Objective opinion needed - would you adopt one of these puppies?

Discussion in 'Labrador breeding & genetics' started by Emily_BabbelHund, Sep 2, 2016.

  1. Emily_BabbelHund

    Emily_BabbelHund Supporting Member Forum Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2016
    Messages:
    839
    Location:
    Somewhere between Germany and Spain!?
    It has been a busy week in puppy search land and frankly my head hurts - I need some objective opinions from those with more experience. I've had several "puppy possibilities" come up in the last 2 days. Do I take any of them? Keep searching? Get a tub of ice cream and hide under the covers? Heeeeeelp!

    Situation #1:
    A breeder I visited 1.5 months ago is now waiting on a litter from two of her dogs. The male, 14 months old, I absolutely fell in love with. The female I met only briefly. At the time, I crossed this breeder off my list as I felt she bred too much. However, German friends have said I'm being too picky and if I ever want to get another dog I'd better relax my "good breeder" criteria. To be fair, this woman's dogs did seem happy and healthy.

    The puppies will be ready to go home in November, which is perfect timing for me. The breeder says they are a mix of show/field, though their look is more show and she does no field work with them. They seem to be shown a few times as juniors (with good results) then turned to breeding with no more showing.

    Here are my concerns:
    • she has had 36 litters since 2004, mostly from 3-4 bitches
    • her dogs are kept in a barn and are not house dogs (despite having an enormous house)
    • the male whom I fell in love with and who is daddy of the upcoming litter is from outside of Germany (Slovenia) and other breeders have told me that health checks can be suspect if coming from east of Germany where there are many puppy millers (though they mainly mentioned Serbia/Croatia)
    • the puppies are kept in the house for the first weeks then also moved outside to the barn (socialisation opportunities seemed pretty limited)
    • she also breeds a completely different breed (mini bull terriers) which I've always thought of as a red flag
    Question: Is this a "responsible" breeder? Would you adopt a puppy in this situation?

    Situation #2
    A friend of mine said another friend of hers had a puppy with a perfect temperament for me. So I met him (the puppy) with the idea of getting a breeder recommendation. The puppy (7 months old then) did indeed have an amazing temperament. Now it turns out that the breeder has a return of a female from the same litter (now 9 months old). The puppy was supposed to become a show/breeding dog but due to adult tooth placement is now being returned. I've not met her yet, trying to arrange that now.

    My concern here is 100% around socialization. I saw another 9 month old "breeder return" yesterday and the socialisation was dismal. She had never even been on a walk in the neighbourhood on a leash, she had never lived in a house. She lunged and barked madly at another dog during the walk I insisted on taking her on. It is highly likely that puppy in Situation #2 will be from a very similar background (too long to explain here why I think this but I will find out soon enough if it is true).

    Question: would I be fighting a losing battle trying to get to a level of socialisation needed for an assistance dog on a 9 month old dog with very little prior socialisation?

    I am especially interested in those of you who have experience with guide dog puppy walking (Boogie/Mags) to know if you think a dog has a chance if they pretty much have been stuck in a cage for the first 9 months of his/her life?

    By the way, I do NOT have to have a puppy NOW. I'd prefer to wait for the right temperament and health combo than rush into anything. But I also don't want to miss what may be a great dog because I've set unrealistic criteria. Ugh, I'm confused. :confused:

    Sorry, that's really long, but hopefully it made sense. Feel free to give me a reality check on both situations!
     
  2. JulieT

    JulieT Supporting Member Forum Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2013
    Messages:
    22,637
    Just look at the pedigrees - you can pick out the show lines and the genuine field lines. If you don't know what they are in Germany, get a list of the last 4 placings for a load of champion shows and field competitions and make a list of the names - you will soon see that there are clusters of names that identify the winning kennels. This is slightly harder to do for field than show, but still possible. It is in the UK anyway. If there are no names that match on the field side, ask the breeder which are the field lines, and then look them up.
     
  3. snowbunny

    snowbunny Administrator Forum Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2014
    Messages:
    11,053
    Location:
    Andorra and Spain
    Situation 1:
    I would say 36 litters over 12 years isn't a huge number from 3-4 bitches - it's just under one litter per bitch per year. IF the 3-4 bitches she has now are different than the 3-4 bitches she had 12 years ago! If they're the same dogs, that's a huge number of litters - around 12 litters from one bitch. I would run a mile.
    I would still personally walk away if you feel their socialisation needs aren't being met. Temper that with a bit of common sense, though. Bitches' cycles often come into sync, so you could potentially find yourself with four litters of puppies in the house at one go. I think that would be enough to send anyone loopy once they were very mobile. Of course, there are ways and means to deal with it if you have enough space, but I'd also say it's not horrendous for them to be outside of the house, as long as they are still getting enough opportunity to learn about new experiences.
    The second breed - well, again, it's a potential alarm bell, yes, but it doesn't necessarily mean she's an irresponsible breeder. It may just mean she loves two unrelated types of dogs.

    Situation 2:
    I don't have the experience of others, but I'd say, depending on the dog, you could be looking at a long struggle to socialise them. But then, if you take a puppy, it'll be a long time before you'll have a dog that's able to work as an assistance dog anyway. A lot is down to individual temperament and how she copes with her situation changing. Not all of that is breeding - I have litter mates with massively different temperaments.

    Personally, I'd say if you're not entirely happy with the first breeder, then you should walk away now. You should listen to your alarm bells.
    You should go and meet the second puppy and see what you think of her. She may be an immediate "no", or she may be just perfect. There's only one way to find out.

    As for being too picky, I don't think that's an issue. There are plenty of respectable breeders out there, breeding fabulous dogs. If you don't have too tight criteria (it must be a chocolate girl with this number of champions in her lineage, that length of leg and those colour eyes), then there are masses to choose from.
     
    Emily_BabbelHund likes this.
  4. Snowshoe

    Snowshoe Registered Users

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2015
    Messages:
    1,658
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    I agree, if you have questions now then you always will only it will be the dog you question, maybe. The "guidelines" you see written for finding reputable breeders are only that, guidelines. It is quite possible to do all the clearances on many dogs if raising them is all the person does. I read those guidelines too and eliminated a woman who bred four, 4, different breeds of dog. Turns out, besides judging, training and providing classes that's all she does, raise dogs. She has an excellent reputation and does all clearances for all the breeds. I prefer to consider some things as yellow flags instead of red flags, not demanding a full stop but indicative that further investigation is needed.
     
    Emily_BabbelHund likes this.
  5. Emily_BabbelHund

    Emily_BabbelHund Supporting Member Forum Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2016
    Messages:
    839
    Location:
    Somewhere between Germany and Spain!?
    Thanks for the answer! I went back and looked at her actual breeding list and I was really unfair in how I counted on first glance, so I'd like to correct it. A lot of names were similar, but not the same. In fact only one dog (bitch) was bred 5 times, the others a maximum of 4. I'm still freaked out about the sheer numbers, but it's not one poor girl being bred over and over.

    For #2, I agree that in terms of time of socialisation (8 week old puppy vs 9 month old puppy), I'm still looking at a couple years either way before we'd be ready for the ADI test. My concern is loss of that magic 8-15 week old period everyone talks about. And size. The 9 month old is already big enough to pull me over so physically it would be more challenging. But trying to set up a meeting now to see if she would be a fit regardless of age/size!
     
  6. Emily_BabbelHund

    Emily_BabbelHund Supporting Member Forum Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2016
    Messages:
    839
    Location:
    Somewhere between Germany and Spain!?
    To be honest, my own guidelines comes from my own personal experience vs. anything I've read. I worked really hard to find my first Rottie's breeder (and went through a lot of incredibly creepy humans before I did find her) and she's the standard I keep in the back of my head as well as a tough act to follow.
     
  7. Oberon

    Oberon Moderator Forum Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2013
    Messages:
    14,422
    Location:
    Australia
    There are really clear animal welfare laws in the place I live in (Australian Capital Territory). If you want an 'objective' opinion, below (in blue) is an excerpt from the section of the Animal Welfare Act that covers breeding. Any deviation from this would be considered to be overbreeding. 4 litters per bitch is the maximum possible, within age and frequency limits. Annual breeding from a bitch is not allowed.

    Age for breeding dogs
    2. Subject to this standard, a person may breed a litter from a dog only if the dog is between the ages of 18 months and 6 years.

    Number of litters – dogs
    3. A person must not breed a litter from a dog if the dog has already bred 4 litters.

    Frequency of breeding ‒ dogs
    4. A person must not breed a litter from a dog more than once within an 18 month period.

    Authorised by the ACT Parliamentary Counsel—also accessible at www.legislation.act.gov.au
     
  8. Emily_BabbelHund

    Emily_BabbelHund Supporting Member Forum Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2016
    Messages:
    839
    Location:
    Somewhere between Germany and Spain!?
    Hi Rachael,

    These seem very sensible, thank you for sharing.
     
  9. Emily_BabbelHund

    Emily_BabbelHund Supporting Member Forum Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2016
    Messages:
    839
    Location:
    Somewhere between Germany and Spain!?
    Well, turns out that the breeder return 9 month old puppy got adopted before I even got a chance to meet her. I think that's for the best - the important thing was that she got a great new home. I'm making my regular migration down to Italy in 10 days so that would have been really challenging with a 9 month old untrained puppy in tow, plus I'm not very good at quick decisions about something of such importance. The nice thing is that the breeder is still happy to meet with me, so I can meet her and her dogs and discuss upcoming litters. So it really all worked out well.

    For situation #1 (the breeder with so many litters), I've arranged to go visit her again for another info meeting and to have a more serious look at her dogs. When I went the first time, it really was more of "do I want a Lab?" vs. "do I want a puppy from this person?". She really has been quite welcoming to me and has lovely dogs, so it was not fair of me to be so negative in my original post. However, I do still feel pretty uncomfortable with what I see as a lot of puppies in a relatively short amount of time. So I'll get more info, see what my gut tells me on the second visit and move forward accordingly.

    I think part of it is simply my personality that I feel I must turn over every stone (i.e. do an extensive breeder search) to feel right about my final puppy decision, and simply choosing what was essentially only the second breeder I visited feels "too easy"!
     
  10. Oberon

    Oberon Moderator Forum Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2013
    Messages:
    14,422
    Location:
    Australia
    I think it's a good thing to make this decision very carefully. At the very least, you will be able to look back and say that you considered everything and were happy with the process you went through.
     
    Emily_BabbelHund likes this.
  11. bbrown

    bbrown Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2011
    Messages:
    11,167
    I would steer clear of anyone who breeds back to back litters and who has more than 3 litters from a bitch (I'd usually say two but in some breeds and for some exceptional bitches I could stretch to three). I also don't like breeding from dogs younger than two years old as I don't believe you really know what you've got at such a young age.

    So personally I'd probably not have a puppy from your first option.

    The second option if I liked the dog in the home/garden I'd ask to be taken on a walk that would encompass a street for people and traffic and some offlead time in the country and just see how the pup reacts.
     
    Emily_BabbelHund likes this.
  12. Emily_BabbelHund

    Emily_BabbelHund Supporting Member Forum Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2016
    Messages:
    839
    Location:
    Somewhere between Germany and Spain!?
    Yes, exactly. This is a massive decision that will effect every part of my life... I will just feel better if I tread very carefully and feel I found the best breeder and puppy for me. I think I let my impatience (and frankly loneliness without a dog) to get the better of me this week.
     
  13. Emily_BabbelHund

    Emily_BabbelHund Supporting Member Forum Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2016
    Messages:
    839
    Location:
    Somewhere between Germany and Spain!?
    This is also my own personal benchmark - bitches at least 2 years old and two litters only (exceptional cases three). Your comment is a good reality check from me to remember my own criteria and not get impatient, so thank you. As I mentioned above, I think I'm letting missing Brogan get the better of me lately...
     
  14. bbrown

    bbrown Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2011
    Messages:
    11,167
    It's hard to keep the head ruling the heart :)
     
    Emily_BabbelHund likes this.
  15. Boogie

    Boogie Supporting Member Forum Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2014
    Messages:
    5,290
    You will get the perfect pooch, keep on keeping on! xx


    ...
     
    Emily_BabbelHund likes this.
  16. MF

    MF Registered Users

    Joined:
    May 5, 2014
    Messages:
    937
    Location:
    Cape Town, South Africa
    Just seeing your post now. I searched for ages till we found Snowie. And guess what? He ended up with epilepsy, allergies, turned out front feet, and a slipped lumbar disc! Which felt all the worse because I'd done all the checks I thought I needed to do!

    But he has got the most amazing personality, and that I put down to his mother's personality (what a lovely dog!) and that he was raised inside a house with another dog, a cat, and a parrot, as well as being inside a very loving home (husband, wife, and daughter). A hobby breeder, not a commercial breeder.

    But... the big mistakes I made on my search were: I never saw the dam and sire in the flesh. I mean, how big a mistake is that??!! I just saw photographs, chatted to the breeders over the phone (the owner of the sire is a commercial breeder and judges breed competitions), and checked the health certificates and pedigree certificates and also got them checked over by a vet. Had I physically gone out to view the dam and sire I perhaps would've picked up on allergies and turned out front feet. I might've also learned if epilepsy was in the genes (although that I guess would've been denied...). The problem is that most breeders live out on farms or in small towns, and these two breeders were quite far away from us -- we had to drive 6 hours to pick up Snowie.

    The other thing I'd do now is see puppies from a previous litter and find out if there were any problems (Snowie's brother has bilateral elbow dysplasia, his sister has torn both cruciates, and another pup had an itchy stomach. Although two others are absolutely perfect.).

    When Snowie was almost two years old, we were offered his half brother who was just under a year. Shared the same mother (I suspect Snowie's problems came from the sire). The breeder called me to say the current owner couldn't keep him, did I want him for free? I was suspicious -- perhaps he also had a million health problems and was treated badly. I ummed and aahed and said no. Well, he's now winning breed competitions like there is no tomorrow! He is a magnificent dog. Not sure what the moral of the story is...! Confusing... I did all the checks and got a dog with health problems; I was offered a dog on the spur of the moment, and said no cos I'd not done the checks and was worried he was not a clean slate, and yet he is perfect. Oh boy, sometimes just down to luck...

    Best of luck with your search.
     
  17. bbrown

    bbrown Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2011
    Messages:
    11,167
    He may be winning showing competitions @MF that doesn't mean he's got perfect health though ;)
     
    MF, drjs@5 and SwampDonkey like this.
  18. Karen

    Karen Moderator Forum Supporter

    Joined:
    May 24, 2012
    Messages:
    10,418
    Emily, I think that if you stick to breeders who are accredited by the Deutsche Retriever Club or the Labrador Club Deutschland, they should be ok, as their criteria are very stringent.
     
  19. snowbunny

    snowbunny Administrator Forum Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2014
    Messages:
    11,053
    Location:
    Andorra and Spain
    @Karen does the German KC have anything similar to the UK one, where you can check for EBVs? As much as it may not tell the whole story (since it relies only on those dog that have been tested), it can be useful for picking up on siblings and progeny who have dysplastic joints.
     
  20. Karen

    Karen Moderator Forum Supporter

    Joined:
    May 24, 2012
    Messages:
    10,418
    I'm looking, but I cant find anything right now. I know how to work out the COI, but the EBV is different, isnt it?
     

Share This Page