I know there has been a hue and cry, particularly in the USA, about puppy millers, and I am also aware a lot of dogs have had to be rescued to and re-homed from ‘homes’ that pups from such places have been sold to.

This article is an article so YOU as a buyer can determine if someone is a decent and reliable breeder of Clumbers, so one that can be supported.

To support disreputable breeders, careless breeders, or blatant puppy millers is to encourage and reward them – and you know what, they will continue in this dollar turning over business while they make a profit, the only way in modern western culture, if they are not in breach of local laws or animal cruelty laws is to not reward them with sales – ie, don’t buy from them.

For the story of the Clumbers from Hungary see “Clumbers” September 2006 issue: 103 – it is a heart destroying tale.

How do you sort the wheat from the chaff when finding a buyer. I notice the American Clumber club don’t publish a list of breeders, you submit them a small token fee and they will mail out the information, but in the internet age I know many won’t wait for the information to come. Most other countries publish lists of members who have litters that conform to the club’s requirements. Importing is possible between most countries, but check carefully about ALL import requirements, before making a purchase.
Be aware that ‘vetting’ a breeder in another country can be tricky – so be more thorough in your research, and be aware that travelling is a drain on your pup – he won’t be coming first class in the cabin!

If you are an impatient soul and determined to search only through the internet, you need to take on the responsibility not only for the dog you seek, but also the research to ensure
a) the breeder is an asset to the breed (does things right by the dogs, the breed, AND the buyers)
b) that the parents are as represented by the seller, and from a sound foundation
c) you have sought and implemented basic, decent, living arrangements for yourself AND your dog.

Puppies bred in puppy mills or such situations are not necessarily the reason so many end up needing re-homing, they need re-homing because the seller/breeder has raised an unhealthy dog or misjudged the appropriateness of your home for that particular dog.

A ‘puppy miller’ is interested in the sale – not the relationship between you and your puppy – and by the way, did they discuss with the fact the puppy is only a puppy for 10% of its expected natural live – they grow, they develop muscle and bone, they need more grooming and more exercise, and they get old and need altered and better care, as do humans!

WARNING SIGNALS
THINGS THAT MAY INDICATE A BREEDER IS NOT SATISFACTORY

This is a section that will have to be added to, as I educate you the buyer, I am also educating the ‘millers’ and they will change their tack and information they supply.

– being a member of the American Kennel Club or other controlling body is no guarantee that the ‘breeder’ is good for the breed or dogs or going to take the time to match a dog to you, your personality or lifestyle. It is a shame to think so, but these organizations are big, and many only provide a registry rather than an ethical club. A member of ‘good standing’ means someone who has paid their membership fees and not been suspended, it does not mean they have not earned the wrath of fellow breeders.

– is the ‘breeder’ actually a member of the accepted controlling body for that country – there are a handful of countries that has two or more ‘registries’, check to see if the registry is actually a member of the FCI or affiliated with the English Kennel Club or American Kennel Club

FCI http://www.fci.be/home.asp?lang=en

– be highly careful of anyone that offers crossbred or hybrid pups – no country endorse the wholesale production of crossbreds. Some countries have strictly monitored programmes to broaden genepools, but these are conducted under scientific supervision. A breeder only has crossbreds/designer breeds/hybrids.
If they are careless OR wanting to make money from the public. If they are careless enough to have such pups for sale I would have to question their talent in caring for their dogs and their chosen breeds

– be highly careful of anyone who sells the ‘sizzle’ not the actual pup. I was reading one website recently that kept talking of how sweet and cute their pups were (what pup does not show at least one of these characteristics?) yet gave ‘pet’ or ‘call’ names only for all their dogs AND the parents of the litter.

– don’t make a point of their ‘kennel name’ or their own name (you can scan Google, and Clumber email groups and social networks for comments on people if you know their names)

Breeders I would avoid list things like
— the number of champions or winners in the pedigree
— how cute or cuddly a pup is
— gives call or pet names only on parents
— gives only hard to read scans of foreign pedigrees for the grandparents, some even fail to put up the info for the parent
— supply only photos of the parents that are hard to discern anything from
— makes sweeping claims but unsupported by test authorities or scanned certificates on any testing undertaken
— blatantly discards health screening
— cites a ‘clear’ eye certificate from some years ago – all the eye certificates, I am aware of, relate to annual examinations, and by the way, MOST don’t seem to cover entropion, that is something you will have to judge for yourself (remind me to write an article so you can!)
— offer health guarantees, good grief, have they a crystal ball or do they expect a short live, no one can tell you if a new born baby is going to make it to 80 years, YES, dogs can have serious congenital issues, most of which can be deduced by a basic vet exam, do the breeders let you have one undertaken, or advise it?
— talking of hip dysplasia screening list a breeder lists the results for one or both parents as ‘moderate’, that does not mean moderately good hips, that means moderate hip dysplasia. Is hip dysplasia inherited? Yes, current research indicates up to about 40%, which means 60% is due to the environment, they way the puppy is raised, so how the breeder keeps the pup. If a breeder has bred from a ‘moderate’ result parent (not something I would even encourage or recommend) then expect the pup to have a high disposition to the same ailment. Does hip dysplasia matter? Certainly does as arthritis sets in – ask anyone stuck on a waiting list for a hip replacement operation – it is life debilitating and exceptionally painful.
— tend to have very pretty and cute websites and music (not all are bad breeders, but bad breeders seem to like this type)
— declare their pups are raised in a family situation and show pics of a previous litter in such; most modern day dog owners raise their pups at home, the day of the BIG kennel with kennel staff is long over!
— accept credit cards
— offer to arrange freight/shipping rather than put you in touch with freight agents
— accept deposits with nothing in return
— don’t ask you questions
— don’t ask you for references or referees
— don’t ask to inspect your property or see photos
— by the way I ask one or two other searching questions too, but I won’t list them here for puppy millers to find
— or if they do any of the “don’ts” here seem very easy to please and in a bit of a hurry to get you the pup and have it ‘settle’ in
— actively seek you out as a new friend on communities like Facebook or contact you literally out of blue
— know very little about how long the breed has been in the country
— claim the local dogs are all inbred or something worse
— say theirs are better
— state they don’t belong to a particular club because of the ‘politics’, that may be true, but it raises a little warning flag
— can’t tell you where to get some more information or what other litters are around
— use lots of photos, and generally the pup is sitting or lying down – can’t it walk already?

This a fairly long list, bad breeders may only employ a few points, some good breeders could employ a couple, you need to polish up your radar, tune in, and keep asking questions!

A REPUTABLE BREEDER will PROVIDE everything, on the parents and the ones for sale, and on any already sold or kept
— the registry
— the registered number
— links to a registry for the pedigree OR the actual pedigree
— photos of the pups, siblings (brothers and sisters) and parents, and often grandparents
— has no or very little information on how cute or sweet each or any are
— has the actual test result papers scanned and displayed OR the certificate numbers and links to the authority that did the test on each and every test undertaken on the parents, be it health, genetic screening, temperament, or competition results

WHAT IS A REPUTABLE BREEDER?
One who
– does research their breed, within their own country, and internationally
– can tell you about current scientific research and possibly BREED problems
one who actively tries to breed out issues rather than branding all Clumbers worldwide with those problems or issues*
– this is not finished, but my lunch is ready – remind me to finish it!

* a good breeder will know the breed has a poor reputation with hip dysplasia, a lot of Clumbers have been diagnosed with it, but equally so a good number of breeders can produce dogs without hip dysplasia, generation after generation

* a good breeder will screen all his breeding stock for the status of that animal with regard to PDP1 deficiency until they are sure the breeding stock is ‘clear’ of the defective gene. A carrier may be bred to a non-carrier without the disease being expressed, BUT all the progeny must be screened too BEFORE being bred. Not enough of the breeding stock (100%) has been screen anywhere int he world not to under take this precaution, see http://www.erinrac.com/erinvein/article.php?item=212§ionid=32

SHOULD ALSO ADD add about their types of adverts in classified sites

also see
http://www.clumberspanielpuppies.org/
http://www.clumberspanielrescue.com/
http://www.clumbersinneed.com/