WHAT IS A REPUTABLE BREEDER?
By Marion J. Levy Jr.
This article was the President’s report in the 1984, No. 4 (July) issue of Komondor News. It was reprinted in Dog World in November, 1984 with permission from the Middle Atlantic States Komondor Club, Inc., 102 Russell Rd., Princeton, NJ 08540.
A breeder is technically the owner of a bitch who has whelped a litter. But reputable breeders are rather more than that. There are quite a number of things they must do.
A Reputable Breeder Should:
1. Breed only good and healthy specimens after careful consideration of a mate with a compatible and not too closely related pedigree.
2. Have their breeding stock judged as worthy in the show ring if they are show breeders, or have their stock prove itself with livestock if they breed working dogs, and they should keep in mind that they should not breed for a difference between “show dogs” and “working dogs”.
3. Have all breeding stock x-rayed and OFA-certified before breeding and have breeding specimens checked for brucellosis if this is even a remote possibility. Bitches should have booster shots up to date* and should have been checked for worms and wormed if necessary before mating takes place. If there is any possibility of vaginal or uterine infection, this should be checked before mating. After mating the bitch should be carefully overseen to be sure no further mismating takes place. The bitch’s pregnancy should be carefully managed. Good breeders oversee whelpings (if the bitches permit this!), and check all puppies for neonatal faults (any physical abnormalities as well as more cosmetic things like dewclaws on the hind legs).
4. Keep puppies in clean quarters and have space for them to run freely as soon as they are on their feet and active. They must have the proper shots as soon as they are weaned; they should be checked regularly for worms and wormed if necessary. At appropriate ages, all puppies should be checked for umbilical hernias, and males should be checked to make sure they have two testicles.
5. Have puppies handled as much as possible, both by their breeder and by strangers. Conscientious breeders observe all their puppies and know them and their individual personalities as well. It is desirable for puppies to be exposed to grown dogs other than their dam and/or to livestock, if that is possible.
6. Try to place each puppy with responsible owners in a home suitable for that dog. Komondors are not suitable for every home or family. No puppy should leave without the breeder giving a forthright representation of the breed to its future owners.
7. Be prepared to keep puppies as long as necessary to be sure they go to appropriate homes. They must not go to people a breeder is unsure of because the puppies are expensive or difficult to keep or because the breeder wants to go away on vacation.
8. Give each new owner an honest opinion about a puppy’s faults before the puppy leaves. No dog is perfect, and no one can responsibly promise that a puppy will mature into a perfect specimen. Both breeder and buyer should understand that no one can predict with certainty which puppy will mature into a show champion, a great obedience dog, a superior working dog, or a fine breeding specimen.
9. Make known to the prospective buyer any known faults in the bloodline. Not only is no dog perfect, but no bloodline is without some dogs with faults. The puppy and his parents should be honestly represented.
10. Provide a 3-generation pedigree and the dog’s AKC registration slip. (unless this is withheld by mutual consent, preferably in writing, of both breeder and purchaser) properly filled out**. A puppy should go with a collar and a leash, feeding instructions, and a health certificate. If a puppy is shipped, it should go in an adequate crate, preferably on a direct flight, and preferably not on weekends, when flight personnel are busiest. Changing planes and especially changing airlines should be avoided if possible. In hot weather puppies should not be shipped to arrive in the heat of the day.
11. Be available to give advice and assistance at all stages of the life of his puppies. They should further keep in touch with owners, even if owners do not seek them out or ask for help.
12. Take back and/or relocate a dog an owner finds unsatisfactory. (Dissatisfied owners should not be trusted to sell a dog to another person, who may well be in need of better advice than a dissatisfied owner can or is willing to give.)
13. Replace or refund completely on a dog sold as show or breeding stock who turns out to be either dysplastic or to have some other congenital fault which renders the animal unsuitable for breeding. If the owner elects to keep such a dog, the breeder should refund down to his pet price, and the owner must agree to neuter the dog or to return his registration papers to the breeder.
A Reputable Breeders Should Not:
1. Give erroneous or misleading claims for their dogs or give erroneous or misleading criticisms of dogs belonging to their competitors.
2. Buy dogs from another breeder to sell to people waiting for dogs from them with the impression given that they are the dog’s breeder. (Note the AKC Gazette does not allow people to appear in their breeder’s aid columns if they buy dogs for resale.)
3. Operate on a dog for a congenital problem-like hernias or entropion- without notifying the prospective owner of this fault and of the operation.
4. Sell a dog for breeding to anyone they can even imagine would be an unreliable breeder. This means if someone has a bitch (dog), and asks for a dog (bitch), a breeder should know that person and the Komondor the buyer has very well before providing a potential mate.
A breed club can help both breeder and prospective owner. We try hard in our club to make available accurate material about the breed. We mail out single copies of our club breed sheet without charge, and we supply a list of club breeders, and at times, especially when our club breeders have few puppies available, we can recommend breeders who are not club members if we have reason to believe they are reputable breeders. Because we have extensive files we can usually provide breeders or potential buyers with information about the bloodlines involved. For a potential buyer with little or no knowledge of the Komondor, we can often suggest someone in their area who has a Komondor which the buyer may see in the dog’s home environment-the best place to see a Komondor. Sometimes a nearby experienced Komondor owner, after seeing a prospective owner, can advise a breeder as to the suitability of a prospective owner. We try to give as much help to individual breeders and purchasers as we can, whether they are club members or not, but we cannot do everything for everyone. We cannot screen buyers for breeders; this must be done by each individual breeder for himself. When we have good reason to believe that an individual breeder is not reliable, again we feel a responsibility to pass this information along to prospective purchasers. We cannot give breeders blanket recommendations that any one group, such as show owners, prospective breeders, ranchers or farmers are good owners. Nor can we promise prospective owners that every puppy bred by a reputable breeder will mature into a fine specimen. Any of our breeders can produce poor specimens as well as good ones. If they have represented their puppies frankly, and if they stand behind their puppies, that is the best they can do.
* Since we wrote this, we have found that the puppies get a tighter immunity with their shots if the dam has NOT been boostered just before breeding. Check with your vet on this.
** If a puppy is being shipped to an owner who has not seen it, we do NOT send the registration with the dog. If the dog is for some reason returned it is a lot easier if the blue slip has not been filled out. No owner needs that slip for a few weeks, so make this easy on yourself.