Checklist & Questions to be Asked/Answered When Researching Breeders

Here is a list of questions to ask, notations to look for and red flags, that if present, you need to run the other way.  Now, I will say this, not everything in life is black and white.  There are allowable exceptions to SOME rules, but not all.  I will make notes for those areas that can have allowable exceptions.
Above all else, please remember these are just guidelines, they are not gospel and they are most certainly not set in stone.  Trust your gut along with these guidelines and you should be on the right track.
Most of us do research and initial contact via the internet so all that follows will fall under that assumption.  Obviously they can be applied to face-to-face meetings also.
Information on their sites:
~ pictures of both Dam and Sire
~ pedigrees of both Dam and Sire
~ health tests performed and results for both Dam and Sire
~ Dam and Sire’s titles and achievements (this is so you, the consumer, can have a better idea of what temperament the pups will have.  I.e. both parents having Schutzhund titles may mean the higher probability the pups produced will have a very healthy working drive and may not be the appropriate pup for a first time Dobe owner or one that is not looking to work thier Dobe in any venue)
You want to see pictures of the breeder and their family interacting with the dogs etc.  You ideally want to see that their dogs are part of the family.  Now having said that, some breeder prefer to keep their sites more professional and I can understand that.  So it is up to theconsumer to find out if the dogsare considered part of the family etc.  There is no harm in asking where they sleep etc.  If they get defensive, you simply know that breeder is not right for you and move on.  Please remember too that when you email or call any breeder from spring through to the fall, they may not answer right away as that is push time for conformation, obedience shows etc.  Don’t fret, they will get to you.  😉
Now I am going to touch on the number of litters per year a breeder “should” have.  A good breeder can have on average (with different bitches) 1-4 litters a year.  Most do not have that many, but because they may do does NOT make them a bad breeder.  I don’t believe numbers of litters should be a factor when under say 5 litters a year.  Some breeders may leave a 5 year span between breedings andthen dedicate one or two years to whelping.  You have to look at the big picture, not just at numbers.  Oh, and this is one of those times where there are and should be exceptions to the rule.  🙂
As you are reading their information, by all means, write down any questions you have as you go along.  Sometimes there is so much information, we forget what we wanted to ask about.  Have paper and pen on hand and just jot down any question or note.  You may find the answer further along, or it may be something you need to ask.
They should have a contract for you to sign and that includes a Non-breeding agreement.  The pups should be microchipped/tattooed (I prefer microchip).  And they should also state in their contract that ifyou are unable to care for your dog for whatever reason, they will take the dog back.  Period.  In my contract I have stated that I must always be the Emergency Contact on the dogs’ microchip information so should anything happen, they will NEVER end up being one of the statistics.
Checklist for Dobermans & Alaskan Malamutes:
_____VwD status of Dam and Sire (DNA or parentage) ~ Dobe
_____ OFA Hips/Elbows and results ~ Dobe and Mal
_____ CERF eyes and results ~ Dobe and Mal
_____ Echo/Holter (yearly) and results ~ Dobe
_____ DCM -DNA and results (optional as this is currently less than 60% accurate but new test may be available in a year or so with 97%accuracy and that one should be used) ~ Dobe
_____DNA Colour and results ~Dobe and Mal
_____ DNA Coat Length ~ Mal
_____ Thyroid (yearly) and results ~ Dobe and Mal
The Dam nor the Sire’s registration number must NEVER start with WZ as that means they carry the Albino mutation and should never be bred. ~ Dobe
Red Flags
Some red flags for breeders in general.
~ Will ship anywhere ~ most good breeders prefer not to ship if they don’t have to
~ To visit MUST be by appointment ~ Now I have amended this as apparently I was not very thorough in portraying a difference between making an appointment to hide what you don’t want to be seen and to make things look presentable, compared to making an appointment because this is the breeders home and you, the consumer, are complete strangers.  This is not an appointment to an office, but their own residence.  I would also like to state that once pups are on the ground, some breeders will not allow strangers to enter the home due to the high risk of parvo that it may bring.  an option, which I think more and more breeders are doing is using Skype or YouTube to share and show how the pups are being raised, especially for those that are further away and unable to visit the breeder.
~ When you visit if they are unable to provide proof of any/all healthtest results, or neither Dam nor Sire is present (not unusual for Sire to live elsewhere), tell them thank you for their time and get the hell out of there.
~ List “Wobblers Clear” as a test result ~ no such test to be clear of ~ RUN
~ List “DCM Clear” as a test result ~ no such test result.  It will either be Negative, Positive-Heter or Positive-Homo. ~ RUN
~ If they tell you that their lines are free of any health issues ~ RUN ~ as that is simply not true whether they be North American or Euro lines. They all have health issues and if there were ANY line free of disease, you can bet your butt that every breeder out there would be demanding one of their pups.
~ Non-refundable deposits that consist of half the price of the pup ~ RUN.  Now some good breeders do ask for a depost on average between $200-$500.  There are a lot of varialbles for this.  The only time these deposits become Non-refundable is when you the consumer back out of the contract regardless of the reason.  This is usually listed in their contract.
Above everything else, seeing the litter should be the last thing you do.  If you are not comfortable with the breeder then you don’t want to purchase a pup from them.  A good breeder wants to establish that lifelong bond with you as they want you to be able to give them updates, ask them questions, participate in reunions, share in the glory of achievement and share in sorrow of the loss of a friend.  Agood breeder will an open door policy for long after you have bought and paid for that pup.
Copyright © 2011 Sandy Allen/Shadowlands/Shadowlands Canine Training/FireAndIce Reg’d Doberman Pinschers & Alaskan Malamutes.  All rights reserved. Revised: ALL PICTURES AND CONTENT ON THIS BLOG ARE THE SOLE PROPERTY OF Sandy Allen/Shadowlands/FireAndIce Reg’d Dobermans and Alaskan Malamutes and may not be used, copied or reprinted without express permission from the owner. Copyrighted 2011

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