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How to Sort Breeders and Not Waste Time on Wierd Websites


*** Beware of folks who are too eager to help you get what you want--who is then "minding the store," i.e.watching out for the breed, if they, folks, are all about pleasing you, the "consumer with the cash" hm?***


****They gear their website toward the buyer--after all the customer is always right when you are talking about a biZne$$ deal. You want warm & fuzzy? They got warm & fuzzy. You want a guarantee of a good pet? They got...

& usually then tell you HOW LONG they have been in the breed, what their kids look like, how cute and loving their dogs are, why they "luv" the breed SO MUCH, add in some history of the breed (usually romantic)--all this to "hook" you as a buyer ("gee this person seems nice & so sincere") and then they go on to:

1) Have lots of claims that are not/cannot be substantiated.
("Wunnerful dogs, great family companions, healthy & clean, live a long time"...oh yeah?...prove it-they never even try!) Have lots of 'cutsie' pictures & usually no 'stacked' (show) pictures (at least of *their* dogs)-all to appeal to the pet buyer's heart.

2) Have lots of guarantees but no health or other OBJECTIVE certifications--again, this is all to reassure the buyer, NOT to make sure the dogs they are using are really breedworthy!
They talk (TALK) about "quality" alot--well? "Show me the money" or "Where's the beef?" should be your immediate reaction.

3) Advertise & sell their dogs by the pound.
(No decent breeder would engage in this nonsense game of "how big ARE my danes!?!" This listing weights on danes is a sales tactic--an especially tacky one--pure & simple.)

4) TALK right away about pricing, shipping & how you can buy one of their "wunnerful" puppies.
Have EZ contracts & other "buyer-friendly" deals & are usually a lot more willing as well to "do business" with you that any of the "show" breeders you might talk to.
(After all these pet puppy peddlars have merchandise to move & are at no hardship to reduce the price to sell, as their profit is almost always near 100%--with gross sales equaling net profit.)

5) Sell everything in the litter & SELL YOUNG.
Take "Reserves" on even unborn pups!!!! Another dead give away, as reputable breeders are first breeding for themselves & only sell what they decide (between 2-3 months, usually, not to keep.
The litter means way too much to them to auction them off at 2 weeks!!!

6) Claim their dogs are 'champion bloodlines' but don't think showing is necessary for them (or you) to breed dogs.
(Hm? THINK! about this?) They also don't show you pedigrees, or if they do, the pedigrees lack OFA & CH in them.

7) Spend a whole lotta time reassuring you they are reputable, but have a whole lotta contradictions between what they SAY and what they DO!!!
As Shakespeare said "Me thinks thou protestest too much." When you protest just how reputable you are (why do you gotta defend yourself?), when you claim you are a Christian or a good mother (how IS this even pertinent?), you sure must have a guilty conscience AND a lot of really and truly reputable people are probably SCREAMING at you, plus you must deal with some VERY slimy people on a regular basis? If not, why all this protest about being reputable?

8) They misuse terminology & claim normal practices are somehow "special." (Almost gotta be a doggie person-in-the-know to spot this usually).
(Ex.? ALL "purebreds" should have papers, are wormed & have shots, pedigrees, contracts, etc., danes are SUPPOSED to be kind & loving, -all these not selling points either, PLEASE!
Also they offer universal bloodlines as if their own or somehow special (i.e. Meistersinger, Riverwood, BMW) & baby pups are not show quality, just show potential, "BLOCKHEADS" are not a good thing in danes, again, danes do not have a weight standard, there is nothing necessarily good (& potentially a whole lot wrong) with "IMPORTS," & there is no such thing as "GERMAN TYPE.")

9) CREDIT CARDS WELCOME!! A dead give away it is a commercial site.
(Who could AFFORD this?? They must be selling a lot of pups, despite protests, to make the FEE for having a credit card account AND must be registered as a profit business even to HAVE access to this service.)
Also a list of "thankful buyers" a mile long means (often) WAY too many pups per year.

Reputable breeders, again, don't make EZ Sleazy Puppy Deals, so they don't advertise TO YOU like this, even if they DO ship.
(These pet breeder folks also often will tell you about uncaring show people ship their dogs around every week like cargo? Hm..another contradiction here if cheerfully ADVERTISING pups shipped off to any odd stranger in the world, while claiming they "lovingly place" each and every pup?)

Another dead give away if advertising "off" colors, especially as potential breeding animals. Also anyone who sells pets "with full registration & full ownership" has just violated the Breeder's Code of Ethics (which ain't about color, but your kennel practices)!! You can sign off any site which doesn't stick to the standard colors or tries to sell pets or any dog with a disqualifying faults as 'breeders.' Just a note? Danes come in 6 standard colors, with 3 usual families: fawn/brindle (and black which carries only fawn/brindle/black in the pedgree), black/blue, and harlequin/mantle. In harl litters, merles are sold as non-breeding pets.(as are many harls and mantles that the breeder deemed not suitable for breeding/showing for reasons OTHER than color) even when breeding the very best dogs together, not all pups in the litter will be grow up to be show/breeding quality. All litters produce some "pets", regardless of color). White danes, that is any danes more than 85% white, are likely deaf, maybe blind and often otherwise sick. People who advertise them as exotic and sell whites, like people selling "pets you can breed" ARE IN VIOLATION OF THE GDCA CODE OF ETHICS!

12) Don't show their OWN dogs (but boast of champions in the line- weirdly enough--think about this--how can Champions in the LINE be so valuable if SHOWING is so BAD or so UNECESSARY? (What showing is, is, a financial outlay & a committment to the breed & the dog fancy...and it eats up your profits... and fast!!! & that, dear friends, is why these people don't do it--it ain't politics, it is making bills that cut into profits that stops them from showing!!) But that doesn't make all show breeders good or even ethical--just means people who don't show their own dogs are suspect in their skills & motives as breeders.

13) They don't belong to dog clubs or any other affiliated organization of experts who could check up on us and call our bluff. In fact many will call the show/hobby breeders "snotty" or "snooty" while they hide away where no one can see & check up on their dogs & their claims. It would seem the best defense for what they often full well know are bad practices is an aggressive OFFENSIVE MANNER.

Breeders & rescues and other real dog people have been condemning these folks collectively and individually for years, and their retort is "you are snots and we are in the money!!"
Puppy buyers, esp. first timers, plus other like minded "greeders" keep them in business, sadly. Learn to avoid these people who quite literally live off the back of our beloved breeds by preying on the ignorant & inexperienced.


They are all looking over each others shoulders all the time. People complain constantly about "show" dogs & "show" people, but forget to notice that this is an age old organization still functioning mostly by peer pressure & the grapevine.
There are no laws & no jails, just reputation & word of mouth. (There used to be no contracts, just handshakes, but that is changing these days.)
Breeders are a COMMUNITY. Their breeding dogs are in the public eye & THAT is how it should be.
Breeders NEED to get together. Shows supply that need. This world has no laws or policemen, no colleges and only a few voluntary creditation processes.
Alot of it still runs on reputation & a handshake, and is--as an avocation, a passion and a consuming hobby--it's run on an odd combination of ego, excitement, competition & a true love of the sport of dogs, combined with a true dedication to preserving and protecting purebred dogs.
You may not be a dog fanatic, but you sure ought to want to buy your puppy from someone who is--who else would dedicate themselves to producing the best pups they possible can & learning 10,000 things about what many think is a totally trivial activity (while mostly going broke & at least losing money most every year)?
There are some truly weird people in show dogs, but it's about the only place to get a decent purebred, so go fish!

**HOBBY WEBSITES, as a result of their "internal" focus, have some OBVIOUS SHARED CHARACTERISTICS:***

1) They are not talking to you--but to each other--so use a weird, cryptic speak odd to most puppy buyers. "CH/CD producers" "Dual CH sire" "White Factored" "BOB over Specials" etc. Cryptic-Dog-World Speak-it's a good thang!

2) They are cautious and modest in their claims (or would get talked about as boastful and arrogant) so the best are often the ones who you overlook. The best never boast. It IS a rule. They state their accomplishments. Period. (And most people won't outright criticize others, but let longggg silences where they don't compliment another speak their opinion without words.) "I cannot recommend them." should also mean red flashing lights go off in your head as a warning.

3) The dogs are the centerpiece of their sites (not them, their families, their lifestyle choices or their religious affiliation).

4) They present their credentials on the "about us" page --they do not give you lonnng stories about their thoughts and feelings, they have real data to offer you, not 'deep thoughts.' The dog's abilities speak for themselves & are a centerpiece of the site.

5) They back up EVERY claim they have (or the word gets around about them, at least), so the site talks about OFA & CH, as they are telling their PEERS who they are, & telling potential puppy buyers how reputable they are (in "dogworld speak" which is often not understood, unfortunately.)

6) They are coy about puppies & litters for sale. They will show you the pedigree, the parents, maybe even photos of the pups, but ask you to "inquire for further details" when it comes to price & particulars.
(This is partially from a real desire not to appear hungry to sell pups & also as they usually, anyway, have long waiting lists for their pups anyway.)
Good breeders mostly don't NEED buyers--so you will have to learn how to appeal to them to adopt one of their darlings. (If you don't like that then you have no other choice but to buy puppy merchandise from a commercial puppy seller.)

7) They HAVE CHAMPION ( i.e. and/or titled) DOGS that they own and/or bred & they are actively (ferverently) trying to get more. Some people get lost here & you can get lost two ways==make too much of titles or make too little of them....the former sin is mostly "venal," the latter sin is actually the one most often "deadly" to good dogs (& even dogs in general), Atlantic Monthly reports to the contrary.
Titles ARE meaningful. They mean dedication to showing, they mean successful dogs, & they CAN often steer you toward better breeders...just not always, but more likely than not.

8) They belong to dogs clubs, usually hold offices, help out with shows, etc. (But don't be too impressed by claims of offices held--they mostly sound a lot more important than they are & often novices are the ones holding them anyway, as that is part of "paying your dues" in the dog world-& remember the "no boast" rule?)

9) They follow the Code of Ethics without fanfare (it's a basic requirement, NOT something special, added or extra!!), they don't confuse Ethics Codes with color & other trivial issues, they offer "puppy packets" complete with pedigree, papers, etc., as a matter of course, and promptly offer (& actually give you) breeder & rescue referrals.
(Nice breeders don't hold onto you for months and years, asking for money & promising pups to come.)

10) THEY ARE MODEST--again--they don't have a hard sales tactic, as people are watching..and talking.
"Hobby-like" breeders who hang on to the edge of the "show world" by dabbling, winning a few ribbons, and making a lot of what little they do, while bragging to "outsiders" are often ignored & usually shunned by their "betters." They slide right down into being quasi-commercial-back-yard breeders often & may quit the show world after a few years(& bad mouth it), or just do little in it, while they talk alot to others ABOUT it.


(PET means here a dog not graded as breeding quality, but any dog, however inferior, simply chosen to breed more pet$ for pet buyer$, not carefully selected to better the breed. This is a common term that is the short form of "pet-only pup, not suitable for breeding" that quality breeders use to grade a litter-shortened to "pet", but no insult intended. Pet or companion animals are what we ALL have--show as well as pet folks--they live in your house & are your friends. Pet-only is a grading term & "pets" under this definition should never be bred-or bred for. )

The large scale 'puppy mill' variety of a commercial breeder is also a "pet" breeder, just like the typical "back-yard-breeder," normally, just on a grander scale & maybe someone who has an FDA liscence. The bottom line to both is staying in the black. So the same rules really generally apply, the bigger organizations just normally have more convenient ways for you to pay, return & receive your "live merchandise," & are often just more obvious about being commercial, as well as usually having a little "fancier" pedigree to attract buyers who have done a little research & are thinking about breeding and showing maybe. The small scale profit kennel mostly produces pets for pet buyers, the larger kind is often more diverse in their "marketing strategy."

Being fixated on the sales end is significant & making sales easy is a give away. Here's a hint--the AKC defines a commercial breeder as someone who has a significant portion of their income from the sale of dogs. This applies to what most call puppy millers, but includes some "small" (backyard) breeders, who breed for "fun, ego and profit."
(If ten of your annual $30,000 comes from dogs, THAT is certainly a significant portion, & that is only two Dane litters of 10 at $500 a pup profit.)
When these folks stop making a buck and having fun they abandon the breed; "good of the breed" was always just a sales tactic. Think about this one- if producing pups is a large portion of your income, how then can you honestly make decisions with the dogs and the BREED"S best interest at heart?

People who breed pets ARE the worst sort of breeder there is. For you today as a buyer, but more significatly, for the breed itself, & for the bulk of buyers in the future.
!!!Pet breeders are the real culprit behind the decline in the quality of AKC dogs. People blame "puppy mills" & even "show" breeders for the problems of dogs, & certainly there is enough blame to go around, but the real damage is done on a LARGE scale, & neither of these groups produce enough dogs to really matter in the equation.
(Only 10% of AKC dogs every registered "show" & even less than that (6%) pass thru FDA commercial breeders these days-that leaves 84% of over a million AKC pups registered each year. So guess where they come from, hm? A million or so a year?)
MOST AKC pups are "back-yard" bred by people, maybe kind, but usually ignorant (if not simply unethical) & who, despite all their protests, do it as they are certain of making a profit on every litter, are having fun, and breeding without any restraint.
Most dangerously for the buyer, they do it without really any knowledge of the breed, so are simply incompetant, if in the black & happy with what they are producing.
You don't catch them easily when you are a beginner as you don't usually know enough to know they "sound wrong" & since they seem nice & eager to sell......

They dress up their sites in 'warm' words, cute pictures & talk about "champion bloodlines" while they themselves don't show.
They try to be appealing to other pet owners and often succeed. They often have "imports," offer you other exotic & non pertinent and/or un-checkable "credentials".
They may have very few dogs, talk alot about "luving" them; taking walks with them, taking photos with the grandkids, etc.
They usually have a lonnnng "policy" letter & a lonnnng "philosophy" which talks about how long they have been in the breed, how satisfied their buyers are, how wunnerful the breed is, how loving and caring they are & blah, blah blah.
It is all hot air, as NO REAL SUBSTANCE IS THERE--they hope you'll bathe in the warm and fuzzy glow & you'll be as ignorant about the breed as they are, so won't know enough to catch them out.
They live off first time purebred dog buyers. Outwit them.
AND even though profit rules these folks staying in dogs, IT AIN'T ALL about money!! Impressing novices is also part of the motivation, (which helps sad little egos, as well as sales)-- -so they have learned what lights up the eyes & warms the hearts (& opens the pocket books) of puppy buyers.
(They avoid ANY association with anyone knowledgeable who could expose them of course-again having peers, not just breeding pals, is a necessary credential to be a reliable breeder.)
They undercut 'show' breeders just enough to get you to buy, talk slyly about how 'snobby' are the people who are just honestly saying "no" to breeding sub-standard dogs (the "speciatitate of the house" of your average pet breeder!).
As one breeder put it they are basically just selling overpriced rescues....

When something goes wrong, you cannot find them, or they hang up on you, telling you it is YOUR problem. Nice is gone once you got the dog.
What they produce is the curse of vet clinics, keeps purebred rescues in business & keeps good dogs in the minority & some breeds on the verge of extinction as decent pets. In a word--they are irresponsible.

Sure there are lots of lesser sorts, egomaniacs & nutcases in the show dog world, but there ARE also nice folks like this to be found;
and it is the only real knowledgeable group when it comes to breeding dogs, for all its many flawed & failed, flailing members.
Hobbies are NOT supposed to be profitable, & actitivities involving companion animals should not have a "bottom line!"

So What _IS_ Important in Breeding Dogs?

Having a head & a heart--knowing, as well as caring, about dogs.
Being knowledgeable about the breed's history, future, its standard & its current need IS a prerequisite for having a litter.
So it is important to see the breeder putting the breed itself before their own personal dogs, & part of that is that:

They __are__a form of public property in a way your pet never is--they are the parents of the future of the breed. We __ALL__have the right to check them out. Good breeders make this easy for you to do. What they make hard for you is actually buying a pup.
(For that you have to "screen & be screened.") Sort websites accordingly, & buy your dogs from those fanatics willing to focus on knowing more than you thought possible about something you may think is trivial.
You may not be a dog crazy person -but-- you surely want to buy your dogs from someone who is!

Why, you ask is a RESCUE organization so concerned that you buy a puppy from a reputable breeder???

Because, if there were no irresponsible breeders, there would be no need for rescue organizations. Not only do you risk your family and your pocketbook by buying a puppy from a person who didn't breed responsibly, you encourage them (if indirectly) to DO IT AGAIN. Even if YOUR dog does not end up in rescue, how many of it's littermates will, and even if your pet is spayed or neutered, how many of it's littermates will be used a breeding machines by "nice" people just like the ones outlined in this article?? (you see, it takes more than being a "nice" person, to be a responsible breeder sometimes).

A big thanks to JT (and Cindy!)
for the graphics used on this site!