1. Are you a member of the national breed club, WTCA, or a regional Welsh Terrier club? If not, why?
Members of the national and regional breed club are pledged to breed responsibly and follow a code of ethics. A non-member breeder may be reputable, but it is important to get more information before buying a puppy. Contact WTCA or WTCARES, our rescue service, to find out if a non-WTCA breeder is recommended. Good breeders know each other. The Welsh world is a small one!
2. Where did you get your breeding stock?
Reputable people usually start with dogs from recognized US or Welsh show kennels, preferably those of WTCA members. If the initial stock were imports from Russia or Eastern Europe, it may well mean that no reputable US person would sell to this breeder. Ask to see pedigrees of the breeders’ dogs. Remember, a few champions 4 generations back in the pedigree will have very little influence on the puppy’s quality. Good breeders like to brag about their dogs’ pedigrees.
Be suspicious of non-AKC “champions” in pedigrees. Several puppy mill “pet registries” have shows for their inferior dogs. A “champion” title from such shows won’t mean much, and the breeder probably won’t emphasize that his “champion” is not from a first-class registry. Also be wary if the person has several different breeds in his kennel.
3.What health problems have you had in your dogs (e.g., eye problems and allergies)?
If the answer is “none,” be skeptical. Even the best lines sometimes have problems. If the breeder does not keep up with his puppies, he may not know their problems – or he may not care.
4. Do you show your dogs?
“No” should raise red flags. WTCA breeders show their dogs and usually breed from champion stock. Breeders love to brag about their dogs’ show, obedience and performance successes.
5. How are Welshes with little kids?
WTCA breeders do not normally sell puppies to people with toddlers or kids under about 6.
6. Will a Welsh get along with my other dogs?
An unqualified “Yes” is a problem. We cannot assume that Welshes will get on well with another dog of the same sex.
7. What guarantees do you offer?
Expect a written lifetime guarantee against serious genetically based disorders, with remedies offered if the dog should have some genetic-based problem any time in its life. Most puppy mills offer a one-year warrantee, if any. Such warrantees are usually worthless since the most serious Welsh Terrier problems, glaucoma, and epilepsy, don’t normally occur until the dog is several years old. In addition, the breeder should be willing to take the dog back at any time in its life, for any reason. Read a copy of the puppy contract carefully before buying, since “ironclad” guarantees sometimes are not what they seem. For instance, one particularly notorious puppy contract voids the puppy’s “lifetime” warranty if the owner does not give the dog a certain brand of vitamin every day.
8. Should I spay or neuter my dog?
A good breeder will require pet puppies to be spayed or neutered. The puppy will probably also be sold with AKC Limited Registration, which means that any offspring may not be AKC registered. A new wrinkle in the puppy mill world is to sell with Limited Registration for one price but full registration (to allow breeding) at a higher price – as if the jump in price improved the puppy’s quality. If the person uses or offers a registry or registries other than American Kennel Club, be suspicious.
9. Are your puppies crate-trained?
Crate-training indicates that the breeder has made an effort to socialize the puppies. Good breeders, whose puppies typically spend a lot of time in the house, accustom puppies to sleeping in a crate before they go to their new homes. This aids future house training. People with many puppies or puppies kept only in a kennel or outbuilding probably will not make an effort to crate-train.
10. How long do your puppies stay with their dam?
Weaning normally occurs at about 4-5 weeks, but the puppies get valuable training from their mother after that. Disreputable kennels may sell and ship puppies as young as six weeks. Good breeders don’t sell puppies until they are at least eight weeks old.
11. How many litters a year do you breed?
Most WTCA breeders have 3 or fewer litters a year on average. Breeders who whelp more than 3 litters a year may be perfectly reputable, but the puppies may not get as much attention and socialization as those from a person who breeds less often. Be suspicious of a breeder who always has puppies.
12. The breeder should ask you a lot of questions.
Expect to be asked about your family, living situation, other pets, dog experience. Some breeders require an extensive questionnaire. Breeders who care about their dogs’ futures try their best to make sure the puppies will go to the best possible homes. Those who don’t care to get the money and ship the pup.
(Thank you to Pat Fleury and Bardi McLennan for their assistance in providing the information above)
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