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BREEDERS, Breeders, and more Breeders………they are NOT all the same!!!!

There has been a lot of negative talk lately in the news and on social media about Dog Breeders, but people need to really understand that not all breeders are the same.

I hope this article helps when you begin searching for the right dog for your family. If you are looking for a new best friend, you want to make sure you find a good reputable purebred Preservation breeder or a recommended rescue group or organization that might have dogs needing new loving homes.       

I want to explain first and foremost what a “Preservation Breeder” is. I think it is important for everyone to really know and appreciate what this means in the world of Purebred Registered dogs. A Heritage Preservation Breeder devotes all their time, money, and energy into producing dogs that are correct for the breed standard of their chosen breed. They are experienced and knowledgeable breed experts. They exhibit their dogs at CKC/AKC shows and have the dogs evaluated to ensure the dogs are quality and true to the standard. Hours are devoted to care, grooming, training, nutrition and more. The puppies are born and raised in their home and the dogs are part of the family.  

Preservation breeders are dedicated, and passionate about their breed. They spend hours researching pedigrees to find healthy, long lived, sound dogs to use in their breeding programs. Often the next litter is planned years in advance, and they have a long waiting list for the next available puppy. They are active members in good standing with their Breed clubs. They support the club and attend the annual National Specialty Show to showcase their dogs, to watch the other dogs and meet other breed fanciers from around the world. They are always looking for dogs with the best temperaments, correct structure, clean movement, and good breed type, dogs that will help to preserve the future of the breed. Thousands of dollars are spent on health testing each of their dogs before they are ever bred. This might include getting the dogs x-rayed for hips and elbow dysplasia, checking for hereditary eye and heart diseases, Von Willebrand’s disease, Degenerative Myelopathy and any other health tests that are important to their breed. Health testing is done to eliminate or at least minimize some hereditary diseases, to ensure the puppies they produce are healthy.

They proudly display and hang pictures of their dogs, their awards, and ribbons on every wall. You will see bookcases full of breed magazines, books on nutrition, training, showing, breeding and every book published about the breed they are so completely devoted to. The kitchen counter has stacks of clean bowls and more vitamin bottles and supplements than we take. There are cookie jars and dog beds in every room, blankets on the couch and huge box full of assorted doggie toys and bones.  Their dogs are loved, happy, healthy, clean, and well taken care of.  They DO NOT breed mixed breed dogs!!!!!!!!!!       


So often the dedicated, responsible, reputable CKC/AKC Preservation Breeders are criticized for producing a litter of puppies because there are so many dogs in the local SPCA. Reputable breeders are NOT the ones responsible for all these dogs needing homes. They are NOT the cause of dogs ending up in rescue and being abandoned. It would be exceedingly rare to find a dog from a Preservation breeder in a shelter. They would never let one of their puppies end up in rescue or the pound as they will take back any dog they produce for the entire life of the dog. They do extensive research and interviews before placing a puppy in a new home and have strict legal contracts to ensure this never happens to one of their dogs. They are always available for their new puppy owners and give lifelong support to the family that owns one of their dogs.


Without Preservation breeders, there would be no more purebred dogs purposefully bred to help the seeing and hearing impaired. No more dogs bred with good sound temperaments to assist and protect the police, dogs bred to sniff out cancer and other health issues in people. There would be no more dogs bred with correct structure, stamina, and intelligence to help the farmers with herding, droving, and guarding livestock. There would be no more dogs bred to keep rats and vermin under control.  Some are bred for guard and protection work, some for their natural ability to help find people that are lost and track criminals on the run. What if there were no more dogs purposefully bred with the right temperaments to help people with epilepsy, seizures or assist disabled people. There are purebred dogs bred and trained to find bombs, guns, and drugs, to help keep people safe. There are many dogs bred to search and rescue lost children, to find and dig out a person after an avalanche. Dogs are bred to help find loved ones after an earthquake or tornado and to assist soldiers in war. Some are bred just to comfort people, for the joy of companionship and to keep people warm. Some are bred to help man hunt, to pull a sled and patrol the airports and border crossings.  Dogs have been domesticated and purposefully bred for hundreds of years for companion animals, to assist man in so many ways.  


Reputable Preservation breeders spend thousands of dollars testing for genetic problems before a dog is ever bred.  For most of us this happens after we have spent thousands more in showing and performance fees to prove our dogs have sound temperaments and retain the working ability they were bred for. We do this because we want our future puppy families to have confidence that the puppy, they bring home and fall in love with will act and look like its parents. It will have the same likeness and distinct qualities of the breed.  It is not just about that cute fuzzy bundle of sweet wiggles that pulls at your heart strings rather it is what will this puppy become as an adult, a dog you will love and cherish for the next 10 years.  

Preservation breeders are not given enough credit for their dedication to their chosen breed. They breed to ensure that the breed they so dearly love and are passionate about does not die out and will carry on in the future for everyone to love and enjoy. Without the Heritage Preservation breeders so much of the history with man and his faithful companions will be lost.      


The problem is that not all Breeders are the same, sometimes we all get lumped in together, the good the bad and the ugly. Some certain types of breeders give reputable ethical breeders a bad name in purebred dogs. There are so many kinds of people breeding dogs and for so many different reasons. If you are looking for a purebred family dog, you really need to do your homework and research and be willing to wait for the right puppy from the right breeder.


When you see puppies for sale at the feed store or on a sign at the end of the road, these are Back Yard Breeders. A backyard breeder is an amateur dog breeder whose breeding is considered substandard, with little or misguided effort towards ethical, selective breeding.

They make claims that the puppies they are selling are something special! They usually own a male and female, unregistered, poor quality, purebred dog. They think it is acceptable to throw their intact dogs in the back yard and lets nature takes its course, a few months later there is a litter of puppies born under the shed in the back yard. Sometimes they sell mixed breeds as well when a surprise litter of puppies arrives, they are ignorant on how that even happened.  Every six months another litter comes, and they are often sold and advertised for sale on social media or in the newspapers. They call themselves’ breeders; truth be told they are simply irresponsible owners and do not care about the future or welfare of the breed or the puppies they produce. They breed dogs for all the wrong reasons, to recoup the money they spent on their dogs, or let the children experience the miracle of birth. They never do any health checks on the parents, they have no clue about, genetics or pedigrees, and think registration is only for show dogs. The new owners think they are getting a purebred dog but soon realize their dog looks and acts nothing like the breed of dog they thought they were getting. Unfortunately, they did not do their research before they paid good money for an inferior, poorly bred dog.   

Then there are the Commercial Breeders. They keep hundreds of dogs in a warehouse breeding facility, the dogs drink from a drip hose and are feed from an automatic feeder. These dogs are bought and sold at auctions; they are treated like livestock. They never leave their cage; they never know love and kindness from a human. They are continuously bred over and over to make money for these greedy people. The dogs only have human contact when someone comes along and takes away their babies at 3-4 weeks old, to be sold online and shipped off to pet shops. 

The dogs are stressed and bark constantly seeking out attention, love, and kindness from humas that they sadly never get. The dogs might be sold with registration papers and claim to be purebred just so they can get more money. They get away with this because the dogs have water, food, and shelter, that is all the law requires. These people are NOT Preservation breeders, this is strictly a money-making puppy farming business. These breeders turn a blind eye to the emotional and physical suffering and well-being of the dogs, it is only about how much money they can make.


I think most people have heard the term Puppy Millers. These disgusting breeders might keep 50-200 dogs and have many different breeds, some purebred, some mixed breeds. The poor dogs are forced to live in small, cramped wire chicken cages their entire lives. They have never felt the cool grass under their feet and have never felt a warm loving hand from a human. They have no cover in the winter or from the heat of the summer, they are stacked on top of each other and live in their own feces and urine. The dogs are often very sickly with matted coats, injuries, and infections. The dogs are malnourished and dehydrated, they are bred over and over until they no longer can produce; you can only imagine what happens next. These puppy millers sell to puppy brokers which in turn ship the puppies in truck loads across the country to pet shops. Many are too young to even leave their mothers and do not survive the journey. The dogs have never been seen by a qualified veterinarian or any other kind humans for that matter. The registration papers and vet report the puppy might come with is usually falsified. If you buy a puppy from a pet shop, please know you are supporting these puppy millers and condoning the inhumane treatment of these poor dogs.


The newest fad is Breeding Designer Dogs. They are deliberately breeding one breed of dog to another breed and giving them all some fancy made up name.

These so-called breeders make all sorts of claims that these dogs are better, healthier, non-allergenic and on and on. It is all a bunch of lies and there is no data to back up any of their claims. Trainers and dog behaviorist say they are some of the hardest dogs to train. Many are high strung, fearful, and difficult to live with. These types of breeders are good at marketing and selling dogs with their fancy websites with cute puppy photos. They often refer to their dogs as their fur babies and other ridiculous names to help promote and sell their puppies. They are selling these dogs for the most unimageable amounts of money. Some are sold for as much as $15,000 because the dog is an unusual color, hairless, has a curly coat, or blue eyes. The stranger looking the more money they get. They are claiming they have created a new breed of dog, and sadly the public is falling for all of it. Crossing any purebred dog with another breed of dog is simply a mutt and the pound is full of them. Do not fall for all this false information they promote just to sell the puppies for a higher price. These Frankenstein dogs have more health, temperament, and structural issue than any purebred registered dog. Once the puppy is sold there will be no follow up or support.  A big red flag is that they take credit cards or pay pal as payment for a puppy and will ship the puppies anywhere sight unseen.   


Breeding Doodles!!!! (I really hate even using the name doodle)

This is a hard subject and it may offend some people; but as a responsible long time, Preservation breeder of quality purebred Bernese Mountain Dogs, I have a responsibility to speak out. Just look up the word “Doodle” it means “to draw thoughtlessly and absentmindedly, done to relive boredom”, I think that speaks volumes about the people and why they are breeding these dogs.

I am weekly accosted by individuals about the wonders of a Berner Doodle, a Bernese bred to a Poodle, how they have great temperaments and are hypo allergenic, this is just a so far from the truth.  I have talked to many people that now regret their decision to get one of these dogs and wished they had done some research first. This fad started when Wally Conron, the breeder who experimented with mixing the Labrador with Poodles had good intentions. He wanted to develop a guide dog that would be hypo allergenic for individuals who wanted a guide dog but were allergic to dog hair. He now admits that he wishes he had never created this cross bred dog. These so-called doodles are simply a mixed breed mutt.  They are not a recognized breed, plain and simple, if you saw a box of mixed breed puppies for sale would you really be willing to pay $5000 or up for one?

No reputable Preservation breeder would breed these dog or sell one of their beloved dogs to end up in this kind of situation. These people get their Bernese and Poodles from other back yard breeders, millers, and puppy farmers. Some import dogs from other countries and deceive breeders into believing the dog they are sending is going to a family home. Sad that nothing can be done once the puppy has been sent and it ends up being a breeding machine.  These people are selling puppies for way more than any purebred is worth. They are not researching pedigrees, doing any health testing, and know nothing about the backgrounds of the parents of the dogs. There are so many of these Poodle crosses with epilepsy, hereditary cancers, problems with their eyes, skin, allergies, hearts, hips, elbows more. I recently heard of some of these x bred dogs dying as young as a year old of cancer.  

A doodle might look cute to some people but please remember you are paying a high price for a gimmick, for a dog that may not be predictable in temperament nor health due to the fact it is genetically two different types of breeds. The dogs often have food and water caked around their face and chin; you cannot even get a brush through the dog’s coat. These dogs are a groomers nightmare, they get so matted that the only way to clean the dog is to shave them right down to the skin. The cost for grooming can be as much as $100-$200 every 5-6 weeks. I know that you have probably met some loving mixed bred doodles. I have met many wonderful loving mixed breed dogs that came from shelters, but the owners knew that they wanted to rescue a dog and only paid $150 not $5000. They were also aware beforehand that the rescue dog may have some issues and were prepared to face them before they brought the dog home. There is no support and help from these doodle breeders, they just take your money and run.


Many of these x bred dogs are turning up in a rescue situation because the new owners cannot deal with the neurotic high stung adult dog and the expensive cost of grooming and veterinary care. When these dogs have temperament and health issues there is no support from these Breeders. They Do Not take back the puppies they produce if the owners cannot keep them.  Cute curly fluffy puppy photos are simply a marketing tool that works in favor of breeders who want to make a lot of money on a so-called designer breed. Be an intelligent pet owner please and Do Not pay thousands of dollars for a dog that comes with no breed certificate, registry, or pedigree. If you want a mixed breed dog, then go to your local shelter or contact a rescue organization!  Do not encourage these greedy people and fall for their false claims. You might think you are getting a nice calm 30-pound dog and it ends up being 120 pounds of pent-up, destructive energy.  There is no way to predict what you are going to get with these cross-bred dogs.     


If you are truly looking for a hypo allergenic dog, go for the original, the Poodle, they make wonderful family dogs. They are consecutively in the top ten of the smartest breeds, they love to fetch and swim, and they come in a variety of colors and sizes. Poodles can be kept in a short clip or left longer with more coat, only the Poodles in the show ring need to have the longer purposely trimmed and groomed look.  Other purebred dogs to consider that have the similar type of curly coat might be the Portuguese Water dog, the Curly Coated Retriever, the Irish Water Spaniel, Barbet, Otterhound, Pumi, Lagotto Romagnolo, Bichon Frise or an Old English Sheep dog. There are a variety of different Purposefully Bred Purebred dogs from good Heritage Preservation breeders, that make wonderful family dogs.  


Rescue Dogs Do Not come from responsible Preservation breeders, they come from Irresponsible Pet Owners that do not look after their pets. 

Many rescue dogs are found just wandering the streets, they are not spayed/neutered so the next thing you know there is a litter of unwanted puppies. Some of the dogs that come into rescue have been living on a 4 ft chain their whole life. Some have been dumped in a park or tied it to a tree on the side of the road by heartless owners that do not want them anymore. These dogs are confused and scared because they have been left behind to fend for themselves. So many dogs turn up in rescue that have been abused, neglected, and living on the streets for a long time.

Thankfully, there are many kind caring people that step in and help these dogs and find them wonderful loving homes. Unfortunately, the dogs often come with psychological and physical scars, some have serious health and temperament problems. It takes time for these dogs to heal and trust people again. The dogs need to be evaluated and get veterinary care. They are generally placed in experienced, knowledgeable foster homes first where they get lots of TLC. They stay with the temporary family until the dog is healthy and ready to begin a new life in their forever home.  People that rescue dogs might require a home visit and the new owners to sign a contract before the dog is released into the care of a new family. Not all rescue groups and rescue organizations are the same. It is important to check them all out, get the full story, ask lots of questions before committing to taking on a dog that could be more than your family is equipped to handle.


Reputable, dedicated breeders help in any way they can if a Purebred dog turns up in rescue. There are lots of breed pacific rescue clubs and groups. There are some wonderful caring people across the country that are devoted to their breed and are willing to give a dog a better life. Breeders all work together for the wellbeing and welfare of a dog that comes into rescue. They offer to help anyway they can, to make sure the dog finds a suitable new home. That is what Preservation breeders do because they love and care about their chosen breed so much.


Please choose wisely and do your homework when you decide it is time to welcome a dog or puppy into your family, be willing to wait for the right one. All dogs just want to be loved and cared for, regardless of if it is a rescue dog or a purebred registered dog. This is a 10-year commitment of feeding, training, grooming, vet care and more. The type of dog that is right for one person is not necessarily suitable for another family but DO NOT support these puppy millers/farmers, back yard breeders and all these greedy people breeding these so-called unhealthy designer and doodle dogs. Give a rescue dog a new home or get a purebred registered dog from a responsible, dedicated, reputable Heritage Preservation breeder.

Madeline Knowles

Swisskiss Bernese Mountain Dogs

Loyal Loving Companions since 1989                

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