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Discussion Starter #1
I read an interesting thread on another board and was curious what you guys think.

The thought process is that as a breeder all you can do is health checks and then make the best guess for pairing of a sire and dam. If you have OFA'd your dogs (and any other breed specific health check) and that have come out clear and you make that info available to the potential buyers then why should you guarantee health?

Basically it's not your fault if the dog develops hip dysplasia. You checked your dogs and the dogs in the ped. The buyer new the same info as you. Why would you replace a puppy when you did everything you could?
 

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As an addition to the OP question/statement. I have read on some breeder's websites that pups are priced at a lower rate without an guarantee and higher with a guarantee.

I'm not sure I understand the rationale behind this policy. Same pairing, same pups, same enviroment presumably so why see at a lower price wihout a guarantee?
 

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Higher risk means more cost.

I'm starting to lean more towards no guarantee. How do I know you dogs hips aren't all screwed up because you were doing the "A" frame at 5 months and running 10 miles at time at 7 months. Or that you fed table scraps his whole life and he was 30lbs overweight?
 

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How does agility and running cause hip dysplasia? While that could irritate the HD, it doesn't cause it. It doesn't cause a hip socket to be shallow.

One thing I wondered about on a breeders website was they have in the guarantee that the buyers have to feed a food with certain requirements, provide proof and they have to feed a specific supplement that the breeder sells. While I agree with feeding certain foods and supplementing, I didn't like the supplements themselves and don't feed kibble. :(
 

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I'm not sure I understand the rationale behind this policy. Same pairing, same pups, same enviroment presumably so why see at a lower price wihout a guarantee?
Depends on what the guarantee is. Are they paying for surgery? Taking the dog with health problems back and then have to treat them? Are they giving you another dog for free?

You pay more for a warranty, it makes sense you would pay for a health guarantee.
 

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Granted the pup can adversely affected with improper nutrition and exercise and training. Those are certainly all factors out of the breeders' control.

I definitely understand higher risk includes higher cost but OTOH if all things are equal up to the sale of the pup where is the higher risk to warrant higher cost? Unless the breeders' thought process is to simply bank those extra monies and bet against themselves that they will have to honor their guarantee at some point in a particular pup's life.

Thank you for the interesting topic :)
 

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I read an interesting thread on another board and was curious what you guys think.

The thought process is that as a breeder all you can do is health checks and then make the best guess for pairing of a sire and dam. If you have OFA'd your dogs (and any other breed specific health check) and that have come out clear and you make that info available to the potential buyers then why should you guarantee health?

Basically it's not your fault if the dog develops hip dysplasia. You checked your dogs and the dogs in the ped. The buyer new the same info as you. Why would you replace a puppy when you did everything you could?

Hip Dysplasia, as well as many other health issues IS genetic. It really is. It's the unknowledgeable and irresponsible breeders that blame the new puppy owner for it. Some of them even go to the extent saying their puppies can do zero stairs for the first year to prevent HD (who carries their 1 yr old GSD up to the 2nd floor?).

I think you are confusing good OFA results on one dog meaning that ALL the dogs in the lines also have excellent hip results. You need to (like a good breeder knows to) broaden what you are looking. One puppy from a litter of 12 with great hips means nothing. All 12 puppies with great OFA's is better. Both parent dogs and the parent dogs brothers/sisters having great hips is better knowledge. Both parent dogs, their brothers/sister PLUS the parents of those dogs and their brothers/sister means much much more. YOu need to look at ALL the dogs you can and have real results.

The knowledgable and responsible breeders KNOW, really know the dogs they use in their breeding program and follow all the puppies forever and ever and ever... so they know what they have good and bad in their lines. To continue to breed to the good and avoid the bad.

Doing the aframe full sized at 5 months will damage the growth plates, not cause HD. So that can be seen by a vet and the breeder will be reassured it's not a genetic issue.

Being a responsible breeder involves a CRAZY amount of work and knowledge about your dogs, your lines and then figuring out what other dogs you may want to blend in to make it even better! Much more than just one set of OFA x-rays on one dog....

http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/choosing-breeder/137533-things-look-responsible-breeder.html

:wub:
 

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The short answer is that US buyers expect it, pretty much demand it, and jump to the conclusion that a breeder who doesn't offer a warranty is a bad one.

In Europe, there are no warranties. For exactly the reasons stated. Even if a breeder does everything humanly possible to avoid problems, they will still crop up from time to time. We're dealing with living creatures, not something built in a factory where the person making the product has complete control over everything. Health, and temperament, issues will crop up in even the best breedings, despite the best efforts to prevent them. Common sense is that when buying a living creature, there are no guarantees. Genetics can't be made to order like a pizza.

In Europe, the general trend is that everyone accepts this. Buyers are expected to do their research on the lines and any potential health issues, realize that no matter what there is still no guarantee, roll the dice and accept the risk. Of course, many people in the US understand the reality of the situation there as well. But the overwhelming trend amongst buyers here is that if something goes wrong there must be someone to blame, and they are owed something in return for their bad luck. They want someone to hold responsible and they expect compensation of some sort, and this general attitude about the whole thing means that US breeders are pretty much expected to offer health warranties or they will be considered "bad" breeders.
 

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The short answer is that US buyers expect it, pretty much demand it, and jump to the conclusion that a breeder who doesn't offer a warranty is a bad one.

In Europe, there are no warranties. For exactly the reasons stated. Even if a breeder does everything humanly possible to avoid problems, they will still crop up from time to time. We're dealing with living creatures, not something built in a factory where the person making the product has complete control over everything. Health, and temperament, issues will crop up in even the best breedings, despite the best efforts to prevent them. Common sense is that when buying a living creature, there are no guarantees. Genetics can't be made to order like a pizza.

In Europe, the general trend is that everyone accepts this. Buyers are expected to do their research on the lines and any potential health issues, realize that no matter what there is still no guarantee, roll the dice and accept the risk. Of course, many people in the US understand the reality of the situation there as well. But the overwhelming trend amongst buyers here is that if something goes wrong there must be someone to blame, and they are owed something in return for their bad luck. They want someone to hold responsible and they expect compensation of some sort, and this general attitude about the whole thing means that US breeders are pretty much expected to offer health warranties or they will be considered "bad" breeders.
Chris, how much of a difference do you think it makes in Germany that you can't breed your dog and get papers on it unless it has at least a Sch1 title. Which means there is a bit of a health and temperment assurance just in that? (Don't they also have x-rays involved with that?).

I've also heard that they cull out (kill) sick or unsuitable puppies over there which pulls out those genetics also? (or has that stopped?)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Maggie,

I know what a good breeder looks like. I was asking aspecific question. And if you think Vets know everything about HD then you are misinformed. I just now read where a study linked free feeding (nutrition!) to HD. Perhaps some dogs are genetically more prone to it but when you don't take care of your pup's joints then you are asking for trouble.

Also can you imagine trying to explain to someone that "Sure your dog's hips are bad but it's not displastic so I don't guarantee it. Yes I said I guarantee hips but only dysplasia. No that doesn't count". To the uninformed you would look like a swindler.
 

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I definitely understand higher risk includes higher cost but OTOH if all things are equal up to the sale of the pup where is the higher risk to warrant higher cost? Unless the breeders' thought process is to simply bank those extra monies and bet against themselves that they will have to honor their guarantee at some point in a particular pup's life.
The higher risk is monetary.
Without a warranty, the breeder knows once the sale is over and done with the money is their's.
With a warranty, depending on the actual terms of the contract, the breeder must be aware that the buyer may come back later and claim a replacement pup or refund. That means it may be a year or 2 or more before the breeder can safely assume that money from the puppy sale is their's and they won't suddenly be placed in a situation of having to give someone a huge chunk of change, or lose expected revenue from another litter.

And simple fact with this breed is that no matter how good the breeder and lines, if warranties are offered at some point the breeder WILL have to honor a few. For those breeders who tier their pricing based on whether there is a warranty or not, charging more for the warranty makes sense. The buyer is paying more for the option of getting compensation if their luck was bad, and the breeder is getting more for the trouble this will cause them down the road and to provide the funds to honor those warranties when needed.

Why would a breeder not charge more for a warranty? It cost the breeder the same amount to produce Pup A without a warranty as it did Pup B with a warranty, but Pup Bs owner has the option of coming back later and demanding $$ or another pup, meaning that now Pup B cost the breeder a whole lot more than Pup A did.
 

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I've also heard that they cull out (kill) sick or unsuitable puppies over there which pulls out those genetics also? (or has that stopped?)
There's a huge long epic thread on PDB about culling right now.


My thoughts:

First off, they're not really offering a guarantee; they're offering a warranty. A guarantee says that I can promise you nothing will go wrong. A warranty says that if something does go wrong, I will take steps (refund your money, pay for surgery, replacement puppy) to make it right.

I'm getting to where I really don't much care for guarantee/warranties on dogs. A lot of unscrupulous breeders offer warranties to make them look better, but if you read them carefully there's basically no way the breeder will ever have to honor it. The dog can NEVER climb stairs. You have to PROVE that you never ran the dog on concrete. And my two personal favorites: you have to buy a supplement or food that the breeder sells, or you have to return your dog that you've had for two years to get another puppy and the breeder will presumeably put your dog to sleep.

When evaluating a breeder, I personally don't look at whether they have a guarantee or warranty, I look at what it says. If they don't have one I'm fine with that. At least they're honest, and like Chris says breeders in other countries don't do it either. If they have a dishonest or tricky guarantee, I say pass.
 

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A guarantee is only as good as the breeder who writes it.

How many times have we seen on here bad breeders weaseling their way out of a guarantee or flat our refusing to respond to contact intitated by a former puppy owner?

While a guarantee is nice (as, as said, more or less expected here), I would not hesitate to buy a dog from a good breeder in Europe, either.

If there is a guarantee I read it carefully, ask questions, and possibly ask to add or subtract things. But I'm not going to buy a dog from a breeder because I think their guarantee is better or worse than another's. I will buy from the because I trust that they are producing dogs of sound body and mind. A dog is always a crapshoot, however.
 

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I have offered to purchase a dog with no guarantee, but the litter did not take. When I get a dog I assume it is my responsibility and not every dog is perfect so along the way I may end up with a dog with a "defect". Even with certain conditions I'd have no desire to return the dog anyway. I like a few different types of dogs from different breeders so I'm not interested in a "replacement" dog even if I can keep the original one. Ideally, a breeder would offer me a "replacement" dog without having to return the original for any genetic condition that would prevent the dog from receiving KKL1 or KKL2 (bad dentition, retained testicle, HD or ED...), but this agreement really only benefits me as the buyer and not the breeder besides like Chris said, it seems to be what Americans demand. Right now I have a dog that cannot be Koer'd and I have no desire to return the dog, obtain a second dog, nor do I think ill of the dogs or breeder. It's just the way the cards are dealt.
 

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I think the biggest problem with warranties is that it gives buyers a false sense of security, and also in their mind absolves them of any responsibility, not just for the dog but for research before hand. Many do mistakenly assume that a warranty is a guarnatee that nothing can go wrong and then completely freak out when it does. And many, many people it seems use the existance of a warranty as a quality check and then don't bother to do their own research into the bloodlines. It's a short cut. Warranty is there, so the lines must be healthy and the breeder must be doing everything right, so no need to put the time and effort into doing their own research.

And of course that's not the case. A warranty doesn't mean nothing will go wrong, nor does it automatically mean that everything is in place to minimize all risk of health problems, and it certainly shouldn't absolve the buyer of doing their research. But many do treat it that way.
 

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Chris, how much of a difference do you think it makes in Germany that you can't breed your dog and get papers on it unless it has at least a Sch1 title. Which means there is a bit of a health and temperment assurance just in that? (Don't they also have x-rays involved with that?).
I really don't think that has anything to do with it. There are plenty of breeders here who follow the same rules even though they are not mandatory, breeding generations of dogs bred under those rules, and it has no bearing on people's expectations of warranties. It's the mindset of the buyers that is different.

I just know too many Europeans who think the whole American warranty idea is absurd, and know it has nothing to do with breeding regulations but rather just a very different mindset about the whole process, and the responsibilty placed on the buyer to research and make a sound decision, and then accept whatever that decision brings.

I've also heard that they cull out (kill) sick or unsuitable puppies over there which pulls out those genetics also? (or has that stopped?)
Sure some culling goes on, but mainly young pups for obvious defects or failure to thrive present at a young age. Culling defective or sickly pups has absolutely no bearing on the presence of genes for those issues that come about later in life as things like HD, ED, EPI, DM, SIBO and all those other health issues can't be identified as a young pup so the dog carrying those genes can't be culled even if someone wanted to because there's no way to know which pup has them and which doesn't.

Your Glory probably would have been culled in the traditional sense in Europe, whereas here the genetics were still removed from the gene pool just in a manner that didn't sentance her to death. But either way the genetics are removed, so I don't see how either form of culling makes a hoot of difference as the end result is the same. And of course for those things that can't be seen in a young pup, which is the vast majority of health issues, it makes no difference either.
 

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I've only purchased five of the Hooligans. All five had different guarantees (or in Slider's case, no guarantee at all). It doesn't bother me one way or another. When I bought my OES she was to be a show dog and used for breeding ... her hips were absolutely terrible and her breeder gave me a refund between the price of the show dog and pet. Other than that I never requested a refund for anything covered under a guarantee since all were purchased as pets.
 

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Warranty or no warranty, it is not often they offer to cover Vet bills, surgery and other things. Usually it is that if you find your canine to have any of these defects they will replace the canine. Sorry, but I would rather keep my loving GSD or whatever then trade him because something happened beyond his/her control. To me a warranty means nothing!
 

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My warranty is 1/2 the puppy price back. It's my way of "putting my money where my mouth is" -- that is, I've done my homework and I have every expectation that the hips and elbows will be fine. But I will freely admit that all I've done is stack the deck in the dog's favor, and there's still the chance that the dog will pull the wrong genetic "cards" and end up with an issue. I can't (no breeder can) do anything further to pull those bad cards out of the deck, though.

But yes, by offering a warranty, I'm undertaking a future potential liability, so the price of my puppies is higher to cover that risk I'm taking. That's economics--it's how it works.

Puppy prices are lower in Europe--but there are no warranties and no contracts. The culture in the US and Canada is different. And you'll see other, often dramatic, differences if you look at people who breed mostly for AKC showing versus those who are dealing with a lot of imported/European style bloodlines/showing/trialing.

I've never sold a puppy without a hip warranty, but if someone asked me if I'd do that and take reduced puppy price, I would probably agree.
 
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