Now that you have decided that an Old English Sheepdog is the breed for you, you next need to do some homework on the breeder. Finding a reputable breeder is not as easy as it sounds.
There are many unscrupulous puppy farmers out there who appear to make all the right noises when you enquire about a puppy. However, it is only when you run into problems later that you find out that they will not be there to support you. By then you will have handed over several hundred pounds and will have become very attached to your new puppy.
Puppy farmers are only in the dog breeding business for profit and for no other reason. They are not overly concerned about the health of the dogs and bitches that they keep or the puppies that they produce. Bitches are bred at every season and are used until they can produce no more. They will often breed several different breeds as opposed to a serious breeder who will concentrate on their chosen breed and possibly one other (usually a breed that is related in some way).
The bitches of puppy farmers are often in poor physical shape and extremely exhausted. These bitches very often die young and are discarded or put down once they cannot produce any more litters. You will very rarely see a bitch enjoying a peaceful retirement at a puppy farm! Most serious breeders are in the business for the love of the breed and will strive to produce strong, healthy puppies which are true to the breed and breed standard. A serious breeder will not think twice about travelling hundreds or thousands of miles to mate their bitches with the best dogs that they can find. They will also spend hundreds of pounds having all the relevant health checks done on their dogs and bitches before even considering breeding. Bitches who have finished producing their litters will be enjoying retirement in comfort.
Most serious breeders are in the business for the love of the breed and will strive to produce strong, healthy puppies which are true to the breed and breed standard. A serious breeder will not think twice about travelling hundreds or thousands of miles to mate their bitches with the best dogs that they can find. They will also spend hundreds of pounds having all the relevant health checks done on their dogs and bitches before even considering breeding. Bitches who have finished producing their litters will be enjoying retirement in comfort.
Arrange to visit your breeder when they do not have any puppies available. This will enable you to make a decision with your head and not with your heart - as we all know puppies are irresistable. This way, if you are not happy with anything you find or feel uncomfortable with the breeder you can walk away without feeling guilty.
Serious breeders will have a Kennel Name which is granted by the Kennel Club and this enables dogs heritage to be traced back to the specific breeder. For exampe, 'Hazyland' is our Kennel Name, 'Breedonhill' is the Kennel Name of Max's breeder, and 'aus dem Elbe-Urstromtal' is the Kennel Name of Phoebe's breeder. Please do not confuse a Kennel Club 'Kennel Name' with A.N. Other Boarding Kennels down the road.
Ask the breeder if they Show their dogs. For breeders this is a good way of assessing their dogs and the puppies that they are producing. They also keep in touch with other breeders so that they can keep up-to -date with new developments or just to share experiences.
As well as breeding for Show potential, breeders are mindful that most puppies will end up being family pets and will therefore ensure that these puppies are well socialised before going to their new owners. For example, they will get lots of attention and play time, they will have been introduced to a variety of different experiences and everyday sounds such as children, other family pets, the hoover, the washing machine, music from the radio, sounds from the television etc. Puppies only reared in Kennels will not have these experiences and may become very timid or frightened when exposed to these.
when visiting your breeder look for the following:-
how many different breeds are there?
are the adult dogs well fed, exercised and groomed?
where are the dogs exercised?
do the adult dogs play happily?
how does the breeder interact with the adult dogs?
are the kennels clean?
is there enough room in the kennels for the amount of dogs?
do the kennels have an area where there is shelter from inclement weather?
is there a supply of fresh, clean water?
how and where is the food stored? Is it in a clean, rodent free environment?
are the adult dogs friendly?
are there any older dogs who are enjoying retirement?
does the breeder talk enthusiastically about the breed?
does the breeder go to dog shows. if so, how well are they doing?
does the breeder seem interested in you and your home circumstances? A good breeder will ask you questions about your home, your garden, your work committments, children, other family pets, how you plan to exercise your dog, showing your dog etc
has the breeder had the adult dogs health screened?
ask to see the hip-scoring certificate
ask to see the eye test certificate (hip scores and eye tests may be recorded on the Kennel Club owner registration certificate)
is the breeder a member of the Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme - if so ask to see the certificate. This has to be renewed every year so be sure to check the expiry date on the certificate
ask the breeder how many litters he/she produces each year
ask the breeder how and where the puppies will be reared
ask the breeder about how the puppies will be socialised
ask the breeder for contacts of previous people who have bought a puppy from him/her or ask for references
A serious breeder will ensure that your puppy has been regularly wormed, has been checked by a vet and may even have been micro-chipped and had its first vaccination prior to leaving for their new home. The 'after-sales' service from a serious breeder will last the length of your dog's life, from a puppy farmer you will be lucky to get 24 hours.
You are about to choose your companion for the next 10 - 15 years - make sure you choose your breeder wisely!
Once you have chosen your breeder click below to find out more information about:
choosing your puppy