How can you tell the difference between responsible breeders and back yard breeders?

The main difference is that responsible breeders do extensive health testing for genetic defects in their dogs and only breed for health and temperament. A responsible breeder has learned at least the basics of genetics, and breeds only dogs with good pedigrees (ideally, you want to see all or mostly Champions in the pedigrees). Responsible breeders screen any potential homes for their pups, they want to make sure that the pups are going to good homes. They do owner education, tell people the good as well as the bad about their breed. They make sure that the people know what they are getting into and are ready for a pup. They will also take back any of their dogs at any time, if the owner cannot keep them. We RARELY get Danes into rescue from reputable breeders. On those rare occasions, the breeder took their dog back once we notified them that we had gotten their dog into rescue. Responsible breeders DO NOT advertise their pups for sale in the paper or on the internet! There should really be one reason that a person should breed a dog -and that is to improve the breed. If someone is breeding dogs for any other reason, then they are not a responsible breeder.

Back yard breeders (BYB's) breed for one reason - money. They do very little (if any) genetic testing, know nothing about genetics and inherited diseases or pedigrees. BYB's usually don't do owner education, won't tell you any negatives about the breed and often tell people things that aren't true (you wouldn't believe how many BYB's have told me that Danes don't have a problem with hip dysplaysia - now that's a joke!). With a BYB, usually, whoever has the cash, gets the pup, they don't care who buys their pups. Back yard breeders usually breed their dogs when they are too young, multiple times and often breed older dogs too. The bottom line is MONEY. BYB's advertise their pups for sale in the paper, and online classifieds (Yahoo classifieds, etc.). Pups from BYB's often will not come with papers or papers from a registry other than AKC. Very often BYB's advertise pups that have papers from registries such as CKC (Continental Kennel Club), WKC (World Kennel Club), etc. Papers from these registries are basically useless! Anyone can register any dog with these registries claiming it's something it's not, since they don't verify the info they are sent. For example, a Great Dane could be registered with them as a Chihuahua, the registry won't know any different.

Below are some links to other sites on reputable breeders and back yard breeders.

10 Rules of Ethical Breeders
Recognizing an Unethical Breeder
Questions to ask a Breeder
Choosing a Breeder
Novices Interviewing Breeders
The Great Dane Watch Dog - List of Great Dane Breeders that have been fined/suspended by the AKC


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