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Some People Just Don't Get It, or, A Rant About Backyard Breeders

post #1 of 69
Thread Starter 
So I have a friend who doesn't really like animals. Her husband is a huge dog lover. The last 6 years he's spent with her are the only years of his life that he hasn't had a dog. Their kids wanted a dog. Finally, she relented. She said they could have a dog as long as it was a non-shedding breed. I raved about my poodle, and offered to hook her up with the rescue group I have fostered for. She found out they almost never have puppies and decided not to apply. It had to be a puppy...why? Because puppies are cute.

I recommended Petfinder but in the end I got a text about 2 or 3 weeks ago with a picture of a tiny black baby about a week old. I replied to ask which rescue group had the puppy. Oh, no, not a rescue group, she writes back. A breeder, and a good one! Hmmm, I say, what breed is it? A malti-poo she replies. So I text back "Maltipoo isn't a breed. Sounds like a backyard breeder. Hope you didn't pay big bucks and hope you know the eye and patella history of the parents".

That resulted in a barrage of text mesages telling me that if I thought breeding dogs (ummm, mutts) was wrong then I should also think that it was wrong for humans to breed (I actually happen to know several who shouldn't!) and that all humans should just adopt and stop reproducing.

Anyway, the dog was due to go to their home at the end of July. Yesterday I got a video text of a puppy running around in their living room with their kids. "Cute puppy" I text back, "What happened to the other one?" I'm thinking there's no way this is the same dog I just saw with it's eyes still fused shut. Oh, but I am wrong! It is the same puppy.

She texts me that the "breeder" (AKA killer of adult shelter dogs) called her to come get the dog right away. The mother stopped nursing the puppies and they couldn't eat kibble, so it was getting too hard for her to take care of them and she called all the buyers to come early. The puppy is "almost 5 weeks". My friend asked again what I feed my dog, because the "breeder" was feeding dry Alpo and the puppy was barely eating and getting sick from what she did eat. I remind my "friend" that I feed my dog raw meat, but tell her that Nature's Variety also makes good canned food.

I couldn't resist and ended my text with "Sorry you got a crappy breeder." The answer? "Oh she wasn't a breeder, she just wanted her dog to have one litter so her kids could play with the puppies". Yeah, right, I bet the dog was whisked away to be spayed the second the last puppy left. More likely she went back into the cage behind the house to wait for her next heat cycle.

My next text message will be to my friend's husband to remind him that I will adopt the dog when his wife gets tired of having her pee on the new carpet.
post #2 of 69
Phew. While I too am very anti puppymill/pet store breeders and am a big advocate for researching good breeders I found you came across extremely harsh. Do you know anything about the owner of the adult? Growing up in the country I know of many who wanted that one litter of pups....they weren't the type to put the mother through the stress of over breeding. Killer of Adult Shelter dogs is quite harsh.....Perhaps she is the type to overbreed....perhaps she isn't.
Besides...yes multipoos aren't a registered breed....but breeds come along after years of breeding the mix. Here in Canada Border collies only just recently became a recognized breed....yet everywhere else in the world they have been recognised for years.
Seriously, unless I know that a person were a backyard breeder only for the money I don't make those sort of judgments. What I hate are the pet stores that sell these mixes as purebred (cockapoos, maltipoos, labradoodle, goldendoodles etc)....and sell them for $600-1200 for a mixed breed.
post #3 of 69
Thread Starter 
I don't think what I wrote in this thread is harsh at all. Breeding for the hell of it and selling the puppies to total strangers is wrong. It's irresponsible and can have a terrible effect on the puppies. If this woman isn't smart enough to know that, what are the chances she's made sure of all the genetics involved in breeding?

My toy poodle came from a puppy mill as a rescue. She has luxating patella on both sides and will need thousands of dollars of surgery eventually. Her teeth are a mess and I'm betting she'll lose most of them at her next dental. And she's only just 6yo but her eyes are already starting to get cloudy. All this after raw feeding for the last two years since she came to me.

Does it really matter whether the woman bred once or repeatedly? She still potentially created 4 or 6 or so puppies that more than likely will have health problems and might even end up in a shelter eventually, because careless breeders don't take their puppies back like responsible breeders do.

And my friend spent $400 on a "designer dog" when she could have gotten one free off CL or for $100 at the shelter! I know her and the first time the dog has a health issue she's going to be royally pissed and want to get rid of her.

I didn't say "killer of adult shelter dogs" to my friend. I said that here as part of letting of steam.

Anyway, the puppy is adorable and as soon as my kiddo gets over a little virus we're going over to see her. After she's vaccinated I can bring over my dog and see how they like one another, just in case I end up taking her in a year or so.
post #4 of 69
I totally agree with you, but the sad thing is most people don't want to hear it and they won't listen.
post #5 of 69
I'm bothered by backyard breeding, too, but I'm also bothered by the equation of backyard breeders and their customers with killers of adult shelter dogs. I've never seen any evidence that people who will shell out money for a cute, underaged puppy or kitty from a backyard breeder would adopt an adult animal from a shelter. They're two separate situations.

I don't really have an opinion on so-called responsible breeding. I've seen documentaries on purebred show dogs that made me cringe at what people will do to "preserve the breed," and how far today's dogs are from their original breed. I think there are evils at all levels of dog breeding, but if someone's not interested in a rescue dog or puppy, I don't judge them for welcoming an animal into their home from whatever source.

Now, if they later dump that animal at the pound, rather than looking after him or rehoming him responsibly, then I judge.
post #6 of 69
While there are folks out there who are trying to develop Labradoodles as a distinct breed (for example), it will be a while before they consistently carry Labradoodle traits, as opposed to just some random combination of each parent.

I often wonder why people automatically assume that a mixed breed will carry only the very best traits of the parents' breeds? If I mate a lab to a poodle, there's no guarentee that I'll get the willing nature of the lab and the no-shedding coat of the poodle - I could just as easily get a more high-strung dog that sheds like a hair factory.

It seems to me that if a person has a purebred dog that is an excellent representative of that breed, the last thing they are going ot want to do is mate it with a different breed - especially a female, who has a limited number of litters in her life. So people who are breeding puggles and malte-poos and so on most likely don't have high-quality animals to start with - they are simply in it for the money (and I am further amazed that people pay top dollar for cross-breeds).

I bought a dog from a highly recommended breeder; one of her sires had two offspring competing at Westminster this year. By the time she feeds the parents (or pays stud fee for the sire), pays vet bills for the parents and the pups, gets the pups microchipped, spends time socializing the pups and handling them, she has invested far more per puppy than the few hundred dollars I paid her. She also had me sign an agreement that if, for some reason, at any time in the dog's life I can't keep him, she will take him back. A responsible dog breeder will take responsibility for every puppy for as long as it lives - backyard breeders are anxious - as in the case of the OP's friend - to get puppies out from underfoot - and off the chow line - as quickly as possible.

My breeder was more than happy to keep my pup until he was 10 weeks old - that was the first opportunity I had to cross 2 states to go pick him up (I didn't want to have him shipped, having never seen him IRL or seen where he was raised). As it was, I was able to meet his mother and 2 grandparents, see the bedroom in which they were born, and hang out with the breeder for the afternoon, watching her handle her dogs. My pup was about 80% housetrained by the time I got him, because he lived in her house - not a kennel.

The thought of letting puppies go at 5 weeks makes me sick. Especially when they aren't eating well!
post #7 of 69
I have a vet tech degree and lots of experience with dogs, and I'm obviously a lifetime animal lover. After having to put my old dog to sleep last fall, I decided to buy a puppy this spring. I have two young boys, and I just can't take the risk of adopting a shelter dog. You don't know their history, you don't know their behavior problems, you don't know if they are going to bite. At least 90% of dogs in shelters are there because their owners don't want to, or don't know how to deal with the dog's behavior problems. I want to raise a puppy and do it right. It's too risky (for me with kids) to try to rehab a dog that someone else already messed up by not socializing or training it as a puppy.

And the crazy thing is, when I decided to start looking for a puppy, I couldn't find any! I wanted a pit bull type dog, but open to considering what puppies were available around here. I wanted a medium to large dog, and athletic to go running with me and maybe compete in agility. Eventually I found a litter of pit bull puppies on craigslist and was lucky enough to get first pick (of 8 pups).

It was a 'backyard breeder' sort of. They owned both parents and one other dog. The dogs were healthy and friendly, had natural ears and didn't have any scars. I picked a smallish mellow female and paid $450. No papers, but I don't care, she's getting spayed next month.

I've been socializing her like crazy from the start. I take her everywhere with me, and she meets tons of new people and other dogs all the time. She loves kids and seeks out kids in any group of people to play with. She's a little shy, but I've been working with her so much, she's improving dramatically. Yesterday I took her into the city to walk around in crowds and she was fine. She just gets scared when strangers boisterously reach for her, then she hides behind me. But if someone just stands there or squats down then she greets them. Also has been doing pretty good getting used to firecrackers (I think she's used to noise from living with kids LOL). We go to dog training classes, the dog park, and lots of walks around town. I have VPI pet insurance on her, she's UTD on shots and heartgard, and will be microchipped when she's spayed.

So anyways, my pup from a backyard breeder is getting top-notch care and training, and is shaping up to be a great family pet. Might even do the canine good citizen test with her too. And she doesn't seem to have any underlying health problems. This is a good situation for all of us.
post #8 of 69
ERSS, I don't think anyone is suggesting that pups from backyard breeders are automatically disasters - just as their are lots of wonderful shelter dogs of questionable background and breeding, there are wonderful mutts (and I guess I would classify a dog from two unregistered parents a mutt). Early socialization obviously plays a big part, and I'm glad you found a pup that works for your family.

But for $450, you could have gotten a pup from a reputable breeder, without providing a market for casually-bred puppies.
post #9 of 69
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nd_deadhead View Post
But for $450, you could have gotten a pup from a reputable breeder, without providing a market for casually-bred puppies.
Thanks, I think this sums it up for me.

I want a puppy, too. I want another toy poodle. I'm nervous about getting an adult out of rescue. The 2 dogs that I fostered both bit my kids, one severely. So, I totally understand wanting a puppy so you can start from scratch. But the shelter DOES have puppies, all the time.

Anyway, in my research into buying a puppy, I managed to find an amazing breeder. She shows her dogs and they are all champions. She doesn't have an outdoor kennel, all the dogs live in the house. And she BARFs!!! I desperately want one of her pups, but get this: she won't ship from CA to FL. Too stressful on the dog. That is what a good breeder is all about.

If I am ever able to get to CA to visit a friend I have there, I may be able to bring home a new baby with me (carry-on). Otherwise, I keep an eye on petfinder.

I'm not mad at my friend for buying the dog, I guess I'm just frustrated that she doesn't see the issue at hand. She actually keeps saying how she doesn't understand why the dog didn't come with "papers". Ugh.
post #10 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by EarthRootsStarSoul View Post
I have two young boys, and I just can't take the risk of adopting a shelter dog. You don't know their history, you don't know their behavior problems, you don't know if they are going to bite. At least 90% of dogs in shelters are there because their owners don't want to, or don't know how to deal with the dog's behavior problems. I want to raise a puppy and do it right. It's too risky (for me with kids) to try to rehab a dog that someone else already messed up by not socializing or training it as a puppy.
I'm sorry, but that's exactly the kind of thinking that keeps dogs in the shelter. To me, that's one of the benefits of getting an adult - what you see is what you get. You can't say that about a puppy and many (especially with ill-tempered parents) develop behaviour or health issues as they grow up. With an adult dog you can evaluate their temperament and know that it's not going to change very much.

And honestly, you don't know if any dog is going to bite. Most will under the right (or I should say wrong) circumstances. If you can read their body language you can see the warning signs - but that goes for any dog.
post #11 of 69
I get why you are upset but I think your approach is offending your friend. the dog is in her care now. what can you do to get her to spay it and help her feed it? I think there is puppy formula you can suggest to her. otherwise she needs to take the pup to a good vet ASAP because it could die. (had it happen to me with a pup from a puppy mill posing as the humane society-it was really stupid and many families lost their puppies too..it was heartwrenchig) our pup was weaned early and it's intestines were not developed, it started bleeding bleeding and had a prolapsed rectum,etc. pup did not survive surgery I had no idea about puppy mills until that experience and it sounds like your friend hasn't until now either.
post #12 of 69
Thread Starter 
She has already called a vet and plans to spay, thank goodness. ( I think she learned her lesson after 2 bunnies turned into scores in just a few months.) She'll do vaccines, too, and says the puppy is on "good" food, although that could mean Iam's or something similar.

The puppy came covered in fleas and the vet told her over the phone to use Dawn dish soap. I think I'll let her sample my crunchy stuff, Earthwash or something like that.

Don't get me wrong, the puppy will be well cared for from now on. No one in her home will hurt it in any way. And she is super cute, I can't wait to meet her. It's just sad that people don't get the underlying issue, that's all.
post #13 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ola_ View Post
I'm sorry, but that's exactly the kind of thinking that keeps dogs in the shelter. To me, that's one of the benefits of getting an adult - what you see is what you get. You can't say that about a puppy and many (especially with ill-tempered parents) develop behaviour or health issues as they grow up. With an adult dog you can evaluate their temperament and know that it's not going to change very much.

And honestly, you don't know if any dog is going to bite. Most will under the right (or I should say wrong) circumstances. If you can read their body language you can see the warning signs - but that goes for any dog.
Well, my older son has a scar on his nose where a shelter dog that I adopted bit a hole right through his nose when he was like 15 months old. The dog was a sweet-tempered adult pekingese. I had to put him to sleep because the shelter wouldn't take him back.
post #14 of 69
EarthRootsStarSoul, isn't that a risk you take with any dog? Yes, there are things you can do in re. breeding and training to reduce the risks inherent in having a dog around children. But, any dog will bite if provoked. I'm sorry for your son's scar, but I don't think that buying a puppy from a backyard breeder offers a better guarantee of your children's safety than adopting an adult dog thought to be good with children from a shelter.
post #15 of 69
$450 is not enough to buy from a reputable breeder, which is why these backyard-ish breeders have kind of a "niche" market.

Any reputable breeder who is showing dogs will be charging at least $1200. My puppies start at $2000.
post #16 of 69
Oh, and I would never EVER recommend to people with small kids that they get anything but a baby puppy. Adult dogs who have never lived with kids are going to always be a liability with small kids. Period. I have 25 years of experience as a trainer, breeder, groomer, exhibitor... yada yada yada. Never ever would I recommend an adult dog for a family with kids--unless it had already lived in a home with little kids. Yikes.

That said, there are plenty of baby puppies in shelters.
post #17 of 69
5 weeks?!?!?!?! Asking about kibble?!?!?!?! UM Isn't it ILLEGAL to sell/rehome puppies/kittens under 8 weeks MINIMUM (and thats TOO young!). That's animal abuse! She wanted puppies, HER responsibility to sit there and nurse them and do whatever it takes to make them a productive part of pet society. And let me guess.. they weren't fixed!!! NO good breeder ever rehomes pets without fixing them first. Not for money issues for but ethics. Pets are not usually show or breeding quality for some, perhaps minor reason and therefore aren't breeders and shouldn't be allowed. Also breeders spend thousands to dna and health test their kids and letting out their lines before 20 years of well researched health scans would be ridiculous.

Sorry I'm a breeder and I have.. I stopped counting around 30 grand 40 maybe into my pets and have never made a dime. I do sell mine for 1200 but the customer gets extensively interviewed to see if they're good enough and responsible enough and must sign a contract to never ever rehome it on CL or send it to a shelter.. they don't want it.. give it back. I will be MORE than happy to love that pet for eternity tyvm.

If you want your kids to view birth get a video.. or foster a stray cat for lords sake.

A breeder will also be registered with a breeding registry. not just the pet but they themselves. But she wouldn't be able to do that as it's not a breed. A breeder also shows which is sooo much money and time down the drain.

BLEH

And I am totally for shelter dogs! Though of course they can be grumpy and abused so make sure they are personality tested for kids!

And HUGE kudos for the lady who feeds raw! You rock! a 5 week old would totally thrive on that! Real breeders never ever feed kibble yuck! gluten free corn free.. raw yum yum! and yes we pay mad money to feed our babies and it's still spendy if you sit there and grind it yourself but so worth it!
post #18 of 69
"And she BARF's!" lol cute. Sounds a bit funny when you hear it like that:P (BARF is feeding premium high quality raw food)
post #19 of 69
Hmmm, I am not sure what the PP meant by "breeding registry. I am a breeder and as far as I know I am not "registered" anywhere. I am a member of many clubs, and President of one National Breed Club... but I am certainly not registered anywhere myself.

It's also not "illegal" to place puppies as young as 5 weeks. It's stupid, but it's not illegal. LOL It certainly isn't in the best interest of the puppies. They aren't nursing anymore by that age, but they need the social development of playing with their littermates at this age. I keep them until at least 8 weeks, preferrably 9 or 10.

Perhaps it is different in other countries... but no breeders that I know of (except puppy mills that are FDA registered or maybe kennel owners who have a license) are registered anywhere. Members of breed clubs? Yes. But not registered.

I do agree with the statement that showing costs tons of time and money. Part of the reason my puppies are so expensive. That and the pedigrees are impossible to get and the vet care involved in breeding is a lot.'

Oh, and I don't feed raw. Gross. I tried it and hated it. My dogs looked like ***P and it was too time consuming and the gross out factor was definitely there. I feed a very high quality kibble $60 for a 28 lb bag, though. It's so much easier when I am on the road with dogs.
post #20 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by mom0810 View Post
$450 is not enough to buy from a reputable breeder, which is why these backyard-ish breeders have kind of a "niche" market.

Any reputable breeder who is showing dogs will be charging at least $1200. My puppies start at $2000.
And mine start at $450. And I have titled, health checked dogs. I've put far more into the parents than I'll ever get out of the puppies, but I don't feel right charging $600 for a pet puppy. Show puppy, yes. That's over 3 times as much. But a pet puppy is sold starting at $450. That at least covers the food/toys that we send with them, the puppy shots/worming/checks and vet checks for pregnant mom.

I would be amazed to see ANY of the pet puppies in my breed going for over $1200. That's the price of a show puppy in my breed.
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