“Puppy for sale.” That’s the headline of the classified ad, above a picture of a cute puppy, full of playfulness and the promise of a long and happy life together. The price is lower than from the ‘posh’ breeder that answered your enquiry. It’ll be fine, won’t it?
Buying a puppy for sale through classified adverts is a lottery at best. The good breeders, that match the best examples of their respective breeds together to produce litters more likely to have happy and healthy lives, rarely if ever advertise their puppies via classifieds. They are likely to have waiting lists, with the excellent breeders’ lists outnumbering the puppies they produce, meaning they do not need to advertise a puppy for sale. The classified adverts of puppies for sale carry a high risk of coming from substandard breeders or from puppy farms.
The patterns that influence the life of a dog start before they are even conceived. A good breeder takes great care selecting the parent, looking at physical health, genetic predisposition to any conditions, and temperament traits. Any health testing required is completed and dogs removed from the breeding program if the results are not favourable. Puppy farmers take any two fertile dogs and breed them, regardless of any genetic or health issues.
A good breeder takes excellent care of the mother dog throughout her pregnancy. Her diet is carefully researched and formulated, with any appropriate supplements that may be required. Any veterinary treatment required is provided promptly. None of this is true of puppy farm breeders. Food is likely to be the cheapest available, veterinary care minimal or non-existent.
Good breeders expose their puppies to the sights and sounds of family life from a very young age. They introduce them to gentle handling, to people and ordinary household sights, sounds, and smells in a way that builds their confidence in the world without scaring or upsetting them or their mother. Prospective new families may be asked questions to ensure they are the right home for one of the breeder’s dogs before even meeting any puppy for sale. Puppy farm breeders often leave the puppies and their mothers in cramped and dirty sheds with little light and little or no handling or socialisation. Once the puppies sell, they are nothing to the puppy farm breeder, who is on to creating the next litter – the only factor of interest to them is the profit from each puppy for sale.
We all hope for the best when adding a new dog to our families, especially when that dog is a puppy. While there are no guarantees that everything will ever be perfect, choosing to find a puppy for sale from a reputable breeder instead of scanning the classified ads gives a higher chance of a dog that will lead a happy and healthy life and removes money from the puppy farm breeders. This can help future generations of dogs avoid the dark, small and filthy pens, forced to breed at the expense of their physical and mental wellbeing.