If you are interested in obtaining a sheltie, you may wish to contact our Club's breeder referral chairman:
The Shetland Sheepdog Club of Southeast Florida holds no responsibility for breeder referrals. We strongly recommend that you do your own research when contacting a breeder.
Finding a breeder
Presented by the Minnesota Purebred Dog Breeders Association with thanks to the Soft-Coated Wheaton Terrier Club.
You have decided that a purebred dog is for you. What is your next move?, What steps should you take to insure that your pup meets your requirements?. Doubtless, this purchase should receive thoughtful consideration. It's no loaf of bread you're buying this little pup will be a member of your family for a decade or more.
Choosing a reputable breeder is primary to your objective. Since it is almost impossible for you to know what any of these little pups will grow into physically and emotionally, you must rely entirely upon your faith in the person from whom you are purchasing your pup. There are three options open to you in choosing this person:
The WORST Choice Possible!. Pups are poorly bred and raised. They are thought of as merchandise (the loaf of bread) to be sold for a high profit. This high profit is possible because little has been put into the care of these pups. Many are sickly. Pet shops rely heavily on impulse buying via "the doggy in the window," which is no way to choose an addition to the family.
It is an interesting fact that poor quality pups from pet shops and backyard breeders are usually sold for the same price and sometimes even more than those purchased from the serious hobby breeder.
Also, a POOR Choice. This is the person who owns a pet "purebred" and thinks it would be "fun" to have puppies or maybe that it would be a great experience for the children. Even worse, perhaps it's being done to make money. Usually this breeder knows little about grooming and care, and still less of the breed history or the AKC standard or how his dogs conform to it. Backyard breeders do not do regular examinations by veterinarians on any possible problems with their breed, nor do they x-ray hips. They are not even aware of breed problems, nor do they care. Their goal is to produce pups and when the "fun" is over, sell them quickly.
The Very BEST Choice. The serious and dedicated hobby breeder regards their dogs as just that a hobby. They do not expect a profit. When someone breeds dogs for enjoyment and for the pleasure and thrill of producing the very finest specimens possible, rather than for profit, the result is SUPERIOR. These breeders acknowledge responsibility for each and every puppy produced and stand behind every dog they have bred. Without question, your choice should be the HOBBY BREEDER.
All three of the above breeders sell puppies that are AKC registerable. Being AKC registerable is not an assurance of quality or dedication to the breed. So, the question is: How does one recognize the serious, dedicated hobby breeder?. Prepared below is criteria that you should require your breeder to meet before you consider purchasing your purebred dog. Do not be afraid to confront them with these requirements. It is your RIGHT and you can rest assured that the dedicated breeder will respond positively and with pride.
Your Breeder should:
1 Belong to a local breed club or a national all-breed club. Ideally, he or she belongs to several. However, sometimes this is impossible if there is no local breed club in the area. The reason for this requirement is that this sort of participation indicates depth of involvement. This breeder is exposed to other points of view, learns more about his breed, general dog care, modern breeding practices, and is kept up to date. He is breeding in accordance with a Code of Ethics.
2 Be involved in showing their dog(s). This means that your breeder is not breeding in a vacuum. The breeder who does not show has no idea how good his dogs really are and is deprived of the opportunity to share information and ideas with others. Showing provides the competition which encourages breeders to produce better dogs. The breeder who shows wants to prove how good his dogs are in competition and is putting his breeding program on the line. He is not relying on just a pedigree to indicate quality. Even though you do not want a show dog, you deserve a pet that is the end result of a carefully planned litter, a pup which received the same care as a potential champion. The Breeder who is known by others and has a reputation to uphold will undoubtedly be as careful and honest in selling you your pet as he is in selling his show dogs.
3 Give you a period of time which to allow you to have the pup examined by a veterinarian to determine his state of health so that both of you are assured as to its health. If a problem should arise, it can then be quickly resolved. This period of time is usually 48 to 72 hours.
4 Give you written instructions on feeding, training, care, and grooming. You should also be given the pup's health/shot records. The breeder should supply you with information where you can purchase books about the breed.
5 Be able to show you proof that their stock has been x-rayed and is clear of hip dysplasia, preferably with an OFA certification number.
6 Make it clear to you that their responsibility continues long after you have taken your puppy home indeed, until your pup has departed this earth. Many dedicated breeders will ask that the pup be returned to them or placed with new owners who meet with their approval if for any reason you are unable to continue ownership.
7 Be curious about what kind of dogs you have had in the past and what happened to them.
8 Ask questions like whether or not you have a fenced yard or if the pup will be walked on lead. They will make certain you understand all the negative aspects of owning a dog as well as the positive. Having the pup's best interests at heart, to say nothing of theirs and yours, a reputable breeder will take great pains to place his pups properly the first time around. A returned pup is a traumatic experience for all concerned and, therefore, the breeder who is always willing to accept a puppy back will want to make certain that this specific purebred dog is the breed for you.
9 Be able to show you a clean environment, well-socialized puppies and a dam with a good temperament (happy and self-assured).
10 Be willing to give your references, names of people who have purchased pups from him in the past or of others in the breed.
11 Perhaps be a bit hesitant to sell you a pup until they know more about you. A reputable breeder will not pressure you into deciding immediately and encourage you to see other litters before making your final selection.
12 Provide a written contract and/or conditions of sale.
13 Require spaying or neutering of pet-quality puppies. Breeders spend a lot of time and effort planning breeding programs designed to improve the breed. They selectively carry on their programs with only the best quality available. Pet quality puppies should be loved and enjoyed as pets. Reputable breeders don't want their dogs being used just to "make puppies" or worse yet, to have their puppies end up in "puppy mills" where they will be mass produced. Therefore, they will require that pets be spayed or neutered before being registered with the AKC.
14 If your breeder meets all the above criteria, you are in good hands. If you find yourself with a negative response to any of these, think twice and discuss the situation with someone else. Don't be impulsive! Ask questions!
Keep this in mind: You are probably going to pay for quality. Whether or not you get it is up to you.
RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE BREEDER-SELLER
The ultimate goal of the responsible breeder should be to improve the breed by producing attractive, healthy puppies with good temperaments, whether for pet or show.
Breeders should have a basic knowledge of genetics, the breed, dog breeding in general, and the specific faults and virtues of their chosen genetic lines. They should also be aware of potential health problems associated with both the breed itself and specific lines. This is to encourage improvement of the breed by using top-quality stock, along with extensive, researched knowledge.
A breeder should be discriminating in the placement of his stock. A breeder should not sell to, or aid in selling a sheltie to, any person who he or she has reason to believe will not provide proper care and environment, or who may use the dog in a fashion which is detrimental to the dog itself or the breed.
It is recommended that breeders not sell puppies under the age of eight (8) weeks and/or without proper documented immunization and health protection for their age. This is the law in the State of Florida.
Breeders should be honest and forthright in answering questions pertaining to their shelties.
Breeders should recommend future immunization and worming schedules, as well as ways to deal with various health and/or behavioral problems that might occur. Breeders should also inform new owners of any health clearances that have been performed on one or both of the parents.
The SSCSEF and the ASSA encourage all sheltie owners that breed shelties to assume responsibility for dogs produced throughout their lives rather than just until the first sale.
Breeders should maintain the best possible health, safety, cleanliness, and veterinary care for their animals, as well as proper nutrition and socialization, and should pass these recommended measures along to new owners.
All agreements should be in writing and be clearly understood by all parties.
Breeding arrangements should never be established which would encourage the pet buyer to undertake a breeding program. If a "breeder" does not have the time, facility, or desire to themselves have a litter out of a particular brood matron, that dog should not be passed to a pet buyer just to produce puppies.
Responsible breeders should require the spaying/neutering of all non-breeding animals and follow-up should be done to ensure that this aspect of the contract has been fulfilled.
A responsible breeder prohibits the sale of animals or the provision of stud services/brood matrons to commercial operations, including puppy mills, pet shops, brokers, laboratories, auctions, raffles or contest giveaways.
Motivation for breeding the Shetland Sheepdog should be the creation and improvement of the breed, rather than solely for financial gain.
Sheltie owners should encourage public education, represent the breed honestly to prospective buyers and help people make informed canine-related decisions.
Breeders should make themselves available to the purchaser after the sale has been consummated to help with education counseling, grooming and other care questions as well as solving behavioral problems.
Breeders should make available to fellow breeders any information they have that might aid in that breeder's effort to improve the breed.
SSCSEF members should be an example of leadership and outreach to encourage proper ethical behavior.
CODE OF ETHICS
Shelties used for breeding should conform as closely as possible to the breed standard.
Breeding animals should be screened and clear of discoverable genetic defects prior to breeding.
The following is a partial list of possible screening recommendations: Eyes certified normal; Hips clear; Thyroid tested; Males should be entire (monorchids and/or cryptorchids should not be used); Dogs with questionable temperaments should not be used for breeding; Dogs on medication intended to alter the dog's physical or mental condition should not be used for breeding.
AKC RULES COMPLIANCE
Complete and accurate records must be kept; and those necessary forwarded to new owners.
Breeders agree to abide by all AKC rules and regulations, whether pertaining to breeding, exhibiting, record-keeping or any aspect of purebred dog ownership.
Breeders will breed only AKC registered dogs.
Maligning of others or other's dogs is inappropriate. Good sportsmanship is appropriate at all times.
These recommendations are meant as guidelines for what the Shetland Sheepdog Club of Southeast Florida, Inc. (SSCSEF) and the American Shetland Sheepdog Association (ASSA) consider ethical dog-related practices in the areas of breeding, selling, buying, and exhibiting the Shetland sheepdog.
In general, all dog owners have a responsibility to their canine companions to provide proper care and humane treatment at all times, whether in multiple or single household. Proper care and humane treatment includes adequate and nutritious diet, clean water, adequate exercise, clean, comfortable living conditions, regular veterinary care, kind and responsive human companionship and training for appropriate behavior. Dogs should never be kept in circumstance or numbers where all these needs cannot be adequately fulfilled.