Puppy Buyers Beware

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Where does your pup comes from? What is the pup’s pedigree of origin?  Registries are not all equal . . . read on to learn more.

Ten Reasons NOT To Buy A Puppy From A Pet Shop, by Catherine Sheeter

Commercial kennels/shops

We’ve probably all seen those adorable pups in a pet shop window and been tempted to take one home. However, the pups usually sold in these stores most likely come from large commercial breeders or puppy mills. The background of these pups remains uncertain, as well as the health and temperament of their parents, all of which can be hereditary, passing on to your pup. Because you will never meet the breeder or the parents of the pups, you will not be able to see any potential issues.

 These businesses usually produce large numbers of various breeds or mixed breeds, in facilities set up for this purpose. The breeding stock usually live in small,cramped filthy cages, with little or no human contact. They literally become breeding machines, with no thought taken for their well being. Sick and malnourished, sitting in their own fecal matter, living in pain and emotional distress, they are bred until they are of no use, then killed or sometimes sold to labs for experimentation. Granted there may be all levels of abuse, some not as bad as others, some cleaner then others, but the point is this-  The parents of those pups are not being treated well, and are being made to endure horrors no living creature should endure, all for the sake of financial profit.

The pups are usually taken away from their mom and siblings way too early, before they are weaned and properly socialized, all so they arrive at the store at that most appealing young age to ensure the best sale. Before you chose to buy from someone other than a reputable breeder, consider the horrors the parents of puppy mill pups most likely endure each day. Buying that pup will only promote the horror.

Backyard Breeders

These are usually pet owners who have chosen to breed their pet for various reasons:

  • They might want to recoup the cost of buying their pet.
  • They might need a way to gain some extra income.
  • They might want their kids to get the experience of seeing pups being born.
  • They might feel it is a cheap way to get another dog.

The reasons stated above may seem valid to some, however, they are not in the best interest of the breed.

“Back yard” breeders may know little to nothing about the AKC breed standard with regard to type and structure, or the breed related health. They may or may not health test, and most do not belong to any breed club, nor adhere to any “code of ethics.” A code of ethics is common to a breed club. It is there in order to protect and to enhance the breed. It may be tempting to buy from a back yard breeder, especially if it is cheaper, and they seem to cherish the beloved pet they have bred, which may be well cared for and lives in their home. However, keep in mind, there’s a lot more that goes into proper breeding selection then the obvious, getting a male and female “together.”

Reputable Breeders 

Reputable Breeders spend their lives researching about the breed, studying structure and breed type, pedigrees/lines, health issues, socialization, training, and so forth, all in the hopes of enhancing and protecting the breed. The aim of a reputable breeder is to produce quality pups that are as close to the breed standard as possible, while working to reduce health issues in the breed. Breeding correctly is very costly and time consuming, it’s a pastime that takes a lot of love and passion! Please take the time to find a reputable breeder that has dedicated his/her life to protect and enhance the breed. Reputable breeder’s strive for excellence in all they do, but please keep in mind that no one is perfect. That said, there countless factors to consider when choosing the breeder of your future puppy. Take the time to get to know the breeder. Do they show their dogs and/or participate in other canine sports? Are they a member of a breed club? Do they hold to a code of ethics? How do they raise their pups? Do they house them in a kennel or are they part of the family within the home? Are the parents ( at least the mother) available to see and interact with? Do they appear compassionate and caring and willing to educate when speaking to them on the phone? These are only a few of the many questions to consider while you search. Once you find a breeder you hope to work with, be patient. Most reputable breeders do not breed often, and there may be a period of waiting. Hopefully your patience will pay off and will result in a wonderful puppy and lifetime companion to bring into your home. Best wishes!

This is the “code of ethics” of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breed club of which I am a member:

Cavalier King Charles Club, USA, Inc. Code of Ethics:
I believe that the welfare of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breed is of paramount importance. It supersedes any other commitment to Cavaliers, whether that be personal, competitive, or financial. Read full text at CKCSC USA. 


Please don’t forget to consider a Cavalier Rescue. Thank you

Information about “alternative” Canine Registries

Beware, there are many “alternative registries” popping up all over the internet, and it can confuse and mislead puppy buyers. Having “papers” or a “pedigree” doesn’t necessarily mean your dog is a pure breed. These registries do not uphold the same standards as do the CKCSC and AKC. As a member of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club USA (CKCSC, USA), I register all our dogs with the CKCSC USA as well as with the American Kennel Club (AKC). With the new DNA testing required for sire and dame you have the added assurance that you are buying not only a pure breed, but also that the parents are really who they say they are. All parents of our pups have DNA numbers. 

The American Kennel Club Mission Statement:

The American Kennel Club is dedicated to upholding the integrity of its Registry, promoting the sport of purebred dogs and breeding for type and function. Founded in 1884, the AKC® and its affiliated organizations advocate for the purebred dog as a family companion, advance canine health and well-being, work to protect the rights of all dog owners and promote responsible dog ownership.