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Discussion Starter #1
I only have experience adopting dogs from rescues or shelters and really had no idea how complicated it is to find a reputable breeder. I found a breeder who shows her dogs, interviewed me on the phone before agreeing to give me a puppy and does recommended health checks on her dogs. I am also paying much more than I ever thought I would, $2,500. I am not rich, but thought it was another indicator of a decent breeder. She also doesn’t ship her dogs which makes me think she isn’t after the money. I only later realized she is not a member of the national breed club which is an indicator that she may not meet their high standards. She is on the AKC website only. She told me she has 11 dogs which in retrospect sounds more like a kennel. I don’t have it in me to back out at this point, but getting on a waiting list and waiting years for a puppy from a great breeder after a ton of research may be the way to go IF I ever do this again. I hate to think I am giving money to someone who doesn’t treat her dogs well. Despite being dog crazy and fascinated by certain breeds, I am much more comfortable adopting from a shelter. I looked to rescue for a long time and every dog I liked was already spoken for or I didn’t have the right yard for it ....so here I am driving myself crazy.
 

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Price isnt always and indicator of a good breeder.
Do more online checks and ask around but if youre not happy then you have the right to back out.

If you go through with it knowing anything negative then you know you are only adding to the problem by encouraging her to breed again so do those checks and make sure you are 100% happy before you move forward..

BTW what type of dog are you getting?
 

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Some people may have legitimate reasons for disassociating from their breed club, or at least reasons that don't impact the quality of their breeding. Others... maybe not so much. You could ask directly why she's not a breed club member, and/or reach out to the breed club in question for their opinion on the breeder. Assume that she may find out about this, however - show dog breeding tends to be a small world. I'd start with just asking her, not confrontationally, just as an inquisitive buyer.

Honestly, if a breeder raises their dogs humanely in a home setting, can show evidence that they've done health screening (AND had a good result), have a really solid early socialization plan in place for the puppies, and is producing dogs I like? I wouldn't worry about it too much. But I'd probably still ask just so I can be informed about where this breeder disagrees with the breed club.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you for your responses:)

I have gotten feedback from the Newfoundland breed club. They screen their breeders from what I understand and have high standards which I only learned later on.
My breeder has no online presence besides conformation listings. Basically, I didn’t do enough research beforehand and am worrying after the fact. I can back out, but after talking to her on the phone several times, I feel committed. She SEEMS totally involved and knowledgeable about the breed. If only I lived closer to her. We are talking 10 plus hours to pick my puppy up.
 

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Here's the deal: not all good breeders belong to the national breed club, and not all breeders belonging to the national breed club are the best breeders out there. Quite frankly, there can be a lot of political infighting in clubs, and as a result some people just don't want to get involved. Also, you usually have to pay to be on the club's referral list, and some people who are really good breeders just don't want to do that.

Does this breeder title her dogs? Does she do the recommended health testing? Does she offer a lifetime worth of support to her puppy buyers?

The number of dogs could be concerning, depending on what the reasons for having that many are. Are they all just breeding dogs? Or does she have retired dogs, and up-and-coming show dogs in addition to the dogs she is breeding from? Do they all live with her, or are some of them co-owned with other people? Like I said, lots of things to take into account.
 

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I think you are doing fine with this breeder.
I prefer to have dogs with working dog titles for their breed. German Shepherds I want to see IGP/IPO/Schutzhund titles or I want to see a HGH. I want to know the health tests are done. I look at the lineage. I want a dog that can work.

I, personally, do not care a single bit about conformation titles because that is all how the dog looks. I want to know how balanced the dog is in the head and what drives the dog has (or does not have!).
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I guess I just want a breeder who treats her dogs really well and produces healthy pups with good temperaments. I don’t care about titles either. A lot of breeders don’t screen a dog for an issue if the dam and sire of that dog were clear. My breeder did this for cystinuria and I saw other breeders off the national breed club registered breeders do this, ruling out an issue by looking at the dog’s bloodlines. I saw dogs listed by the breed club registry approved breeders that had mild dysplasia in one hip. My breeder’s dog has hips rated good. It is a lot to get your head around. My breeder does have 11 dogs spread between two households and has another litter coming after mine. I don’t know what to think, but if I do this again, I will do a much better job of figuring everything out beforehand. Anyway, thank you for your replies🙂
 

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Discussion Starter #8
LeoRose she does the recommended health testing, registers them with the AKC and said she would offer support for the life of the dog. I appreciate your input!
 

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For some things that there are DNA tests for, puppies can be considered "clear by parentage", meaning that both parents have been tested, and that particular breeding combination cannot pass along a condition.

Also, things like hip dysplasia can be complicated. You can breed two dogs with Excellent rated hips, and get dysplastic puppies.
 

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It sounds like she's hitting the most important points, to me. With Newfies I'd also be interested in the longevity of her lines, but otherwise I wouldn't be too worried about the breed club thing. As LeoRose said, there can be a lot of interpersonal politics in those organizations that someone might prefer to avoid.
 

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So she shows her dogs, health tests her dogs, guarantees them free of certain hereditary conditions by parentage, registers them with the AKC, only has 11 dogs spread over two households, charges a pretty average price for a well-bred puppy, will support you for the rest of the dogs' life... and you're only worried about her not being in the breed club? Just ask her why she isn't. Sometimes people have a good reason (not wanting to pay fees, not wanting to deal with the politics involved in a dog organization, whatever). I don't see anything in your posts that throws up red flags for me.
 

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The breed club advocate that I talked to was critical of the idea that a breeder would not be a member of a club. The one thing that my breeder doesn’t do, she doesn’t have a cardiologist check the puppies at 8 weeks. Just a regular vet listens for a murmur. At that point what is a breeder supposed to do if there is a problem though? I would hate to think the puppy would be euthanized to protect a breeder’s reputation.

Crantastic, I really don’t know what I am doing. I have only ever rescued dogs before. It is a lot of money to me and I want to be sure. I also have a fair amount of guilt about buying a pup after having volunteered with animal shelters in the past. I am glad you don’t think there are any red flags.
 

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IMO, buying from a good breeder is one of the better ways to get a dog. Says the person who has only ever had rescued or rehomed dogs, but who would, just once, like to have a well bred dog from a good breeder.
 

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Not much to add since others have posted solid advice. But I would recommend checking the registries (ex. OFA) or asking for proof of testing. I like to believe that people are generally good and honest. But I've seen firsthand that some breeders' sites list health tests, because they are wising up to the idea that people look for them more often now, but haven't actually tested.
The last time I saw this was on a site for GSDs. I noticed no links to the OFA results, could not find the kennel or dogs on OFA, and the breeder never responded to my email asking for that information.
 

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I totally understand. I've always had rescued dogs. But, my next puppy MAY come from a breeder. (haven't committed yet) LOVE the dog and she's planning a breeding about the time I'd be wanting a puppy, she just has to find the right bitch. She knows I'm interested and is good with me getting a puppy. (we both compete in agility)
BUT, I know several people who have had issues with their breeders.
One has a dog with HORRIBLE conformation, but the breeder wouldn't allow her to neuter him until she collected from him. This dog should NEVER be bred.
Another friend got 2 puppies (different litter, 6 months apart) from the same breeder she got her Champion dog from. The female puppy is smaller than breed standards. The male has 2 retained testicles and she hasn't received papers for either dog.
Another friend has had bad luck with 2 different breeders. She lost her older dog at 7 years, due to some medical issues. Her younger dog (4) has had all kinds of physical issues, needing 2 surgeries (so far) Both breeders were well sought after.
 

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100% of breeders, even 100% of supposedly reputable breeders, aren't going to be good. That's just the way life is. There's no business or hobby on earth where everyone involved is great. You probably won't find even a single person in any hobby who 100% of people think is perfect, either. I know dog breeders I personally consider extremely reputable and responsible but who have a few "haters." We also all consider different things must-haves or dealbreakers when it comes to choosing a breeder, so one person's perfect breeder may be another person's hard no.

Also, we're dealing with animals here, and there's so much uncertainty and variability around breeding animals. You can do all the health checks in the world, you can breed two dogs with amazing conformation who seemingly complement each other perfectly, and you can end up with the occasional pup who's a mess. Even in the best litters, some of the pups will be pet quality (although usually for minor reasons that don't prevent them from being a long-lived, healthy pet -- for example, my papillon is slightly too tall and holds her tail too tight against her back, but she's 13 years old, has never had a major health issue, and still goes for two-hour walks every day. She's the easiest dog I've ever owned).

It's important to figure out what you're looking for in a breeder and in a dog, ask the important questions, and make sure you're satisfied that the answers you're given are true. Posting here and asking for feedback can be a helpful part of that.
 
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