I have a pitbull mix who is my dearest, dearest. Such a lovebug! So I am pro-adoption.
But I also understand that people have certain attachments to certain breeds–it’s not the pro-purebred attitude, it’s the anti-mutt attitude that I don’t understand (“You don’t know what you’re getting!” –Yes, but that’s true for purebreds too!) I know two professional breeders–one for labradors and one for Tibetan Mastiffs. Here’s what I think people should know about breeders before they purchase:
1. Everything Irish Terrier said
2. A purebred will be expensive. Seriously. The reason is because a lot of time and money went into their conception, birth, and puppyhood. Good breeders invest in their dogs and use high-quality food, provide excellent vet care, and these things cost money. If you’re spending a couple hundred, then I would run. If you can’t stand the expense, then go adopt. You CAN get a purebred through adoption and it’s much, much cheaper.
3. A good breeder will be able to tell you the dog’s ancestory–which bitch and which stud sired your dog and which two sired THEM–usually further back than that! The breeders I know would also say that you should expect the dogs that they breed to have won some titles and been on the show circuit.
4. A good breeder CARES about the breed. They are excited and enthusiastic about their particular breed–that’s why they generally only deal with 1 breed, 2 tops. And they can be choosy about who they sell their dogs to because some people just aren’t right for the breed. If you put a dog in the hands of the wrong owner, you will have made a poor ambassador for the breed and no one wants that.
5. (to reiterate) They have a return policy and will take dogs back if there’s a problem–believe me, serious breeders will want to know if the puppy has a personality issue AND if there are health issues cropping up. That will suggest to them that they should stop breeding a particular line.
Bottom line: Either adopt a dog OR do your homework and spend a wad of cash on one from a reputable breeder. DO NOT, DO NOT, DO NOT purchase from a pet store. Even if they claim they don’t source from puppy mills, if they can’t tell you what a breeder can, and if you can’t trace their dogs back to the source, then their dogs come from mills.