Before you get a new puppy, ask yourself this.
If you have recently looked into purchasing a puppy, you may have noticed that the puppy market is currently extremely saturated. Suddenly, everyone is breeding dogs and everyone has puppies and I see many breeders unable to sell pups, even entire litters. Now this may sound like simple supply and demand and no big deal, but in some instances it is a big deal, or at least it should be. Many of the breeders stepping back, taking breaks or even quitting all together are great, passionate, responsible ones and many of the ones stepping in are irresponsible, uneducated and inexperienced "backyard breeders". Watching this happen has got me thinking, so I have some questions for you, or for anyone who could potentially be looking for a new four legged family member.
Let me start by saying I fully support rescues and know that there are so many amazing dogs needing homes and many situations where rescuing a dog makes perfect sense. However, there are also many situations where buying from a responsible breeder makes more sense; both have their place. But this is not about rescue vs. breeder, this is about breeder vs. breeder.
So let's jump in. Whether you are a first time dog owner or an experienced dog owner, what is important to you when selecting a breeder to purchase a new puppy from? What do you look for? Is it important to you that the breeder be familiar with the lines they are working with? Or if they can tell you about the temperament of their lines, what type of home and family would be a good fit, etc? Does it matter to you if they do any health testing? How about what they would (or would not) do if your puppy had a serious genetic condition? How about the parents of the puppy and their pedigrees, does it matter if the breeder put thought and care into selecting a breeding they felt would produce outstanding dogs, both in appearance and temperament? Do you care about how the puppy will look at maturity or if it will be a nice representation of the breed you are buying? Do you care if the breeder is able to offer support and answer your questions not only during the sale, but throughout the life of the dog and help with anything, should you ever need it? What about if something unexpected caused you to have to temporarily or permanently rehome your dog, is having a breeder that is willing to take that dog back at any time for any reason important? Do you care about methods a breeder uses during the whelping of their puppies? Whether they are setting that puppy up to be a balanced and healthy dog right from the start, both in mind and body? Do you care if the space they are whelped in is kept clean, or if they are being properly desentized to different sounds, textures and experiences? Are you familiar with different whelping methods and their potential life long impact, good or bad, on your future dog? How about whether the breeder is able to give you a knowledgeable assessment of each pup and help you understand their personalities before you choose one? I could go on, but hopefully my point has been received by now.
This is why it matters, all of this. This is why it should be worth it to pay more for a pup from a reputable breeder than from a backyard breeder. Not only will you receive a better representation of the breed, which may include appearance, athleticism, drive, etc, but you'll receive the benefits of everything mentioned above. Health testing dogs is certainly not cheap, but neither are the vet bills for an unhealthy dog, not to mention the heartache. The hours, days, months and years many breeders spend bettering their own dogs and puppies they sell is priceless. A breeder who remains on call for you indefinitely to make sure all of your questions are answered and your relationship with your dog is successful, is invaluable. The difference between a puppy that has had around the clock care since birth, appropriate socialization, enrichment and given every opportunity to thrive versus a puppy who has not, is monumental. The blood, sweat and tears that goes into whelping the correct way is worth something. The tens of thousands (and thousands) invested in purchasing and breeding only the best dogs, the ones that the breeder feels proud to have their name and reputation stamped on, that also holds huge value. You are not only buying a puppy, you are buying all of this.
So yes, it may save you money upfront to purchase a dog from a backyard breeder with minimal time or money invested. One that you may never hear from again, that may sell you a dog with health issues and is nowhere to be found should you need help. One that did not take the time to do everything in their power to set your puppy up for success, in fact they did the bare minimum. Your choice to bargain shop for your new puppy could ultimately wind up costing you much more. #supportresponsiblebreeders