What Kind of Breeder Am I?
A recent story on The Today Show displayed AKC Breeders in a very negative light. Are all Breeders equal? Certainly not. There are different terms for different types of breeders. Backyard Breeders, Puppy mills, Mini mills, Puppy Brokers and Hobby Breeders. Puppy Mills, Mini Mills, Puppy Brokers and many Backyard Breeders breed for money, and that is where their interest lies. Some keep their dogs and puppies in good condition and others in deplorable conditions. The dogs are livestock.
Hobby (Show) Breeders tend to breed to improve upon the breed in health, temperament and conformation. They generally are not breeding for money and typically are lucky to even break even on a litter. Thousands of dollars can be spent on producing an actual litter, costs in raising a litter, veterinary bills, stud fees, etc. Prior to that, a Hobby Breeder, has spent thousands of dollars on competing in conformation and performance events, as well as performing health screening on their dogs. In my breed, it is common to screen for Hip and Elbow Dysplasia, Thyroid, CERF (eye conditions), Cardiac, Degenerative Myelopathy, and BAER (hearing). Our dogs are our pride and joy. Our puppies are raised in our home, and socialized prior to being placed. When placing our puppies, we screen homes carefully to ensure that we place our puppies in homes where they will be loved their entire lives. We do not sell to whomever has the money. Puppy homes are required to sign contractual agreements, in regards to spaying and neutering, being returned to the breeder if the owner cannot keep it (at any age), care and exercise, breeding restrictions on puppies placed on show contracts. We are in contact with the puppy homes throughout the life of the dog.
My own dogs are my beloved family members. They share my couch and my bed. They are not kennel dogs, back yard dogs, chained dogs. I ensure that they get adequate physical and mental stimulation. My puppies are raised in my house. I take time off to stay home with my puppies for the first week or two of their life to support their dam and to ensure that they have a good start in life. I breed because these dogs mean the world to me and they have something positive to offer the breed. I don't make money off my litters. I only breed one litter every 1-2 years. Any money earned from litters (and plenty from my full time job) goes back to the dogs in their care, showing & performance events, treat fund, excursions to the desert, etc. I am a Hobby Breeder.
What Kind of Puppy Home are you? When you get a puppy is it a life long commitment, rather like deciding on having or adopting a baby? It should be. What contributes to the "pet over-population" in shelters across America is lack of life long commitment and indiscriminate breeding practices. Just as Breeders need to be RESPONSIBLE...so do Puppy Buyers. Think before you BUY!