I recently called about a newspaper ad in the Atlanta Journal
Constitution advertising for show quality puppies from Champion lines.
After talking to this breeder for 2 minutes I knew she did not know what a
show dog was, and was overestimating
(and overcharging for) her puppies. Being frustrated by my questions,
she hung up on me even though I had been very kind and polite. She did
not know how to answer my questions. Here
are some questions you need to ask a breeder when buying a Toy Poodle puppy.
1. What kind of guarantees do you offer with your puppy?
We at Abounding Poodles offer 2 separate Health
Guarantees with each puppy:
a. 48 hr. health guarantee - Once
you take the puppy home, please take him / her to the vet within 48 hrs.
If the puppy has any health problems, we will give your money back once the
puppy is returned.
b. 1 year guarantee against
genetic diseases - If the puppy is diagnosed by a vet to have any type of
genetic disease within that first year, we will replace the puppy with
another one of same gender, color, etc,
once the puppy is returned and appropriate documentation of the genetic
disease is provided.
2. Are the parents Optigen tested? Are
the parents current with their CERF
Our dogs are Optigen tested and unaffected (please read the very important
article about Toy Poodle Blindness).
At least one parent must be Optigen Type A for you to be sure that your
puppy will not develop PRA-prcd. All Abounding Poodles are also tested yearly for their
CERF eye exams.
3. Have the parents been checked for
Our toy poodles have normal patellars on both knees. They are
certified by OFA
(Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) when older than 1 year old.
4. What is the estimated size and weight of the puppy when full grown?
Do you have a record with the weight and height of the puppy as it is
There are so many stories of dogs advertised as Toy Poodles who grow
up to be way above the height of 10 in (to the shoulder blades). I
know someone who bought a Toy Poodle who ended up being a BIG miniature.
Our puppies are first measured the day they are born! We weight
them daily for the first week, then several times every week from then
on. We start measuring their height at 5 weeks (when they are able
to stand) old so we can have a good estimation of their size when full
grown. We can give a good estimation for the size of each puppy
that is born in our home.
5. Are the parents tested for Type I von Willebrand's Diesease (vWD)?
We have added the DNA Type I von
Willebrand's Disease (vWD) screening to our
lines done by Vetgen.
Ten percent (10%) of all Poodles are either carriers or affected with
this disease. It is characterized by the abnormally low
production of a protein found in the blood called von Willebrand's
factor which plays a key role in the complex process of clotting a
damaged blood vessel (something similar to Hemophilia). At least
one parent must be vWD CLEAR for you to be sure that your puppy will not
6. What do you provide with the purchase of a puppy?
a) Copies of the parents' health certifications are available upon
Responsible, conscientious breeders screen all breeding stock for
hereditary health problems for which we have testing available prior to
utilizing ANY dog in a breeding program and are delighted to answer any
questions about the health of the puppy's sire and dam.
However, even when the sire and dam have been tested and found free
of specific hereditary health problems, there is no iron-clad assurance
that the puppy will not develop one of these problems. (This is the
nature of biology). Buying a puppy from a breeder who tests breeding
stock considerably increases your chances of getting a healthy puppy.
b) A small bag of puppy food.
c) Vaccination Records.
d) Signed AKC papers.
e) Signed Bill of Sale.
f) Signed Health Guarantee.
g) Spay / Neuter Contract or other relevant agreement.
7. What kind of registration do you provide with a puppy?
Most pet quality puppies are sold with the AKC's limited registration
form and spay/neuter contracts. The limited registration form is a
simple way of saying that although your pet is an AKC registered
pure-bred dog, it cannot be bred. And if it is bred, the offspring
cannot be registered with the American Kennel Club. Using this form is
the breeder's way of ensuring that the puppy will not be bred and pass
along the disqualifying feature to future generations.
We must also do this to protect our dogs from puppy mills, who would
take advantage of our dogs' excellent pedigrees to breed them for money
(not quality) at the expense of the dog.
8. Are the parents in the premises or are there pictures of the
parents? Why did you choose to breed the particular sire and dam?
Many people look for a pet in a pet shop because "I'm looking for a
family pet, not a show dog." They buy a pretty puppy that doesn't meet
the breed standard in some way, and base their impressions of the breed
on an animal that may be over or under-sized, have a poor temperament or
crazy behavior patterns, or exhibit one or more physical attributes that
violate the breed standard. Often, these dogs are not spayed or
neutered, and they wind up producing puppies that are even further from
Most pet shops also charge an enormous amount of money. Pet
shops know nothing about the parents of those puppies, their hereditary
/ genetic problems, or their personalities. Their puppies for sale
also stay in a crate for many hours each day and get used to using the
bathroom where they sleep, leading for a harder case to housebreak or
A responsible breeder has information on both parents regarding
health, temperament, and genetics. We at Abounding Poodles own
either one or both parents. We do occasionally use top quality
studs who belong to other parties because of traits that we wish to
bring into our line to improve the standard of the breed. In these
cases, the studs we select meet the highest possible standards of
quality according to the AKC and Health screenings and certifications.
We can provide a picture of the stud and more information about him when
1. Are the parents champions? Why or why not?
Find out if the parents are champions. If not, what trait
disqualified them from earning the title? Is this trait
If the trait is hereditary, consider that the puppy you buy may not
exhibit the flaw but may pass that undesirable trait to their puppies.
Part of a good breeding program is to improve the breed and discourage
any undesirable traits.
2. Have you had this puppy checked by a handler or an exhibitor?
Most backyard breeders have never been to a Dog Show, and yet they
claim to know that the puppy they are selling is a "show quality" puppy.
Do they even have any knowledge of the breed standard?
(See article on the AKC Toy Poodle Breed
Standard With Pictures)
Our show quality puppies are kept, trained, and groomed accordingly.
Show puppies cannot compete in the AKC Dog Shows until they are 6 months
old. Until then we let their hair grow and watch them carefully to
see how well they fit into the Toy Poodle Breed Standard according to
the AKC. We carefully measure their height, length, leash train
them, and keep up with their weight. When they are of age,
we take them to be examined by a professional handler to have an honest
evaluation of the dog. It is only when this dog passes this
evaluation that we officially call him / her a "Show Quality" or
"Champion Quality" dog. Up until this time we call him a "Show
3. Do you offer any guarantees that the dog will be able to "finish"
(earn an AKC Champion title)?
When buying a show quality puppy, ask for a written guarantee that
this dog will be "finishable" in the show ring.
4. How old is this dog?
A toy poodle can't be a sure "Show Quality" until full grown or close
to it (around 7 or so months old). Up until then there is always
the possibility that the bite may go off or it may go over 10 inches on
5. Do you have a record with the weight and height of the puppy as it
We go by a weight / height measurement system that is a good gage to
know their size when full grown. Of course these are just
guidelines, but they are available to each new puppy owner.