• Guardian Rottweilers takes FIRST PLACE KENNEL at the 2013 ADRK Klubsieger in Rottweil, Germany!!

Choosing A Breeder

How do I choose the correct breeder?

Choosing a good breeder is an essential step in purchasing a new puppy, of any breed.    
          Your new puppy will be a constant companion to your family for hopefully the next decade or more of your life.  Even if you have no desire to ever breed or show, the breeding of your puppy has profound impact on the quality of life he will have, how closely he will physically resemble the breed standard in physical type, and the correct character.  Everyone knows that good breeding on a Rottweiler will produce the sought after big, blocky headpiece, heavy bone and strong, solid stature, but the breeding also affects the health and character.  Just as a dog can be bred for darker color, heavier bone, etc. he can also be bred for the calm, courageous, intelligent and affectionate temperament we associate with the breed.  When a dog of unsound mind (under-temperamented and skittish or over-temperamented and aggressive) is bred, he will surely pass these qualities onto his offspring.  
          The same is true of health.  Although no breeder can guarantee that no undesirable genetic traits will ever be passed to the puppies they produce, correct medical screenings can greatly reduce the chances.  

First, what to avoid: BACK YARD BREEDERS and PUPPY MILLS!!!

What is a Back Yard Breeder?  Is that the same as a puppy mill?  A back yard breeder,  just as it states, is a breeder that does not have the proper facility, and more importantly, does not have the proper training, education on breed type, breed health concerns, character, etc. to breed correctly.  BYB’s do not attend any training or working events with their dogs; they do not show them; and more often then not, they do not even properly care for and/or socialize them.  The line between a back yard breeder and a puppy mill can be very thin.  Some BYB’s will advertise themselves as “hobby breeders” and state this as their reason for not obtaining health clearances on their dogs or attending dog shows or even properly training and working their dogs.  However, if it were a hobby, they would be willing to spend the time and money to do it correctly and it would not just be about making a profit on the dogs.  If your hobby was woodworking, you would not buy finished products at the lowest price possible and then resell them for profit, you would work the wood!  You would learn your craft, constantly growing and improving, investing time and money into perfecting your hobby, and then, after you have put your time and effort, heart and soul into crafting a piece of furniture or art, you might then try to sell it and share your hard work and accomplishments with someone who would appreciate them.  If you simply bought finished furniture or art at Walmart and then resold it, you would be a broker or commercial seller, NOT a hobbyist!  The same applies to “hobby breeders” who buy the cheapest dogs they can find in the paper or on the internet, then breeds them without any health clearances, training, handling, showing, working, etc., and just turns the dogs into puppy factories for profit 🙁  Most puppy mills start out as BYB’s.  But they soon realize that by feeding poor quality food, skipping health clearances, etc. that they not only have a high rate of loss among their dogs and puppies, but they are not able to get as much money

for the pups and therefore decide to produce larger quantities of puppies to satisfy their greed.  Of course NONE of the money is put back into their poor dogs.  A BYB or Puppy Mill will have way too many dogs and they will all live their entire lives in cages, usually too small, sometimes even stacks of cages and do NOTHING but breed and birth then breed again.  It is a HORRIBLE, PITIFUL life for these poor dogs.  No families to love them; no games of fetch; no swimming; no chilling on the sofa to watch TV with their master.  Just short, hard, loveless lives.  There are always disease and parasite problems as the “breeder” simply cannot take proper care of what they have.  They do not put the required time and money into their dogs and sell the puppies very cheap because even if the profit margin for them is only $50, if they can sell mass quantities, they can still make their “business” profitable.  They put very little value into their breeding stock as these dogs are not family members, but rather objects and a means to an end.  These “people” have no passion for the breed; they do not seek to improve any breed deficiencies and could care less about the quality of puppy they produce.  More often than not the puppies will have life-long health issues associated with sick studs and dams,  overcrowding, unsanitary living environments

 and inherent health problems.  They often offer multiple breeds for sale so that they can broaden their “market.”  There is no need to specialize in one breed- to devote time and energy into learning about one breed and how to better it because one breed is just as good as the other as long as they can produce puppies, who really cares what breed the dog is 🙁  They will also often market “designer dogs” which are mixed breeds resulting from several breeds over-crowded in the same cage and all breeding each other.  After the pups are born, the take the best guess at the stud and then announced the “designer bred pup.”  I do not even have words to express how much I despise these horrible people and truly hope there is a special seat in a really hot place for them!!
No reputable breeder will ever sell to pet stores, mass brokers, etc.  So anytime you find puppy in a pet store or listed with any breeders.net broker, etc. where there is no contact between the breeder and future puppy parent, you can be POSITIVE that the puppy is coming from a BYB (Back Yard Breeder) or puppy mill!!  Any breeder who truly loves their dogs and is passionate about breeding will insist on an interview so that they can be sure the family that receives their puppy not only understands any concerns associated with their breed, but also to insure that the new family is worthy of one of their babies.  PLEASE DO NOT EVER PURCHASE A PUPPY FROM A BACK YARD BREEDER OR PUPPY MILL.  DO NOT PATRON A PET STORE THAT SUPPORTS PUPPY MILLS BY SELLING PUPPIES!!!  Every time you purchase a pet or supplies from a pet store that sells puppy mill puppies you are encouraging them to continue their abuse and neglect!!  Even if you do not take pity on the cruel lives these helpless dogs and puppies suffer, realize that YOU will also pay a price!!  You may save money upfront by buying a cheap puppy from the newspaper or a pet store, BUT YOU ARE SURELY paying for it later!!  When you have spent THOUSANDS of dollars and STILL NOT CORRECTED the health problems or character flaws, you will then see the value of good breeding.  I have said it many, MANY times- a well bred, quality Rottweiler is not expensive, it is PRICELESS!

PLEASE DO NOT THINK that just because the pet store “looks nice” or gives you “papers” that they mean anything!!  Even in the nicest facilities, those puppies must sit in tiny cages day and night for weeks or months at a time waiting to be adopted 🙁  No sunshine, no room to romp and play, and no one to play with.  The boredom and anxiety of this cruel existence alone is enough to cause psychological damage and potentially lifelong behavioral problems.  BUT THAT IS ONLY SCRATCHING THE SURFACE!!  The horrible places these dogs came from BEFORE they even arrived at the pet store is unimaginable!!  The pet store will make almost all of the profit on these pups as they pay very little for them.  They do not purchase them for $500 and then sell them for $550!!  If they are sold at $500, you better believe they were purchased for about 10% of that!!  not even enough money to cover vaccinations and proper food!!  And if the “breeder” is selling them for such a small price, they must sell massive quantities just to make a “profit”.   And of course, by cutting all of the corners, there are much, much, MUCH more that DIE than are ever sold!!  From a litter of 10, perhaps one or 2 make it to the stage to “sell” 🙁  And if you think that is miserable life for the puppy, can you even imagine the life for the mom who is fed “just enough” of the cheapest crap the “breeder” will purchase, she will receive very little, if any vet care, and she will never be groomed, held, played with or even loved.  She will spend her entire life churning out litter after litter of puppies, with the only love she ever receives those few brief weeks before her pups are ripped away, leaving her stuffed in a tiny, lonely cage until she is to endure being bred back to back to back and the miserable cycle continuing.


What about the papers??  All that is required for AKC papers is for the breeder to go online and click a few buttons stating that “male A” and “female B” had a litter of “x amount” of puppies born.  UNDERSTAND, THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT “male A” or “female B” ever even had puppies!!  or that the “12 puppies” that were registered as all coming from the same litter even came from the same litter!!  AKC does not need any health clearances, they do not need any proof of vaccinations or that the mom and dad are remotely healthy, of sound mind or even conformationally correct.  I bought a male years ago, before I knew better, from a breeder that I found in the local news paper.  When I tried to register him, AKC told me that it was not possible to register him because the female, who was listed as the mother, had died a few years back!!!  If you cannot see the facility where the pups are born and raised, if you cannot meet the parents, or at minimum the mom if stud service was used, and if you cannot get copies of all of the health clearances (hips, elbows, heart, DNA, etc.) then you are buying from a puppy mill!  And every one that purchases one of these puppies directly contributes to the problem by financially motivating the puppy mill to keep doing what they are


If you do not have the money to purchase from a quality breeder, PLEASE RESCUE instead of supporting puppy mills!!!

How do you choose the correct breeder?  It is a question that not only am I asked very often, but that I must answer myself every time I want to import or breed to a stud.  I am almost daily contacted by unsuspecting families that have purchased a puppy from another ‘breeder’ only to find health, behavior or conformation issues that the ‘breeder’ they purchased from is unwilling or unable to address.  I myself have learned this lesson dearly as I also have been the victim of breeders who falsified documents, cut corners, or simply refused to acknowledge any attempts at communication once money was received.
With the technology available to us, it is very easy to create a website or even print up contracts, etc.; and of course price does not unfortunately denote quality either as I have paid thousands for an unsound dog before.  Some ‘breeders’ charge big money for their puppies even though they refuse to take the proper precautions to ensure the dogs they are breeding are of sound health, sound mind and correct conformation; or to make the necessary investment in quality breeding stock; or correct prenatal and postnatal care of moms and pups.  Instead they think they can take a “shortcut”  by putting a high dollar price on a sub quality puppy.  So then, what protocol can we use?

Don’t be afraid to interview your breeder.
Any good breeder will want to interview the perspective buyers.   You have the same right to interview them.  Do not be afraid to as questions.  A good breeder will welcome an educated buyer and never have any issue answering questions about his/her dogs or breeding program.
Ask for health clearances.  The major problems that plague Rottweilers and most large breed dogs are of course hip and elbow dysplasia and heart problems.  These should be screened for in breeding dogs to help diminish the likelihood of these faults being passed onto their offspring.  DNA should also be on file for the parents.  If the dogs were imported, DNA is a must as AKC will not register any offspring on imported dogs without DNA on file.  However, even if the dog was not imported, DNA is a great tool for verifying parentage of the dogs and confirming the pedigrees.  
Ask about show or working results.  Confirmation show results will give credit to the confirmation of the dog, or physical beauty. It is the only way to get an unbiased opinion from a trained, qualified breed judge on the correct conformation of a dog.  Working events and temperament tests are also essential.   A beautiful dog that is lacking in character is simply NOT a Rottweiler- just a beautiful black and brown dog.
Ask the breeder about bloodlines and pedigree. Any breeder who does not know the bloodlines of their dog inside and out CANNOT possibly make an educated decision on breeding. There is no such thing as a genetically perfect dog or bloodline.  You must know the faults associated with the bloodlines of your dogs so that you can choose breedings that will minimize or even eliminate those issues.  
I also firmly believe that only by working with your dog will you really understand their character and potential!  The fastest way to build the strongest bond with your dog is to work or train with him/her!  And it helps us so much in deciding character for breeding pairs also.   
Ask the breeder why they are breeding.  “Because puppies are cute” or “I wanted my kids to have the experience of raising puppies” is NOT a reason to breed.  All of the animal shelters everywhere around the world are overrun with unwanted pets, if you just want to play with cute puppies, go volunteer at a shelter.  All of my kids do on a regular basis and it teaches them great perspective.
Ask the breeder why they chose the breeding pair.  What were their goals in that particular litter?   Again no reputable breeder will simply take a bitch in season and put her with whatever make is willing to mount.  We will go to great expense and travel literally around the world for a correct breeding.  Although we have exceptional males from truly the best bloodlines Germany and Europe has to offer, not every male is what every female needs- if I have a female that needs a particular male or bloodline to bring out the best that she has to offer, then I will do whatever is necessary to better the breeding and ultimately better the breed.
Ask for the qualifications of the breeder.  Do they show or handle their own dogs?  Do they have any training or experience to offer the breed?  How long have they been breeding?  How long have they been working with the breed?    
 Ask what evaluations are involved in the puppies.  Simply asking for extra money for a dog if you want ‘breeding rights’ does not mean that the dog will be of any greater quality or that it should be bred or shown.  Does the breeder actively compete with their dogs or have any experience determining the correct confirmation and character of the dogs?  How can they determine what is breed or show quality if they do not even know what the correct standard of the Rottweiler should be?  Simply saying that a puppy is without fault also does not make it a show quality puppy!  If it is lacking in type, bone, substance or character, how could it possibly benefit the bred by reproducing much less actually place in a show that judges the character or confirmation of the puppy/dog?  We will never sell something as breed/show quality that we are not willing to breed or show ourselves.  If that dog/puppy is shown, it will enter the ring with my name attached to it and it would not benefit me at all to misrepresent myself.  How are the puppies socialized?  What medical evaluations are give, and what confirmation or character evaluations are given?
Ask for IMPORT PAPERS.  Anyone can CLAIM to have a German or European Rottweiler, but if they do not have an import pedigree or export papers on the dog, it DID NOT COME DIRECTLY FROM GERMANY OR EUROPE.  For the dogs that were imported- how were they imported?  Did the breeder actually travel over to Europe, see the dogs compete, watch the movement, meet parents, siblings, etc. meet with the breeders of the dog and find out their qualifications and make an educated decision or whether or not to include this animal in their breeding program or did they simply see a photo of a dog for sale and buy it?  Or see a sale on frozen semen and order it?
Ask for contracts, read them carefully and try to ascertain how well you can count on the contract.  Anyone can put something in writing, but whether or not they will actually stand behind it is another issue.  We have had MANY breeders copy our contract in part or in whole over the years, but copying our wording is not the same as copying our breeding program.  If a breeder does not have the quality of breeding dogs, perform the necessary medical screenings, verify correct confirmation and character with evaluations and competitions, and work with and evaluate the pups correctly, how can they possibly make the guarantees that we make?  Do not be afraid to ask for references or research the breeder.  How long they have been breeding can also sometimes help.  Someone who has just started out is not necessarily a bad thing, but it may be more difficult to determine how well they will stand behind their “product.”

As I have said many times before, no matter which breed or breeder you choose to go with, please do yourself and your family a favor by taking the time to research.  As my grandma always said, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.   

Comments are closed.