Scottish Terrier Breeders: Avoiding puppy mills

A reader recently wrote to me to say that some of the breeders featured on our breeders pages are not as reputable as they should be.

This is not the first time the we’ve heard this complaint, but when I ask for more specifics, as I always do, I’m invariably told to check it out myself. Trouble is I did check out the breeders when I initially put them there. And I also looked for many of the red flags my correspondent lists below.

At this point, I don’t have the time to go through all the breeders on the lists — none of whom, by the way, paid to be there — so please if any of you suspect something puppy millish or not quite right going on, contact me confidentially. As regular readers might know, we try not to take puppy ads on this site although blocking them out is an ongoing process.

Here are the the red flags my correspondent looks for to avoid problem breeders:

1) No pedigrees provided, but claim of “championship lines.” All pet store puppies can probably claim this…if one looks 10 or 20 generations back!
2) Multiple breeds are bred & sold.
3) Multiple litters bred per year…puppies “always” available, or coming soon.
4) Neither sire nor dam is a champion of record; kennel “does not show.”
5) Sire & dam are “on premises.” Most reputable breeders use studs from other kennels which complement their bitches, phenotypically & genotypically TO IMPROVE THE BREED.
6) No lifetime return of dog (reputable breeders are responsible for the lives of their puppies for their ENTIRE lives — dogs MUST be returned to the breeder, if they cannot be kept for any reason by the original owner! No puppy from a reputable breeder should EVER find its way into a shelter situation…EVER. Responsible breeders will NEVER contribute to pet over-poulation & the care of their dogs will NEVER be a burden on the tax-paying public.)
7) Claim of genetic health guarantee. Recessive genes are NEVER expressed, and there can be no such guarantee of their absence.
8) No breed club memberships; no dog club membership of any kind.
9) Claim of “AKC affiliation.” There is no such thing. The AKC is a dog registry, nothing more. There is no “membership status” available for the AKC. Dogs registered with the CKC – Continental Kennel Club or the APR – American Pet Registry. The CKC & APR are puppy mill registries…used to dupe the public into thinking they are buying a “registered” puppy.
10) Claims of “genetic testing.” There is currently only ONE genetic test for the Scottish Terrier – vWD. There are NO OTHER genetic tests available for our breed…though there are currently several research grants being funded by the Scottish Terrier Club of America and the AKC Canine Health Foundation to locate DNA markers for TCC (bladder cancer) and Cerebellum Abiotrophy and CMO (Craniomandibular Osteopathy).

No single one of these ten “red flags” would necessarily designate a breeder to be a puppy mill type breeder…but when several of these things apply, then one can be reasonably certain that: 1) at best the breeder is simply a back-yard-breeder, completely unknowledgeable about the breed, but breeds to make a little additional income from time-to-time, 2) at worst, the breeder breeds scotties as a full-time income producing vocation.

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