Hope_-_The_Boys_6_Wks_092__Custom_Many states are trying to pass laws on how many dogs a breeder can own. Most of the legislation proposes that by reducing the number that are owned will mean better care for them.

There are a few reasons why a breeder may have more dogs during certain times. They are planning on retiring older ones and keeping some puppies or they want to introduce different bloodlines. Just because a breeder keeps a puppy, does not mean they will pass all health clearances for breeding, so most breeders keep more than one from selected litters, which increases the number of animals on the premises.

American Kennel Club (AKC) wrote in on December 17, 2009:

The American Kennel Club strongly believes that ALL dogs-not just those who are part of a breeding program deserve:

  • Sufficient food and clean water
  • Necessary veterinary care
  • Sufficient housing, including protection from the elements
  • Sufficient space to turn and stretch freely, lie down and extend his or her limbs
  • Regular exercise; and
  • Adequate rest between breeding cycles

Responsible breeders are not defined by the number of dogs kept, or whether they make a profit in selling dogs. Rather, responsible breeders are characterized by the quality of care and conditions that they provide their dogs and the quality (including health, temperament and breed type) of the puppies they produce.

Cruelty and negligence can occur regardless of the number of dogs a person has.

When I hear reports on puppy mills, they usually are about the conditions that the animals are living in, but a great focus is also given on how many dogs they have. This has caused a conclusion that if a person has a certain number of animals “they must be a puppy mill,” which is not true.

A puppy mill is a breeder that does not provide adequate housing, quality food, clean water, health care, and breeds for profit purposes only, as cheaply and economically as possible. There is no love of the breed and their well-being. They don’t care who they sell their puppies to and many of them sell to brokers, who sell to pet stores. Using my definition, means a small breeder that only has a few dogs can also be a puppy mill. I know many people call these “backyard” breeders, but really aren’t they one in the same? The only quantifying difference is the number of dogs kept.

Years ago I went to buy a Golden Retriever Puppy. There were three little girls left. They all had worms, bacteria infections on their bellies, and were just in poor shape. I bought all three of these girls. They were advertised as being raised “indoors,” which most people perceive means quality care. It does not. These puppies were being raised indoors on dirty newspaper, cheap food, and without proper vet care — in my opinion — this is a puppy mill.

All animals should be provided with love, quality food, clean water, vet care, and adequate housing — they deserve no less. Instead of focusing on quantity, focus on quality of care. Quality of care also includes how many people are interacting with the dogs and puppies. We have recently hired Melissa to help us with providing additional care for our pets. We also hire neighborhood teenagers to come by in the afternoons after school to come interact and play with the puppies.

Being a responsible breeder and anticipating retiring some of our adults within a year, we are starting to keep some puppies and recognize the need for additional support. Some breeders do not advertise they have “helpers” and some do.

It is not only important to ask questions, but ask the right questions, when looking for your new “family” member.

To keep up to date on laws and regulations on owning certain breeds and laws for breeding visit American Kennel Club AKC News.