Responsible Breeder vs. Pet Store

From: Krista Mifflin, Your Guide to Dogs
Buying A Puppy
We've all seen them, noses pressed to the glass, eyes pleading for somebody to take them home. So cute and cuddly that many a rational person has made the impulsive decision to bring one home, a few hundred dollars later. And inevitably, thousands of dollars in veterinary bills later, the poor sucker finally realizes that maybe buying that puppy wasn't such a grand idea.

Right idea, wrong place, unfortunately.

Every single puppy sold from a pet store came from a puppy mill, or a backyard breeder. How can I make such a blanket statement, tarring them all with the same brush? Simply because there is not one, single responsible breeder out there who would allow one of his or her dogs to be marketed out like regular merchandise to whomever can lay down the cash. Let me repeat that, please. There are no responsible breeders who would sell their dogs to pet stores!

This is a fact, there is no debating this. Even though the pet store workers may try to assure you that the dogs came from a responsible breeder, it is simply not true.

Let's look at what defines a responsible breeder, shall we?
  • A responsible breeder must know where their puppies are going.
  • A responsible breeder will interrogate the potential buyer about their home, family, living arrangements, other people that share their house, their past, and their future. Police interrogations have nothing on a breeder trying to find the best possible home for his or her dogs. One I spoke with a few years ago sent a five page questionnaire, on top of the fifty or so questions she asked me over the phone.
  • A responsible breeder will sell with a contract.
The Contract:
    When you buy from a responsible breeder you will be signing a binding contract stating that if something (anything) happens, to this dog the breeder is the first to be told. This may seem a little extreme, but there is a very legitimate reason behind this. If your new dog develops hip dysplasia four or five years down the road, she'll know to pull the parents from the breeding line.

    You sign that if something happens to you, and you can no longer care for your dog, she will be notified, so she may take the dog back into her care or find it a new home.

    You agree to spay or neuter your new pet as soon as possible to help prevent unwanted litters if your dog was bought as a companion.

    You agree to abide by any other terms and conditions set forth in the contract. If that means getting hips certified at age two, or eyes certified, you do so.

    As daunting as this is, if you think this over, you will realize that she has done this to protect her dogs. And most people have no trouble signing these contracts with a clear conscience.
  • A responsible breeder will take back into her care, any dog at any time that has been bred from her breeding lines. And often even dogs that were not.
  • A responsible breeder will do her very best to make sure that none of her dogs ever end up in a shelter.
  • A responsible breeder can guarantee your new dog's freedom from genetic diseases and defects for life, knowing that she has done the very best to breed best possible parent to the best possible parent and both were free from genetic problems.

Can ANY pet store say the same thing?