What is an "Ethical Breeder"?

You may have seen or heard of the Oprah show that dealt with puppy mills and heard the term there. The American Kennel Club sent a response to the show about that program, which dealt with the horrendous conditions that are found at many of the kennels that breed for profit and the wholesale production of puppies.

Responsible breeders are breeding with the primary purpose of producing healthy puppies with good temperaments who will continue to improve their lines. They will often choose one or two of these pups, called pick of the litter, to show and to continue their planned breeding program with. The other top pups in a litter will often be sold as "Show potential", meaning they are high quality pups who may well turn into fabulous show dogs.

Anything less than the top quality pups will be sold as pets. "Pet quality" is NOT a bad thing!! It simply indicates that these puppies have nice qualities but the breeder feels they have traits that would make them less suitable for breeding and showing. These are not inferior puppies by any means - they just do not meet the standard of perfection that we strive to reach. There may be a problem with the bite, a less outgoing temperament, even that the body length and height is outside the measurements described in the standard.

As responsible breeders, these puppies will be sold with a contract that requires they will never be bred and they will be carefully placed in homes that have been thoughtfully chosen. If you buy a healthy, carefully bred pet quality puppy from a reputable breeder, you will pay a price - but the initial outlay is far less than what you will pay in the future on veterinary care for that "cheap" puppy who's parents have never been tested for genetic/orthopedic problems - because the majority of these puppies grow to be healthy adults with fewer than normal health issues.

Will they be perfect? No, but there has never been a perfect dog or one with absolutely no health problems. However your chances of a long and healthy life for your pet are greatly increased when you patiently wait for a puppy from a responsible breeder who has screened parents and grandparents for known problems.