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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone,

So I have been in search of a puppy for a while now - I chose to purchase from a reputable breeder... I don't want to give out too many details as I don't want to call out this breeder if it's not how I interpret the situation, but I feel, let's just say, uneasy about them.

The things that concern me about them are:
1) They didn't ask many questions about me or my lifestyle. Only chatted to me about their dogs and how they show them. Then told me the price. That was the extent of our conversing.
2) They are out of state and despite me wanting to fly out to pick up the puppy, they don't seem to want to take me where the puppies/dogs are kept. In fact, they haven't even given me their address (It's not even in the contract), which I don't understand. Maybe safety?
3) They say they will mail the AKC documentation when I come to get the dog - does this mean they aren't going to give it to me when I'm there?
4) They want a deposit before I have seen the puppy.
5) Doesn't seem like the dam has been shown - she was imported from Europe in 2019 though before COVID so this might be why as I have seen the mother and she does seem to conform the breed standard from the videos I've seen
6) Not many photos or videos have been given to me

Things that make me think they are legitimate:
1) They have done genetic testing on both the dam and the sire
2) COI% is low on both parents
3) They appear to be very active in conformation and the father is a Grand Champion and comes from a very impressive line
4) Mother also comes from an impressive line though due to her being an import it took some digging to find her pedigree

Am I being paranoid or does this seem off?

Any thoughts/suggestions? This is my first time purchasing a puppy and I'm trying to do the right thing and support someone who is trying to better the breed.
 

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1. Not every breeder puts a lot of effort into screening potential buyers. It doesn't mean the dogs are poor quality, just that the breeder is focused more on selling than placing their dogs.

2. I would definitely question if they won't let you see the facilities and/or meet the parents. To me that's a big red flag.

3. They may not process the paperwork until the sale goes through.

4. A deposit is standard. It's just a protection on their end because if you bail out of the purchase, they may not have a back up buyer.

5. How old is the dam? Is she old enough to have been shown overseas? If not, then Covid is likely at least part of the reason she hasn't shown in the states.

6. This makes me question the facilities along with #2 above. It appears they are avoiding showing you anything of their facilities.

3) They appear to be very active in conformation and the father is a Grand Champion and comes from a very impressive line
4) Mother also comes from an impressive line though due to her being an import it took some digging to find her pedigree
So they have not provided you with any documentation of the parents' backgrounds? You had to go search for it yourself?

I always say trust your gut. If you feel something's off, go elsewhere.
 

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A couple things to get a clearer picture.

Are they part of their parent breed club?

Have they provided you with links to the test results on a reputable third party, like the OFA database, or images of the official certificates, or just told results to you verbally/by email?

How often are they breeding, both in terms of each individual dog and in general? IE do they always have a litter (or two+) on the ground, or are there breaks in between.

Are they picking the puppy for you, or are they letting you pick whichever you want based on photos alone? Are they charging more for certain colors/patterns/coat types?

Have you seen their buyer contract, and made sure that you're comfortable with the terms and protections?

Definitely google the kennel and breeder name, and maybe search those on facebook as well to see if you can find reviews or owners of dogs from their previous litters. None of these things is necessarily a huge red flag on its own, and sometimes there's very good reasons for a breeder doing things a different way, but it's worth looking into these aspects to see if the whole picture looks like a breeder who you want to support and/or will actually be able to provide the dog you're after.
 

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I wonder what the breed is...
If they have done testing through OFA you can look the results up. If they are just saying they did genetic testing, then you need to see proof of results. If the genetic testing was done in the country of origin then that is a different issue.

I bought my last two dogs without a deposit. I knew the breeders so it was not an issue. One breeder had a contract. The other breeder did not (but they knew me). One dog I picked up out of state and the other in state.

As to number of litters from a single female there is no shame in back to back heats producing litters. However, a dam producing litters under age 2 or a dam producing 6 or 7 litters without any titles is concerning. In fact, a breeding bitch is often titled before she is bred.

I am not a fan of conformation titles only. It just says the dog meets the standards of a beauty contest. I also want to see some sort of working or sport titles such as obedience, agility, IGP.. something more than looking pretty.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
5. How old is the dam? Is she old enough to have been shown overseas? If not, then Covid is likely at least part of the reason she hasn't shown in the states.
She was imported as a puppy - her birthdate was June 2019 - it takes 6 months to complete the import process so she would have arrived less than a year old right before COVID hit.

So they have not provided you with any documentation of the parents' backgrounds? You had to go search for it yourself?
I was provided with this documentation but when you import the immediate parents are the only ones put on the American pedigree (Or at least this is what I saw). For my breed there is an international database though where I was able to find the pedigree for both her dam and sire.

Are they part of their parent breed club?
They are part of a parent club - not the national club but a local club. Considering I have had to pass on two BYBs that I found from the national club site I don't put much emphasis into the clubs. She is actually on the Board of Directors for her club.

Have they provided you with links to the test results on a reputable third party, like the OFA database, or images of the official certificates, or just told results to you verbally/by email?
Yes she verbally told me the results, sent me records for the genetic tests, and I have verified the results in OFA.

How often are they breeding, both in terms of each individual dog and in general? IE do they always have a litter (or two+) on the ground, or are there breaks in between.
They only appear to have 1-2 litters a year which doesn't seem excessive to me.

Are they picking the puppy for you, or are they letting you pick whichever you want based on photos alone? Are they charging more for certain colors/patterns/coat types?
They are not letting me pick the puppy - in fact when I talked to her she said one of the reasons she is selling him is because she is having issues controlling for size in her line so she warned me up front that he might end up being a big boy (His father is at the end of the scale for the standard, while his mother is considerably smaller). All of her pet puppies go for the same price which is relatively high compared to what I've seen but she's one of the first I found that does all the testing so I'm okay as long as the price is justified (Dogs are titled and health tested). I've seen BYBs charging double for poorly bred dogs.

Have you seen their buyer contract, and made sure that you're comfortable with the terms and protections?
Their contract is very typical for the breed - they guarantee health for one year.

I have googled and looked into this breeder - I've even found former buyers of hers singing her praises and have seen the dogs she has produced - they are on the larger side as she has warned but the buyers appear happy. The thing is - she seems pretty typical for my breed as I have encountered another breeder similar to her (In her attitude and such) and this was a woman who had produced puppies with literally a championed dog in every part of the lineage. Personally I felt she was breeding too high of a COI% that I wasn't comfortable with (Above 5%) but you can't deny she was winning shows.

I'm just trying to figure out if this behavior is typical - I feel like maybe she is not sending me many photos or videos simply because she is busy (Another reason she might not want to meet up outside the airport) as she does run her own business (Not dog related) but also does showing as a hobby.

I don't know what to think.
 

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#2 would be the stopper for me. Yeah, Covid, but if you fly to them, they should be willing to show you the dam and other relatives of the puppy you're getting.

From what I've seen, no one ever hands you a puppy's papers the day you buy it. I think you used to get a paper you sent in to AKC youself (blue slip? foggy memory), but nowadays it's all online. I have a vague memory of getting something from a breeder and doing something online myself with a puppy I got 8 years ago, but don't remember exactly how it went. With my current puppy I got only the contract guaranteeing papers. After the purchase, the breeder did the registration online. The papers came in the mail to me directly from AKC.

From what I've experienced, deposits are pretty common these days. Fifteen years ago I was asked for one after the litter my puppy was coming from was born and there was a puppy for me available (I wanted a bitch). The deposit was only $100 on a $1,500 price. What I saw more of in my recent puppy search was breeders wanting $500 against a $3,000 price. How things change!

I've seen so many people back out at the last minute on local breeders I am friends with, I understand why they want a deposit to prove serious intent. In fact I got my current puppy 6 months sooner than I expected because someone who had reserved him backed out at the last minute.

#1 and #6 are sure less than ideal. Neither would stop me, but I'd be agitating over #6 and think less of the breeder over #1, although what you say about others who have puppies from this breeder is a plus.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
The thing is with #2 - she is a conformation breeder and only has the dam. The sire is not even with her at the moment - he is elsewhere being shown by someone in her kennel club. I found this to be true with two other confirmation breeders I contacted. They seem to pass around the sires between members of the club (For showing and breeding purposes) and then several people seem to own the dogs. For her, the dam is co-owned by another breeder. I forgot to mention that she is bringing the dam along with the puppy.

I don't know. I'm on the fence with this one. I do know she has shown me some videos of her dogs and all of them seem well cared for and immaculate. They appear to live in the home - well groomed, no matted fur, healthy weights.
 

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I forgot to mention that she is bringing the dam along with the puppy.
That's good. I know many breeders don't have the sire, but they often have a grandparent, aunt, uncle, that kind of thing - and littermates to your puppy.

I understand being on the fence. The puppy I have now is the first one I've ever gotten without even visiting the breeder. She flew him to me. Yes, it made me nervous, but for me to go get him would have been a major project in finding places for my adult Rotties for several days. They aren't vaccinated in ways commercial boarding places will accept, so it would mean imposing on their breeders and/or other friends. Too far to drive, and I hate to fly. It's been 15 years since the last time, and I hope to get out of this life without doing it again.

Sometimes we compromise and settle. Good luck whatever you decide.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I understand being on the fence. The puppy I have now is the first one I've ever gotten without even visiting the breeder. She flew him to me. Yes, it made me nervous, but for me to go get him would have been a major project in finding places for my adult Rotties for several days. They aren't vaccinated in ways commercial boarding places will accept, so it would mean imposing on their breeders and/or other friends. Too far to drive, and I hate to fly. It's been 15 years since the last time, and I hope to get out of this life without doing it again.
It is frustrating but it's also extremely difficult to find reputable breeders - I've also been having quite a time finding one that is willing to sell me a puppy at an age I felt was acceptable - a lot of the breeders were trying to sell me dogs 6-8 months old for almost $3k which I found to be bizarre. This breeder has been the only one willing to sell me at 12-14 weeks, which I think is appropriate (It is a smaller breed). I think selling older dogs that have passed sexual maturity should at the very least come with a discount.

One quick question I had as well - she wants me to make the deposit (Which seems to be okay) and sign the contract before seeing the puppy. Does this seem okay or is the contract usually signed off on AFTER you actually see the dog and obtain it.
 

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Puppy searches are frustrating all right. The times I dealt with local breeders I knew it was easier, but that's not to say easy. Unknown and out of state, much harder.

I think you should see the contract ahead of time so you can read it over at your leisure. As someone who worked for lawyers her whole working life, I don't sign anything without reading it carefully, and I don't sign unless I'm willing to abide by every provision under the worst circumstances I can imagine. I backed away from one breeder in my latest puppy search because there was no way I'd sign his contract. Nice guy, nice dogs, but.... If it had been a matter of one provision I didn't like, I'd have tried to negotiate, but there were several, and I just wouldn't do it.

You sign the contract and you each keep a copy at the time the puppy and money change hands. At least that's always the way it's been for me. There's no way I'd give anyone more than a deposit before having my hands on the puppy, and since you don't get papers at the time, I want that in writing and also any guarantees or obligations on my part.

Yes, my understanding is some careful breeders of small dogs keep them longer than 8 weeks to be sure they're past any danger of hypoglycemia. It's interesting about the breeders offering older dogs, though. I thought with the Covid demand, no breeder had anything older unless they wanted to keep it!
 

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I agree to definitely read the contract completely beforehand.

I've seen some really bad requirements. Breeding the dog at one year of age, requiring breeding for a dog disqualified from the conformation ring for being oversized (as were the parents) and then selling the puppies as "show quality". One contract actually stated that the buyer wasn't buying the dog and that the breeder could take it back at any time - yet they still had to pay $1500 for a dog they didn't own.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
You sign the contract and you each keep a copy at the time the puppy and money change hands. At least that's always the way it's been for me. There's no way I'd give anyone more than a deposit before having my hands on the puppy, and since you don't get papers at the time, I want that in writing and also any guarantees or obligations on my part.
Maybe I should ask her if it's okay to simply sign when we meet. She signed and sent the contract over beforehand but suggested I should sign before we meet as it's difficult dealing with paper work if we meet at the airport and she likes to keep them filed away.

Yes, my understanding is some careful breeders of small dogs keep them longer than 8 weeks to be sure they're past any danger of hypoglycemia. It's interesting about the breeders offering older dogs, though. I thought with the Covid demand, no breeder had anything older unless they wanted to keep it!
Yes I completely understand 8 weeks being too young, however, these breeders had kept the dogs as show prospects and then determined they actually couldn't be shown so they were trying to sell them. One, who actually came from an extremely impressive line, I believe she was trying to intentionally mislead me about her age initially. I asked multiple times about her age and finally she told me she was 7 months. She didn't seem all that concerned who took the dog either so long as someone paid her for it which I found a little sad. I mean I guess you don't care where a puppy you're not attached to goes, but you've had this dog for 7 months. I'd be concerned about a foster dog I kept for 7 months in terms of where I'm placing them - I can't imagine a dog one of my own dogs birthed and I held in my hands since they were first born! Honestly I am surprised I have encountered so many confirmation breeders like this as I was under the assumption that they cared about the dogs unlike BYBs, but I'm starting to think the vast majority are more interested in money or ribbons (On both sides) and the dogs are sort of just background noise. Maybe this is more of an issue in toy breeds seeing as confirmation is the primary thing they do, no working titles.

I agree to definitely read the contract completely beforehand.
I have read it thoroughly and it seems pretty standard for most contracts. The one thing I don't understand is that there is a provision where she does not provide a health guarantee for PRA - which the contract states is not well understood in terms of inheritance. I was under the impression that PRA was understood and that genetic testing could predict PRA? Correct me if I'm wrong, but this can be tested for and avoided correct?
 

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I haven't read up on the testing, but a quick search found this link to UC Davis PRA Testing Info

It states:

Explanation of Results:

  • Dogs with N/N genotype will not have this PRCD form of progressive retinal atrophy and cannot transmit this variant to their offspring.
  • Dogs with N/PRCD genotype are not expected to be affected by this PRCD form of progressive retinal atrophy, but are carriers. They may transmit this PRCD variant to 50% of their offspring. Matings between two carriers are predicted to produce 25% PRCD-affected puppies.
  • Dogs with PRCD/PRCD genotype are expected to develop this PRCD form of progressive retinal atrophy and will transmit this variant to all of their offspring.

I would be more inclined to believe UC Davis. If the breeder won't guarantee against it, then I suspect (s)he is not testing for it or (s)he is breeding dogs who tested N/PRCD and risking the percentages.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I would be more inclined to believe UC Davis. If the breeder won't guarantee against it, then I suspect (s)he is not testing for it or (s)he is breeding dogs who tested N/PRCD and risking the percentages.
That's the odd thing - I have the genetic tests for both the parents and neither are carriers or are afflicted with PRA so I don't know why this is in her contract?

Always trust your gut.
If sometihing feels off, move on.
Find another breeder.
I don't know I think I have a tendency to not trust anyone at all - so if I trusted my gut I may never end up with a dog. lol! Just seems like it's exceedingly difficult to find a good breeder. Especially for toy breeds - seems like there are a lot that skimp on genetic health testing which I think is the most important thing you can do. Even if the dog never becomes a Grand Champion - I would prefer the COI% to be low and all the genetic health tests performed over a pretty face, unfortunately I feel like I'm in the minority.
 

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That's the odd thing - I have the genetic tests for both the parents and neither are carriers or are afflicted with PRA so I don't know why this is in her contract?
Her contract is going to be a standard one she uses for all her puppies. If she doesn't put it in the contract, then if she breeds a carrier (intentionally or not), she will have to refund money. By putting it in the contract, she never has to worry that one puppy or litter will be affected and she'll lose money over it.
 

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That's the odd thing - I have the genetic tests for both the parents and neither are carriers or are afflicted with PRA so I don't know why this is in her contract?

I don't know I think I have a tendency to not trust anyone at all - so if I trusted my gut I may never end up with a dog. lol! Just seems like it's exceedingly difficult to find a good breeder. Especially for toy breeds - seems like there are a lot that skimp on genetic health testing which I think is the most important thing you can do. Even if the dog never becomes a Grand Champion - I would prefer the COI% to be low and all the genetic health tests performed over a pretty face, unfortunately I feel like I'm in the minority.
The other side of the coin is good breeders don't trust people very much either. Any of them who have been breeding for any length of time has been burned by people who lied and did heart-breaking things with puppies raised with love and only sold after checking on the people as much as possible.

If you have evidence of clears tests for the litter you're looking at, it could be the PRA provision is still in the contract just because the breeder neglected to delete it for this particular breeding when it was put in for another breeding where there weren't clearances. Ask.

Actually, for most of us it's just as bad trying to get a well bred large or medium dog. Breeders who don't do all the health tests or who lie about it and get away with it can flourish because there are so many buyers who just want a puppy NOW and who make no effort to educate themselves. And of course prickly, difficult, reputable breeders make it even more likely that people give up on them and go to lesser breeders.

Right now it's even worse than usual. The whole Covid mess really turned the dog industry upside down. A lot of breeders didn't breed during the lockdowns, so there are fewer litters, and so many people decided it was a great time to get a puppy, so greater demand. I talked to breeders who have what has to be a 10-year wait list. The only hope would be that a lot of people drop off the list because they've put themselves on several figuring they'll get a puppy from the first breeder who has a puppy available. Other reasons for people no longer wanting a puppy are bound to come up when you're talking years.
 

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Honestly, I'm a lot more understanding of a breeder not wanting anyone in their home right now. We have no way of knowing if they're high risk, have high risk friends/family, or work/volunteer with high risk populations. I do understand your concerns, but from what you've said this does seem to be a decent breeding program. Maybe not #1 best ever in every way? But very, very few people are. There's always a chance that something fishy is going on behind the scenes, but as you've said, trying to avoid every possible risk will often lead to never getting a dog at all!

If the contract doesn't have anything weird, like insisting you feed a specific brand of food or their health guarantees are void, mandatory breeding, or other signs that the breeder might try to be invasive about how you raise and care for your dog, my biggest concern would be losing that opportunity to meet the breeder's lines and get to know if they're right for you. It's definitely your call, but nothing you've said screams highly irreputable or inhumane.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
The other side of the coin is good breeders don't trust people very much either. Any of them who have been breeding for any length of time has been burned by people who lied and did heart-breaking things with puppies raised with love and only sold after checking on the people as much as possible.
While I understand this 100%, after all, I'm pretty sure if I ended up breeding and showing dogs I would only end up with one litter ever - I'd just keep the parents and all of the puppies in the end and that would be the end of me breeding! Because I too would have little faith in who I'm handing them off to. The thing that bothers me about this attitude is that some do not want to even chat with you to give you a chance! It feels like some of them assume EVERYONE is out to purchase a puppy for some stupid finicky reason. And if some of them would just acknowledge me and actually chat with me they might find me to be an OKAY person. Especially since one of the things I actually would like in a breeder is one that is interested in keeping in touch (If I had questions about their line/oddities in their line/things I could report to them that may be helpful). I want to have a relationship with my breeder - seems like they don't want to do the same with me.

Actually, for most of us it's just as bad trying to get a well bred large or medium dog. Breeders who don't do all the health tests or who lie about it and get away with it can flourish because there are so many buyers who just want a puppy NOW and who make no effort to educate themselves. And of course prickly, difficult, reputable breeders make it even more likely that people give up on them and go to lesser breeders.
I don't know - I have a friend who got a Golden Retriever recently and it was a fairly painless process. She inquired to only about 2 breeders before finding one that was good. Though, I'm not sure how quality this breeder actually is since I don't think she is as obsessed with researching these things as I am, lol, so the breeder may have not lived up to my standards either!

If the contract doesn't have anything weird, like insisting you feed a specific brand of food or their health guarantees are void, mandatory breeding, or other signs that the breeder might try to be invasive about how you raise and care for your dog, my biggest concern would be losing that opportunity to meet the breeder's lines and get to know if they're right for you. It's definitely your call, but nothing you've said screams highly irreputable or inhumane.
I agree that she doesn't seem horrible (Inhumane or anything), but I do think she is primarily focused on money which does bother me a bit.

Right now it's even worse than usual. The whole Covid mess really turned the dog industry upside down. A lot of breeders didn't breed during the lockdowns, so there are fewer litters, and so many people decided it was a great time to get a puppy, so greater demand. I talked to breeders who have what has to be a 10-year wait list. The only hope would be that a lot of people drop off the list because they've put themselves on several figuring they'll get a puppy from the first breeder who has a puppy available. Other reasons for people no longer wanting a puppy are bound to come up when you're talking years.
Actually where I live shut downs are over and the shelters are filled to the brim with puppies/dogs again. I see posts on my neighborhood site all the time of people giving their 1 or 2 year old dogs away that I assume they got as puppies during COVID. I think that's why a lot of breeders around me have older dogs. I think they bred right before shut downs ended and probably a lot of people took their names off waiting lists and or gave dogs back to the breeders. I think a lot of people have already gotten bored of their COVID puppies around here and are dumping them.

Honestly, I'm a lot more understanding of a breeder not wanting anyone in their home right now. We have no way of knowing if they're high risk, have high risk friends/family, or work/volunteer with high risk populations. I do understand your concerns, but from what you've said this does seem to be a decent breeding program. Maybe not #1 best ever in every way? But very, very few people are. There's always a chance that something fishy is going on behind the scenes, but as you've said, trying to avoid every possible risk will often lead to never getting a dog at all!
This is true, she had also indicated to me that she had a recent death in the family due to COVID but I know I live in an area that is very divided - some think COVID is make believe and some don't. I feel like maybe she does not want to say one way or another so as not to offend me. Honestly I wish she would just say it though as I'm a totally open person and I'm okay with whatever makes you comfortable! But I don't know, the thing that bothers me is that she has been the most expensive out of many of the breeders I've chatted with and her lines are not as impressive (Champion wise). She breeds a lot of bitches that are not Championed as far as I can tell which makes me think the price should be lower. So I expect #1 when I'm paying top dollar I guess! But who knows if I can ever find that.
 

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It really sounds like with as many reservations as you have, you ought to keep looking, but I know how frustrating it is. I actually gave up on getting a puppy from the first breed that seemed a fit for me. I now have a puppy from my second choice breed and couldn't be happier.

And you are right about the benefits of breeder support. My puppy's breeder is a thousand miles away, but if I email her with a question, she answers within a day or two. Her contract is a good one I have no problem with. All in all after the frustrating search, I'm really satisfied with my choice.
 
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