Puppy farms. They are those terrible places where unscrupulous operators breed dogs for profit. But how do you recognize a puppy farm? How do you know that your next puppy comes from a place where dogs are treated well?
1. The first rule about puppy farms is that they don’t look like puppy farms. The operators are not stupid. They watch the news just like you do. Today puppy farms have sophisticated marketing campaigns, web presence and a plush ‘viewing room’. So just because the place doesn’t look like a Dickensian sweat shop doesn’t mean it’s legit.
2. Trust your gut feeling. Take a look around. Does the place have a bit of an ‘industrial’ look? Are there sheds in the background? A good breeding establishment should’t look like a factory site.
3. Information is the key. The breeders I know love talking about their dogs so much you can’t shut them up! And that’s great because I know they care. If the breeding kennel is coy about talking about their blood lines, if you are not allowed to see the father, if you can see that there are other dogs there but the dogs have been taken away, I would be asking why.
4. What’s in the breed? What breed lines does your breeder maintain? Most specialize in only one or maybe two. A schnoodle/spoodle/cavoodle is not a breed by the way. It’s a poodle crossed with something else. That makes it a cross-breed, get it? So don’t let someone tell you that they are a ‘cavoodle breeder’. That’s just nonsense. If a breeder is breeding crossbreeds, I would be asking why. You can’t show them in dog shows or register in a breeding society, so I suspect money could be high on the list.
5. Tick the boxes. A good breeder should be selling his puppy vaccinated, microchipped, wormed and maybe desexed. All that stuff will cost extra but I will gladly pay if I know the breeder has done the right thing. Plus you will have to pay for all that anyway at some point. If not, again I would be asking why.
So the rule is: puppy farms look professional these days and their PR can match a used car salesman’s. But trust your gut feeling and use these rules and your next puppy will come from a good place.