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Charlottesville's Professional Dog Grooming

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(434) 293-2424
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504 Pantops Center
Charlottesville, VA 22911

Backyard Breeders

Friday, October 26th, 2007 by Mike Cronk

Archived from “The Paw Report:”  Issue #16.

We’ve used this term before–backyard breeders.  It is estimated that 2/3s of the 50 million dogs in the US have come from backyard breeders.  It is a term that is typically derogatory because it denotes careless breeding.  A professional breeder will put quite a bit of money into the prevention and detection of genetic diseases.   Dogs with physical or emotional health issues will not be bred.  A backyard breeder will breed their dog with any other dog of the same breed (or even of different breeds) without researching the health and temperament issues that the breed is susceptible to.

Typically it is recommended that a puppy buyer look for a show dog breeder and buy one of the puppies that isn’t quite show quality.  AKC registration alone does not mean that a breeder is reputable because AKC staff do not visit breeders–the registration is done through mail and all puppies in an AKC litter—regardless of faults—are eligible for AKC registration.  There are certainly some disreputable show and working breeders.  In this case, their breeding focuses on augmenting one aspect of the breed (usually physical) without regard to maintaining temperament.  Careless breeding also involves inbreeding that produces genetically weak animals that may have debilitating physical deformities.

A breeder who breeds massive amounts of dogs, usually in poor health and social conditions, is the owner of a puppy mill (called a puppy farm in the UK).  These commercial operations are typically where pet shops get their puppies.  Aside from poor breeding practices, puppies from puppy mills do not get the individualized social attention that they need.  They also typically live in unhealthy conditions and when they are shipped from the puppy mill to a pet shop, the stress of heavy travel at a young age makes them susceptible to disease, infections, and parasites from other puppies at the pet shop.  Pet shop puppies are particularly prone to distemper and parvovirus.  Parvovirus symptoms may be dormant for several weeks–enough time for a puppy to look healthy and be taken to a new home.  Pet shops do not typically offer the fresh air, exercise, play, and socialization for a puppy to become well-adjusted.

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