The breeder should be able to
explain the Breed Standard, and how his or her lines meet or deviate
from them. The responsible breeder should be willing to educate the
potential buyer about show vs. pet quality, and alert the buyer to
faults in his or her line. The responsible breeder engages the dogs
in sports appropriate to the breed: schutzhund,
agility, obedience, tracking or herding.
Learn about the Titles obtainable in each sport, and inquire about
the breeder's dogs' achievements.
Kennels should be clean, with
fresh drinking water in clean containers. There should be indoor as
well as outdoor facilities, comfortable beds, toys, and fresh chew
items. Dirt runs are not ideal, as the soil may be infested with
parasites, but if present should have a layer of chips or sawdust.
Dogs should be of good weight,
clean, energetic, not aggressive or excessively timid. Look for
condition of teeth, ears, eyes, and nails. Be alert for redness or
discharge from the eyes.
Definitely ask to see and meet
the older dogs on the property. Brood bitches past the age of safe
whelping and older stud dogs should be present as house pets. It is
especially informative to take a look at these older dogs. Subtle
clues such as condition of teeth, nails, and skin tell volumes about
the commitment the breeder has made to the well-being of his or her
dogs and your prospective puppy.
Find out how many litters are
whelped each year. Get a sense of whether the breeder regards
breeding as an income source. Profiting from breeding indicates that
he or she may
breeding to help or improve the breed, and you might
be wise to quit the interview right there.
Ask to see a history of the
breeder's lines. See how many times the dogs and bitches were used in
breeding. A bitch should not be bred at less than 2 years nor older
than 8, nor should she produce more than 4 litters in her lifetime.
She should not be bred more than 2 out of 3 consecutive seasons.
Responsible breeders should test
for the following hereditary conditions: hips and elbows (OFA), eyes
(CERF), Cardiac (OFA),
(complete panel), and von
Willebrands Disease (vWD).
will disagree on which tests are necessary, but there should be
evidence that the breeder is consistently checking for hereditary
problems. Ask to see the test results on both the sire and the dam.
If proof of these test results are not available to you, it is time
to look elsewhere for your puppy.
If the litter is already
present, note where it is kept, and what is being done to socialize
it. Puppies should be house dogs until they are sent to their new
homes. A puppy kept in a kennel or barn will not have had the
appropriate social stimulation and interaction with people to be an
optimal pet. At the appropriate developmental stages they should have
been introduced to children and other people, other animals such as
cats, washing machines, vacuum cleaners and lawn mowers, and riding
in the car. Littermates should appear healthy and vigorous.
See the contract/guarantee
before leaving a deposit or purchasing a puppy. Read the contract
thoroughly. Sad to say, the disreputable breeder can (and will) try
to insert clauses to which you never agreed. The contract should
specify details of the sale, including a health guarantee and the
breeder's lifetime commitment. The kind of health guarantee will
change from breeder to breeder, but it should be in the written
contract in some form. The breeder should be able and willing to take
the puppy or dog back at any point in its life if you are unable to
keep it. Do not accept verbal assurances in place of a written
contract on these points. Puppies should be a minimum of 7 weeks old,
with appropriate vaccinations and worming, and fulfillment of the
contract should be conditional upon the examination of the puppy by
your veterinarian within a specified time period. If the puppy is pet
rather than show quality, spaying or neutering should be a part of
the contract. AKC/CKC registration should be clearly specified. Read
the contract thoroughly.
The responsible breeder will
provide a packet of information regarding training, diet, and general
care, with several resources for you to check out. Ask to see this
before signing the contract.
Here is the most important
question of all to ask yourself: Do I like this person? Is this
breeder someone I want in my life for the lifetime of my dog? Because
that is exactly what is going to happen. Rely on your instincts about
this person, and follow them.
Be prepared to be inspected as
closely as you just inspected the breeder. The more questions asked,
and the more references required, often indicate the degree of
dedication of the breeder to his or her dogs, and how much follow-up
assistance you can expect.
It may take time, patience, and
quite a few long-distance phone calls until you feel you have the
right breeder lined up, but it is worth every moment and every penny
to get that special dog. The results will be worth it.
puppies born on the premises?
sire and dam each at least two years old?
May I see
and visit with both parents? If the sire is not owned by you,
can you put me in contact with his owner?
Is the dam
a family pet (meaning does she live in the house as part of the family)?
age are puppies allowed to go to their homes? (should be at
least 7 weeks)
puppies been introduced to children? To other animals?
your philosophy on breeding in general and with respect to
Rottweilers? Why did you breed this pair of dogs in particular? How
did they fit into this philosophy?
of the dogs in the pedigree have you actually seen & put your
hands on? Tell me everything you know about the sire and dam. (You
want to know more than just what can be found on the pedigree.)
titles (conformation &/or working) are in the pedigree? How far
back? How many dogs? What titles/degrees are you currently working on?
sire & dam OFA Certified? CERF tested? Cardiac Cleared? Do you
have evidence? What about farther back in the pedigree?
the incidence of dysplasia, eye problems, ruptured ACL's, cancer,
etc., in the pedigree?
any temperament problems in the ancestry of the puppies?
the sire's/dam's worst/best fault/trait?
time do you spend on planning the litter & rearing the pups?
temperament test? What test do you use? How do you evaluate? (Ask to
see the results. Have the breeder explain them. If they can't, what
good is the test to them?)
offer a Health/Temperament guarantee on your puppies? What is it? If
I have a problem, will I have to return my puppy?
require a spay/neuter agreement on companion-quality puppies? (This
able & willing to answer my questions for the life of the dog?
you/will you answer my special medical, food & training
questions? Will you tell me when you don't know a answer? Do you have
access to resources when the questions stretch beyond your knowledge?
supply at least a 4 generation pedigree, the puppy's health record
& instructions on how to properly take care of my new dog?
are you active in?
references can you give me of previous purchasers?
What does AKC mean?
*Note...can be applied to CKC as well...
A lot of puppy ads proudly
proclaim that their puppies are "AKC" puppies. The initials
"AKC" stand for American Kennel Club. The AKC is the
leading breed registery in the United States of America. The
assumption, often by both the seller and the buyer is that if the
puppy is an "AKC" puppy it must be of high quality and
healthy. It would be a wrong assumption, as the AKC explains on their
web site at
A "purebred dog" is a
dog that comes from parents of the same breed - that is all. In the
USA if the sire is a Rottweiler
registered with AKC and the dam is a Rottweiler
registered with AKC then the puppies can be registered with the AKC.
It has to do with lineage, not quality, not fitness, not health -
just the pedigree, the ancestry, the parentage of the dog. If both
parents are AKC registered and are of the same breed then the puppies
are also eligible for registration. They can be high quality healthy
puppies, or genetic nightmares - it doesn't matter just so long as
the parents are registered and of the same breed.
Well, why can't the AKC
The AKC is not a governmental
agency. It has control over its registration policies, but that
control has been limited by legal challenges. Some breed clubs
have been able to achieve some improvements, with varying success
depending upon the breed club. The differences are most notable among
breeds that are not AKC recognized, but even there politics and
disagreement significantly interferes with achieving the goals. So we
are left with education about the system we have, and how to use it
to best effect.
OK, So then what do I look
for to get a quality dog?
Dog shows and performance events
are the primary means of evaluating the qualities of the dog. Success
at these shows is not a requirement before breeding, and it is not a
requirement to make the puppies eligible for registration.
Conformation shows evaluate
movement, size, coat, color, dentition etc. Conformation shows do not
necessarily evaluate health, although there are plenty of health
problems that will result in being ineligible for the show ring.
Understanding what conformation shows can, and cannot, evaluate is
important. They evaluate far more than their detractors presume, and
they evaluate less than their proponents often believe.
Performance events help evaluate
the abilities of the dog - depending upon the kind of event - its
ability to use its nose to track a scent, to jump, to climb, to turn
quickly, to swim, to run for long periods, to accept and respond to
instruction, and more. Performance events likewise do not directly
test for health, although again there are plenty of health problems
that will either make the dog ineligible or will seriously interfere
Success in both the conformation
ring and in performance events tends to reflect upon both good health
and good temperament because both these qualities enhance success in
those cases. Nevertheless neither health nor temperament can be
presumed by success in competition. Participation in competition is
merely one piece of evidence that dogs being bred are being bred with
care and attention to health, temperament, and conformity with the
expectations of a person looking for that particular breed.
It is critically important that
people be able to select breeds that match their expectations. A
person who is unwilling or unable to provide a Rottweiler
what it needs may nevertheless be a excellent companion to a Labrador.
It is, therefore, important the qualities of the dog be predictable.
A breeder who is involved in compitetion is more likely to know what
are the expected qualities for the breed. And the competition itself
helps both the breeder and the buyer evaluate those qualities on a
less emotional basis.