How to find a reputable breeder
So you have decided to buy an English Cocker Spaniel ( or a MIiniature Long Haired Dachshund ) puppy. Buying any dog is not a decision to be taken lightly, and after weighing up the pros and cons and taking everything into consideration you have decided to go ahead and open your home to a puppy......forever!
Congratulations! Now you need to find a reputable breeder to supply you with a healthy, happy well bred puppy. Because of the Cocker Spaniels( & Dachshunds) popularity there are plenty of people who will take advantage and use them to make a quick buck. These people do not necessarily fall into the category of puppy farmers as we know it and so it is easy to be misled. When looking for a happy, healthy, well bred puppy there are a few things that you should look for.
Dont be in too much of a rush. Once the decision to have a pup is made it is easy to dash out and get the first puppy available. Reputable breeders do not have an endless supply so be prepared to wait for the right puppy. If you are certain that you want…say a gold girl dont just take that black boy because it was there. Be prepared to travel too, the right puppy for you might not be just around the corner. The dog you choose may spend 14 - 18 years or more as part of your family take time to get it right.
You should always be able to see puppies with their Mum and quite often the breeder will have other relatives there too, but dont necessarily expect to find Dad at home as a good breeder will choose the best possible match for Mum, not just the most convenient.
All puppies should be chunky, happy little bundles of fun with clear bright eyes and wagging tails. You should feel comfortable with the way they are being kept and feel able to ask questions of the breeder. Make sure that the PRA status and in the case of Cocker Spaniels the FN status of parents/ pups is known, again this shows that the breeder is being responsible and could save heartache later on.
All puppies should be Kennel Club registered…although this is not a guarantee of a good pup, it is an absolute must. Don't accept alternative registrations - these tend to be used by puppy farmers. Nobody with a passion for their breed will offer puppies unregistered or use them in a cross breeding program. Whatever reason you are given for a puppy not being registered the reality is probably one of these:
1) One or both puppies parents are unregistered ( perhaps they are not full pedigree)
2) Mum is not old enough ( or too old) for the KC to register her offspring.
3) Mum had a litter only 6 months ago ( and possibly 6 months before that & 6 months before that!)
4) Mum /Dad have their KC registration endorsed ( This is to stop them being bred from, maybe for health reasons in the pedigree, or because they are not a good specimen of the breed).
5) Puppy was not born in this country but shipped in from Europe , often bred in horrendous conditions, taken from their mums too early and smuggled into England in vans full of puppies accompanied by false paperwork and vaccination certificates soley to meet the demand for 'cheap' pedigree dogs in the UK and to make large sums of money for their breeders.
Please note the current cost of KC registration is £18.00 - Why would a reputable breeder following the KC code of ethics for their dogs' health and welfare not spend £18.00 . Please don't condone back street breeding by purchasing an unregistered puppy. KC registered is not just for people who want to show their dogs, it is for people who care about where their dogs come from. Think back to a tv program you have seen in the past where puppies were born in dirty, smelly conditions, where adult dogs were afraid and abused, where the owner was rough and unfeeling, where puppies that were sold died a few days later.......do you want to buy a puppy that started his life in a place like that?
The breeder should be a member of at least one breed club and you would expect them to have some kind of hobby, usually showing, with their dogs. I would never recommend buying a puppy from anyone who wasn't a member of our parent clubs The Cocker Spaniel Club or The Miniature Dachshund Club…if nothing else this indicates that the breeder has a genuine interest in the breed.
Puppies should stay with their mums and siblings until they are 8 weeks old ( give or take a day or two) so even though you want to collect your puppy as soon as possible, do not expect your breeder to let a puppy go before then. If you are to collect your pup at 8 weeks old do not necessarily expect him/her have started their puppy vaccinations or be micro-chipped ( although from April 2016 all puppies must be micro-chipped before leaving their breeder) Many reputable breeders ( myself included) will not start vaccinations until pups are over 10 weeks old and only micro-chip when the second vaccine is given. We don't need to overload puppies with too much , too soon.
Some breeders may have a puppy or puppies that are a little older for sale, say 12 - 26 weeks. This is often because they have been unable to choose between two or more promissing puppies from a litter and have held back the ones they consider most likely contenders as show dogs. Expect to pay the same price , occasionally a little more to include vaccinations etc, but don't necessarily expect a house trained pup. Slightly older puppies settle in just as easily as puppies that join their new families at 8 weeks.
Be suspicious of anyone who has multiple breeds, that does not mean having maybe two or even three breeds providing they have a genuine interest in them, often 'show people' exhibit more than one breed , but beware the sort of people who have all the popular breeds for sale and advertise in the Free Ads papers - or people who are selling puppies too cheaply. Unfortunately you may need to be especially careful in certain area's of the country too where some counties ( including Lincolnshire) are flooded with 'commercial' kennels and puppy farms, but there are good, genuine breeders in those counties too, so don't dismiss them altogether, just be careful.
Expect to be asked lots of questions about your suitability to be a puppy owner. Dont be offended by this instead understand that a reputable breeder will want to be sure that their pups go to good homes. Be suspicious of anyone who is too keen to sell a puppy without seeming to care what sort of home it is going to. A genuine breeder will be very happy for you to ask questions too, it shows that you are serious about buying a puppy and that you have done your research.
Expect to be asked to sign a puppy contract to ensure the well being of the puppy. Most reputable breeders will give life long advice and will take a puppy back if necessary and will add a clause to say that the pup cannot be used for breeding purposes.
Dont be afraid to say no. If you think you have found a reputable breeder with the puppy you want but when you actually get to the premises you are unhappy about the conditions or the number of breeds on offer, dont feel you must save that poor puppy. This only encourages the puppy farmers to continue to breed more and more puppies.
Finding your puppy should be a good experience. You should feel happy and comfortable with the breeder and with the puppy.
It is the most wonderful feeling when you bring a new puppy home. Take time, care and advice and enjoy!
Please contact me if you would like any information or watch my News page or puppies available page on the website for my forthcoming and available puppies. Thank you
© 2008 Fendrove Cockers.co.uk