So you're thinking about breeding your dog... Part 2.

Read Part 1 of this discussion here.

Today a friend sent me a link to this advertisement on Facebook.

My friend knew that I'd be upset about this litter of puppies, and I am. The care and responsibility that these puppies deserve has been missing, right from the beginning. The person posting them believed that he had done the right thing and said he'd spent a lot of money on them.

However, as he wasn't a registered breeder and wasn't using papered dogs, it is doubtful that he could trace the pedigree or health records of the parents. The buyers of these puppies will be getting a risky ticket in the genetic lottery, as there could be any number of health issues that haven't yet shown up in the young parents. Examining a detailed pedigree can help breeders select parents with, amongst other things, minimal heritable disease factors in previous generations.

From the comment about the microchips, I'm going to make the assumption that this person is a genuine dog lover and **wanted** to do the best by his dogs, not a backyard breeder just out for money (although the price he's asking for puppies without papers or health testing is pretty steep). So, how could he have avoided mistakes in regards to choosing parents, health testing, vaccinations, microchips and other things? Pretty simple.

2) Why should I become a registered breeder?

Each state of Australia has its own branch of the Australian National Kennel Council, and here in Victoria, that branch is called Dogs Victoria. Breeders who register with Dogs Victoria

  • agree to a code of conduct that includes rules about breeding to protect the health of the parents and ensure the best chance of healthy puppies.
  • are assisted to prepare and place puppies in the best possible homes, with correct vaccinations, microchips and papers, and to sign contracts with puppy buyers to help protect those puppies for their entire lives.
  • are educated and tested on their knowledge of breeding, to ensure that breeders have the best chance of dealing with veterinary emergencies that might occur during pregnancy or whelping.
  • participate in health testing and research, enabling the best chance of healthy puppies.
  • breed according to agreed standards for each breed, aiming for puppies who have the best structure, best temperament and best physiology for the purpose of the breed.
    (Read a discussion about the best structure for a husky here.)
  • are peer reviewed through registration of litters, publication of gazettes and dog shows where judges compare dogs who are already the pick of their litters for meeting the standard of their breed.

Becoming a registered breeder is not particularly easy or simple. There's annoying paperwork, fees to pay, an exam to pass and probably a myriad of other details non-breeders like me are unaware of. But, as a dog lover, a potential breeder needs to take this step to ensure they are following the code of conduct and other rules laid down by Dogs Vic to produce puppies ethicly and responsibly. If the man who advertised this litter on Facebook had been a registered breeder, those puppies would have had (hopefully) a better chance at a happy, healthy life. Instead, their risk of ending up in a pound or rescue, and of having a genetic health issue that decreases their quality of life, is pretty high, no matter how good the breeder's intentions were.

To read about how one breeder carefully managed their affairs to produce the best puppies possible and ensure that those puppies were placed in the best homes possible, click here.

To read an analysis of dogs who are most likely to end up in a pound or shelter, click here.  

If I'm buying a puppy, how do I know if a breeder is registered with Dogs Vic or another kennel club in another state or country?

Being a member of a kennel club doesn't automatically make a person an ethical, responsible breeder. Its important that any puppy buyer who wants to ensure they are getting what they are paying for (the highest possible chance of a healthy puppy, backed up by support from the breeder for the lifetime of the puppy), asks a buyer a lot of questions. So, if you want to buy a puppy from a registered breeder, don't feel shy to ask them about their membership of Dogs Vic.

  • How long have you been a member of Dogs Vic?
  • What activities have you and your dogs participated in and when?
    Breeders who want their dogs to be tested against the best in the breed will compete in conformation shows and other activities, like racing, tracking, obedience... competitions that show off their dog according to the purpose of the breed.
  • What other clubs are you a member of?
    Breed clubs, like the Siberian Husky Club of Victoriaalso hold breeders to account and aim to produce the best dogs, ethically and responsibly.

Puppy buyers can then confirm the current membership with the relevant governing body and ask if there are any black marks against that breeder.

That's always the bottom line - whether you're buying a puppy or looking at breeding a dog - do your research!