It’s evident that I am a rescue oriented person, and so is this blog. However, I will admit that my bucket list includes purchasing a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy from a breeder. At some point. Way down the road. Still, I want to, and I never want individuals to come read this blog and wonder why it seems like rescue people will not talk about purchasing a dog, ever.
So, you want to buy a puppy, but you want to do it right. That’s cool. Support good breeders all the way! Without good breeders, the Cavalier breed would die out.
First, a question. Is the puppy a gift? If so, remember, pets should NEVER be given as gifts, and decent breeders will not sell a dog for someone to give as a gift.
How do you find a puppy without supporting a puppy mill?
Sometimes that’s harder than it seems. Aside from avoiding those pet store pups and any that can be purchased over the internet, how do you know? Not all puppy mills look like this one.
Some mills are smaller, harder to see, but are still putting profit above the welfare of their animals. On top of that, finding a good breeder with a litter of puppies can take more than a year.
Not all breeders are great. Even some of those listed on sites like the AKC breeder recommendation list don’t fall into the category of a “good breeder.” The AKC doesn’t have the capacity to inspect every breeder they certify and have acknowledged such.
Some breeders might look good from the outside but be running small puppy mill operations out of their home or another location.
Some breeders may not have that many dogs, but if they don’t care for the health of their females, and breed them repeatedly for several litters, the breeder still fits in the category of using the animal for profit.
Some breeders think they are doing everything right but don’t health test. These breeders aren’t contributing to the future health of the breed, which is currently tenuous, and therefore do not care about the welfare of the dogs. Find out more about health testing at Cavalier Health.
Some breeders don’t want you to visit, or don’t want you to see any of their other dogs aside from the mother. This is a big red flag. It may well look like the house above if they are unwilling to show you where the dogs live.
Some breeders don’t want you to offer you any guidance after you purchase the dog. This is not necessarily a sign of a puppy mill but just a sign of a breeder worth avoiding.
Ok, all these no’s probably aren’t helping you figure out how to tell what a GOOD breeder looks like and how to find one.
A breeder you found online is neither a good or a bad one although their website may or may not give you some information about them.
The first sign that you have found a good breeder is if you feel a little interrogated, politely of course. Questions you should be asked include:
- Why do you want a dog and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in particular?
- Who in your family will be responsible for the pup’s daily care and training?
- Where the dog will spend most of his or her time?
- How often will the dog be left alone?
- Can you provide both veterinarian and personal references?
- Will you sign a contract to spay/neuter the dog?
- Are you willing to sign a contract agreeing to return the dog should anything change in your situation?
A breeder is going to want to know all these answers in depth. They are also going to want to hear you ask questions. Some things you need to ask are,
- How old are the mother, father, and their parents? The mother and father should be 2 or older and the parents preferably 5+.
- Do you health test? Will you provide me with the results of these parents/grandparents? (You are looking for MVD and SM in particular.)
- Can I come visit?
- When is your next litter of puppies planned?
- Do you have a waiting list?
- Can you provide me with references?
- Do you breed any other dogs? Breeders with multiple kinds of dogs are not likely to be good breeders.
- Are you willing to answer my questions after a puppy comes home with me?
- Do you have a contract?