Choosing a Poodle Puppy Breeder
Poodles come in three different sizes. Ranging from tall to small are the standard, the miniature, and the toy. A non-shedding coat makes this breed an excellent choice for people with allergies, but the dog will require regular grooming. The poodle’s personality is playful, loyal, sensitive, and intelligent. No wonder so many dog lovers love this breed!
Once you have decided that the poodle is the breed for you, the next step is the most fun – puppy shopping! Before you look at one adorable pup, take time and effort to find a reputable breeder. Reputable breeders strive to produce puppies with the best personality and physical qualities of the poodle. Dogs with hereditary tendencies for health problems or neurotic characteristics should never be bred!
LOCATING A BREEDER:
• Contact the American Kennel Club. Their website (www.akc.org) will list poodle breeders by locale. Understand that the AKC only registers poodles. An AKC registration is not a guarantee as to the quality of the dog. Be sure to research the breeder’s past history with poodles and be prepared to ask appropriate questions regarding the breeder’s experience and knowledge of poodles.
• Contact the Poodle Club of America, 2434 Ripplewood, Conroe, Tx 77384. Again, a list of breeders in or near your location is available. Unlike the AKC, poodle clubs tend to be more selective about breeder membership in this organization. However, do not assume that club membership alone equates to finding the best quality puppies. You will still need to spend some time and effort determining if these poodles are bred with integrity for breed qualities.
• Check local newspapers advertising poodle puppies. Be careful and thorough with selecting a breeder in this manner. Anyone can place a newspaper advertisement. See the suggestions for selecting a reputable breeder.
• Ask your veterinarian. Responsible poodle breeders will regularly visit their vet and the dogs are cared for properly.
• Ask other poodle owners. Visit dog shows, vet offices, pet stores, and dog parks and you will surely encounter poodles and their happy owners. Breed enthusiasts will gladly share experience and contact information.
SELECTING A REPUTABLE BREEDER:
Follow these guidelines before looking at one puppy! While all puppies are cute, poodle puppies are especially adorable with soft, curly coats! It will be challenging to remain objective while cuddling a little ball of fur licking your face!
• Ask to see both parents of a litter; if possible. Know, however, that some breeders either stud out their male or use an outside stud for the female they own. This can be a positive indication that there is no in-line breeding. You may be able to contact the owners of both parents, if you desire to do so.
•Inquire about genetic testing on both sire and dam. Both parents should be medically tested for PRA with an “A” for at least one parent. A “B” rating for the other parent is acceptable. Testing should also be done for eyes and hips. If you do not fully understand the ratings on the tests, ask for copies and take to your vet for advice. Dogs that do not test well may be genetically predisposed to physical problems. Although the poodles appear healthy and happy as puppies, these disorders often manifest in adulthood as allergies, hip and joint problems, or neurotic behaviors. Diagnosing and treating these problems can be a frustrating and expensive ordeal.
• Find out if the puppies are whelped and raised in home. Home-raised pups are usually socialized at an earlier age and any potential health or personality concerns can be detected and addressed.
• Ask how many times a year this particular dog is bred. Over-breeding either the male or the female is stressful and can negatively affect the puppies’ early physical and mental health.
• Request references of poodle owners who have purchased puppies from this breeder in the past and followup with checking those references. Ask about the health, personality, and longevity of the puppy. Finally, just come right out and ask if this previous customer is happy with the puppy he got from this breeder and if she would purchase another.
• Make an appointment to see the puppies. When you arrive at the breeder’s facility, pay attention to the surroundings. Is it clean and free of odor? Do the puppies and their mother appear to be healthy? Does the breeder allow you to handle the puppies? This is also an excellent opportunity to observe the nurturing qualities of the mother dog.
Breeders of poodles should do so exclusively for the love of the breed and to perpetuate the fine qualities that make this a popular dog. Expect to pay a good price for a good puppy. Often, breeders will offer “pet quality” puppies for a lesser fee. Pet quality puppies are not eligible for showing. Show quality dogs are the best of the best and very few puppies reach that standard – even from reputable breeders. Confirmation “flaws” such as a crooked tooth may keep a poodle out of the show ring, but absolutely has not adverse effect on the quality of pet this dog will make! Most breeders will be most happy to discuss with you your expectations for your new puppy.
Selecting a poodle puppy breeder is the first step to enjoying a lifetime companionship with a healthy, happy dog! Happy hunting!