Don't be like my wife and I and simply find a breeder online and purchase a pet. Very long, drawn out story short, our "Australian Shepherd breeder" required full payment up front to hold a yet to be born pick of the litter. We made full payment and waited for the puppies to be born. One week before the supposed birth, the breeder contacted us and stated that the female had, "absorbed the pregnancy" and there were no puppies. When we inquired about our refund she stated, "I feel it's the "right thing to do" regarding giving us our money back. She stated however that due to "unexpected vet bills" she had no money and offered to refund us $100.00 a month until the refund was paid in full. Fast forward to over a year later and she has refunded us less than half our money; and the payments stopped all together 5 months ago. I filed a complaint against her business with the Better Business Bureau and they contacted her regarding my complaint. Today I received their response from her- there wasn't one, she ignored their inquiry into the matter. In an email to me, the B.B.B. said that her lack of response would be noted and her business rating will reflect the complaint. I would like to suggest that anyone seeking a breeder online check with the Better Business Bureau as one step of many to ensure the breeder doesn't have any complaints filed against them. Unfortunately, many people who get ripped off never file complaints, so there's no guarantee that a B.B.B. search will ensure that they're trustworthy. I would also suggest you be very wary of demands for up-front money and a contract that guarantees your refund should something go amiss. Needless to say, this has left a very sour taste in my mouth for online breeder services as well as TerrificPets.com for not providing some insurance to it's users looking to buy and a guarantee that the breeders using their service to advertise have honest and accountable business practices. In closing, I do appreciate TerrifPets.com quick response to an email I sent regarding my complaint but their condolences do little to ease the frustration and anger that comes with knowing that some dishonest breeder out there spent OUR money and all we got in return was the constant reminder that we got ripped off. Learn all you can about your potential breeder LONG before you hand over a dime for their services. In retrospect, I REALLY wish my wife and I had. KB
There are many things to look for in a good breeder. Going to the BBB is not one of them.
I think most people here do not support buying blindly online. Unless you have some big personal recommendations always see the puppies and at least the bitch. I would never recommend someone buy a pup off a site like this or pupppyfind unless they do a lot of research into that breeder. Good breeders rarely advertise at a place like this.
You should also look for dogs that are in some way prove, Parents should be shown or used to work etc.
Here is a short list of what to look for. There are many things that go into finding a good breeder and I hope you find a good pup!
--How knowledgeable is the breeder about this particular breed? Are they familiar with its historical origins? Can they educate you about the breed's disadvantages - especially genetic predisposition to health problems and characteristics like shedding, slobber, dominance, inter-dog aggression, etc. that may make owning the breed a challenge? Beware of anyone who sounds like a salesman and tells you that their breed has no disadvantages! Good breeders will play devil's advocate.
--Are the breeder's dogs screened for genetic health defects like hip dysplasia, eye disorders, hypothyroidism, Von Willebrand's disease, epilepsy, cardiac conditions, and anything else that is common in the breed? Can they provide you with proof, e.g., CERF and OFA certification and other relevant veterinary documentation? A good breeder will welcome your concern and be glad to offer the requested information - beware of anyone who is defensive! An excellent breeder will candidly discuss the health of their line of dogs, including the problems that have cropped up. Even good breeders can produce unhealthy dogs on occasion. The difference is that the good breeder is on a mission to find and remove those genetic influences from their breeding lines. The irresponsible breeder approaches health in a haphazard manner.
--Does the breeder have any old dogs on the premises? How long have their own dogs lived, and from what have they died? Beware of the person who sells off their adult dogs that are retired from showing and breeding. You want a breeder who loves the breed, not someone who loves to breed.
--How many breeds is this person breeding? Ideally, someone will have a special interest in only one breed (perhaps two). A Jack-of-all-Breeds truly is a master of none. How many litters does the breeder have in any given year? A good breeder may breed one or two litters, or may not breed at all for a year or more between litters. More is never better. Anyone who is producing a large number of dogs is probably doing it at the expense of quality.
--Are the breeder's dogs kennel dogs or house pets? While it is sanitary to keep large numbers of dogs outside in a kennel, you want a breeder who keeps their dogs in the house with the family. Breeders who keep their dogs in kennels may have temperament defects (like excessive dominance) of which they are not even aware. Puppies should be raised inside an active home to begin socializing them to a household environment.
--Will the breeder provide you with the names of their veterinarian and several past purchasers to serve as references? If given a choice, request pet references. Certainly a professional trainer will be able to handle a tough puppy, but what about a family with three kids and a cat? If the latter just loves the temperament of their dog, that speaks volumes. Ask the breeder about the homes that haven't worked out. There are bound to be some. Is the breeder honest that they made a poor placement, sympathetic to someone who underwent a life change that necessitated returning a dog, blunt that they produced a problem dog... or is the breeder bitter and accusatory about the person who bought the dog? Beware of the narrow-minded breeder who places blame on everyone but themselves.
--What kind of guarantees does the breeder offer? Most will offer a replacement puppy or refund of purchase price if your puppy manifests a serious genetic defect. Any responsible breeder will want to keep in touch with you and be informed if your dog develops health problems. The better ones may ask you to have your pet OFA and/or CERF screened when it is old enough (as your dog reflects on their breeding stock). Truly caring breeders will insist that you return your puppy to them if you are unable to keep it for any reason during its entire life.
--Does the breeder expect to sell you a puppy with strings attached? Concerned, responsible breeders will insist that you neuter your pet puppy as soon as it is old enough. They may have you sign a contract to this effect, or they may sell the puppy with limited registration (which means that if you do breed it, you cannot register the offspring). Remarkable breeders will pediatrically neuter puppies before sending them off to their new homes. This is a very good sign in a breeder, so much so that I would be suspicious of any breeder who does not insist on neutering.
--On the other hand, beware of any breeder who tries to sucker you into a breeding contract. They will treat you like you're stupid by flattering you and trying to con you into agreeing to keep your pet intact and breeding one or more litters, giving the breeder back one or more puppies from each litter. This is the biggest scam around. You get stuck with the expense and inconvenience (not to mention health risks) of keeping an intact animal and then providing the breeder with free puppies. If a breeder tries to talk you into this kind of pyramid scheme, find another breeder.
--At what age does the breeder send puppies to their new homes? Avoid any breeder who wants to send home a puppy younger than seven weeks. Many good breeders will release puppies at 8 weeks, but as long as the puppy is being actively socialized, it is arguably better to wait until 10 or 12 weeks.
--What does the breeder do to socialize their puppies? Ask them for specifics. Good breeders will have lots of toys and activities to which to expose their puppies. Mild stress is excellent for making puppies resilient later in life. A breeder who allows their puppies to experience different sounds, surfaces, etc. and meet different people is trying hard. A breeder who keeps their puppies in some sort of ultra-sanitary, almost sterile vacuum is doing the puppies a great disservice. Puppies raised in a kennel should be avoided.
--A good breeder will be very interested in who you are and somewhat choosy about whether you are able to provide an adequate home for one of their cherished pups. A breeder who wants to see your home, your kids, your spouse, your other pets, proof of your fencing, or talk to your veterinarian is simply trying to make sure that you will take good care of their pup. Do not resent this. Good breeders want to keep in touch with you after you've purchased a puppy and will be there for you with support and advice later on. Avoid breeders who take credit card orders over the internet and ship puppies to anyone who wants them. NO responsible breeder will sell a puppy to a pet store or other broker for resale.
--A good breeder will participate in breed rescue efforts for the breed they love. This is important. Anyone who scoffs at breed rescue or is not personally involved in it in any way is someone to be avoided. Often the best place to begin your search for a good breeder is to ask breed rescue volunteers for their recommendations.
--Good breeders think ahead and make reservations in advance for the puppies they will produce. You may have to wait for a puppy, but that's not a bad thing. Beware of someone who first creates puppies and then worries about how to disperse them.
--What does the breeder do for a living? Dog breeding should be an avocation. Avoid anyone who makes their living through breeding dogs! The corners they cut financially may be at your expense.
--Are the premises clean and orderly? Are the breeder’s dogs healthy in appearance? It can be a messy proposition to raise a litter of puppies, but puppies should not be wallowing in waste, covered with fleas, or otherwise appear neglected. Keep in mind that many longhaired bitches will shed their coats heavily during this time, so if the puppies’ mother appears a little ratty it is not necessarily inappropriate or unusual.
--Do you like the temperaments of the puppies' parents? Remember, temperament is genetic! Avoid puppies from bitches that demonstrate any aggression or shyness. Specifically inquire about possessiveness (food and object guarding), inter-dog aggression, defensiveness about being handled, etc. Accept no excuses for undesirable behavior. Don't be afraid to ask the breeder to demonstrate the *****'s good temperament to you.
--Has the breeder or will the breeder allow you to temperament test the litter? While puppy-testing is not especially predictive of adult temperament, it’s an attempt to gauge a puppy’s personality so that it can be best matched with a new owner. Ask the breeder's permission before doing anything to a puppy. No potential buyer has the right to do anything to a puppy which a breeder perceives as potentially harmful.
--Does your breeder respect veterinarians, trainers, groomers, breeders, and other peer professionals in the dog world? Beware of breeders who are paranoid or hostile towards other professionals. One cannot operate competently in a vacuum, and in general, good breeders are socially well-networked. They are liked, like others, and respect competent professionals in their field. A good breeder should make the effort the know other good breeders (especially of their own breed). It is important for a breeder to strive to improve their knowledge and understanding of their breed and submit to peer critique, even if it is not necessarily formalized (as in the show ring).
Hi Kevin, I am extremly sorry this happened to you. do you know where the dogs were registared, you may be able to file a complaint with the registry as well. Also contact the authorities in her area. Internet fraud is a big deal now.
If you are still looking for a pup, please PM me. I might be able to find you a reputable breeder. I breed mini aussies, and have a few friends in the full sized aussie world. Please drop me a line.
It really pisses me off when breeders do such horrible things. I get so sick and tired of the crap that those breeders put out, and then it makes is so much harder for the rest of us.
Thank you for all the information on searching for a breeder joce. Fortunately, we later found a breeder and were much more knowledgeable as we went into a new search. It was a hard lesson learned but we ultimately came home with a healthy, happy and loveable Aussie. My suggestion for going to the BBB was only mentioned as a means of learning if a potential breeder had had any complaints filed- I don't imagine any who did would offer that information if asked be they a reputable breeder or not. All of your suggestions for finding a breeder and purchasing a dog are great but some of your suggestions could be difficult to follow through on when a significant distance lies between you and your potential breeder; the breeder we originally went with was out of state but the birth date coincided with a trip we would be making allowing us to stop, meet the breeder and decide on whether or not we wanted a puppy from that particular litter. It was the request for up-front, pick of the litter money that caused our problems not that this particular breeder was a bad breeder. thanks again for the info. I'll reference it in the future should we ever seek out another breeder. KB
illusionminis- I appreciate your concern and thank you for your willingness to help us find a pup but we did ultimately find an amazing Aussie who turned 10 months in early December (he's a blue merle we named, "Grady"). We were fortunate (the second going around) to find a breeder closer to home which allowed us more access to them and their services. Our experience with them was both pleasant and rewarding. I have considered filing a complaint with the breed registry but I keep hoping that the first breeder will see the "error in her ways" and heed my PayPal requests for a refund; in the end however, it will probably come down to filing yet another complaint. I hate being an example of "what not to do" but one tends to assume that "most people" do what's right- unfortunately, our very first breeder encounter turned into an ongoing disaster. There's nothing more frustrating than knowing someone took a substantial amount of your hard earned money and gave you nothing in return; no one in their right mind could justify keeping your money under the circumstances. If nothing else, hopefully those looking for a breeder/pet who like myself are new to the process will read my story and educate themselves, as I wouldn't wish this travesty on anyone. KB
I am glad you found a baby to call your own. I live for this breed, and hate to see bad breeders abuse peoples trust. Nothing is better then that cold nose and aussie hair everywhere lol. I would try to pursue every avanue you can. Doing everything in your power can set a better example, and let this breeder know that not everyone rolls over and plays dead.
I know it is so time consuming, I wish you the best of luck, and enjoy you bundle of energy.