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Discussion Starter #1
So the past few months or so I have been thinking of getting a puppy. I had a bunch of breeds in mind but after the holidays things settled down enough to actually focus on what I wanted. I narrowed it down to the Shih Tzu and the Maltese. I have researched some breeders and looked at what to look for in a breeder, and I found some that I think are ok. I am NOT experienced in puppy choosing so feel free to tell me whatever is wrong with the breeders. Also, if anyone has recommendations for a small breed that would be wonderful! I am located in Austin, Texas and am pretty much willing to drive anywhere within a day or two (I don't want to ship the puppy). I also have a 3.5 lbs female spayed Yorkie and two fixed ten lbs cats.

Anyways, here are the Shih Tzu Breeders:
1- http://www.karyonshihtzu.com/
2- http://altaspalmasranch.webs.com/
3- http://www.josakennel.com/
4- http://mistydajavueshihtzu.net/

Maltese:
1- http://www.vallettamaltese.net/index.html
2- http://www.kryzmamaltese.com/
 

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I opened one page and it made my eyes hurt so I stopped looking. I"ll admit, I don't know much about these breeds anyways. A good, reputable breeder will health tests all the dogs that they're breeding and will do something with their dogs (be it showing in confirmation, obedience, agility, etc). They'll breed with a goal in mind instead of just sticking two dogs together, and are working to improve the breed as a whole. Also, a good breeder will generally pick out a puppy for you instead of having you choose. They know the puppies and their personalities better than you ever could and if they know exactly what you want in your dog they'll be able to match you with the perfect pup.
 

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I only quickly checked out each site, but I would learn more towards Karyon or Misty Dajavue for the shih tzu (Karyon looks the best). They both actively show, which may not matter to some people, but which I like -- it's always helpful to have an impartial judge evaluate your dogs and make sure they are sound and conform to breed standard.

I don't like the Altas Palmas Ranch site; there's no mention of showing or health (none of the dogs are champions, and "AKC lines" is meaningless; AKC is nothing but a registry and even puppy mill dogs can be registered there), it seems like the breeder only breeds in-house (never using any outside dogs, just using her same little pack over and over), and puppies cost more or less based on their colors and markings (a red flag).

Josa I'm not sure about; it appears that the breeder shows Japanese Chins, but there's no mention of showing shih tzus and they only have one champion dog. It appears they're new to breeding 'tzus. You could always call and ask.

Valletta Maltese looks great; they even link to OFA and CERF on their links page, and this is a great philosophy (from their front page):

Our philosophy is that a responsible/ethical breeder, breeds for the love of the breed. They breed to improve their lines and strive to follow the breed standard; producing healthy, structurally sound Maltese with the sweet, loving temperament that made us all fall in love in the first place. Their beauty is just icing on the cake. Ethical breeders never sell to pet stores or brokers. We believe that if one breeds and contributes to the pet population, one must also support rescue, either by fostering, transporting or assisting monetarily. We are members of the American Maltese Association, the parent club of the AKC for Maltese and ascribe to their code of ethics.
Kryzma Maltese looks good, too.

Most of them don't seem to list info about health testing or guarantees, but not all breeders post that to their sites; however, they should happily provide that info to interested buyers. Here are some things I'd look for in a breeder of any dog (and this is not law, this is just what I personally look for):

-I like for them to show their dogs. Not every dog they use has to be a champion, but more than just one or two should be! (This does not apply to working breeds such as Siberian huskies or border collies, who can be proven in other ways -- years of actual work, herding trials, etc., depending on breed.)
-I like for them to health test (not a vet check, but actual specialized tests) for the genetic issues that can appear in the breed, and for hips/eyes/patellas/etc. (depending on breed).
-I like a health guarantee of at LEAST two years, preferably three or more.

Red flags:

-Trumpeting pups as coming from "champion lines," but neither of the parents are champions. If the stud's grandfather was a champion, that does not guarantee that the stud is quality. Even the best dogs produce pet-quality pups.
-A one-year health guarantee (or worse, no health guarantee). One year is essentially useless, as most issues crop up after the pup's a year old.
-Contracts that state I must return the "defective" pup if I want a refund/replacement.
-Charging higher prices for "rare" colors, or breeding specifically for unrecognized colors or coat lengths or whatever else.
-Any mention of "teacup maltese" or "Imperial shih tzu" or "king shepherd" or any of those other cutesy terms bad breeders use for under or over-sized dogs.

I'll edit in more if I think of it!
 

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You've gotten some great advice here, but I'd also research Maltese-specific message boards to see what other Malt owners know about these and other breeders. I'd also check the Maltese Breeders association to see if they re members in good standing.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I like that they are smaller breed and the way they look. I wasn't looking for anything too specific in a breed except size.

Also, I contacted Karyon Shih Tzus and they have both girl and boy puppies available, she is going to send me some pictures.
 

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It's not necessarily a red flag to me that they don't mention it on the site (although I would of course prefer it). That's something I'd want to discuss with the breeder.

I just checked and found three Karyon dogs in the CERF database (all "normal") and one in the OFA database ("good"). They are all older dogs, though (actually, probably now deceased), so you may want to ask the breeder what's up. :)
 

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I would like to applaud your research and dedication of trying to obtain a quality breeder and not from some "back yard breeder." There are far too many people that do not take the time that is truly needed to find the right dog for themselves from the right breeder. A lot of things mentioned above are rock solid points and you should take note to them.

Before you even get to the point of looking at the breeders of the dog you are looking for you should look up the background and personality traits of the dog you are thinking about owning. ( to make sure the puppy fits your life style.) I saw you said that you liked the dog for how “cute they are.” This is just friendly advice! Hope it helps.
 

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I like that they are smaller breed and the way they look. I wasn't looking for anything too specific in a breed except size.
Size alone isn't a good indicator of the suitability of a dog for you and your lifestyle. You need to be aware of behavior, exercise needs, etc.

Also, I contacted Karyon Shih Tzus and they have both girl and boy puppies available, she is going to send me some pictures.
That makes me nervous. She should be picking pups for you based on knowing what you want and can provide for the dog. Choosing a dog on looks alone is how so many dogs end up in shelters.

I got my rescue from a breeder who also does rescue for that breed. She told me straight out that the breed wouldn't work for me, but that she had a mixed rescue that would be perfect for me, and she was right. Ethical people aren't afraid to be honest.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I understand everyones concerns on this breeder, especially regarding whether or not these breeds where right for me. I am aware of their exercise needs and behavior, I have watched videos and read many articles on them, including other small breeds. From the dogs that I felt could go well with my life style, I chose the ones I thought were most attractive. Those were the Maltese and Shih Tzu. I should have been clearer, sorry.

"Choosing a dog on looks alone is how so many dogs end up in shelters."

This is the first time I have ever truly done research on puppy choosing and what to look for in a breeder. My first chihuahua I picked out when I was in eight grade, so of course I had no idea to research. I just thought chihuahuas were cute and he was relatively cheap, about $400. If I went back to that breeder's website I probably would fine plenty of red flags. He is now 6 years old and has had a few medical issues. We also did not know about proper training then so we had to deal with a lot of issues like aggression, marking, barking, etc. Of course when I got him our family was NOT expecting these issues. They were very frustrating and at times hard to deal with. Not ONCE did my mom ever suggest giving the dog up. I was raised that dogs (and cats) are family and you do not give them up just because they aren't potty trained or ended up costing more money than expected. I know that no matter where you get the dog from, the purchase price is not the final cost. I know I don't just have to pay for food and toys, I understand that in the future there will vet bills, sometimes large ones from unexpected illnesses or accidents. I know that I must be able to pay for training classes.

As new as I am to this site and choosing a puppy, please don't think that I would ever give my dog up. Any training issues would be my fault, it would be cruel to give a dog up for something I did wrong. Medical issues, although expensive, would not be a reason to give my dog up either. Children sometimes get medical issues like a broken leg, or worse like cancer. Their parents don't give them up even though hospital bills can be hundreds of thousands of dollars. I care about my pets in the same way, and I will provide them with whatever they need.
 

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i wasn't accusing you of anything. according to your own post, you were going mostly on size. which is fine as long as you narrow it down from there.

you have to understand, we get a lot of people on here saying things like "Huskies are so PRETtEEEEEE!!", but they live in a one room apartment and don't like to go outside. 18 months later, their local shelter gets a wild, untrained husky to stuff in the back with all the other big, pretty dogs.

a lot of us, myself included, have the results of that. dogs left outside on chains, dogs stuffed in crates and never let out, dogs beaten because they were never trained to act properly. it makes us a bit sensitive to what appears to be shallow reasoning.

again, i didn't mean to offend. i'm sure you'll do fine by whatever dog you choose.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Don't worry, I was definitely not offended. As a dog lover, I like when someone stands up for dogs. They don't really have a voice, and like you said a lot of people just base their choice on, "OMG sooooo cute!!!". I TOTALLY understand why you guys would be sensitive to that. You never know what someone is like over the internet, so it is always best to be safe than sorry and give advice even if they may not need it. I have seen on multiple pet forums people asking for advice and getting upset because they actually didn't want to hear the answer. They don't want training to be the answer, they want the answer to be, "oh, you are doing NOTHING wrong. It is all the dogs fault." Then they go crate it for hours or tie it up in the backyard, because what can they do?

That is why a lot of times I avoid topics like new puppies because there tends to be mixed opinions on their care. I can see how the title of my thread would have raised alarms :)
 

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Oh, good. The internet just doesn't allow for tone. I don't mind people buying puppies, btw. As long as you do it through an ethical breeder, I think it's fine to get exactly the breed you want. I was considering a herding breed myself, which is kind of stupid, in that physically, due to chronic illness, I have little to offer such a dog. I'm glad the breeder/rescue told me what a bad idea that was.

Well, I was a little peeved at first, but I had to admire her ethics. You know how it is.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
So true, tone gets lost in translation. I felt very guilty about not getting a rescue dog, but I wanted to be as close to 100% sure as possible to what I am getting.

I also love herding dogs, especially Collies but could never be able to give them what they need. SOO grateful my parents didn't let me get a "Lassie dog" haha. That would have been a disaster. I was peeved then too, but it was all for the better.
 

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She gets healthy Shih Tzu/Siberian Huskies from good Champion lines. Just because her own dogs aren't Champions doesn't mean there's something wrong with them as a whole.
True, but just because they are from "champion lines," it doesn't mean that they're breeding quality, either. My papillon is from "champion lines" (her parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. were champions), but she is not breeding quality (too tall and she toes out), so she was spayed and sold to me as a pet. "Champion lines" is a phrase a lot of bad breeders use to fool buyers into thinking they're getting a very high-quality pup (when really it might just be one grandparent with a championship). I am not saying that this particular breeder is doing that, but many do.

And if showing isn't important to her, why mention "champion lines" at all?

As for health, it says it right in the introduction and she even has their history and requirements in the "About the Breed" pages.
What, "rest assured that I sincerely have their health and well-being in mind"? Every breeder says that. And she lists the common problems that can affect shih tzus on her about the breed page, but she says absolutely nothing about having genetic tests or hip certification or anything else done on her actual dogs.

She is also a small breeder. Big breeders have so many dogs that they have variety, but what's the point of using 10 studs with little value over a couple of dogs with all the color and Champions they need?
Good breeders breed to better the breed. If you just use the same dogs over and over, never bringing in outside lines, you're not improving anything; you're just producing dogs with the same genes all of the time. You're basically at a standstill.

She loves her dogs, they're like children to her and she wants to spend time with them and actually know them rather than having 10+ "breeding stock" in kennels and they only come out to mate.
I don't think you know much about good breeders if you think they all do this. My papillon's breeder also keeps her (six) dogs in her home, spends time with them and cares very much about all of them. MANY good breeders do.

Also, it's pretty dangerous and unhealthy just using studs from other people
How so? Of course you have to carefully research these studs, but if they are coming from reputable breeders and have been properly genetically screened and had their hips/patellas/eyes/etc. evaluated, and have been STD tested (yes, this is a real thing!), I cannot see how it would be dangerous to use them.

As for the price based on colors/markings, it is also based on their pedigree and what lines and Champions they have in their bloodlines. What else is it suppose to be based on?
Most good breeders I know have one price for pet puppies and one price for show/breeding prospects. They do not charge extra for females or for "fancy" colors or anything like that -- if a dog's only going to be a pet, and will be spayed or neutered anyway, then why should it cost more than any other pet from that breeder?
 

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She doesn't show her dogs, but that's because she's working on a veterinary degree. She doesn't have the time a 50 year old or a retired person would have.
Wait... what? That's the poorest excuse for now showing that I've ever heard. My boy's breeder (and many other breeders) works full time, has a social life, and still shows her dogs. Reputable breeders do all of that and most of them have families too. Plus, not only does she show her dogs but she takes the time and effort to put titles on them. That's what good, reputable breeders do.
 

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Yes, my papillon's breeder also has a full-time job and a social life! And I go to a lot of dog shows; I'd say many of the people there are middle-aged and show/breed as a hobby while also holding down jobs. Good breeders don't make much (if any) money off breeding dogs, so a real job is a necessity!
 

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She doesn't have the time a 50 year old or a retired person would have.
Ooppps. Didn't realize that I had to be 50 and retired to show my dogs... My bad, as I'm 25 and work multiple jobs...

She loves her dogs, they're like children to her and she wants to spend time with them and actually know them rather than having 10+ "breeding stock" in kennels and they only come out to mate.
Right. Because my dog that will hopefully be bred next year (pending appropriate health testing) doesn't spend any time outside of her kennel. Better tell that to her as she's right here curled up beside me in bed.
 

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I am 24 and I also show my dogs, I work full time and will be having a party with my friends this weekend. My dogs are currently all playing tug of war with the same toy right in front of me in the living room, by the way two of these dogs I plan to breed (one of them has to get older and pass health testing and prove herself, the other has already passed health testing and proven himself). Hmm shocker you say that they're not locked up in a kennel until it comes time to mate with each other?
 
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