What to ask for? -- breeder credentials and health checks? - Havanese Forum : Havanese Forums
Ask A Breeder Have questions about a breeder or what a breeder should do? Questions about what to look for in a breeder? This is a great area to ask.

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post #1 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-12-2011, 12:51 PM Thread Starter
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What to ask for? -- breeder credentials and health checks?

My family is looking to adopt our first Havanese, and I'm new to this forum.

I'm having trouble digesting all the information re: advice on what to look for in a breeder, health checks, etc. Could someone please boil all this down? Here's some questions I have:

-- Does a breeder have to be listed on HCA's directory to be considered 'reputable'?

-- Which health tests do all of you feel are necessary, and which ones are reasonable for a breeder to *not* perform?

-- Is it reasonable to ask to visit a breeder's home, before any 'down payment' is made? I've never dealt with a breeder before, and the idea of dealing with one remotely makes me nervous.

-- What age can a pup be adopted? I have one breeder with a few puppies left that are 16 weeks or more old. Others tell me that if I don't adopt at 9-10 weeks, then the puppy won't "bond" with us correctly. Which is correct?

Thanks for all advice, this is all a little overwhelming. :-)

Stuart
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post #2 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-12-2011, 01:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HavAnother View Post
My family is looking to adopt our first Havanese, and I'm new to this forum.

I'm having trouble digesting all the information re: advice on what to look for in a breeder, health checks, etc. Could someone please boil all this down? Here's some questions I have:

-- Does a breeder have to be listed on HCA's directory to be considered 'reputable'?

-- Which health tests do all of you feel are necessary, and which ones are reasonable for a breeder to *not* perform?

-- Is it reasonable to ask to visit a breeder's home, before any 'down payment' is made? I've never dealt with a breeder before, and the idea of dealing with one remotely makes me nervous.

-- What age can a pup be adopted? I have one breeder with a few puppies left that are 16 weeks or more old. Others tell me that if I don't adopt at 9-10 weeks, then the puppy won't "bond" with us correctly. Which is correct?

Thanks for all advice, this is all a little overwhelming. :-)

Stuart

You are already asking some very important questions, and I will try to break them down for you as well as give you more that you will need to ask.


Quote:
-- Does a breeder have to be listed on HCA's directory to be considered 'reputable'?
No. There are many reputable breeders out there that for maybe one reason or another choose not to be a member of HCA, how ever even the breeders that are listed on the HCA website, can be shady in some spots that you may not approve of. So the be advice that I can offer on this is to always do your homework. You want to know that you feel comfortable with the breeder you choose as they should become a life time support and friend.

Quote:
-- Which health tests do all of you feel are necessary, and which ones are reasonable for a breeder to *not* perform?
There are four (4) test that are required in order for a breeder to get a CHIC# on their dog which are- BAER (hearing) CERF (eyes, yearly) Hips, and Patellas, however I believe that any and all thest that can be perform should be. I also do Heart, Elbows, and LCP's, and on the occasion bile acids. IMO they all should be performed on the breeders breeding stock and the puppy in which you go home with should also be started with their health testing. My pups go home with their BAER and CERF already done.

Quote:
-- Is it reasonable to ask to visit a breeder's home, before any 'down payment' is made? I've never dealt with a breeder before, and the idea of dealing with one remotely makes me nervous.
Absolutely! your breeder should be welcoming you in to see the puppies and the parents (at least mom and the dads are not always on the breeders premises) You should be able to see where you puppy has been raised and how. ex. are they raise in the home with the family and under foot, or are they being raise in another room away from the family with little socialization, or are they being housed out in kennels.


Quote:
-- What age can a pup be adopted? I have one breeder with a few puppies left that are 16 weeks or more old. Others tell me that if I don't adopt at 9-10 weeks, then the puppy won't "bond" with us correctly. Which is correct?
Each breeder is different in how they work things, most reputable breeders let their babies go at about 12 weeks, however a puppy younger than 9 weeks should really stay with its mother and sibblings longer. Between the 8 to 10 week mark the puppies learn a lot from both their mother and siblings, things like biting, and when to much is to much and respect.
I feel that 11-12 weeks is a good age for the puppies to go to their new homes, and no there is usually no problems with a 12 week old puppy bonding to its new family.

The rest I will put into a new post......
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Heather

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"What Lies Behind Us And What Lies Before Us
Are Tiny Matters Compared To What Lies Within Us."



Here are some links to help educate yourself in how to fight for your rights to continue to own and love your animals. Please do not be mislead by PETA or HSUS who is PETA in suits.
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post #3 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-12-2011, 02:06 PM
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Here are some common "Red Flags" To look for:
  • "Puppies come from champion lines" is basically meaningless. I've seen this to mean everything from one great-great-great grandsire having his championship in an oops breeding to a handful of championed dogs in a pedigree.

    2. "My dogs are health tested" but there is little or no health testing documented at offa.org
    The dogs are probably not health tested.

    3. Similarly to #2, "My dogs are health tested, but I couldn't afford to pay to have all the results posted on OFA's web site." The major expense is in getting the tests done! The fee to submit the results is pretty minimal. If the breeder could afford to do the health testing, there is no reason they couldn't shell out the nominal fee to have the results posted.

  • Claims that there have never been any health issues in their lines, without qualification that the reality is that they could crop up and that this was in issue the breeder was actively conscious of.

    2. They would not email me a copy of their standard puppy owner contract, even when I asked for this several times.

-"My vet has thoroughly checked them over".

-Breeds more than one type of dog.

-Has many litters available, more than 1-2 at a time.

-SELLS PUPS ONLINE.

-Discourages home visits.

-Doesn't stress puppy socialization.

-Advertises in newspaper, flyers, etc.

-Doesn't make you sign a spay/neuter contract.

-Not American Kennel Club (AKC) or Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) registered parents and pups.

-Tells you that you have to PAY EXTRA for registration.

-Offers to ship your puppy - not always a huge red flag, but I really don't like this.

-Knows nothing of health testing or says they health test but you can't find the results.

-Doesn't offer a no questions asked return policy. (ie. a breeder should require you to return the puppy to them if you can no longer care for it)

-Doesn't promptly return phone calls and emails. (doesn't necessarily mean a bad breeder, but if you're a new puppy owner you are going to have questions and the breeder should be there for you to give you answers)

-Breeder's dogs don't live in their home.

-Have a backyard (or acreage) filled with kennels.

-Charges too little. (IMO, under $1500 - just remember, an expensive Hav doesn't mean it comes from a GOOD breeder, but usually reputable breeders are on the pricier side)

-Breeder does not show their dogs.

-Claims championships not from AKC or CKC.

-breeder claiming to have "rare" colors or teacup or toy sized Havanese

-Champions are only as good as who is producing them. A judge should be withholding points from a dog who is not championship quality, but frankly, THE BREEDER needs to be knowledgeable, honest, and not kennel blind and only walk into the ring with a champion quality dog to begin with! Dog shows are useful but you've gotta know what you've got. It's a two way street. There's a big difference between "my puppy is the most beautiful dog in the world!" and "my dog is show quality representation of the breed." If you are unable to genuinely tell the difference, you've got a lot more to learn before you should be breeding or showing anything.

Also, Back-to-back breedings. What I generally see done is that, assuming they're not taking a lot out of her, everything goes well, etc, whether you breed her in back to back heat cycles with a year off, or breeding-season-breeding-season is sort of six of one, half dozen of the other.

RED FLAG: Any breeder who thinks everything they have ever produced is Show Quality! Sometimes you might luck out and get a whole litter of show quality puppies, but more often than not, you get one or two if you're lucky. Sometimes you don't get any. I guarantee you no one has ever produced all show quality dogs - they are just not being honest (to you or more likely, to themselves!) about what they have.

RED FLAG: A bitch that is bred before two (end of story).
RED FLAG: A bitch that is bred after age 6 or so (depending on her health, how many litters she's had in the past, a year or two later might be ok).
RED FLAG: A bitch that is bred every heat cycle (2x a year) for more than one year on, one year off.
RED FLAG: A breeder who has more than a couple of litters a year. Think about it by the number of puppies: 4 litters in this breed is often 15 or so puppies per year! That's a lot of dogs being brought into the world in a short time. Also, each breeding should be a masterwork of research and planning; it'd be hard to appropriately research and plan more an a handful a year.
RED FLAG: A breeder who has more than two litters at once - litters are a lot of work, and trying to juggle more than two is pretty hard to do and get puppies socialized and taken care of properly.
REMEMBER: A "back yard breeder" might only breed one litter per year, raise it with love in their kitchen, and try to find a good home for each pup. But they don't do any or enough health testing; they don't have a solid knowledge of trying to preserve or improve the breed; they don't have that strong sense of PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY for the breed and for each individual!
REMEMBER: Pet stores know people know about puppy mills. I've seen lots of well meaning people buy from pet store because the pet store said, "Don't worry, we buy from breeders." But I assure you, no GOOD breeder sells a puppy anywhere without knowing exactly where and to whom it is going, and they if something goes wrong they will get it back!

GREEN FLAG: A good breeder will interview you right back! If they are happy to toss a pup in your car or on a plane because you wanted one, seemed nice, and could pay, it's a red flag. If they ask you about your life style, hours you work, members of the household, what your expectations and plans for the dog are... great! Don't be offended by this. They are trying to decide if you have a realistic expectation and ideas about owning a dog, if this breed is a good match, and what personality will best suit you. Of course, they shouldn't be rude to you, but you should get the idea that they really, really care about where their puppies are going.

GREEN FLAG: A breeder who not only loves their dogs and cares about their puppies and where they end up, but feels they are a guardian of their breed. They bear a massive amount of personal responsibility to preserve and improve the look and function of their breed, to ensure each dog they bring into this world has the best possible temperament, the least possible likelihood of developing genetic disorders, and goes to the best possible home. You just can't do that in high volume.

A good Breeder should be a resource for you forever.

Hope this helps.

Best,
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Heather

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"What Lies Behind Us And What Lies Before Us
Are Tiny Matters Compared To What Lies Within Us."



Here are some links to help educate yourself in how to fight for your rights to continue to own and love your animals. Please do not be mislead by PETA or HSUS who is PETA in suits.
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post #4 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-12-2011, 02:14 PM
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This is fantastic information for anyone looking to get a puppy. Thanks for taking the time and effort to put it together.

I really think it should become a "stickie" in the puppy forum.

Debbie and Riley
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post #5 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-12-2011, 03:36 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Sooo Much -- great info? Age to Adopt?

Heather -- this is such great information -- I can't thank you enough.

What about the issue of adopting a dog that's 4mos old, or 6 mos, or 1 year? Obviously, people generally adopt dogs of all ages, and have wonderful experiences -- so, is there any "disdvantage" that you can think of to adopting a slightly older puppy, or young adult? Any 'bonding issues', etc?

How about advantges, for that matter?

Thanks,

Stuart
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post #6 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-12-2011, 05:37 PM
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Stuart, I wanted to respond to your last question with my experience with dogs who are not puppies. My Cassie is a rescue who has been with me for a year. She is 3 1/2 years old now and is as bonded to me as my other 2 havs that I got as puppies. My Mom purchased a 1 1/2 year old havanese a few years ago from a wonderful breeder. He was exactly what she said he was. He bonded to my Mom immediately. It took him a few months to completely come out of his shell, but you would never know he hasn't been with her since he was a puppy. He was a perfect fit. So, getting a puppy is great, but getting an older puppy or dog can be great too


**Karen, Mom to Brady, Dugan, and Devon
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post #7 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-12-2011, 06:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HavAnother View Post
Heather -- this is such great information -- I can't thank you enough.

What about the issue of adopting a dog that's 4mos old, or 6 mos, or 1 year? Obviously, people generally adopt dogs of all ages, and have wonderful experiences -- so, is there any "disdvantage" that you can think of to adopting a slightly older puppy, or young adult? Any 'bonding issues', etc?

How about advantges, for that matter?

Thanks,

Stuart
I got both of my dogs at around a year and they immediately bonded to me and my family. Both are very, sweet loving dogs. My boy has a more reserved personality with strangers, but that is his temperment. I know both dogs had been well socialized in their previous environment. If you do get an older dog, ask a lot questions about their background.
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post #8 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-12-2011, 06:50 PM
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Heather, that is excellent. Did you just do this recently. This should be required reading to join this forum. JMO

Dave and Molly
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post #9 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-12-2011, 07:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HavAnother View Post
Heather -- this is such great information -- I can't thank you enough.

What about the issue of adopting a dog that's 4mos old, or 6 mos, or 1 year? Obviously, people generally adopt dogs of all ages, and have wonderful experiences -- so, is there any "disdvantage" that you can think of to adopting a slightly older puppy, or young adult? Any 'bonding issues', etc?

How about advantges, for that matter?

Thanks,

Stuart
Welcome Stuart. Thanks for asking questions. Definitely there are pluses and minuses to getting a puppy at four or more months. The biggest issue is whether the puppy was socialized. If it wasn't you could have some problematic issues. The primary and most critical learning period ends around four months. You have to know what the dog is like at that age, and be willing to work on any deficiencies.

Dave and Molly
Ian Dunbar was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award from I.P.D.T.A. Here's a picture of me accepting the award on his behalf.
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post #10 of 31 (permalink) Old 05-30-2012, 04:10 PM
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We purchased Tiger in 3-2008. (The Breeders name will not be mentioned) Until he became older, I never had to defend his breed purity. As a puppy, he really looked like all the other Hav pictures. My argument has always been that he has AKC papers and these papers show that his parents and grandparents are Pure Havanese. Now I have been told that the papers do not prove anything. That a dishonest breeder could assign an unused pure bred litter number to a litter that is mixed. And there is no way to challenge this except to have DNA tests done. As Tiger gets older, he is really beginning to look more and more like a Bechon. I have actually given up and I have him groomed like one. I have had a couple of groomers laugh when I argued that he was an AKC papered Havanese. Tiger weights 22 lbs, not fat either, he most defiantly is over the height limit and his hair is Kinky like a Poodle or Bechon. His hair grows out but will not lay down for its life...it just stands straight out from where it is growing...He looks like a big Poof Ball. His whiskers wont grow out either, they break off really easy. Now I purchased him believing I had a good breeder and maybe I did, but we did not go to the kennel. I will admit now I wish I had. I truly had no concern at the time, but now after meeting our other Havs breeder, my confidence in Tiger’s breeder is totally different. We met the spouse and daughter half way instead of going to the Kennel. Do the AKC papers prove that he is truly a pure bred Hav? Or can they be fudged and possibly be false? Other Hav owners have tried to reassure me that not all Havs look like our Beau, but I don’t see others that look like Tiger on the forum. The most frustrating part of this is I paid twice as much for Tiger than what we did for Beau. And Beau’s Mommy is becoming a Winner out there in the rings of the Havanese breed. Just thought maybe someone could give me an insight on this question or concern. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Tiger, but I am just tired of arguing or defending his breed history.

Our Beau all grown up!
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