Questions To Ask a Toy Poodle Breeder

Questions To Ask a Toy Poodle Breeder

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.

For Any Toy Poodle You Purchase (Pet or Show Quality)

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 life-threatening genetic diseases - If the puppy is diagnosed by a vet to have any type of life-threatening 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?

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.

3. Have the parents been checked for patellar luxation?

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 growing?

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 use 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 develop vWD.

6. What do you provide with the purchase of a puppy?

a) Copies of the parents' health certifications are available upon request.

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 when applicable.

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 either without papers or with the AKC's limited registration (pet papers) for an extra charge. Pet quality puppies also will have 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 were bred, the offspring could not 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 any 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.

7. 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 cute puppy that doesn't meet the breed standard in many ways, then base their impressions of the breed on an animal that may have poor temperament or crazy behavior patterns, or exhibit several 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 what that pure bred dog should be..

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 paper train. Worse yet, pet stores buy their puppy inventory from inhumane puppy mills where animals are perpetually caged, sick, and live in horrible conditions. Puppy mills affect all breeders by casting a shadow of doubt on even the most reputable responsible breeders in existence.

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, various Health screenings, and certifications. We can provide a picture of the stud and more information about him when applicable.

If The Dog Is Being Sold As "Show Quality" or "Champion Quality":

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 hereditary?

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 Prospect" or a dog with "Show Potential."

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 the size.

5. Do you have a record with the weight and height of the puppy as it is growing?

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.