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S/O- what is a backyard breeder?

post #1 of 72
Thread Starter 
In my mind, this phrase is used to describe a person who owns a dog which is registered and may or may not appear to be healthy, pairs this dog intentionally with another dog, probably owned by the same person or a friend/neighbor to get an intentional litter. The dogs are not extensively health tested prior to breeding, they may not even be old enough for such testing to be done accurately. There may or may not be a checkup at the vet to declare the dog or dogs healthy.

The person breeds these dogs because:

A) They're cute and will make cute puppies.
B) The person expects to make some money from the sale of the puppies.
C) They like puppies and want to have some born in their home.

The person is not invested in trying to better the breed. The goal in breeding is saleability.

For instance, to me this person is a backyard breeder:

My parents bought a Labrador Retriever several years ago. Despite my constant advice to them as to what to look for and what to avoid, they came home with an 'irresistible' puppy from the second 'breeder' that they visited. This 'breeder' had a Lab and a friend with one as well. So they paired them up and sold the puppies. These dogs were not good examples of the breed. Undersized, wrong structure, poor temperaments for the breed... but they were cute and registered, so hey let's make some money! These puppies were born in the house and socialized from day one, raised underfoot in the house, nice family with kids around age 10, etc. They had bred several litters from the same parents.

This person, to me, is not:

There is a man who lives in a very rural area and has extensive livestock and acreage. His living is dependent upon his livestock. He has bred, over several years, some dogs which he uses to hunt and kill coyotes and bobcats. He carefully selected the breeds that he used to get large, black, fast, agile, powerful dogs with a strong hunting instinct (I think he uses Borzoi, Irish Wolfhound and I forgot the third). He started with excellent foundation stock, breeds for a very specific purpose, has all dogs extensively health tested. He very rarely breeds, only when he himself needs replacements. He is very careful to select the pups that he keeps, his dogs tend to have small litters, and he does not sell the puppies for a profit. He rehomes the ones that don't make his cut for a small fee and with a spay/neuter contract, a promise to return the dog to him if at any time during the dog's lifetime it must be rehomed, etc. ETA: He does not give these dogs a made up name, nor does he try to extoll their praises when rehoming puppies. He is very straightforward about what his dogs are- a multigenerational, three-breed mix which has been developed by him, for his own use.

I may have some issues with this man's breeding operation (as it were), but to me he is not a backyard breeder.

But I'm starting to get the idea that some or many people may have a different definition for this term than do I. What does this term bring to mind?
post #2 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by skyastara View Post
The person breeds these dogs because:

A) They're cute and will make cute puppies.
B) The person expects to make some money from the sale of the puppies.
C) They like puppies and want to have some born in their home.
D) They want their kids to whiteness the miracle of birth. That's another big one.

I agree with all of that, except the purebred part. I boarded my horses with a woman who had a lab/shep mix (I think maybe even some pit in there) and she bred her several times to different dogs, then put an add in the newspaper to sell the puppies. Didn't care who took them, no contract, no health testing.. as long as they showed up with cash. She was a back yard breeder to me. Though I do think back yard breeders can come in the variety that you described with the pure bred dog. 99% of all dogs advertised in the paper and on craigslist come from back yard breeders, even though they're pure bred.

However, I also know several people like this:

Quote:
There is a man who lives in a very rural area and has extensive livestock and acreage. His living is dependent upon his livestock. He has bred, over several years, some dogs which he uses to hunt and kill coyotes and bobcats. He carefully selected the breeds that he used to get large, black, fast, agile, powerful dogs with a strong hunting instinct (I think he uses Borzoi, Irish Wolfhound and I forgot the third). He started with excellent foundation stock, breeds for a very specific purpose, has all dogs extensively health tested. He very rarely breeds, only when he himself needs replacements. He is very careful to select the pups that he keeps, his dogs tend to have small litters, and he does not sell the puppies for a profit. He rehomes the ones that don't make his cut for a small fee and with a spay/neuter contract, a promise to return the dog to him if at any time during the dog's lifetime it must be rehomed, etc. ETA: He does not give these dogs a made up name, nor does he try to extoll their praises when rehoming puppies. He is very straightforward about what his dogs are- a multigenerational, three-breed mix which has been developed by him, for his own use.
That is very common among hunters, and I don't consider privately bred dogs that are almost always kept by the hunter to be contributing to the problems that back yard breeders are creating.

Even within the Jack Russell circle (the hunting circle) it's known that some hunters will add an Irish Terrier, or what have you, for some very specific traits. But like you said, the pups are not sold for profit, the dogs are tested before hand (especially when people are dependent on them for their livelihood, it's important to ensure the dogs will be healthy!), and in fact, they're usually spayed and neutered before being sold, if they are sold, to ensure the lines are not going to be carried out outside that hunter's specific breeding program. Though usually, they keep the pups for themselves, and they're only bred when they need more dogs.

To me, that's worlds different from two poorly bred dysplastic Goldens being paired so the kids can whiteness the miracle of birth only for the puppies to be sold in the Sunday paper.
post #3 of 72
Right. We have the same thing with sled dogs and bear dogs--you mix in whatever you need to in order to make the dog work properly. These are kept by the breeder or sold only within the very small niche community, never make it to a shelter, are extensively health-tested, etc.

I wish there were a better term for "backyard breeder"--I worry sometimes that it implies that the "good" breeders don't have their dogs in the backyard. Of course we do; most good breeders don't have a visible kennel or look different from any other normal-sized house on a normal street.
post #4 of 72
If this was started from the comment I made in my post, then here is what I meant. If not, you can dissreguard this. I coupled "backyard breeder" in with puppy mills. I think the general public considers backyard breeders to be someone who is breeding puppies for the profet only, and don't care about the dogs or their lifestyle or their health or their authentisity. So yes, all of what you said can be true. But again, keep in mind that the general public doesn't know as much about breeding. I would consider a backyard breeder to be someone who keeps the puppies and mamma separate from the family in a shed, or a kennel, and doesn't socialize them. I have recently had conversations with people about this and here is what was said to me.

"so and so wanted to get a dog and saw an add so she whent to the address, and it ended up being a backyard breeder. All the dogs were out in the barn, and they were all barking and whining, and looked neglected. It was sad."
post #5 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by MammaB21 View Post
I would consider a backyard breeder to be someone who keeps the puppies and mamma separate from the family in a shed, or a kennel, and doesn't socialize them.
And on the flip side, I know a breeder who has a go to ground/barn busting group (a group of terriers that do extermination work) of almost 20 terriers. These dogs are her livelihood. They're also her babies. She's devoted her life to them and their wellness. They work to rid farms and ranches of pests without chemicals or traps. A hole in a field can kill the livestock if they break their leg. Putting chemicals in a feed room to kill rodents can poison horses. This is her livelihood. She breeds these dogs as part of her livelihood, and sometimes she has terrier pups for sale when she has filled her need for new dogs. Yes, she has kennels and runs. Yes, her dogs bark. But she is not a back yard breeder. The health, temperament, and well being of her dogs is her number one priority. She can't have dogs doing the work they do with luxating patellas or bad eye sight. The amount of money and time she invests in testing ALL her dogs (to ensure she's not working dogs that could potentially get injured easily), training them, socializing them, transporting them, etc, is insane. If the only criteria that would make her a back yard breeder is that she utilizes a kennel and/or run, I'd have to say the person making that judgment knows diddly squat about what it takes to raise healthy, happy, well adjusted dogs.

I'd be rich if I had a dollar for the amount of people I've meet who "just want one litter of pups" and justify it by how good of a home the puppies will be raised in - inside, with the kids, hands on, loved and fed well, etc, with little to no regard for health and temperament testing. Heck, the majority of all those situations are with mutt dogs or two entirely different breeds.

So when someone goes to see the home that their under bitten, cherry eyed Shih Tzu/Poodle/Chi was raised in and sees how lovely it is, they'd be delusional to think that somehow that home and that breeding is better or more responsible than the person who invests THOUSANDS upon thousands of dollars into breeding dogs and happens to use a kennel.

Too many people think and make assumptions based on emotion, rather than logistics and common sense. Common sense tells me my friend with her 20 terriers and her kennels will have healthier, happier, stabler dogs that will live longer, not bite people, and won't end up in a shelter when compared to said under bitten, cherry eyed Shih Tzu/Poodle/Chi.
post #6 of 72
Northof60 The friend you discribed, I wouldn't consider to be a backyard breeder. They are bred and raised for a purpose. And that purpose is to hunt, so obviously they will be kept where they are hunting for the most part. It also sounds like she has alot of love for her dogs and pups, and raises them to be healthy good dogs. That isn't really what I was reffering to. I was reffering to someone who is breeding a purebread or designer breed, like you mentioned, who is doing it just for the money and doesn't care about the dogs. If I were purchasing a hunting dog, I would have sertain expectations of the lifestyle and raising of that dog. But if I am getting a dog to be my companion, family pet, and live in my home, I expect that dog to be in the home from birth. Well socialized with other animals, people, and children. Loved, and coudled. I wouldn't go by a Shih Tzu from a barn. I could probably expect problems if I did.
post #7 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by MammaB21 View Post
Northof60 The friend you discribed, I wouldn't consider to be a backyard breeder. They are bred and raised for a purpose. And that purpose is to hunt, so obviously they will be kept where they are hunting for the most part. It also sounds like she has alot of love for her dogs and pups, and raises them to be healthy good dogs. That isn't really what I was reffering to. I was reffering to someone who is breeding a purebread or designer breed, like you mentioned, who is doing it just for the money and doesn't care about the dogs. If I were purchasing a hunting dog, I would have sertain expectations of the lifestyle and raising of that dog. But if I am getting a dog to be my companion, family pet, and live in my home, I expect that dog to be in the home from birth. Well socialized with other animals, people, and children. Loved, and coudled. I wouldn't go by a Shih Tzu from a barn. I could probably expect problems if I did.

Her dogs do go into her house, with her children, and her special needs niece (and if I were in the market for another terrier, I'd bring of her dogs into my home in a heart beat). Never had a problem. The Shih Tzu/Poodle/Chi that I used an example, who is owned by her father and was raised in the enviroment that you would expect a companion animal to come from, has bitten nearly all the children in their family, continually pees on the beds if they turn their backs for more then 10 seconds without crating her, and she will fight with anything on 4 legs.

So your deffinition of "back yard breeders" is severely flawed if you're going to dig your heels in the dirt about kennels. Obviously the kennels are having zero to do with the outcome of her dogs.

And I'd actually prefer to do away with the term "back yard breeder" all together anyway. I think we should just go with "responsible breeder" and "irresponsible breeder". As I see it, there will be responsible breeders and irrespsonible breeders who utilized kennels and barns to house their dogs, just as there will responsible breeders and irresponsible breeders who breed and raise their dogs in their homes.

Anyone who breeds a Shih Tzu/Poodle/Chi is not a responsible breeder, even if the dogs are born and raised in a home being handled from birth.
post #8 of 72
I think your partly missing my point. I am not in any way againts kennels. I was talking about miss treating dogs and puppies. Like I said, I couple backyard breeder together with a puppy mill, and when I think puppy mill, I think....well....a mill....with lots of very sick, unhealthy, unloved, uncared for little guys, and it breaks my heart.

I agree with you here for the most part. I was simply offering up what I think is the understanding of the general public.
post #9 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by MammaB21 View Post
I agree with you here for the most part. I was simply offering up what I think is the understanding of the general public.
And there in lies the problem. The general public will shy away from responsibly bred dogs who might spend some time kennels and opt for the home bred mutt simply because it's in a house. We need to stop applying variances to labels (kennels=back yard breeder, house=good breeder) and think logically about what makes the dogs responsibly bred and cared for. Being in a house does not does make a dog responsibly bred or cared for by default.

Unfortunately, as is evidenced by the designer-dog trend, the general public is also hugely flawed in their beliefs of what make up "responsible breeders" and "irresponsible breeders", otherwise dogs like "Shihpoos" would fail to exist because no one would buy them.
post #10 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by North_Of_60 View Post
And there in lies the problem. The general public will shy away from responsibly bred dogs who might spend some time kennels and opt for the home bred mutt simply because it's in a house. We need to stop applying variances to labels (kennels=back yard breeder, house=good breeder) and think logically about what makes the dogs responsibly bred and cared for. Being in a house does not does make a dog responsibly bred or cared for by default.

Unfortunately, as is evidenced by the designer-dog trend, the general public is also hugely flawed in their beliefs of what make up "responsible breeders" and "irresponsible breeders", otherwise dogs like "Shihpoos" would fail to exist because no one would buy them.
I'm not here to agrue. In fact, the only reason I posted here, is because it was pretty obvious to me that this was a spinoff of the thread I started. I thread that I started simply to come on here to get some good advice.

You are still missing my point. There is a huge difference between a responsible breeder who keeps their dogs in a kennel some of the time, yet still socializes them, and an irresponsible breeder who misstreats animals, and isolates them.
post #11 of 72
Your definition of "puppy mill" is actually wrong too--a puppy mill is any breeder who breeds for profit and creates puppies to sell for income (in other words, this is an operation that makes puppies to sell, like a paper mill makes paper to sell). Puppy mills are often associated with volume, since of course if one litter makes a couple thousand why not have five litters or ten litters, but you can have a puppy mill that's a couple of females and a male.

You can also have puppy mills that are clean, humane, and healthy. My Cardigans' breeder (who has kennels, by the way, and is one of the most respected breeders in the country) is in Arkansas, one of the biggest puppy mill states in the US. When she had her normal AKC inspection last year, the AKC inspector had just come from a facility a few hours south that housed a thousand dogs. A THOUSAND. The AKC rep said that it was absolutely pristine. Twenty full-time employees walked up and down the runs, picking up poop as soon as it hit the ground. There was a vet on staff. There is no question in MY mind that that's a puppy mill, but by saying that puppy mills are about dirty, abused dogs you've given permission for these new-generation mills to exist, and for people to think they didn't support puppy milling because they bought from a clean, humane facility.

The traditional term "backyard breeder" has meant any breeder who breeds without meeting the good-breeder qualifications of showing, health testing, involvement in the breed, etc., but isn't doing it to make money or with intention to continue and/or expand.

I totally agree that "irresponsible" is better.
post #12 of 72
Thread Starter 
I started this thread because I have always understood the term "backyard breeder" to have nothing at all to do with an actual backyard. All of the people who I have known who show and/or breed dogs use the term in the way that I outlined.

But recently, I have become aware that some people may be taking this term literally- the dogs are being bred and kept in the backyard, so if a couple of random dogs (with registration or not) are bred together and the puppies are raised inside, they are not backyard breeders.

Here's another way to tell:

When you call and express interest in a puppy, the responsible breeder will interview you. You may feel that you are jumping through hoops or having to prove your knowledge of the breed and of dogs in general in order to get a chance to buy one of the puppies. You may well actually feel like you are being discouraged from getting one.

The backyard breeder (even if the dogs live in the house) will sound like they are selling the puppies- "they're so cute/so healthy/parents have papers/you'll love them so much/they're selling fast" or etc. While you may be asked some basic questions about why you're interested in these puppies or etc, you won't feel like you're being interviewed. It feels more like buying a car, in that there really isn't any question whether or not you'll be allowed to have one if you get there before someone else.
post #13 of 72
Thread Starter 
Oh, and I too wish that the term would be replaced, to avoid confusion.
post #14 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by skyastara View Post
I started this thread because I have always understood the term "backyard breeder" to have nothing at all to do with an actual backyard. All of the people who I have known who show and/or breed dogs use the term in the way that I outlined.

But recently, I have become aware that some people may be taking this term literally- the dogs are being bred and kept in the backyard, so if a couple of random dogs (with registration or not) are bred together and the puppies are raised inside, they are not backyard breeders.
Yeah, I've seen this. Two weeks ago I took my crew to a vaccine clinic, which was nothing more the vet and a few plastic tables and some coolers in the back parking lot of a feed store (very well known vet, but he goes into low income areas and does cheap vaccinations, and well, after the ferals, I needed all the help I could get!).

Anyway, I was behind a woman in line who had two pitts (her male and female breeding pair, I guess), and she was talking about this very thing. She was going on about how someone called her back yard breeder, and she was INCREDULOUS that someone would call her that since her babies spend all their time indoors and only go out long enough to pee, then come straight back in and curl up on the couch, and they have such a wonderful life indoors, and all the puppies are born in her bathroom and taken everywhere they go, blah blah blah.

I bit my tongue (I came home that day with a SORE tongue, but that's a whole other thread.. lol) because it was so painfully obvious that she missed the definition of "back yard breeder", and that's when I came to the conclusion that I hated that term.
post #15 of 72
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by North_Of_60 View Post
D) They want their kids to whiteness the miracle of birth. That's another big one.
Right, I forgot that one. But they wouldn't think of allowing their kids to witness the birth of a sibling

And they can't get a hamster or some guppies of course.
post #16 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by skyastara View Post
Right, I forgot that one. But they wouldn't think of allowing their kids to witness the birth of a sibling
Ain't that the truth.

Humans + birth = icky. Dogs + birth = cool and cute.
post #17 of 72
A backyard breeder, to me, does the following:
  • Breeds without health testing in all areas recommended for that breed by the appropriate breed club
  • Breeds for any motive not associated with bettering the breed (including breeding for profit)

People who think 2 dogs are "cute" and that it would be "cute" to have them make more "cute" puppies are the classic example of a backyard breeder, IMO. As are the idiots who "accidentally" let an intact dog and bitch mate and then have to find homes for the resulting puppies. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to keep intact animals separated.
post #18 of 72
By many definitions, my mother is a backyard breeder of siamese cats. I don't feel what she is doing is unethical, however, because her cats are Traditional (applehead/classic). She can not show them in regular cat shows, even if they had them anywhere near here (we are in a low population area in Canada). The breed is quite rare, she's been without a stud for many years now and can't find another within 4 hours drive. She does her best to be as responsible as possible: she interviews prospective kitten owners, keeps any cats rather than send them to sub-par homes, only charges a nominal amount of money to cover stud fees/vet bills, she will breed one litter yearly MAX, with many years skipped. She often has a waiting list for kittens because her cats have amazing personalities and are well socialized, she has never advertised.

This is different situation than dog breeding for sure. However, this has coloured my view of breeding in general. Some "backyard bred" dogs are the nicest pets I've met, whereas many show bred dogs are too tightly wound to be kept in a house. It's completely a matter of inborn drive of course, the show bred dogs being "hotter" (isn't that the term?). Sometimes it really works out well that Neighbour Joe's really nice dog has puppies with Neighbour Bob's really nice dog - the puppies turn out really nice (in personality)! As far as congenital diseases are concerned, the wider genetic pool of the backyard works in their favour at times.

Having said all that, I am completely COMPLETELY supportive of responsible breeding and rescue. There are a few puppy mills around here and they churn out the saddest examples of mini poodles, shih tzus, etc... whatever the small and fuzzy dog-du-jour. But they get snapped up all the same... We really don't have that many breeders here.
post #19 of 72
We need a sticky at the top of this forum about all the reasons mutt dogs are not genetically healthier then purebred show dogs. I'm getting so tired of hearing that. Suffice to say, it's just not true.
post #20 of 72
Purebred dogs are at higher risk of certain genetic diseases. This is proven. That doesn't mean that cross breeds or mutts are healthier, per se, but they are statistically less prone to genetic disease from having a smaller inbreeding coefficient. Of course, you can have a mutt with hip dysplasia (for example), it's just less likely depending on which breed you are comparing. The broader the gene pool, the healthier (potentially) the animal. You certainly can have a very healthy purebred dog as well. The biggest problem in breeding animals for showing is the genetic bottlenecking caused by popular studs. A big-time X times champion dog that leaves it's stamp on an entire breed by it's overuse as a sire. His genetic problems are carried along as well as his good looks, expressed at greater rates with linebreeding. Health testing does not leave subsequent generations free and clear of disease - if it did then breeders would NOT have to health test every generation of animal, would they?
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