While it may cost you less to get a dog from a backyard breeder than from a reputable, show breeder, there are, sadly, very good reasons why. Those same reasons are why you should avoid backyard dog breeders.
Recently there has been more exposure in the media regarding puppy mills but it hasn’t covered the sad scenario of backyard breeding, despite increasing public awareness of animal cruelty. These people are responsible for most of the overpopulation issues associated with animal shelters and forced euthanasia incidents.
Definition of a backyard breeder
The term “backyard breeding” refers to people who breed animals in an irresponsible manner. Their main interest is in making as much money as possible whilst spending as little as they can; hence the profits they can make. They don’t care about the welfare of animals in their care and that results in poor quality specimens that deserve much better.
Sometimes a backyard breeder doesn’t initially set out to do harm but their bitch may have an unwanted pregnancy because they failed to have her desexed. Sometimes they’re bred so puppies can be sold for a quick profit. “Puppy farm” or “puppy mill” are the two most commonly used terms to describe this behaviour when done on a big scale. Some breeders think they can produce good quality show dogs and rake in the big money.
Other breeders are under the false assumption that all dogs must produce one or more litters to feel fulfilled. However, the most common reason a backyard breeder does it initially is with the best intentions. They have a really great, loving pet and they believe that lots of puppies will enable others to also have such a wonderful experience.
What separates backyard breeders and genuine, responsible breeders is the standards the breeder meets whilst caring for the dogs and litters.
Good intentions often aren’t enough
Puppy mill owners work on the premise of high volume breeding with only minimal care and poor living conditions. Backyard breeders are a bit different in some cases. Those who are only keen to make huge profits are virtually the same as the mill owners. Big litters, various breeds, dirty cages for homes and poorly fed animals are the result of their lack of care.
There are others who may appear harmless at first or can be hard to identify. They only breed one or two litters and house them inside so others aren’t aware of what they’re doing. They may raise both parents and even let you see them when you meet the puppies. You’ll naturally assume they have been cared for properly as they’ll all look clean and happy. You won’t suspect they’re backyard breeders, even though they have the best intentions and there are times when they don’t even think they’re doing anything wrong.
What’s wrong with backyard breeding?
The first obvious fact is they don’t have the knowledge and experience that genuine breeders have when it comes to breeding their chosen breed(s). The genuine breeders can breed for ideal qualities and reduce any unwanted characteristics and they’ll usually have some knowledge of genetics. They keep comprehensive files on all their dogs and puppies, often going back a few generations. Serious health concerns can be screened for.
On the other hand, a backyard breeder will have some knowledge of his breed and will assume everything else. Backyard breeders typically simply mate their bitches to the most conveniently located and available male. Perhaps their own male or a friends dog, without any research on the breeding lines and any compatibility concerns.His bitch may have a genetic predisposition towards luxating patellas or other problems he may not know about. Because of insufficient knowledge of prior generations, new owners may incur thousands of dollars in expenses to fix major health problems. Even worse is that the new owner may have a temperamental new dog that may end up being left at a shelter or, sadly, being euthanised.
Most genuine breeders will put restrictions on the puppy owner’s right to breed and will get pet puppy buyers to sign a specific contract, promising they won’t breed the puppies, thereby avoiding the creation of substandard litters. Some will give a partial refund if a buyer has a neuter/spay certificate supplied by their vet.
Many Pomeranian lovers regard breeding high quality, healthy Poms as an obsession. Their lives are centred around their dogs and they compete in performance events and conformation shows. They’re generally known as hobby or show breeders but that doesn’t fully describe their complete dedication.
Lots of people assume breeders do it for money. Serious and hobby breeders don’t do it for that reason. It’s purely because they love it. The amount of money they spend on their dogs far outweighs the amount they would ever get back.
Don’t be fooled by the term “Registered Breeder”
Anyone can easily join the Kennel Club and become a registered breeder. Registered breeders can also be backyard breeders. Would-be puppy owners need to recognise and understand the real difference between show breeders and registered backyard breeders. The incentives are very high to be a registered breeder: higher prices, easier to advertise and sell kennel club registered pups.
Don’t be fooled into purchasing a puppy from a registered backyard breeder.
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