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Guest posting as: longneckthree


I'm new here but I love reading all the posts! Alot of them sound like my little dog. She is a five month old love. My question - how do you know if the breeder is a puppy mill? We got our puppy from breeder about two hours away. We went to see her when she was 5 weeks old and fell totally in love. We picked her up when she was 8 weeks old. Just last week my husband met a woman who had some less than nice things to say about our breeder. But I would go back to her if we wanted to get another(I would love another but we already have another dog - german wire-haired pointer- and 4 small children). So who do you believe? And what are some thing to look for at a breeder? I do have to say that the breeder does breed alot of litters a year and the father wasn't around. But the puppy is awesome!!!!

Thanks for all the great information on this site (I'm going right now to start bell training)


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I tend to think there is a continuum from ethical, responsible breeder who is in it for the sake of the breed itself all the way along to pure factory/farming/manufacturing/production of 'product' dogs - the awful puppy mills we usually think about. In between includes every variation you could think of, including careless or convenience breeding, backyard breeders trying to replicate a treasured family pet, dedicated hobby breeders, ego-breeders, and everything in between.

The Potomac club has a nice and comprehensive article, as well as plenty of links to pages that can help you evaluate breeders: http://www.potomacctc.org/articles.htm

Personally, I look for breeders who are in some way publicly involved in the breed - belong to one or more clubs, exhibit their dogs, and/or work their dogs in some way. These are the breeders who are trying to keep the cairn in the Cairn, and who will protect and preserve the breed.

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CRCTC: Columbia River Cairn Terrier Club 



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I imagine probably 99% of pet shop dogs are from puppy mills.

This is just my opinion and I may be wrong but.....

As far as breeders go, there are the backyard breeders who do it more as a hobby or for the money than for quality breeding. That's not to say they don't have terrific, healthy dogs however. It seems it's more of a "let's take my female Cairn and your male Cairn and have puppies" senerio. And I suppose if they are both healthy and the female is of age and has not been overbred, there shouldn't be anything wrong with getting one of those dogs.

The best breeders will ask you a ton of questions about your lifestyle, your family, reasons for wanting the breed, how will he/she be raised, are you familiar with the breed....questions that mean this breeder wants the best for every pup they sell. Sometimes it may sound like they don't want to sell their litter.....they can be extremely fussy about who gets their puppies. The breeder will want the pup back if for some reason you can't keep it and will want to know if you encounter any serious problems with their pup. They strive to breed dogs with superior temperments and no genetic problems. Many reputable breeders will want a neutering clause in the purchasing agreement. They also keep excellent records in regard to breeding, registrations, pedigrees and so on.

I wouldn't worry about what other people say. You mention you'd go back to the breeder again for another pup...that should tell you something right there. Enjoy your little girl!

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Pet shop dogs are almost always a result of a breeder looking for an easy way to make money.

I agree with Bradl, as always. A breeder who goes beyond just the call of breeding a Cairn is someone who is involved in other ways with the breed. My breeder is stricltly a breeder of Cairns, with some agility training mixed in.

Also, I can't imagine how a breeder could devote time to more than one breed. And frankly, when I was looking for a pup, and breeder that told me they bred more than one breed, I quickly ended the conversation. You can sense the minute you go to their house if they are in for the dog or the $$. You can tell by the personality if they really care about improving the breed and not just making a buck. I mean they deserve to make some money no doubt, you can't exist without a profit in business. But there has be a healthy balance of devotion to the breed, and business sense.

Some people look at buying a dog from a petshop as rescuing the animal, and I guess in a sense it is. But usually you are doing more long-term harm for the breed than good. A good breeder will spend time, and stay with you for the life of the dog. No pet shop/puppy mill can do this. I wish they would all just go out of business and leave it to the good people.

But if you love your dog, that is all that matters now. Give him'her a good life and all the rest should be incidental.

“In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn't merely try to train him to be semi-human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog.”


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