weimaraner, puppy, maine, new england

Why choosing the right breed and breeder is so important!

When you buy a puppy you are also buying the breeder. You are going to have this dog for the next 12 or so years and should expect a breeder to be there with help and support in the future. Choosing a good breeder is the most important part of finding the right dog to share your life with.

You should first make sure the Weimaraner is the right breed for you. The more research you do up front, the less chance for heartbreak in the future. There are many resources available on the internet to conduct the necessary research on dog breeds. Our national club, the Weimaraner Club of America, has some good articles on this subject as well.

I expect my puppies to go to homes who will make a lifetime committment to this dog. It should be a member of their family - not just a temporary form of entertainment for as long as it is a cute puppy. I want them to live in the house and be loved by a family for their whole life and if something should happen that prevents you from keeping the dog - I want it back. I also expect all pet puppies to be spayed or neutered. In return, I'll be there to help with any problems you may have with the dog; health, behavior, temperament or training issues. This breed is my hobby - not my living - and I want it to be a fulfilling experience for all of us.

Tips on finding an Ethical Breeder

There are a variety of places you can look for a breeder; ethical breeders do not sell puppies in pet shops. Nor will they sell a pup without first determining if the home is suitable and will properly care for a puppy. Weimaraners aren't for everyone and a good breeder will ask lots of questions before deciding if one will be right for you. If you want to buy a puppy with no strings attached, chances are the "no strings" policy will work both ways. There are always large breeders who operate with questionable ethics, but put on a great front, so ask around.

Many puppy buyers look to national or regional breed clubs or AKC for referrals to breeders and this is a good place to start but it is only the beginning. Just because someone is listed in a club directory or with AKC does not automatically make them ethical or caring breeders. You need to do a bit more research to ensure you are buying a healthy puppy with a good temperament from a breeder who will stand behind it.

You must remember too - that mother nature has a bit to say about when puppies are available! A puppy should never be an impulse purchase - so start looking early, choose a breeder you like and trust, then wait for the right puppy for you. Most ethical breeders have waiting lists and don't have puppies all the time - so be patient. The local paper isn't the greatest place to start, it isn't usually needed when you have a waiting list. If you see an ad in a paper take that extra step and check out a 4 generation pedigree with all health tests available such as OFA hips. If they are issued a number they have passed their hips. If there is no number, the hips were not done.

Some things to look for in choosing an Ethical Breeder

Here are some guidelines to follow:
  1. Go to the breeders house or kennel and ask to see the dogs and how they live, go inside the house and kennel, ask to see their contract and health tests in writing. Ask to see at least one of the parents to evaluate their temperment. Most breeders who care for their dogs with pride will let you inside their kennel and home. Look, listen and learn. Do you care if your puppy comes from a home raised enviroment? Do they live in the house or in a kennel? If kennel dogs do they all have clean indoor/outdoor runs large enough for adequate excercise? If there is a large number of dogs is there full time kennel help? Do they do any activities with the dogs such as showing, hunting, obedience? Are the sire and dam champions or field titled? The answers to these type of questions and your personal observations while visiting will tell you volumes about what kind of breeder you're dealing with.

  2. Go to shows or other events; such as hunt tests, tracking tests, obedience trials to see dogs that consistently place AND have good temperaments. If you are looking for a hunting dog, do not take the breeders word for it that the dog will hunt. The popularity of the weimaraner in recent years has led to a loss of hunting ability in many lines. Ask to see the parents hunt and retrieve live birds. Ask to see the pup interact with live birds. If they show little interest as a puppy, they will likely have little interest as an adult.

  3. Check references - ask around and talk to other people who have bought dogs from the breeder and see what their experience has been, particularly if you are looking for a hunting weimaraner. The breeder should be willing to give you the names of previous puppy buyers that hunt with their dogs.

  4. Is the breeder in good standing with both the local and national breed clubs? This isn't an automatic seal of approval but you can often start by asking a breed club for a list of breeders.

  5. Ask other breeders, although they can be biased they won't usually tell you negative things about other breeders unless they're are serious ethics questions with the breeder your inquiring about.

  6. Expect to see written results of genetic screening like thyroid tests, OFA hip and elbow results and any other testing a breeder has done, prior to making a committment for a puppy. You can go to the OFA website to look up most health test results like hips, elbows, thyroid, cerf and DM.

  7. What health guarantees come with the dog? Sad to say, these days if it's not in writing there's no guarantee. Your puppy should also come with a health certificate from a licensed Veterinarian, a history of shots and worming and any special care items that may apply. Most breeders also use contracts to ensure that a pet quality dog is spayed or neutered and these often include a health guarantee spelling out how they will handle any problems.
Doing your homework in finding an honest, ethical breeder will pay off in the long run for you and your new puppy. The alternatives can be devastating, no support, initial deposits not returned if a pup isn't available, sick puppies and numerous health issues.

Avoid this breeder!

1. "Puppies always available....".
That means lots of litters per year. If a puppy is to have the best chance to be happy in your home, he must be hand-raised with lots of attention and love in a home setting. It's impossible to do that if you're mass-producing puppies. Many good breeders limit themselves to a few litters a year depending on the size of the litters.

2. Any sign that the whole deal can be completed with one phone call or email.
A good breeder spends plenty of time talking to you, not only about her puppies, but about the breed in general, your home, and whether this is the right breed for you. They won't mind making the initial contact by email but a phone conversation is absolutely necessary to a good breeder. If the conversation consists mostly of "This is how much they cost, you can pick up your puppy Saturday," a red flag should go up - this is not a breeder who cares where his or her puppy is going.

3. Credit cards accepted.
Good breeders are small volume - - they can't afford to take credit cards, unless they run it through another business, such as a pet supplies store, grooming shop, etc. Any breeder, however, can use Paypal or other online payment methods. If you need to use a credit card to buy your puppy, ask about those plans, or get a cash advance.

4. Advertising "rare" or specialized varieties.
Rare coat colors or types, extremely large or small weimaraners - Purebreds must meet a breed standard. If a breeder isn't following the standard on size, coat, etc., how do you know what other oddities there may be? Because these 'improvements' are often done by mixing in other breeds, the advertised animals may not even be purebred.

5. Offers of stud service to the public, breeding pairs, or a contract that does not require spaying/neutering if the puppy is intact when sold.
Good breeders are stewards of their breeds. This means they are very careful with their bloodlines. They do not offer service or sell breeding animals to anyone who has not made an extensive study of and commitment to the breed. Breeding dogs should not be undertaken casually; a good breeder will offer to mentor someone who wants to learn, but will not encourage everyone who enters the door with cash in hand to breed.

6. Dogs registered with any registry other than the American Kennel Club (AKC), United Kennel Club (UKC) or (for Canadians) the Canadian Kennel Club. Rare breeds which have not been recognized by these organizations are exceptions, as are field/hunting dogs registered with field registries.
Reputable registries maintain the pedigrees of purebred dogs, so that if you pay for a purebred you can be sure you actually get a purebred. As registry standards have been tightened, however, breeders who breed carelessly or sell mixes as purebreds have established several registries with no standards at all. The term registered by itself is meaningless and the same is true of pedigreed. A pedigree is just a family tree, and every dog, even a mixed breed, has one simply because he has parents and grandparents.

7. "Ready for Christmas!"
Holidays usually mean lots of confusion and just going to a new home is plenty of stress. Good breeders know that Christmas is the worst time to take a puppy home if you have children, and most won't even sell you a puppy as a Christmas gift. Some may allow you to take a puppy home at that time if you can convince them that you'll keep things calm, but a breeder using Christmas as a marketing tool does not have the best interests of the puppies at heart. Even many shelters won't allow adoptions during Christmas week.

8. "We'll meet you at the rest stop."
Some kennels really are hard to find, but anyone can take directions. Often this just means "We'd rather you not see our kennel." A puppy from a dirty or overcrowded kennel is very likely to have parasites and/or other communicable illness. Corners probably have been cut on other breeding practices.

9. "I'm sorry but the mother is (at the groomer, at a dog show, at the vet...) so you won't be able to meet her."
Offer to come back when she's available and if you can't make arrangements, look elsewhere for a puppy. Mom's influence makes up for about 75% of your puppy's temperament, and if you don't like her, you don't want her pup.

10. Offers to sell puppies that are less than eight weeks old.
Puppies need to be with mom and their siblings for eight weeks or more in order to learn skills that are near impossible for humans to teach. You can consider buying a puppy from this breeder but do not take your puppy home before he's eight weeks old. Some breeds mature more slowly so these puppies should stay with mom at least another week or two. Puppies must be exposed to humans regularly before 12 weeks of age, and that's a big part of the breeder's job. A puppy that has this contact but has stayed with his litter at least eight weeks will easily bond to your family at any age.

11. Special deals that require you to allow the breeding of a litter from your pet.
A good breeder sometimes will sell a male puppy and ask that you not neuter him without permission, in case she needs him as backup to her bloodline. A breeder with a rare bloodline (or a rare breed) may have a good reason for not wanting to lose a certain female, but usually that breeder simply won't sell the dog. Whelping a litter of puppies is emotionally and physically draining for the owner as well as the bitch and there's a lot that can go wrong. Ask why the breeder wants a litter from your pet -- if it's just to collect more money from the sale, look elsewhere.

Indaba Weimaraners ~ Freeport, Maine
  Telephone: 207-865-1071 ~ email: kim@indabaweimaraners.com  
  © Copyright 2009 Indaba Weimaraners