Diary of our best friends on four paws

breeders

Breeders are not all the same – a few tips on getting your Berger Puppy from a reputable breeder:

Finding a good breeder means doing some homework first. Most breeders have learned to tell you what you want to hear.

If you picture a “dog breeder” as a person (whether professional or hobby breeder) who knows a lot about his breed, owns friendly and healthy dogs, and carefully plans his breedings to produce excellent puppies, you’re going to be surprised to learn how few and far between such people are.

The reality nowadays is that the vast majority of people you’re going to encounter when you start looking for Berger Picard breeders won’t fit this picture at all.
Because, quite a few “breeders” in this breed are simply people who bred two dogs together without a real plan and got some puppies which they’re then trying to trade for good money.

Puppies are NOT all the same. Even within the same breed, the puppies from one breeder are NOT the same as those from another breeder.

The knowledge and skills of the breeder – first, in how he selects the parents and second, in how he RAISES the puppies, can make a big difference in how a puppy turns out.

So – how do you recognize a reputable breeder from the rest?

To begin with, these are some very important things a breeder should be doing to produce puppies with the best chance of being stable and healthy companion dogs with good temperament:

  • The puppies should be raised inside of the breeder’s home. They should be surrounded by normal family activities.
    Puppies who are going to be family pets should be raised 100% in the house, and not in kennel buildings, garages or basements.
  • The puppies should stay with their mother and their siblings until at least 8-9 weeks old. A puppy learns critical social skills from his mother (and siblings) during his first 6-9 weeks.
    A puppy removed from his mother and siblings at 6 or 7 weeks old or earlier is very likely to end up nippy or pusyh with people or other dogs sooner or later.
  • Both parents SHOULD have been genetic health tested for problems within the breed.
    Health tests should include: hip tests, knee and elbow tests, eye tests and eventually also cardiac tests (heart).
    The breeder should be able to provide you with documentation that these tests have been done and were PASSED.
    If the breeder says that it is not necessary to do these health checks, run away from this breeder!
  • The breeder should provide you with a extended pedigree (4-6 generations) of both parents.
    So the degree on inbreeding can be determined for this litter.

Most important is being able to get a lot of information on where the parents and grandparents of the puppies are from.

Breeders that show their dogs on expos is also a good indication that they are breeding at a higher level. This proves that the dog has a structurally good confirmation and has a good temperament.
Also, a puppy from so-called “Champion lines” means nothing. To mean anything, you want that the parents and grandparents to be champions, are genetically health tested and known.
A breeder that shows his dog is NOT breeding to make money, but is usually breeding dogs that he is proud of – in theory.

What else can you do?
Visit a few dog shows to meet breeders and various Picard personalities, and go to visit several kennels by yourself! Familiarize yourself with your own eyes and get a picture of what you see, about the breeder, the structure and the dogs. Give yourself enough time, until you find “your” breeder. Be sure to be on the same “wavelength”. Ask lots of questions, anything you want to know should be answered in detail.
A “good” breeder can not be found from today to tommorrow. Similarly, do not buy the first available puppy and don’t get into haggling under any circumstances..

Some questions you can ask the breeders are:

  • Are the dogs fully integrated into family life or are they kept in a kennel?
  • Is the breeding female (bitch) in rent or/and does she belong to the breeder AND live with them?
  • How many dogs has the breeder? Also older dogs?
  • Are several breeds bred? Which ones and how many?
  • How many litters did the bitch have so far and at what intervals? Stay away from breeders that breed their females on every heat (4-6 months).
  • How many litters have been produced annually in the kennel in average in the past?
  • What is the aim of breeding for this breeder and what is particularly important for the breeder when he breeds this breed?
  • Are there any X-ray results (HD) of the parents, and at best, of the parents siblings and the ancestors?
  • Have the parents been both eye checked? Ask for PRA / RD !
  • Ask if other health tests have been done (cardiac, elbows).
  • Are there any known diseases in the line? Which ones?
  • Do the dogs have full dentition and a correct bite? No over-/underbite.
  • Are the dogs covered naturally or by artificial insemination?
  • What is the inbreeding coefficient of this litter?
  • Which show results can be presented?
  • Do dogs visit a dog school?
  • Did the dogs do any working exams?
  • Where will the puppies be born and raised?
  • How will the puppies be socialised?

When you visit the kennel, you should pay attention to these things:

  • How is the dogs temperament? Are they friendly, anxious or even aggressive?
  • How does the dog behave to his owner/the breeder and to strangers?
  • Can you touch the dogs or not?
  • Are the dogs in good condition?
  • How/where are the dogs housed?
  • Are the dogs apparently in good health?
  • Is it all clean and how does the breeder keep it with cleanliness and hygienics?
  • Are the dogs kept in appropriate conditions?
  • Do they have regular exercise and contact with their caregivers?

Keep eyes and ears open! Be alert!

You as the prospective puppy buyer have to be responsable: everything is connected with time and money – so check and choose the breeder carefully! You should be willing to take a larger spatial distance into account. A puppy purchase must ultimately be considered carefully – ideally you and your family will share your life for 12 and more years with your future Berger Picard. The puppy should be at best 8-9 weeks old, when he comes to you. A puppy should always be friendly, playful and full of vitality. The purchase price varies from country to country and from breeder to breeder (target price from 1.000,00 € – 1.500,00 Euro). We have been personally never asked to pay a deposit for a puppy. One or the other breeders require this. Decide for yourself if this is correct or not.
Life always brings surprises, which, for example will it not make possible anymore to buy the puppy for you. Clarify in advance what will happen to the deposit if you can’t take the puppy anymore or you have changed your mind. No breeder ever can sell a puppy in good conscience if you are not sure anymore.
Ask for a written sales contract, before you get the puppy and read it carefully !

A good breeder will always be there for the puppy and for you and offer advice and assistance. It is therefore important, as written above, that the interpersonal communication between puppy buyers and breeders fits.
Usually in this breed friendships arise between the buyer and the breeder, who then dure at least a dog lifetime.

Temperament and health are the alpha and omega. Then only comes the beauty and appearance, and these are purely subjective. If everything fits – breeder, kennel, and health – it’s up to you whether you like the bitch and chosen stud dog visually, if you put your name on the waiting list and you wish to apply for a puppy from this litter.

How do you choose the “right” puppy? This is another important issue.

Have fun with your puppy Picard!