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    Many animal rights activists believe that no dog or cat should be bred until the problem of homeless animals is solved. A few others believe that we do not have the right to keep animals as companions, and would seek to end that relationship.

   snips feels that both our lives and the lives of our animal companions are enriched by this connection. This site is dedicated to supporting and improving that bond so that it truly is beneficial to both humans and nonhumans. We also support limited, responsible breeding by individuals who actively participate in breed rescue.

    With that in mind, we present this excellent article written by Victoria Rose.

Support breed rescue!

For each purebred you purchase, please consider
adopting a homeless animal as well.


Traits of Responsible Breeders

"Into" Dogs (shows, training, clubs, etc.)

Belongs to dog clubs and organizations

Proves quality of dogs and suitability for breeding by competing for titles and certificates in conformation, obedience, agility, field trialing, Schutzhund, herding, tracking, earthdog trials, etc.

Pups' pedigrees are filled with dogs who have obtained show titles/working certificates; never breeds dogs without "papers"

Supports rescue groups; knows his actions inevitably play some part in pet overpopulation and euthanasia (one of every four dogs in shelters is purebred). Even with all his efforts to stem over- population, he knows "cracks" will lead to canine deaths

Knowledgeable in every facet of breed, including that of health issues/defects; researches genetics when choosing mates

Knowledgeable about house breaking, training, socializing, breeding, health; constantly reads dog-related materials

Can and will help and educate puppy buyers re these issues

Knows his puppies' ancestry

Willing to give you his references

Follows up on puppies' well-being; collects health information affecting his dogs

Breeds to improve his own dogs, his bloodlines and the breed

Rarely breeds as he does not use dog breeding as a business and strives for quality, not quantity

Rarely repeats a breeding

Breeds only dogs which meet breed standard

Breeds only dogs with stable temperaments

Breeds only dogs over 2 years old, and a limited number of times

Mate choice could be anywhere in the country (almost never breeds his own males to his own females)

Does all genetic testing and will provide proof; does not breed animals with genetic defects or which are carriers of defects

Puppies are sold from waiting list created before breeding even takes place

Pet-quality pups generally cost $500-600+ (show-quality costs more)

Puppies are sold with health guarantees

Puppies are sold with contracts

Requires pups back if new homes don't work out

Dogs on property are friendly, socialized, trained

Does not own more dogs than he has room, time or money for; Dogs are groomed, exercised, healthy, happy

Will show you pups' parents if available, or if not, will have pictures

Raises puppies indoors

Stays home to care for puppies

Feeds only premium or home prepared dog food

Visitors remove shoes and wash hands to prevent spread of parvovirus

Keeps pups with mom and litter a minimum of 49 days to ensure sibling socialization and important lessons from pups' mother

Socializes pups by systematically handling them and exposing them to various noises, children and other animals before sending them to new homes

Tests pups to match their temperaments and drives with buyers' personalities and lifestyles

Can honestly evaluate pups' quality

Never sells to "impulse" buyers

Never sells two pups at the same time to a novice

Interviews prospective buyers, checks home and references, refuses to sell to substandard homes

Wants to meet whole family; won't sell if children are abusive

Sells only to buyers with disposable income (AKC reports it costs $1327 per year to properly care for a dog)

Waits for buyers who offer lifelong homes (Knows that only 30 percent of all dogs stay in one home throughout their lives)

Understands dogs are "pack" animals; sells pets only to buyers wanting to make pup an indoor dog and part of the family

Sells only to buyers who make pup's safety a priority

Encourages or requires buyers to spay/neuter pet-quality pups

Encourages buyers to train pups; refers to good trainer

Makes sure buyers understand pup's considerable need for time, attention, exercise and training


Traits of Backyard Breeders

Not "into" dogs (has "pets" around the house)

Is not involved in the "dog world"

Quality of dogs is almost always substandard, however, he does not test his dogs in shows or trials (Dogs are just pets or "breeding machines")

Pedigrees mostly a list of pets bred by backyard breeders; pups may not even have "papers"; may be mongrels (Cockapoos, etc.)

Honestly believes that because he places/sells all his pups, he does not contribute in any way to the needless slaughter of millions of dogs per year in shelters (Does not see his role in his pups making pups and them making more pups and so on)

Not particularly educated about breed, often not aware of his own breed's genetic defects; does not consider mate's genetics

Has own ideas which may not coincide with professionals' opinions; won't bother to read any of the hundreds of dog books available

Says "Goodbye" and "Good luck"

Has no references

Knows nothing about the other dogs on puppies' pedigrees

Does not concern himself with the puppies' well-being or how puppies' health affects his breeding "plan"

Breeds just to breed or make money or see his "great dog" procreate

Breeds regularly if for money or if puppy mill; if for ego, breeds once in awhile, or "just once" before neutering or spaying

Often repeats breedings, mainly those that are cheap and convenient.

Dogs used for breeding rarely meet breed standard

Breeds shy/aggressive dogs with poor temperaments

Breeds dogs at almost any age, and any number of times

Mate choice is that which is convenient, cheap, local (very often owns both sire and dam)

Does no genetic testing; ignorantly breeds defective animals or those which are carriers, thus, perpetuating disease in breed

Puppies are sold after birth in the local newspaper, first-come, first-served

All pups are pet-quality and are relatively cheap, usually $200-$400

Puppies are sold with no guarantee

No contracts; does not care what you do with puppies

Says "Find them good homes"

Dogs on property may be aggressive or shy, and untrained

Puppy mills are overloaded, "warehoused" dogs are not groomed or exercised, don't look healthy or happy

Might have to "lock up" pups' aggressive or shy parents (dogs that should never have been bred)

Raises puppies outdoors

Dam and pups are alone for long hours

Feeds cheap, grocery store dog food (containing 4D meat/chemicals)

Has no understanding and takes no precautions to prevent puppy-killer disease

Doesn't know leaving litter earlier can cause lifelong temperament problems or staying too long can hurt bonding with humans

Does not understand or want to be troubled with any kind of training; just tries to keep puppies quiet and contained until sold

Knows nothing about puppy-testing or matching puppies with buyers; allows buyers to pick the "cutest" one

Says all pups are high quality

Is not concerned about buyers being prepared for pups

Would consider this killing two birds with one sale

Sells first-come, first-served to whomever has the cash; does not find out which homes are substandard

Does not consider anything past obtaining the funds

Is not concerned whether or not buyers can afford to properly care for pups

Does not reject high-risk buyers: (renters, young people, those with poor track records, low income, other pets, dogs kept outdoors)

Doesn't care if pups live as outdoor dogs or chained dogs, being unhappy or anxious being isolated and separated from "packs"

Does not consider pups' best interests

Encourages buyers to breed, regardless of quality

Shows no concern for pups after sale; knows no trainers

Does not provide even his own dogs with enough time, attention, exercise or training

back to the top

Please note: The same criteria may be applied to cat breeders.


Responsible Breeders Improve the Breed

Backyard Breeders Damage the Breed


    And be aware that dogs are not "things." They are living creatures who, by no choice of their own, are totally dependent upon us - and are at our mercy - for their very survival, not to mention quality of life. As pack animals, their mental health is dependent upon being with their pack. That may be other animals, or it may be us. It is very cruel to leave a dog alone all day. Dogs need a lot of attention. They need regular, systematic aerobic exercise for at least 20-30 minutes, at least 3-4 times a week, just to be healthy. Few dogs get the exercise they need for good physical and mental health. Lack of exercise is the number one reason, (then lack of training), that dogs become mischievous and burdensome, and are then blamed, then dumped, and too often, killed. ("A tired dog is a good dog.") Having a yard is not sufficient. Dogs do not exercise themselves unless chasing something along the fence line, and that, in and of itself, is a problem. To make good pets, they need training. And most importantly, to be safe pets, they need early socialization. Lack of socialization the first 4-6 months of a dog's life creates shy dogs, which too-often become fear-biters, which, along with those who were simply born with poor temperaments, are responsible for the majority of the 4.7 million dog bites annually. (Sixty percent of victims are children; Half of all kids 12 and under have been bitten by a dog; Every day more than 900 people are hospitalized with dog bites; Every year 25 people are killed by dogs.)

    If you can not be a responsible dog owner, please wait until you can be.

    And please don't breed out of greed or ego or for any reason other than to improve the breed (i.e., to make the puppies better than their parents). Most purebred dogs, and of course, all mixed-breed dogs, should not be bred. The majority of dogs have some defect (in structure, temperament, health) that should not be perpetuated. Dogs used for breeding should be free of all defects - that's the definition of quality. ("Papers" mean nothing; They are simply, and nothing more than, birth certificates. Plenty of dogs have "papers," but are so poorly bred they actually look like mutts.) And no human should ever breed any dog without veterinary/laboratory testing and pedigree research to be sure that dog is free of (and not a carrier of) genetic defects. FAILURE TO TEST/SEARCH FOR INHERITABLE HEALTH PROBLEMS IS THE NUMBER ONE MARK OF A BACKYARD BREEDER. IT IS ALSO THE MOST DAMAGING TO CANINES, AND THE MOST HEARTBREAKING TO PUPPY-BUYERS, WHO END UP WITH YET ANOTHER GENERATION OF POOR-QUALITY DOGS WHO TOO OFTEN DEVELOP EXPENSIVE, EARLY HEALTH PROBLEMS AND OFTEN DIE PREMATURELY.

    We have a severe pet-overpopulation crisis in the US; We slaughter thousands of beautiful, vital, healthy dogs every single day. (Twenty-five percent of shelter dogs are purebred.) Every puppy produced by a backyard breeder and placed in a home takes the place of one killed in a shelter because no one adopted it. And every puppy produced by a backyard breeder can make more puppies, and those puppies can make more puppies and so on. (And of course, backyard breeders, through their encouragement and the dispersal of misinformation, have a knack for turning uneducated buyers into yet more backyard breeders.) There just are not enough homes (not to mention "good" homes) available for all these puppies. No matter how hard one tries, only 30 percent of all dogs (and their pups and their pups and so on) live their entire lives in the home to which they went after weaning. Seventy percent will be given away or abandoned or dumped along the way for one reason or another. (Common excuses are, "We didn't have time for him," "He was too much trouble," "He kept jumping on us," "He bit my child," "We couldn't afford him," "We had to move." None of these were good homes to begin with. The buyers failed to socialize or train, or they lacked time, money or commitment. Again, there just are not enough "good" homes for all the puppies born.) Why not leave breeding dogs to those with the ability and desire and quality animals to do so at a "professional" level?

    If everyone bred only dogs with excellent conformation, and stable, correct temperaments, working titles and clean health, we would have top-quality dogs in this country. Get your dog evaluated by judges and trainers. If he meets breed standard, and is healthy, and has the correct temperament and drives, show him, work him, and get him titled. If you feel you have what it takes to be a "professional" breeder, educate yourself, and with enough experience in dogs, maybe you, too, could make a positive contribution to your breed. But if your dog's only credentials are that he/she is a great pet, then love it, socialize it, train him/her, exercise him/her, give him/her the best in feed, comfort and veterinary care, but for his/her own good (including better health - ask your vet!), and for the sake of puppy-buyers, society, and all canines, get him/her spayed or neutered.

Please note: The same criteria may be applied to cat breeders.

Resist the greed;
don't support backyard breeders,
and certainly don't become one.

Copyright © 1999 Victoria Rose, PO Box 4816, Auburn, CA 95604;
Proud mom of the beautiful Dobermann Calidancer V Teraden, CD, OA, AD, OAC, OGC, NJC, RS-N, GS-N, JS-N, CGC
(As a pup she cost $900. She is trained in obedience, agility, personal protection, wheelchair assistance and tricks...And she is spayed.)
Document may be reproduced in its entirety (not in sections), as long as the author is credited.

Please note that Ms. Rose's occasional use of the word "it" when referring to nonhuman animals has been replaced with the words "he/she" or "his/hers."


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