Questions and Tips When Talking With A Dog Breeder

Have you decided to get add a dog to your family? Congratulations! You are in for one of the best experience of life. The first thing that comes to your mind is where and how to get a dog that best fit into your lifestyle, family or work. No need to panic, breeders are all over the state but the major constraint is how to identify a reputable breeder with excellent track record of producing healthy, sociable and temperamentally sound puppies. There is various way of getting a competent breeder either you contact your veterinary doctor, local breed clubs or you attend dog shows. Therefore, take your time to find the best dog breeder that suit you, make phone calls and contact numerous persons who has lived with your preferred dog breeds. A professional dog breeder can enlighten you on dog breeds beyond your imagination or the information you have gathered.

Visit and talk to several breeders, this gives you an insight, separate the unique, dedicated, and serious breeders from the unserious ones. The environment should be good and smell good. You might be wondering what are you going there to talk about, but here are few questions that you will ask;

  • Brief History and Experience of the Breeder
    This question gives you the opportunity to know how long the breeder has been breeding this particular breed and to know whether he belongs to the breed club.
  • Genetics of the Breed
    Ask for health history of the parents of this breed probably there is a typical disease associated to them. Also, ask if the parents are registered with Orthopedic Foundation of Animals (OFA) and should provide health clearance and documentations. Have the puppies had their first round of vaccination and specify?
  • The Temperament and Characteristics of the breed
    Ask the breeder for the typical characteristics of breed, what type of family situation is best for the breed, and its relationship with class of people Small children, young adult and elderly person.
  • How many litters do you raise a year?
    A breeder with either one or two litters a year will have enough time to provide quality shelter, enough care and proper handling.
  • Can I talk to your previous successful Customer?
    A good breeder will be happy to share life experiences of previous customers with you.

Features of a Good breeder

  • Puppy Hip Dysplasia PreventionA quality breeder will have comprehensive knowledge of the breed. The breeder should know virtually everything about the breed, their genetics, temperament and other relevant information.
  • Their dogs live inside. Quality breeders raise puppies that are expected to be a family dog inside with their family. Therefore, do not buy puppies that are raised in a basement, backyard or garage as your family pet.
  • Quality dog breeders participate in dog shows or competitions, they are enthusiastic lover of the breeds and they do not breed dogs just for the love of money.
  • Quality breeders provide you a contract document with specific requirements and guarantees. The breeder gives you a spay/neuter requirement forms for your pup on which you will append your signature to maintain the health of the puppy. The reputable breeder’s contract should offer a health guarantee that the puppy is free from genetic defects up to the age of 1 year old.
  • A quality breeder will invite you to their home or place of business. This gives you an opportunity to meet the parents of the puppy and observe the conditions in which the animals are kept. Note that the environment should be clean, warm, and friendly.
  • A quality breeder does not release puppies for sale until it is AT LEAST 8 weeks old.
  • Quality breeders give you his/her phone contacts, website and email. This makes the breeder accessible for prospective and present clients.


What To Avoid When Your Puppy Is Young To Prevent Hip Dysplasia

Puppy Hip Dysplasia Prevention

Experts advise that there are three main ways you can help give your puppy great hips. The first is by feeding for a suitable growth rate, the second is avoiding inappropriate exercise.

  1. Low protein diets will be the best option for young dogs at risk of hip dysplasia. This is because it contains less calcium and, in most cases, has a better balance of electrolytes than normal. There are a lot of diets available by prescription, just inquire from your veterinarian.
  2. While your dog is still a puppy, feed him well, but do not overdo it. A slimmer puppy is better because it does not need to carry around excess weight, which put strain and stress on her hips
  3. Avoid giving your dog calcium supplements. Yes, puppies need calcium, but not calcium supplements. Puppy foods already contain a lot of calcium. Calcium supplements can actually affect the normal development of bones and cartilage in large dogs.
  4. Exercise is okay as long as it is not excessive. Swimming is an excellent way to work out your dog, as it helps reduce joint tear and wear. Take your pup for a long walk as part of his regular exercise.
  5. Avoid stairs: a study has revealed that dogs that climb stairs at an early age are more likely to develop hip dysplasia. Therefore, it is wise to carry your puppy up and down the stairs. Most professionals suggest you don’t encourage or teach dogs to jump until they stop growing, and this seems to be a reasonable precaution.

In conclusion, if you have not yet bought a puppy, be sure to check the hip scores of the parents of any litter you want to look at. If possible before having a beautiful puppy sitting on your lap and looking into your eye! And once you bring your pup home, give him time to grow and mature normally. Don’t interrupt his hormones or take him jogging. There will be a long time for that later.

What Do Good Breeders Do To Help Ensure Their Puppies Are Hip Dysplasia Free?

There are two main opportunities for a certified breeder to make sure that a puppy does not have hip dysplasia. The first opportunity begins before birth. The second begins when you bring the pup home.

For this section, we will deal with what a breeder can do before the birth of a puppy to ensure the dogs do not have hip dysplasia. As a licensed breeder, make sure that all dog used for the breeding purpose is tested for hip dysplasia, especially your puppy’s father, and mother. There are no exemptions

If there is no genetic test available, you can have your dog hip x-ray, and this X-ray can be evaluated and given scores by a group of professional veterinarians. Breeders can then eliminate dogs with affected hip from their breeding programs. All good breeders have their pup hip scored through these methods; learn more about hip scoring and how to check it.

It is important to check the health test certificates of both parents of any puppy you consider breeding. Remember, Kennel club will not protect your puppy from having a parent with affected hips. Stay away from breeders who make excuses that it is not necessary to test a puppy mother because his father has been tested. This is absolutely false. Good dog breeders are aware of this condition and are doing everything possible to breed only those without any signs of hip dysplasia; regardless of the diets, they have been fed.

The Leading Causes Of Hip Dysplasia In Puppies

Mainly in large breed dogs, the beginning of hip dysplasia is usually associated with periods of rapid growth, around 3 and 9 months of age. Therefore, it is better to understand the reasons for this faster growth rate.

Feeding your dog with a high-calorie diet full of carbohydrates and artificial nutrients can worsen the tendency for hip dysplasia because rapid weight gain puts more pressure on the hips, excess weight during this period boil down to a very deteriorating change in large dogs. The excess weight greatly increases the large dog’s genetic potential for hip dysplasia.

Dogs that can eat everything they want at the time they want, otherwise known as a free-feeding also grow much faster than dogs fed limited amounts of food. This increased rate of growth during the puppy stage can cause the body to develop erratically and make the dog more vulnerable to hip dysplasia.

bull dog hip dysplasiaAlso, supplementation of some types of nutrients can reverse the important calcium/phosphorus balance in the dog body, which also contributes to the skeletal formation process. This specifically talks about calcium supplements.

A lot of professional breeders encourage new dog owners to regularly supplement their dog diet with calcium during the first year of life for the prophylactic measure. While they may mean well, this can actually create skeletal problems in your dog and produce defects in other nutrients. In this case, the risk of adding supplementation calcium is greater than the benefits.

Another factor that affects the condition is improper exercise. During the period of rapid growth, puppies should be prevented from jumping up and down (like jumping to catch the ball) and standing on their hind legs. And also running on pavement should be prevented.

Hip Dysplasia In Puppies

Dog hip dysplasia is a complex and serious problem for dogs. It results in a slight to severe paralysis of the animal due to excessive looseness between the socket joints and ball joints in the hips. The bone that formed the socket actually failed to develop enough to form a good joint. Also, the ball part of the joint may not be properly formed, causing a joint that doesn’t work properly.

Studies of hip dysplasia in dogs suggest that the problem often occurs in large breeds more seriously than small breeds. However, there may be some cases of hip dysplasia in almost all breed.

This disease is thought to have a hereditary factor. It is also alleged to have a nutritional cause, which may be serious by misconceptions about good nutritious practices. The genetic part cannot be overcome by nutritional therapy, but malnutrition can complicate matters further. A Well balanced nutrition that helps minimize genetic vulnerability may cover the genetic problem for dog breeders to maintain this trend.

Dog hip dysplasia is one of the most common skeletal diseases that affect dogs. It can occur in both female and male dogs. Though, some dog breeds tend to be more prone to this condition than others. The most commonly affected are big and giant breeds like a German shepherd, the Great Dane, Saint Bernard and Labrador retriever. Though, smaller dog breeds like Bloodhounds, Beagles, Clumber Spaniels and Brittanys can as well develop the condition.

This disorder often starts in young and physically immature pooches. It can arise as early as when the dog is about four months old. There are also cases of future onset where the condition doesn’t develop until the puppy is older. This later beginning usually occurs as the result of osteoarthritis.

OFA – Orthopedic Foundation for Animals

Orthopedic Foundation for Animals is one of the first, and longest running organizations dedicated to the advancement of canine health (particularly breeding standards, regulations, and tests). The OFA was originally founded in 1966 as a not for profit organization and has focused its research particularly on hip dysplasia but also has a strong mission statement “To improve the health and well being of companion animals through a reduction in the incidence of genetic disease.” in general.

The OFA has the largest database of confirmed dysplastic dogs and uses their information to further their pursuit to completely rid dogs from hip dysplasia. The criteria for evaluating the test results for each database were independently established by veterinary scientists from their respective specialty areas, and the standards used are generally accepted throughout the world. When the OFA first formed, an overwhelming acceptance between the veterinary community, the Golden Retriever Club of America, and the German Shepherd Dog Club of America to create an organization to set a standard for breeders and actively study the development and effects of hip dysplasia. Now, OFA is the leading force establishing controlled programs to lower the incidence of inherited disease.

Signs Of Canine Hip DysplasiaWhen it comes to hip dysplasia, OFA offers a lot of support in the prevention and diagnosis of the disease. The radiographic procedures used by OFA are that of the American Veterinary Medical Association in which the animal must be placed on its back in dorsal recumbency with the rear limbs extended and parallel to each other. The knees are rotated internally and the pelvis is symmetric. Typically, anesthesia is recommended to the point of muscle relaxation to ease the process of positioning the dog and maintaining that position during the x-ray. It is recommended not to pursue tests if your dog is pregnant due to possible increased joint laxity from hormonal variations.

During an OFA radiographic x-ray screening, three randomly assigned certified veterinary radiologists examine and rate several different anatomic areas of the hip keeping in mind the age, sex, and breed of the dog at hand:

  • Craniolateral acetabular rim
  • Cranial acetabular margin
  • Femoral head (hip ball)
  • Fovea capitus (the normal flattened area on hip ball)
  • Acetabular notch
  • Caudal acetabular rim
  • Dorsal acetabular margin
  • Junction of femoral head and neck
  • Trochanteric fossa

While observing, they are specifically looking for abnormalities or deviations in the developing hip compared to the typical alignment of the breed. The degree of fit or looseness of the hip is also very important and is the leading issue for dogs who develop symptoms of hip dysplasia later in life. The radiologist grades the hips different physical hip conformations: normal which includes excellent, good, or fair classifications, borderline or dysplastic which includes mild, moderate, or severe classifications.

Over 1 million radiographs have been examined resulting in an over 90% success rate of correctly grading the signs for developing hip dysplasia. If a dog passes with normal hips, they are given an OFA number and this information is accepted by AKC on dogs with permanent identification and is one stepper closer to having proper identification for breeding or just the knowledge that your dog is dysplasia free.