How to find YOUR breeder.

Yesterday's article about breeding dogs raised some really good questions about how to pick a breeder. It is absolutely true that having a registration alone does not guarantee that the breeder will agree with your ideas about what makes a good dog, how the dogs should be bred or any other question of dog care. Anyone serious about buying an ethically, responsibly bred puppy has to ask lots and lots of questions and be prepared to walk away if you're not happy with the answers you get. 

I'm not an expert on any aspects of dogs, especially when it comes to questions about breeding dogs or even buying puppies from breeders, and this area has been well covered by others, so I'm not going to repeat it.

Instead, I would direct anyone interested in this question to one of the best series of articles I've found about selecting a breeder and understanding what a breeder is looking for in a buyer. Written by Joanna Kimball of New Hampshire, USA, her blog Ruffly Speaking is based on her experiences as a breeder, firstly of Great Danes and more recently Cardigan Corgis (Black Sheep Cardigans), and extensively covers the science, ethics and issues of breeding. 

Her article, How to tell a good breeder website from a bad one. is a great place to start.thinking about some of the questions that you might ask, and to become aware of some of the different services a buyer might consider important from a breeder. 

Joanna's article, How to get a puppy from us (or another good breeder), helps those of us who've never been involved in breeding to understand the perspective from the other side of the whelping box.

And her article 10 Questions you must ask your breeder - AFTER you know she's responsible, reminds us that even if you've found a breeder that you think is highly responsible and ethical in their breeding practices, you still have to discover whether this breeder is YOUR breeder. Will you and the breeder continue to work together happily for as long as you wish to? Will the breeder be available whenever you feel you need help, or will the breeder pester you for updates when you want to get on with raising your puppy? Joanne takes pains to point out that there are no right or wrong answers to these questions, but that they help a buyer and a breeder figure out if they are on the same page when it comes to raising the puppy, as well breeding the puppy.

Joanna has 131 articles on Responsible Breeding and a similar number on Responsible Ownership. They make great reading for anyone who is passionate about finding a breed, a breeder and a puppy that will be the best fit for them for the average lifetime of a dog. Because if the dog fits your lifestyle really well, those years will be brilliant!