Ethical Breeders



When looking to purchase a dog of any breed, it is imperative that you do so from an ethical breeder. I was very fortunate to have found such a breeder when I got my first poodle, Windair's Teddy Bear. Over the years, I have become very close friends with Maureen Smetzer, owner of Windair Toy Poodles. When I sadly had to put down my Sonny (not a Windair poodle) at the still very young age of not quite 7 years, Maureen knew the anguish and sadness I felt at the loss. She so generously presented me with the gift of a beautiful little white toy poodle female named Soleil, to try to help heal some of the hurt. Maureen is the type of caring and ethical breeder that everyone hopes to find.

Here we are at a dog show.

Getting your dog from a responsible, ethical breeder can mean the difference between joy and heartache, between getting a dog that is a dream and one that might turn your life into an expensive and emotionally draining nightmare.

Due to recessive genes and unpredictable congenital defects, even a caring, responsible breeder might, at some point, have a puppy that develops health issues. But it is how the breeder reacts to the problem that truly separates the ethical breeders from those who are not. Sadly, you may not find out if the breeder is ethical or not until after a problem arises. Just because a breeder states on their website that they take all precautions to make sure undesireable genetic traits are not passed on does not necessarily mean that it won't happen or that they are actually really removing suspect dogs from their breeding program. Sadly, some breeders will refuse to see that there really is a problem and even more sadly there are probably some very unethical ones who just don't care.

The following quote is from the website

This is an excellent source of information for what to look for in an ethical breeder.

"Just because someone has a reputation for winning lots of shows, and having beautiful winning dogs does not make them a responsible breeder. A responsible breeder is judged by their care and concern for their dogs and dogs in general as demonstrated by their breeding decisions."

Another good article can be found on the AKC website. It is about Kennel Blindness.

http://www.akc. org/enewsletter/ akc_breeder/ 2006/march/ kennel.cfm

"Found in many purebred dog kennels, kennel blindness is a “disease” that results in breeders’ inability or refusal to admit to the failings in their own lines of dogs, whether they relate to conformation traits described in the AKC breed standards, behavior or genetic disease. Kennel-blind breeders are given to justifying the dogs they breed by developing warped and unrealistic interpretations of their breed’s standard, said Ann Seranne in her book, The Joy of Breeding Your Own Show Dog."

Ethical Breeders will continue to educate themselves regarding genetic diseases pertinent to the breed, including, but not limited to various dysplasias; eye diseases and malformations including atresia of nasolacrimal puncta (incomplete tear ducts), Distichiasis, and Entropian ; seizure disorders; allergies; heart disorders; patellar luxation; and other degenerative joint conditions. And they will continue to educate themselves regarding information available as to their modes of inheritance.

An ethical breeder will do all that they can to try to breed dogs that are a source of happiness and not of sorrow. An ethical breeder will not breed a dog that may pass on serious genetic diseases. Even though a dog may be healthy, it may still be a carrier of serious genetic conditions that can be passed on to the puppies.

An ethical breeder WANTS to know if a dog of her/his breeding has developed any serious health issues so that they can take steps to remove any possible carriers of that problem from their breeding program. No breeder wants to have have serious health issues in their lines. An ethical breeder wants to know about these issues. An unethical breeder will do all they can to try to hide or deny that the issues exist.

Remember, when you buy a dog from a breeder, you are also buying that breeder, too, someone who should be willing to be a valuable resource and a mentor for you for the life of the dog.

this last paragraph is from the Westminster Kennel Club website




Regarding the lawsuit filed by Hildegard Patton against Carol Kay

Carol Kay and Hildegard Patton have agreed to settle the litigation between them involving several posting and emails on Internet sites maintained by each of them concerning two poodle dogs once acquired by Kay from Patton. Carol, for her part, hereby issues a statement apologizing to Ms. Patton, if the medical information posted on her website concerning the health and medical conditions of the dogs has been construed or interpreted by any readers to impugn the integrity of Hildegard Patton, the name “Gold Star Toy Poodles,” Gold Star Poodles, or of her poodle breeding practices and the quality of her poodles in any way. Ms. Kay’s only intentions were to provide information to assist others in obtaining further knowledge and understanding of canine health.

Hildegard hereby issues a similar statement apologizing to Ms. Kay for statements she posted regarding Ms. Kay which suggested Ms. Kay’s actions in posting the medical information may be the result of any health issues relating to Ms. Kay or to any acts of Ms. Kay.

Both Carol and Hildegard affirm their mutual respect for each other, acknowledge their respective accomplishments and express appreciation that this unfortunate misunderstanding has been mutually resolved and put behind them.

The following is an excerpt from an article from the University of Pennsylvania College of Veterinary Medicine discussing the importance of genetic inheritance for ethical breeders.


Breeding practices in purebred animal populations are controlled almost entirely by the owners of the animals; random matings rarely occur in these groups. Human populations, on the other hand, exhibit primarily random mating practices, limited only in certain circumstances, such as by religious restrictions, by which genetic isolates have arisen. Animal breeders commonly use inbreeding, often euphemistically referred to as "line-breeding," to "fix" certain desirable traits in a breed. Such practices fix these traits by increasing the homozygosity of alleles at all genetic loci. Therefore, along with those alleles that produce desirable traits, some that produce undesirable traits may also appear in increased frequency and result in an increase in the number of animals exhibiting that trait. Another common practice in these populations is the widespread breeding of a few males that exhibit desirable traits, usually show champions. If such a dog or cat has a recessive allele for some undesirable trait, it can rapidly become widespread in the population, since 50% of all his offspring will potentially carry this gene. It may not be until several backcrosses or matings of the F. and future generation offspring occur that such a situation becomes apparent. By that time the gene may be widespread in the population. This is known as the "founder effect" and can have extremely deleterious effects on a breed. Therefore, when problems, such as bone dysplasias, are recognized in purebred animals, it becomes important to report them in the literature so that other veterinarians will have a frame of reference for any new cases seen. Possibly such problems in a breed can thereby be recognized early enough to help prevent widespread dissemination of the mutant gene or genes responsible for these disorders. It is also important to try to educate breeders to the widespread implications of such problems and help to minimize the long-existent practice of "hiding your mistakes."

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