How To Pick and Contact A Breeder
Having decided to own a Shetland Sheepdog, you should try to find the best available specimen of the breed. Many sources offer purebred puppies and dogs for sale, but locating the best source requires time and research. Local pet stores will often carry several popular breeds. These dogs often come from backyard breeders or puppy mills, and are not in the best state of health, nor are they from the best possible breeding lines. Your local newspaper will also run advertisements for purebred puppies. Careful research may prove a few of these to be well bred, healthy animals which will make good pets. The majority, however, are likely the result of backyard breeding by neighbors looking to make a small profit.
Hobby & Reputable Breeders These are usually the best source of good, purebred dogs, but they are also the most difficult to locate.They do not often advertise to find homes for their puppies, because they usually make such arrangements before the actual breeding occurs. Nor will their puppies be found in pet stores, because such breeders often personally screen each potential buyer to ensure that the puppies end up in the best possible homes.
Breeder Referrals Here are some tips on how to locate responsible breeders and what to expect when you contact them to purchase one of their animals: 1. Ask an acquaintance who owns an admirable dog of the breed you wish to own where they obtained their dog. If they purchased their dog from a breeder, ask about their experiences with that breeder. 2. Also, ask if there were any unexpected health or temperament problems with the dog they received. 3. Finally, ask their candid opinion of whether or not they recommend you visit this breeder as the source for your new pet. If you do not know anyone who owns your desired dog breed, consult your veterinarian. Ask your vet's opinion of the general health and temperament of the breed you have chosen. If you are still confident about your breed preference, ask your vet to recommend local breeders and, more importantly, to identify which breeders to avoid. If your vet is not aware of any local breeders, ask to speak with one or more of his or her clients who own a dog of that breed. From there, proceed as discussed above. Local dog clubs are another good source of information. Check the local telephone directory for breed-specific, all-breed, or obedience training clubs. They should be happy to put you in contact with a responsible member breeder.
Contacting Breeders Now it is time to contact the breeders to whom you have been referred. Some breeders prefer to communicate primarily over the phone, internet, or in person (some breeders do not even use email!). Do not expect to get a puppy or dog right away. A responsible breeder will want to meet you and your family. They will also want to ask questions about your lifestyle and living arrangements. The responsible breeder will want to know about your past experiences with dogs and other pets. Most importantly, the breeder will want to know why you have chosen this particular breed. They should ask if you have been informed of any inherited health or temperament problems known to this breed. They will also want to know if you are aware of the commitment of time and care required to keep this breed in good health. You should be prepared to answer all of these questions and more, and you should have a list of your own questions to ask the breeder (see another FAQ).