Why you shouldn’t buy a dog or cat from a pet shop: buy directly from the breeder!

Something I learned, over 40 years ago, when I was researching how to find a dog of the breed I wanted, was buy from a breeder.  I was just a child, there was no internet, but  you could find  some  books and magazines that stressed how dealing directly with the breeder was  fundamental.  All the TFH  booklets (“How to Raise and Train an Afghan Hound,” was one of  a template series) did not mention how important it was to buy a puppy directly from a breeder, see at least 1 parent, & get care instructions.

Now,  after years of getting the message through to potential pet buyers, we are slipping back.  “Due to the economy…” there are fewer ethical hobby breeders, more backyard breeders, and more sophisticated puppy mills doing better marketing.

What’s the reason you  don’t want to buy a dog from a broker or any middleman?  You want to  find out that the breeder  is breeding good, healthy dogs, and cares about what s/he is breeding.   Any breeder who loves dogs will want to meet you, talk to you, and make sure  the dogs he breeds are the right breed for you.  He will give you written instructions on  feeding, grooming, housebreaking, and other training. He may give you a bibliography.  He will tell you that if, for any reason, you can’t keep the dog, he wants to know about it, and in most cases he will want the dog back.  The ethical hobby breeder doesn’t trust a reseller,  a person selling dogs in a commercial fashion, to do this for him.  He is breeding for the betterment of the breed…not just to make money.

In the past several years, the American Kennel Club has been working with commercial breeders—the USDA (or not) licensed puppy mills, to  help them  sell healthier puppies—claiming that the ethical hobby breeders are not meeting the demand.  I am not making this up. As a result, some of the breed parent clubs now keep their own stud books because they no longer trust the integrity of the AKC.

Some of the newer (in terms of popularity) breeds  have a very stringent code of ethics for their members.  For example, you can Google the Portuguese Water Dog Club of America and  see that if you want a  Portie for breeding, a bunch of people will be interested in  your plans for the puppies.

Then, on the opposite end of the spectrum, you have the German Shepherd Dog, Beagle, American Spaniel, and the Cane Corso parent clubs. As a result—we see more and more backyard breeders  over breeding for the market.    That means that there are too many dogs available, not enough good homes, they sell to people who aren’t prepared for a dog, or who can’t legally keep a dog, and the dogs end up in shelters.   Or worse—more  backyard breeders get more breedable dogs, can’t sell them , lie about them…& THEY end up  either in shelters or sold to dog fighters.   The classic example of nobody having an ounce of integrity are the many Pit Bull breeders  (this is NOT AN AKC BREED) who started flooding the  market in the early 1980s.  You still have a minority of idiots with too much money who will pay over $500 for a proven fighting dog  from fighting lines, but  for the most part, the breeders can’t give them away, as the dog rescues and animal shelters  always have them & include shots & neutering in their fees—making them way cheaper than what a breeder can sell them for.

Recently, I’ve heard people complaining about how expensive purebreds—even those in rescue—are. Yes, I am shocked as well.   The fact of the matter is—it costs a lot of money to raise healthy dogs. Are these people  also complaining about the price of gas?  Housing?  Health insurance?  College?  “But it’s just a dog!” Right—& you can get ‘just a dog’ from an animal shelter.

I would love to own a Scottish Deerhound.  I can’t afford to buy one, they never go into rescue, & they don’t live very long. I would also love to live in Malibu on the Pacific Ocean,  travel overseas whenever I want, and  never have to work.

What is ultimately going to happen, as  enough of the population will probably not be able to afford to buy housing for at least another few years, is that some breeds may just go extinct.    There won’t be enough wealthy people who will want to breed & house the more rare breeds that there isn’t a commercial market for—to see  them through a rough economy.  There won’t be enough of a gene pool to have them not have genetic problems. That’s a fact.

Also. what will ultimately happen is that more backyard breeders , who are slick about marketing on the internet, will breed their generically unsound  ( luxated patellas, juvenile cataracts, liver shunts, etc) dogs, and veterinarians will be making more money  repairing patellas or removing cataracts, or more crippled dogs will die young.  & that will make the genetically sound dogs even more expensive.   That’s capitalism.

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2 Responses to “Why you shouldn’t buy a dog or cat from a pet shop: buy directly from the breeder!”

  1. test Says:

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  2. Eloisa Says:

    I want to to thank you for this very good read!! I absolutely enjoyed every little bit of it.
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