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Licensed Dog Breeders - How to Choose A Good One
What should you look for in quality dog breeders?
Dog breeders are people who breed different breeds of dogs. Some of these individuals are more reputable than others, and it is important to know what to look for.
Reputable dog breeders will guarantee their dogs. They give their animals quality care. A good dog breeder will be able to give you advice on nutrition, exercise and training for your new dog. In the US, if a dog breeder sells over $500.00 worth of animals per year or if they have more than 3 breeding females they are required to have a USDA license. If you are buying from a larger breeder, or if in doubt about their status, ask to see the license. You can also lookup USDA licensed breeders for dog breeders and any animal on the USDA's website.
What should you look for in quality dog breeders? A quality breeder will have clean conditions. The dogs will be free from parasites like fleas and ticks. Puppies will have clear eyes and noses, with no discharge coming from them. All puppies should be active and playful and look well fed. You should not be able to see their ribs. Ask about vaccinations. Most breeders who are worthwhile give their puppies the first round of vaccinations. This protects the puppies as well as the adult dogs.
Ask to see the parents of the dog you are wishing to purchase. They should be healthy. Lactating females should look robust, not skinny. If a lactating female or one that has just weaned her pups is showing hair loss that is OK. It is not a sign of an unhealthy dog, it's a hormonal thing and it will correct itself.
All other dogs however should not have hair loss, or anything that looks like mange or a skin disease. Good dog breeders love and care about their animals. They should ask you questions about your lifestyle and if you have a vet. If you live close by, they may be able to recommend one.
Warning signs that you should look for as these indicate a puppy mill instead of a dog breeder. Smell and flies are a good indicator that you are in the wrong place. All dog breeders have a small amount of flies. However, a fly infested area is a sign that the feces are not being cleaned up. Also smell is a good indicator. An overall dog smell is fine, but if the smell of urine or feces is very strong then go somewhere else. Look at the dogs living conditions, are they kept in clean, safe kennels. Do they have plenty of room? If the area looks run down, dingy, dirty or the dogs are chained out on runs, go to another breeder.
Quality dog breeders can be seen as a "snooty" bunch. They are adamant about the correctness of the breed standards and how their dogs meet these standards. This really is not being snooty. It is being particular and holding their animals to high standards. Shih Tzu dog breeders are very particular about the breed standards. Many do not like the generic term of Shih Tzu but prefer that the dogs are referred to as Imperial Shih Tzu to reflect their Imperial Chinese heritage.
Be sure that the dog breeders you deal with are reputable and that they treat their dogs well. If you come across a puppy mill in your search for a reputable dog breeder please call in the authorities to deal with it. If you are looking for a pure bred but not a show quality animal, let them know. There may be a discounted animal available because while they may be a perfectly beautiful dog, they do not meet show standards. This is particular in toy breeds where sometimes you get one that is just too tall.