a governing body such as the Canadian Kennel Club, American Kennel Club or your country's governing body as this will again alert you to "Designer Breeds".
- Non recognized breeds are in fact "crosses".
- Ask them questions! Interview them! Will they take the dog back should you have a lifestyle change where you can no longer keep the dog?
- How old is the female being bred / how many litters has she had?
- How does this breeder financially live - is this a "hobby" and they have a full time job? Are they retired? Do they have a spouse to help support/help them? Or is BREEDING their job?
Look, we have a huge problem with "un-wanted" dogs in the world looking for homes. Trying to get rid of the "Reputable Breeder", the ones who care so much for their dogs, the ones who are assisting in medical research to eliminate canine disease isn't the answer! If you choose to support a breeder, please find a reputable one otherwise, consider Rescue. If you're wanting to breed, don't "wing it", find a mentor, learn from them and "raise the bar".
But most importantly, always SHOP and make the right choice for your family as you're making a lifetime commitment!
Share the story - it could save a life!
I welcome comments or suggestions at : firstname.lastname@example.org
See more of my blog on : https://www.karengrzenda.com/
See Gunner's story here : https://youtu.be/2QPyQDGgEhw
Get your copy of "Heart Dog - Gunner's Story" here : https://www.amazon.com/Heart-Dog-Gunners-Karen-Grzenda/dp/1723804460