Often when we look at a cute puppy, we resort to love-at-first-sight, fate, or chance to whether we would like to bring the puppy home. However, breeding is a far more important job than producing cute puppies after puppies. Improper breeding or breeding for secondary benefits in the long run results in unwanted puppies and unhealthy puppies. Therefore, if one is indeed interested in owning a certain breed, a good and responsible breeder is the key to having a good puppy.

There can be many reasons to why one would breed their dogs, but the main focus of breeding should and must always be to improve the breed and/or to carry on the good line. With a good solid foundation for puppies, the chances of puppies developing future problems can be minimised. And the following important factors are a few of what we consider as the most important factors.

1. Living Conditions

The first thing that one should take at look at is the living conditions of the breeder’s dogs. This allows you to understand how the dogs are raised, and what the lives of the parents of a future puppy. You want a breeder that honours their dogs. A good dog doesn’t necessary comes with good living conditions, many people don’t realise that, you might find a Champion Dog living in a small penned up cage. Good living conditions raise healthy dogs.

2. Meet The Parents
A good breeder will always allow you to meet the parents of the puppy. You might have seen or heard this a thousand times, but why is it so important? By meeting the parents, you will be able to understand more about your future puppy and how it will turn out. Breeders will carefully choose their breeding pairs, so that they can ‘control’ and shape the temperament of the offspring. Almost all breeders will at least own the dam of the breeding pair. Spending time with the parents, or at least the dam, this allows you to understand more about the breed and how your future puppy will be like.

3. Health Check
It is important for a breeder to know the faults in any breeding line, and the degree of severity to the faults. If the breeder is aware of any serious faults, they have to be honest with themselves and others, and not allow that particular dog to be used as breeding stock. This is the only way to eliminate serious faults from the breed. For example, good breeder will never breed a dog which has a history of hip dysplasia or obvious genetic skin mange

Good breeders will and should know the medical history of each and every of their breeding dogs. There are many medical check-ups available at the Vets which helps to provide a peace of mind for future owners and allows breeder to know which dogs are not suitable for breeding. Golden Retriever breeders often do Hip Scorings Tests to ensure that the risk of hip dysplasia in future puppies is minimised to the lowest. Alaskan Malamute breeders often do Elbow Scoring Tests to ensure the quality of future litters.

Breeding only healthy and sound dogs is the key here. Always ask for health check results. If health checks are not done, ask why. Some breeds are more prone to certain faults than others. A good breeder will know the breed inside out and will be explain to you why certain tests are done, why certain tests are not done and why.

4. Temperament

Most of us want dogs as pets. Therefore a sound temperament is ideal. When you buy a puppy from the store, you cannot predict its temperament. The parents are the closest you can get to predicting a puppy’s temperament as it grows. And the dam or another balance adult is the key to shaping a puppy’s temperament. First of all, a pair of parents with good temperaments will give you a head start to a good puppy with sound temperament. Secondly, the best candidate to nurture a puppy is none other than the mother. This is why good breeders always have the dams close to the puppies, the longer the puppies stay with their mothers, the more they learn.

The fact that a female dog churns money is the very reason why many breeders stray from their initiate intentions to breed a dog. When a female proves to be unfit for breeding, a breeder must pick up the courage and remove the female from any future breeding programs. It is a money losing decision, but it is best for the breed and it is best for the future. Responsible breeders will refrain from breeding the female again if she shows signs of reluctance or unfitness to being a mother. It brings danger to the puppies and it is not natural for them. Good breeders will want their puppies to start right, and start healthily and the best way to ensure that, is of course a sound dam who will become an exemplary canine mother.

5. Champion Bloodline
‘Champion Bloodline’ often comes with a heavy price tag. Some people show their dogs in the show ring or agility trials for passion, some people compete to gain recognition, and some people do it for the possibility of churning money in the future. Conformation dog show world is a very complicated world, although decisions should always be objective, they are often subjective. A Champion Dog might be penned up n cage all day long or it may have the luxury of running in big yards. When you see the term Champion Bloodline in a pet shop, is merely a way of extorting more money. Reason? Why will any breeder who so painstakingly take their dogs into champion positions, place their offsprings in a pet shop to sell to people they have never met?

A champion dog may not be a good dog, but every good dog is worthy of a champion title.

6. Countries Of Origin
In Singapore, one of the things when people buy puppies is to look at the country of Origin. Many people search for dogs that are being imported. It is important to understand that an imported dog does not mean a quality dog. For all you know, puppies with an imported tag may be the very ones that are bred in puppy mills, why else would the puppy be imported without knowing who is the future owner. Finding a local breeder who breeds sound dogs might be difficult, but if you have found one, it can be a better insurance to your future puppy and yourself.

[Personal View]
Finding a good and responsible breeder takes time and effort, but it always pays off. Breeding sound dogs takes a lot more than just time and effort. Ask questions, ask many questions. Any breeder with the mind to let their puppies go to good homes will take their time to explain to you. A few years ago when we imported our dogs, we communicated with the breeder and her family almost every single day for 9 whole months, we had so many questions, she too, had so many questions for us. We wanted to know how her dogs were raised, the food they took, the precautions they made and why. They wanted to know how their puppies will live if they come to us, how will they be treated, how many hours will they be left alone, how much exercise they will get and what can we guarantee them. And now, they are our best resource to honest opinions about dog raising.

Keep in mind that while you are looking for a good breeder, a good breeder is also looking for a good future owner. A friend of ours had to take videos and photos of his current living conditions before he managed to acquire his puppy from a breeder. The breeder also made sure that he puppy proof all areas so that it was safe for the dog. Some breeders even prepare sales contract to protect the puppy. In this case, you know that the breeder wants the best for the puppy. Just because you want a puppy, doesn’t mean you get a puppy. Many breeder in fact, will only let you choose from what they think is suitable for you and your family. Most people thinks that a puppy running to you means that it has chosen you, in a breeder’s mind it just means that the puppy is excited, nothing more.

A good breeder is your puppy’s best insurance policy. Be sure to be a worthy future owner if you want a good puppy.