You should always look for a responsible and reputable breeder when you are looking to choose a puppy – one who is either a member of the Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier Club of GB and who adheres to the Club’s Code of Ethics in relation to breeding and rearing of puppies; or a breeder who is a registered Kennel Club Assured Breeder and meets, and has been assessed as reaching, the standards that The Kennel Club expect.
There are many good and responsible breeders out there, but, be warned, there are also several who are not as careful regarding care, socialisation and health.
You will find many online Puppy Sales websites these days. All of these need to be treated with caution.
How can you tell if a breeder is responsible?
The following are questions that may help prospective owners identify a responsible breeder when they first contact them.
* When can we come and see the puppies?
A good breeder will want to meet you and your family before committing themselves to selling you a puppy. It will also give you a chance to say ‘yea’ or ‘nay’ to them. However, breeders are unlikely to allow you to visit puppies under 2 or 3 weeks of age, as this may distress the bitch and could risk infection for the pups. Around 3-4 weeks is an ideal time for first visits as the pups are beginning to take on their individual personalities
* Where will the pups be raised?
Kitchen/utility rooms are best as the pups see and hear lots of household noises and people. Quiet back bedrooms may be fine for the first couple of weeks, but once the pups are on their feet, these rooms, and places like outside sheds, will mean the pups get very little socialisation, and so these are not good.
* What health tests have been done on the bitch?
Blood testing for normal kidney function is strongly recommended. Eye testing and hip scores are also recommended. Many reputable breeders will also check for genetic markers for Protein Losing Nephropathy (PLN). If the breeder says “No.” to any of these, ask why not!
* Has the sire been health tested?
He should have had similar tests to those above for the bitch. If the answer is “No.” ask why not!
* Will the puppies have eye and blood tests?
If the breeder says “No.”, ask why not. However, whilst blood tests should be possible, it should be noted that not everyone can undertake eye testing for puppies, as testing sessions may not be available to them when the pups are of the right age.
A good and responsible breeder will want to know as much about you and your family as you want to know about their puppies. They will want to be sure their pups are placed in the right homes.
They will be willing and able to answer all your questions about the pups, and the pups’ parents.
The pups will be raised in a good and clean environment, and as part of the family, not stuck in a shed in the garden and only brought out when visitors arrive.
The pups will look healthy, happy and be full of life (when they aren’t snoozing!).
A good and responsible breeder will always be there for you and your puppy in the future, when and if you need support, advice or guidance. Their responsibility doesn’t end when you take your puppy home.
All online puppy sales websites need to be treated with caution, even the Kennel Club’s own Find A Puppy site, as it isn’t just KC Assured Breeders who advertise puppies on there. There are some good breeders on these sales sites, but there are also some that are not.
Be extra cautious…
* If you cannot see the bitch for whatever reason, even if it sounds plausible. Some litters are purchased as a ‘job lot’ from another country and imported when they are too young to be taken from the bitch.
* If the breeder appears to know nothing about the health testing, or what kind of coat the litter, or their parents, have.
* If the breeder asks you no questions about your home, lifestyle and family, but appears only to be interested in obtaining a deposit from you.
* If the breeder has multiple breeds. There are some very good breeders out there with more than one breed, but many with multiple breeds are not, and could be puppy farmers.
* If the parents of the puppies, and therefore the puppies themselves, are not Kennel Club registered.
* Of any ad in a newspaper, or individual puppies advertised on the internet.
* Of a breeder who will meet you in a car park to hand over a puppy.
NEVER EVER BUY A PUPPY BECAUSE YOU FEEL SORRY FOR IT!