Choosing The Right Breeder/Kennel
Buyers are encouraged to do their homework, do lots of research, and be realistic. There are a few basic rules to follow but common sense will help you the most. Puppies are a lifetime investment, so think of this process as you would any other really expensive item you want to keep forever. Your family and this puppy will be lifetime companions.
It is hard to categorize breeders since we all began somewhere. Breeders with 15 dogs or 5 can have equally effective breeding programs. Almost every breeder began small and increased in size as they themselves matured as a breeder. Some have 2000 sq foot facilities some have small areas in their homes. One is not necessarily better than the other, although "home breeders" often use that terminology to indicate that they may spend more time with their dogs than kennel owners. Don't particularly be fooled by this, many "home breeders" have jobs outside of the home and are gone 8 to 10 hours a day; as opposed to some kennel owners who are with their dogs 8 to 10 hours a day.
Donít be afraid of small or large breeders. Do use some caution with breeders with multiple breeds that are not closely related. Specialization is often the key to a quality breeding program. Focus on conditions, conditions, conditions. Kennels should be clean, but donít expect a hospital like atmosphere, we are after all working with animals. Accidents happen, messes happen, dogs bark, and that is the way it works. On the other hand, donít accept a puppy from a kennel with obvious unsanitary conditions. Look for clean water and feed bowls, free of debris of any kind. Individual feed and water bowls should be available. Crates or kennels should be clean and tidy, free of dried urine or feces. Kennels should be cleaned thoroughly once a day at least and waste should be picked up upon recognition of it. The breeder should immediately begin cleaning up even if she has to stop ďsellingĒ in order to take care of a mess, etcÖ Again, donít expect to never see a mess whatsoever, dogs soil the area around them from time to time. Buyers canít expect 100% mess free / rosy smelling kennels. That is unrealistic.
Be aware that bitches look bad for a while after whelping, and are probably clipped up well. We donít look like a fashion model after giving birth. Donít expect a breederís bitch to be in full coat all combed out waiting for her photo shoot. It is just not realistic. In fact, none of the dogs in a kennel should look like they never get out of the crate. All of the dogs should look like they get out of their crates, play outside, and are secure in their surroundings. Never expect every dog in the kennel to have that fresh from the groomer's look.
Todayís consumer is looking for small ďpurseĒ size dogs. Although it should be rare for a kennel to produce this size dog, it does happen. A kennelís entire reputation should not be built on the word ďtea cup.Ē By breeding to improve, rather than to produce a certain size, breeders become knowledgeable about the traits each female / male combination produces and can effectively evaluate each litter. These breeders are better equipped to detect health problems and poor quality early. If the sole purpose of every litter is to produce tiny dogs, beware. Your breeder should be able to answer any questions you have, thus specialization being the key. You should be given a contract to sign, a copy to keep, copies of any paperwork, contact numbers for the breeder in case of emergency, and a great deal of information.
DO NOT BUY WITHOUT A CONTRACT. Where do you find a good contract? Your breeder should have a comprehensive contract protecting all parties. A four line contract basically explaining you are stuck with the dog you have purchased after 24 hours does not make a contract. So, look for contracts with some work and thought put into them. All breeders should offer some type of health guarantee. Make sure it contains litter numbers, date of birth, etc.
What am I looking for in a puppy?
Buying/adopting a puppy is a long term commitment. Make sure you are willing to give a good deal of time to the care and training of your puppy. These little devils need your attention, love, and praise. Also, think about the environment in which the dog will live. A hearty, healthy dog does much better with kids and than a shaky shy purse puppy. However, you may be looking for a small travel companion. Make sure your needs are clear so that a good breeder can focus on which puppy will best suit your lifestyle.
Where do I find a quality puppy?
Once your expectations are clear, contact several breeders. Most breeders are good sources for information and enjoy visiting about their dogs and kennels. A good breeder will invite you to ask questions even if he or she does not have a puppy available. Many will recommend good breeders in your area. If you decide you really like a kennel and breeder, be patient, wait on the perfect puppy.
What traits do I look for?
Finding a reputable breeder is the most important part of your search. To help in choosing the traits you would like, see the sire and the dam of the puppy. However, do not totally rely on looks alone. Our children aren't carbon copies and so it is with puppies. Good breeders recognize traits in both the sire and dam that will insure quality puppies. If you have done your homework, you'll be confident in your breeder's ability to help. Occasionally, the sire is not on the premises and this should not be of concern. Breeders will often use another stud to improve their own line. If the dam isnít there, it probably isnít worth your time except in the rare case the puppy is a "pick of the litter" from a breeding. Sometimes if a breeding bitch is exceptionally nice, the breeder may opt to keep a puppy rather than have a fee paid for stud service. Also, seeing related dogs can help.
What about temperament?
Temperament is a very important aspect of puppy. Remember, just like kids, not all puppies are going to run up to play. Some are shyer than others. Every puppy is unique in temperament and will respond differently to each person he/she encounters. Look for puppies that exhibit a playful, confident attitude.
Why are these dogs so expensive?
To put it bluntly, expect to pay for a quality puppy, especially a Yorkie. Truly dedicated breeders spend a great deal of time and expense on their bitches, sires, and puppies. This should be rewarded not haggled over. Breeders provide a service just like any other working person. You, as an employee, expect to be paid for your service to your company (you probably donít believe you make enough for your work). Breeders are no different. For some, raising dogs is a hobby and for others, it is part of their income. Neither indicates a better breeder. Good quality pets are a reflection of the kennel in which they are whelped.
I want a TeaCup Yorkie:
Firstly, tea cup / teacup is only a descriptive advertising term and should not be used by the breeder. You, as the buyer, may use the term in order to aid in conveying to your breeder exactly what you want, but reputable breeders will talk in terms of overall weight and proportions. The most common complaint from Yorkie owners is often a size issue. Breeders promise that cute Yorkie will be a tiny little teacup, the buyer buys at a super low price and, well it generally goes down hill from there. Again, that 8 week old Yorkie was supposed to be a "tea cup" and ends up a long legged, large eared, 12 pounder. Breeders cannot promise at even 8 or 12 weeks exactly what size your Yorkie will be. If a breeder is explaining that a Yorkie will be a certain size, ask how they know. Ask to see the puppies weekly weight chart. Good breeders have these and know the math. This may not insure the overall size is exact, but at least your breeder has some idea and isn't making empty promises.