5 Tips for Working With a Breeder
If you’ve spent any time looking at cute dog or cat videos (particularly during work hours), you’re not alone.
It's estimated that there are more than two million cat videos on YouTube alone, and they’ve been watched more than 25 billion times!
Why are pets so attractive to humans? Well, for starters, they’re just So. Darn. Adorable. They’re also good and loyal companions and can help ease anxiety and stress.
Did you Know?
Dogs were domesticated from wolves and then later bred to help humans hunt, retrieve, pull sleds, track, and perform a variety of other helpful actions.
Cats took a little longer to domesticate (are we surprised?). As humans began to focus on agriculture, they relied on cats to help manage the rodent population.
Pets have become even more popular in modern days with the evolution of social media. Dogs in cute bandanas, cats in hoodies and sunglasses….it’s enough to kick your endorphins into high gear.
The growing trend of ‘Petfluencers’ on social media is another reason for skyrocketing pet popularity. Petfluencers with expensive purebred dogs dominate social media and provide aspiration to the masses.
Instagram accounts like @jiffpom, with 10 million+ followers can earn up to $35k PER POST for sponsorships, according to the calculator provided by Influencer Marketing Hub.
While “monetizing” your pet can seem morally wrong for some, for others, it helps pay vet bills and put kibble on the table. Either way, we’re not here to judge.
Purebred pets are popular for many reasons. People with allergies may opt for hypo allergic pets like Doodle dogs or Sphinx cats while others may want pets with specific energy levels, temperaments or health requirements.
One of the biggest trends during the pandemic was the huge increase in demand for purebred animals as people became lonely, had more time on their hands, or wanted companionship as a result of losing a loved one.
But the pandemic lead to pet scams, too. Lots of them.
In fact, the Better Business Bureau received over 4,000 pet scam complaints in 2020 amounting to an estimated $3 million in losses. With purebreds in high demand, and selection low, prospective pet parents eagerly handed over hundreds, or thousands, of dollars in deposits to scam artists ….only to find the pet didn’t actually exist.
It’s heartbreaking enough to learn the pet you fell in love with doesn’t exist, but it gets worse when you get scammed out of your money, too.
To help you avoid these potential pitfalls, we’ve put together some helpful tips to find, and work with, a qualified, non-scammy breeder.
FIND A REPUTABLE BREEDER
The first step towards finding the right pet is to find the right breeder. Here are some good ways to find a breeder:
- Ask your Vet for a recommendation
- Ask a pet parent who has the breed you want for a referral
- Visit the American Kennel Club website
Once you have a list of breeders, be sure to check their reviews (or complaints) online, through Google, Facebook or the Better Business Bureau.
MEET THE BREEDER/GET A TOUR
You can have an initial conversation with the breeder via phone, but plan a follow up visit of the breeder's home/facility too. You may need to do this virtually if there are Covid-19 restrictions in place.
You can use this pawsome checklist from the Human Society to ensure they’re following responsible guidelines.
If you plan to meet the puppy during your home inspection, ask questions BEFORE meeting the puppy, otherwise you’ll run the risk of cute puppy distraction.
ASK ABOUT THE PUPPY PARENTS
The main thing that sets purebreds apart from “mutts” is their lineage. Purebreds across generations are all members of the same breed, and generally conform to a same breed standard.
A qualified breeder will be able to provide pedigree documentation and answer questions about breeding frequency.
Your breeder should be well versed in everything related to the breed:
- How big the animal will grow
- Best food requirements
- Any health issues
- Energy level
- If they’re good with kids or other pets
Overbreeding can cause a host of health issues. Ask the breeder what medical testing they’ve done and if they guarantee the health of your pet.
Some breeders may not tell you, or sugar coat, potential health issues.
For example, did you know that:
Half of all Cavaliers will develop mitral valve disease, leaving them susceptible to premature death,…by age 5?
Or that hip dysplasia is common in German Shepherds?
Do your homework! It’s your responsibility as a future pet parent to understand what your commitment level may be in time, vet bills and emotional heartache.
This topic can be awkward since your pet is an emotional decision, not a financial one. But, some purebreds can command thousands of dollars, so it's important to be prepared financially. Ask the breeder if they will provide a contract, what the payment terms are and if they are willing to cover vet bills should your pet have health issues.
To give you an idea of cost, here's a list of the top 10 most expensive dogs in the United States, according to k9ofmine.com.
1) Samoyed ($4,000 – $11,000)
2) Pharaoh Hound ($2,500 – $6,000)
3) French Bulldog ($1,500 – $8,000)
4) Tibetan Mastiff ($2,000 – $5,000)
5) Akita ($1,000 – $4,000)
6) Saluki ($2,000 – $4,000)
7) Otterhound ($1,500 – $2,500)
8) Rottweiler ($2,000 – $7,000)
9) English Bulldog ($2,000 – $4,000)
10) German Shepherds ($1,500 – $7,500)
What kind of support does the breeder offer? If there are health issues, will the breeder help you work through these? Can you call your breeder to get food or vet recommendations? Do they offer an online community that you can be part of?
In summary, responsible breeders are a great way to find the purebred you’re looking for, but it’s important to do your homework to understand your long term commitment.
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