Six Signs of a Great Breeder

Look for these clues, and you'll go home with a healthy, happy puppy.

By | Posted: Wed Nov 10 00:00:00 PST 2004

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A health record. The health record includes your puppy's birth date and time, her veterinary examination dates and any health procedures performed, such as shots and de-wormings. Your own veterinarian can better care for your pup if he or she knows what care the pup has received previously.

A health guarantee. Possibly included in the contract, a health guarantee spells out the terms under which you may return the pup due to a health problem. This guarantee may be as short as 48 hours or as long as several months. Regardless, take your new puppy to your veterinarian within the first couple of days for a thorough checkup.

They Stick Around After The Sale
Finally, a caring breeder will exhibit her concern not only during the sale, but afterward. And it can benefit your puppy long after she becomes an adult. For example, Bighouse recently advised a family that bought a puppy from her eight years ago about possibly switching the dog to a raw-food diet. Your breeder is the expert, and she has had experience with many issues you will face as your dog matures.

Continued contact with the breeder also benefits future canine generations. "Breeders should stay in contact with their puppies because it helps them track any health problems that may spring up in their lines," Snyder says.

Mercer agrees. "I do a follow-up on the puppies that are purchased. I love getting Christmas cards with pictures. I also do grooming and boarding, [but] only on the puppies that I sell."

The Silberhorns' Quest
Mercer quite often sees the young Shetland Sheepdog that she sold in 1995 to Ed and Marsha Silberhorn.

After Abby's death, Marsha Silberhorn spent time on an online forum for dog lovers. Through a forum friend, she ultimately found Mercer.

When the Silberhorns visited the Mercer home, the contrast between it and that of Abby's breeder startled the couple. The Mercer home "was immaculate," Silberhorn recalls. "They had a grooming area, outdoor runs, indoor kennels and a fenced yard."

Along with offering information about her breeding experience and the Sheltie that would soon have pups, Mercer clearly wanted to know more about whether the Silberhorns could offer a suitable home for a puppy.

"Geri interviewed us," Silberhorn says. "She asked about our previous dog, how we cared for her and what kind of a home we could provide for this dog. She asked how we would exercise the dog."

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