and their dogs. Possible questions to ask the breeder.
Topics on this page include:
the kennel; What to look for.
the other dogs on the property
you are looking for a Livestock Guardian
the Breeder May Ask You
a Breeder offers their Puppy buyers
and Temperament Guarantee
You Could Ask the Breeder
If at all possible, you should go visit their kennels.
You can tell alot about a breeder by seeing where their dogs live and how they
With long distant placements this can be
hard. In this case make sure you have references to contact that have first hand
knowledge of the conditions where their dogs live. I.e.; past clients, vet's,
other breeders etc.
Ask if they can send you some pictures,
or have a website that shows the kennels and their dogs.
Some breeders have their pups in an area
of the house, some have outdoor runs and exercise yards. In both cases it should
be clean, and free of excrement.
Is goes without saying that the puppies
should also look healthy and clean.
Human contact is very important in the
first few weeks of life in order for the dog to bond to humans.
Ask how much human contact that the
how the dogs act around people.
they shy and reserved?
do they buzz around the newcomers, begging for attention?
the other dogs on the property
they friendly and appear happy and healthy?
their coats clean and brushed? (In the case of livestock protectors it's
reasonable to see some dirt on these dogs, given their surrounding. But they
should appear; well fed, Bright eyed, healthy, and not so matted they appear
their kennels clean and is there fresh water provided?
they aloof (wary) of you as a stranger, yet accept you once the breeder
and outgoing toward people? A well bred Pyr is not aggressive, they are
"aloof" or wary of strangers, but they should never be aggressive
Pay particular attention to older dogs.
You will want to meet the parents of the
pups. Some breeders do not own the sire and he is not readily available. But you
most DEFINITELY want to meet the dam. As she will be the one teaching the very
important early lessons to her pups...like bite inhibition. If she seems grumpy
or aggressive in any way, say thank you very much, and leave.
If the sire is not available, then you
will want to ask for the information to contact the owners of the sire.
See advice on evaluating a litter and an
Choose a breeder that you feel
Are they easy to talk to?
Do they answer your questions readily and
Remember, there are NO stupid questions.
Any good breeder with nothing to hide, will NOT be offended and will answer you
honestly. In fact they will see you as someone trying to be a responsible dog
A responsible breeder will try to educate
you, rather than berate you for some ignorance about the breed. ***Although,
hopefully you will have been responsible enough to have done some research
yourself, before contacting a breeder***
(See some sample questions you could ask the breeder
they appear to be very knowledgeable about their breed?
they appear to care alot about their dogs well-being?
they try to educate you on the breed?
they try to help you choose which puppy would best suit your personality and
A good breeder will try and pick the pup
that they feel will be a good match for you. Not all pups will be good in every
Some will have a more dominant (guarding)
instinct then others...this pup would be great for a livestock guard placement,
but one with a more amiable temperament would be better suited for a companion
home with kids.
you are looking for a livestock guardian:
shy away from breeder who also offer's show dogs....
Just because the parents were brought up with sheep, or they were brought
up in a mansion....they are guardians at heart. And a good knowledgeable breeder
can tell you which pup from the litter has the temperament to make a good
guardian. Or at least if they don't have the knowledge about guardians, a
responsible breeder will be honest and tell you so.
Beware of a breeder who tells you ALL the
pups from this litter will make good guardians. This indicates that they are not
as knowledgeable about the breed as they claim.
Yes, they all will have that instinct to
some extent. They are natural guardians and this is ingrained and not taught.
But some will be more suited to the job.
Some will be less likely to leave their charges. For example, an excessively shy
pup, won't be reliable as a guardian, and can developed future fear aggression.
You want an all around good "farm
dog". Pet and guardian.
A good article about choosing a LGD
breeder is at:
BUYING A LIVESTOCK GUARDIAN DOG
de la Cruz: http://www.sonic.net/~cdlcruz/GPCC/library/buy_lgd.htm#Findingabreeder
Catherine de la Cruz: http://www.sonic.net/~cdlcruz/GPCC/library/buy_lgd.htm#Findingabreeder
On the other end of the spectrum, be
cautious of a breeder who claims that every pup from this litter is
That is just not possible. Even if it
was, no breeder can fully guarantee, what this 8 weeks old pup will turn out
like as an adult.
A knowledgeable breeder can tell you that
do to their experience, a particular pup has all the qualities that one looks
for in a show puppy....so far.
Proving their stock-
Is the breeder your considering involved in showing either in conformation or
working trials (depending on the breed)?
Are they a member of their breed clubs?
A responsible breeder knows it is
important to have their breeding stock "evaluated" by an independent
This is one of the purposes for dog
shows. To see how their dogs stand up to the breed standard. To prove themselves
against other specimens of the breed.
Without this independent evaluation, it
is only the breeders opinion that their dogs are wonderful specimens. We all
think our dogs are gorgeous!
Breed clubs are a wealth of information
for breeders. They give breeders an opportunity to keep up with the latest
health concerns, what is important in their breed, feedback form other members
A responsible breeder is always learning.
Does the breeder seem more interested in
you, and your home environment, then you are about them?
A responsible breeder will be more
concerned about where their pups will be going, then about selling them to you.
Questions the Breeder May Ask You
They will ask you alot of questions,
PLEASE do not get on the defensive and think they are being intrusive! Instead
consider their curiosity as; they genuinely care about their puppies, and want
only the best for them. This is the ONLY type of breeder you want to get your
They will probably want to know, among
other things, if:
you educated yourself somewhat about the breed?
you have a Fenced yard?
the Dog be living in house?
many children? What are their ages? Have they been taught the importance of
are your plans for the dog? (companion/livestock guarding/show/breeding)
you provide proper veterinary care? They may want a vet reference. As well as
you familiar with proper nutrition?
you understand the importance of Socialization, training, obedience classes? If
not they will explain this to you.
importance of spaying/neutering (if applicable) If the dogs will be a companion
or guardians they will insist that the pup be spay/neutered. Some will already
be early spay/neutered before they go to their new home.
will NOT effect the guardian's instinct to guard. In fact, it is HIGHLY
recommended to have your livestock guards neutered. They will be far more
reliable to stay with their flock, if some female down the road comes into heat.
With females, the heat cycle can cause
them to totally ignore their duties, and go in search of a male....any male!****
Additionally, the breeder may want you
too keep in contact, to see how the pup is progressing. They may also want to
visit the pup, in their new home.
A Responsible breeder will offer their
Information about the breed
Advice on puppy care, feeding
instructions. Advice on grooming, and training etc. Some provide a puppy kit,
with puppy care information, Breed info, recommended reading, basic training,
sample food etc.
They will explain the Genetic problems in
They will provide the Pedigree of the
puppies. Or if this is not ready yet, they will send you a copy.
Test results on both parents (hips, eyes,
Registration papers (In Canada it is
against the law for a breeder to sell a dog as "purebred" and withhold
the papers or charge more for them....see on the CKC web site; Your Rights and
Animal Pedigree Act of Canada.
In the USA, it is perfectly acceptable
for some breeders to withhold the papers until proof of spay/neuter is shown.
Health and Temperament Guarantee
They will provide you with a written
guarantee, regarding health and temperament of the pup against genetic defects.
This guarantee should be for at least one year. Yet alot of breeders provide a
2-3 year guarantee, on genetic health. As many of health problems, like hip
Dysplasia, may not show up until after their second year.
Their guarantee will include a statement
to the effect; That they will take back the dog, at anytime in their lifetime
for any reason. Most will actually insist, that you MUST give the breeder first
right of refusal if you can no longer keep the dog.
They will want to approve or disapprove
any new home placements.
The breeder will be available to offer
advice and support for the life of the dog.
All responsible breeders will have a contract for their new
puppy owners to agree to and sign as well. These will differ from breeder to
breeder, but most will have stipulations such as:
not already spay/neutered, you agree to have the pup done by the age of six
months, and to provide proof to the breeder that this was done. (if not for
agree to provide the proper shelter, care, food, veterinary care required for
agree to provide the proper fencing required to keep the animal safe, and agree
never to allow dog to roam free unattended.
usually insist that you agree; If
at any time in the future it becomes necessary to give up ownership of this dog,
the breeder will be notified and will have the option of reclaiming this dog at
no charge. Or that the breeder must approve of the home that this dog will be
will also stipulate that you agree;
at no time will this animal be turned over to the pound, humane society, rescue,
or animal shelter.
any violation of their contract by the owner, will give the breeder, the right
to reclaim the dog.
Again, don't be offended with these
stipulations. The breeder is not trying to control you. Their main concern is
the puppies welfare, they are being responsible....And this is the ONLY kind of
breeder you want to acquire a puppy from.
Questions you could ask the breeder:
the puppies born on the property?
the breeder only place puppies that are at least seven weeks of age?
you a member of a breed club?
the sire and dam at least two years old?
both sire and dam tested for genetic health before the breeding?
you have information on the health testing of most of the immediate relatives of
the sire and dam?
you offer a guarantee against genetic health problems for at least one year, but
preferably two years?
the health guarantee require that you return the puppy? Can I read the health
guarantee, before I decide?
you be available to offer advice and support for the life of
the dog? Will it be alright if you contact them about a problem you are
having, or with questions you may have?
are some of the problems some people have with the breed?
the puppies been introduced to children? To other animals?
in the case of a companion/LGD- Will I be required to spay/neuter the puppy?
(You want this to be- yes!) Or are they already early spay/neutered?
on the sire: What is the Sire's registered name, Temperament, Titles,
Accomplishments, OFA number, CERF number, Cardio results, Other test results,
Additional health background information. Sire's strengths and
on the dam: What is the Dam's registered name, Temperament, Titles,
Accomplishments, OFA number, CERF number, Cardio results, Other test results.
Additional health background information. Dam's strengths and weaknesses.
I contact any previous puppy owners, Vet, personal trainers/handlers etc.?
I get information about the health and temperament, or better still.....meet
siblings, grandparents, etc.
In conclusion, getting a dog from a
reputable breeder is your ONLY line of defence from future problems.
Please note, that it is impossible to
breed the perfect dog. It is also impossible for any breeder to 100% guarantee
that nothing will go wrong with the animals it produces. But with a responsible
breeder you will be guaranteed that they will do everything in their power to
make it right.
Furthermore, good breeders make it a priority to only breed the best of dogs.
No breeder wants to take back a 2 year old dog with health or temperament problems, that they can't place or may have to euthanize. So they will do everything in their power to see that that does not happen. By thoroughly researching their breeding lines, and only breeding the best possible specimens.
The likelihood that something will go
wrong is far less with such a breeder, than with one that does not.
It is also VERY important for you to
familiarize yourself with the "GPCA Code of Ethics" on their web site,
that responsible breeders must follow. The code not only serves to protect the
future of the breed, but you as a purchaser as well! You can also view the
Official breed standard and they have a great illustrated standard as well!
A great many wonderful dogs can also be
found through rescue. These dogs are all evaluated by the rescue. Given the
appropriate needed training, and medical attention. They try their best to match
the right dog with the right home.
There are more than a few positive
reasons to consider a rescue dog. Most are past that puppy stage, and are house
trained, have basic obedience, manners etc. Not to mention you will be giving a
loving dog a second chance at happiness.
If this sounds good to you, please see my
links page for rescue contacts. Most can put you in touch with a rescue near
you. Or search the thousands of dogs on Petfinder below.
Evaluating a Breeder
Choosing a Puppy
About Pet Stores
Pyr Friends Photo Album
Medical Testing Defined
Tribute to Bridge Angels
White Dogs In the Moonlight