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Discussion Starter #1
It seems like everyone on here is very against back yard breeders. I have purchased every dog I have ever owned from back yard breeders, or shelters, and so has my entire family (sisters, parents, etc.)
We have owned a Sheltie, Doxies, Boxer, Alaskan Malumute, and a few cocker spaniels all from people who just had two dogs and bred them. As well as several shelter dogs. My step dad had a Choc. Lab. She was not the best dog in the world, but had the biggest heart and was the sweetest dog ever (not a bad dog, I named my daughter after her; Brooke). He paid over $2000 for her and this was 18 years ago. However, all of our other dogs were just as good as her. None had health problems.
Naturally I did the same thing and purchased my GSD from a person who had thier first litter. She is a wonderful dog. She looks amazing, has a great personality etc. As did her parents who I met, they looked like dogs that could be used in shows etc. She seems to have good lines as far as I can tell. However, her parents were never OFA'd, and neither were thier parents but almost all of the dogs above and beyond that line seem to have been OFA'd and were used in competition. She is AKC registered, there was a health gaurentee, a puppy contract to ensure she was going to a good home, she even said she would take any dog back and find them a good home, she also had them vetted etc. I talk to her on a daily basis and she awnsers alot of my questions as best she can!
So why is everyone so against BYB? Is it because of the ones that are bad? Is it because of the hip problems that shepherds have? Did I just get lucky and should never take the chance again?
I mean this thread in no disrespect but I feel like I should either not be on this forum or should be ashamed because I didn't pay $5000 for my puppy and didn't purchase her from someone who had a website!!
 

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Most people won't argue that you can't get a wonderful dog from a BYB. You are stacking the odds in your favor if you go with a reputable breeder, but there's no guarantee that the dog from the reputable breeder ends up with health problems and a short life and the BYB dog lives a healthy 15.

That said, it's more about an investment in future of the breed and it's credibility for me. Some of the best breeders will charge 3 to 10 times as much for a GSD as a BYB and still make less profit then the BYB (or take a straight loss). That money goes somewhere... it goes to ensuring the breed standard for years to come. As well intentioned as a BYB charging $200 may be, that can't do the same for the good of the breed as a very good breeder does.
 

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And I rescued all three of my (malnourished, overbred, unsocialized, fearful, aggressive, tick infested, heartworm positive, etc., etc.) dogs from puppymill/BYB backgrounds.

Just sayin'
 

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Understanding genetics is a learning process. Some time things work out and I am glad you have had good luck so far with your dogs. When you go to a reputable breeder who understands the genetics of the breed you greatly stack the deck in favor of getting a dog that meets your specific expectations.
 

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A lot of times breeders who don't take the time to learn the breed, title their dogs, and do the breed appropriate health checks often can have very bad results. You never really know what traits are being bred into your dog as opposed to having all the necessary actions taken into breeding from an excellent gene pool. When purchasing a puppy from a BYB you never know what temperament issues, health issues, genetic diseases are being bred into these puppies. Some of these breeders, BYBs, are in it for the money and not for the betterment of the breed itself. There are lots of people out there that are trying to keep the breed the way it was meant to be or better the breed by trying to breed for excellence and healthy stock. They are a sort of enthusiast of the breed, not just a person who sees dollar signs of their dogs.

Also, if a BYB breeds a litter of puppies that have temperament issues and/or health issues those puppies are way more likely to end up in shelters. A responsible breeder would do their best to ensure these issues do not happen or would most likely take the puppy back if it could not be handled by the new owner.
 

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Also, I don't look down on anyone that uses a BYB... just giving my thoughts on why I made my choices.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Most people won't argue that you can't get a wonderful dog from a BYB. You are stacking the odds in your favor if you go with a reputable breeder, but there's no guarantee that the dog from the reputable breeder ends up with health problems and a short life and the BYB dog lives a healthy 15.

That said, it's more about an investment in future of the breed and it's credibility for me. Some of the best breeders will charge 3 to 10 times as much for a GSD as a BYB and still make less profit then the BYB (or take a straight loss). That money goes somewhere... it goes to ensuring the breed standard for years to come. As well intentioned as a BYB charging $200 may be, that can't do the same for the good of the breed as a very good breeder does.
Very good points!!
So basically making sure you purchase a puppy from a breeder is just more likely to get a good dog, and that the breed standard is kept. Whereas with a BYB some may just be mass producing puppies to make money?
 

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my Max is from a BYB, he`ll be 8 years in May, has cost me thousands in medical bills, bloat, EPI, etc, as far as his temperament and intelligence, thats priceless, if i had an opportunity to get another like him, it wouldn't matter where he came from
 

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Very good points!!
So basically making sure you purchase a puppy from a breeder is just more likely to get a good dog, and that the breed standard is kept. Whereas with a BYB some may just be mass producing puppies to make money?
Either for money or as a hobby, not normally breeding for the standard or not anywhere near the level that a high level breeder would. I understand some people can only afford a BYB, but at that point, I would highly suggest a rescue. There's still a lot of puppies that need rescuing as well.
 

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Nobody looks down on anyone with a BYB because they purchased the pup before they had the knowledge from this forum. And of course people here admire those who rescue dogs and thank them.

This is also a breed forum, and the breed is the GSD. What makes the GSD special is the SV - the parent breed organization in Germany - has stricter breeding standards than any other breed organization in the world. If the SV nor the GSD breeding system exists, over time, the GSD will just become your average pet breed.

Now there is nothing wrong about pets and pet breeds, but what makes the GSD such an exceptional pet or companion animal is precisely because it is the most versatile utility working dog breed in the world. And it only remains a working dog breed because of high breeding standards. My definition of a BYB is someone who breeds without following those standards at least in spirit if not on paper.
 

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We have two dogs in our family, the beagle is my husbands and came from a byb. The other is my GSD who came from a byb by accident(female went into heat and they didnt seperate from male intime). The beagle has no end to health problems, thyroid medication, bad hips and elbows, when she walks her back legs turn in so that her back paws are facing each other front on,her spine is bowed in, she has temperment issues, I am not sure if it is due to not being trained or if its because of byb or both. She snaps at the kids, snaps at my dog, runs away anytime you try to play with her or train her, is unpredodictable. With lily we got lucky(so far) shes had great health but shes not quite 2 yrs yet so that could change, her temperment is great, she is a very loveing easily trainable dog, she always seems focused on her pack, ready to work and train anytime. Lily was my first dog and I didnt know much about dogs when I got her, I just saw an add on craigslist for free GSD and went that day and got one, now that I know more I think in the future I would be more careful about where and who I get my animals from.
 

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Very good points!!
So basically making sure you purchase a puppy from a breeder is just more likely to get a good dog, and that the breed standard is kept. Whereas with a BYB some may just be mass producing puppies to make money?
Basically. I got my boy from a BYB, and I've seen a little bit of the bad that can come. He's very reactive and I'm sure that comes somewhat from his parents. Sire was aggressive and the dam couldn't be touched at all either. This was before I found this forum and found that there's much more to dogs than training them to sit.
 

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And I rescued all three of my (malnourished, overbred, unsocialized, fearful, aggressive, tick infested, heartworm positive, etc., etc.) dogs from puppymill/BYB backgrounds.

Just sayin'
Did you actually go through rescues for those dogs or did you purchase directly from the puppymill/BYB?
 

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I prefer to define breeders using two terms - Responsible breeders and Irresponsible breeders.

Responsible breeders:

  • Take excellent PHYSICAL care of their breeding stock - proper food, fresh, clean water, exercise, housing and medial treatments when necessary
  • Take excellent MENTAL care of their breeding stock - proper training, stimulating their minds
  • Spends one-on-one time with each and every dog in order to know their strengths and weaknesses
  • Can show unbiased proof that their dogs are healthy - DNA testing, xrays, certificates from recognized authorities
  • Can show unbiased proof that their dogs have the proper attributes of their breed - titles, testimonials from recognized authorities, demos, etc.
  • Evaluate their litters based on what each buyer wants and will recommend the puppy (or puppies) that would be suite that new owners lifestyle and desires
  • Keep in touch with the new owners, answering questions that might come up and offering advice
  • Will take back a puppy (or adult dog) if the need arises. Many breeders have it written in their contract that they MUST be notified if the owner cannot keep the dog and that it must come back to them (or they must approve the prospective new owner)
  • Want to know how the pup develops so they can evaluate that breeding and use that knowledge to help them determine future breedings

Irresponsible breeders:

  • Take minimal PHYSICAL care of their breeding stock - enough food to survive (sometimes just barely), water (often of dubious quality), little to no exercise (as they are often left in runs 24/7), bare minimum housing and often no medical care (as that costs money and cuts into their profits)
  • Take little to no MENTAL care of their breeding stock - no training
  • Most often the only contact their dogs get are at feeding time and breeding time - most dogs aren't even named or the owner can't remember the names
  • Will TELL you their dogs are health - but have nothing to back it up. Most of their breeding stock are only seen by vets when necessary (for shots or injuries).
  • Most don't even know what the proper attributes ARE for the breeds they have
  • Take the cash and let you pick any puppy
  • Won't answer the phone or emails once the deal is done
  • Won't answer the phone or emails once the deal is done
  • Could care less how the pups develop

To me it all comes down to this:


Responsible breeders are in it for the love of their breed.


Irresponsible breeders are in it for the love of the money.




I know many Responsible breeders that do it in their back yard.


I also know several Irresponsible breeders that have huge facilities with high end kennel runs and fancy advertising and all the bells and whistles - just for the money.
 

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Many people seem to label BYBs based on how the dogs turn out after the fact and not the breeders' intent or what they've put into producing nice dogs. Unfortunately even the most careful, experienced breeders might end up with a puppy that is overly sharp or aggressive or has a health problem.

I do not disagree with stacking the deck in favor of temperament and health, however the way I see it there are either dogs I'd purchase and dogs I wouldn't. Whether or not I'd purchase a dog is not a black and white decision based on a checklist of factors but me weighing the overall picture and that has to be done on an individual litter/breeder basis, at least for me.
 

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My previous two dogs were from BYB

The first I got from the humane society at 8 years old. A "breeder" dropped off two cocker spaniels, both in such poor condition that one passed away just a few days later. Alex was there for several weeks, he had a hernia, skin condition, and a cherry eye which apparently someone had "fixed" but ended up botching it, his knee would randomly pop out, and his ears were so calcified that even an othoscope couldn't be used to see the middle ear. All signs of neglect though he was such a sweet dog even the shelter staff nicknamed him "cuddle bug."

He was used a stud until his health became poor and then he was dumped off at the shelter without a backwards glance, Alex was very lucky the shelter deemed him worthy enough to treat rather than just euthanize him. When I adopted him I had no idea the uphill battle I would face with his health, especially financially. His ears alone were so bad they recommended a total ear canal ablation which was quoted to me at $3000. He was on two medications for his eyes and another two for his ears, his skin condition was treated with good food and proper grooming. He went deaf from the calcification, thankfully he was smart and I was able to use hand signals to communicate with him but I had to be his ears and watch out for him at all times.

I was very attached to Alex and when I had to put him down due to health complications (he got an ear infection which was untreatable due to the calcification and he was in severe pain) it really shattered me. I've been around dogs my entire life but this was MY first dog and I had to make the decision rather than just accept my parent's decision. The day after I lost him my parents came to visit me and they saw how devastated I was, my mom's solution was to get another dog so she looked online until she found a breeder offering 9 week old miniature poodle puppies cheaply on a free classifieds website. I couldn't say no, so on we went to see these puppies.

The breeders had several dogs and cats roaming their houses, they seemed like decent enough people. But no pedigree so as far as I know they were breeding siblings, the parents had no health checks or certifications. I paid $380 for Jazzy, I was told to take her to a vet within 48 hours and if there were health concerns then they would take her back. She was dewormed and had her first shots; the vet didn't see anything obviously wrong with her so she became my dog.

I love her completely but she has issues, she's a very nervous dog and will shake when she's around new things. She hates other animals getting into her space; she'll growl and snap at them if they get too close. She won't deliberately bite to hurt, just to get them to back off. I'm very careful with her joints and teeth, I feed her a premium food to keep her healthy and well, and she gets regular exercise and training. I'm hoping with management that she won't have any health issues but who knows. Do I regret getting her? Yes, I love her regardless of her issues but I know the money I paid for her went back into the breeders pocket probably to breed even more dogs.

I will NEVER again get a dog from a BYB, the health issues of Alex and the mental issues of Jazzy are more than enough proof for me to know what they're doing is wrong. I will only support rescues, shelters, hobby breeders, or quality breeders who know what they're doing

A dog is an investment; they cost money to buy and money to maintain their health. Why would I skimp on the purchase fee for a life that is going to live with me for 10+ years hopefully? Pay $500 now but $10000 in vet and trainer fees later? Or pay $1500 for the purchase which includes a two year health and temperament warranty, a certified pedigree, and a lifetime of support from a breeder with years of experience? You do the math

I don't mean to belittle or attack you, but I can't condone that buying from BYB is ok.
 

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The reasons have all been named, it is mostly because the majority of dogs with problems come from BYB, but this is not to say that the majority of BYB dogs have problems.

I got very lucky with my BYB as well. He's very well tempered, rock solid, never have any type of fear issues, extremely well driven with a wonderful off switch, and I just got his hips x-rayed and they're beautiful (the vet said we might get an excellent). He's only 2 generations removed from some very well thought out breeding though and the grandparents have some very big kennel names behind them that most of the forum wouldn't think twice about getting a dog from.

The reason people look down on it is just to not prolificate it in the United States. We have pretty much zero breeding standards. AKC will register anything that's out of AKC dogs and its not very hard to find an AKC bitch and dog to breed. The American public doesn't care about much except that AKC certificate...some don't even care that it's AKC and will accept some of the other smaller registries. So for every person that chooses not to go BYB due to this forum, or joining a dog club, that's one less person paying money to someone that's not doing it "right." And although we'll probably never get rid of the problem (there will always be a market for a $200 GSD), its nice to know you can make some difference.

Lauri's list is excellent...by that list my breeder is much more responsible than irresponsible. So I don't feel super terrible for going to them. Plus I got one **** of a dog out of them. Next time though (now that I know) I'm using someone that produces exactly what I'm looking for.
 

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I understand some people can only afford a BYB, but at that point, I would highly suggest a rescue. There's still a lot of puppies that need rescuing as well.

And where do you think the rescues came from?
 

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Did you actually go through rescues for those dogs or did you purchase directly from the puppymill/BYB?
The weim through a rescue, Weimaraner Rescue of North Texas: WeimRescueTexas.org - Texas Dog Rescue - Adopt a Weimaraner.

The two GSDs were seized by the sheriff of a panhandle Texas county, along with over 200 other dogs, and the humane society made an urgent plea in the media for emergency fosters. I picked up my senior Mattie that day, and they called me the next day and asked whether I could take one more. That's when I took Jack.

After a several month long trial, the search and seizure were held improper, and the judge ordered all the hundreds of dogs returned. At that point I drove my two fosters up to the breeder and negotiated a purchase. I know I can catch some flak for that, but I still consider them rescues, considering the deplorable condition they were in when they came to me. Some people refused to make the purchase...but all I saw that afternoon were dozens of dogs being returned and the lady fretting about how dog food was $800/pallette and they didn't know how they were going to manage it so quickly. I have no idea whether my $700 went to dog food, but I can only hope it did. Even when there's evidence to the contrary, I try my best to believe in the good in folks...and if I helped the other dogs, well, that was my goal after all. If I didn't, at least Mattie can walk today and Jack is no longer starving.
 
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