IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR A PUPPY IT CANNOT BE STRESSED ENOUGH THAT YOU MUST!!! BE SURE THE PEOPLE BREEDING THE DOGS ARE UNDERTAKING TO BE RESPONSIBLE IN THEIR BREEDING PROGRAMS!
Just because kennels or dogs are listed here does NOT mean they are responsible breeders.
Top 10 questions to ask yourself AND a breeder you are thinking of purchasing a puppy from...(note that these questions are not specific to Berger Picards, but are questions any puppy purchaser should be asking the breeder, regardless of the breed that they are interested in.)
1) Have both parents been tested for hip dysplasia, and can I see the results?
Most breeds of dogs around the world have Hip dysplasia, and the only way to counter this is to TEST the sire and dam, and not continue to breed them if they show signs of dysplasia.
NOTE: DO NOT TRUST BREEDERS WHO CLAIM THAT THEIR DOGS ARE NOT LAME AND THEREFORE NOT DYSPLASTIC, THEY MUST BE TESTED.
2) Have both parents had their eyes tested, and can I see the results?
ALL breeds of dogs have genetic eye problems in some lines, and the only way to counter this is to TEST the sire and dam, and not continue to breed them if they show signs of PRA or other eye problems. NOTE: DO NOT TRUST BREEDERS WHO CLAIM THAT THEIR DOGS CAN SEE AND THEREFORE NOT PRA POSITIVE, THEY MUST BE TESTED.
3) How old are the parents?
It takes time to evaluate a male and female and determine that they have what it takes both structurally and tempermentally to be used to produce puppies. Large breeds are ofter not fully developed until they are close to three and should be allowed to mature before being bred.
NOTE: DO NOT TRUST BREEDERS WHO BREED DOGS TOO YOUNG, AS PROBLEMS WITH THE PARENTS MAY NOT YET BE EVIDENT. BREEDING THIS YOUNG CAN BE A SIGN THAT THE BREEDER IS MORE INTERESTED IN A QUICK BUCK THEN IMPROVING THE BREED.
4) Can I meet the puppies parents?
Some lines of dogs can be prone to fearfulness, shyness, aggression. It is not a fault for herding breed to be slightly wary, but they should NOT be fearful; as soon as they have established you are not a threat to their owner they should no longer be wary of you. If you cannot spot the difference between wary and fearful, take an experienced person with you to meet the puppies parents. Much of temperament is genetic, if the parents have a temperament you like, chances are good the puppies will be okay. NOTE: DO NOT TRUST BREEDERS WHO CANNOT OR WILL NOT SHOW YOU THEIR DOGS. A GOOD BREEDER LOVES AN OPPORTUNITY TO SHOW OFF THEIR DOGS, IF THEY DO NOT MAKE THE PARENTS ACCESSIBLE FOR YOU TO MEET, LOOK ELSEWHERE FOR A PUPPY.
5) Do the sire and dam spend time in the house?
Breeders who have dogs living in the house can be much more aware of their dogs tempermental anomolies than those who relegate their dogs to a kennel in the backyard, visited only at feeding and kennel time. This is especially important for the dam as puppies who grow up in the house for the first few weekes of life become accustomed to household routines and noises before coming to your house. NOTE: DO NOT TRUST BREEDERS WHO NEVER LET THEIR DOGS IN THE HOUSE. THIS CAN BE A SIGN THAT THE BREEDER WILL NOT BE FAMILIAR ENOUGH WITH THEIR DOGS EVERYDAY HABITS THAT THEY DO NOT EVEN KNOW IF THE DOGS HAVE A FEAR OF LOUD NOISES, OR TOILET TRAINING ISSUES IN THE HOUSE...BOTH OF WHICH MAY BE PASSED ON TO PUPPIES.
6) Can I see a pegigree of the parents?
Breeders who are actually trying to improve the breed through their breeding program, will be quick to want to show you the pedigrees, and talk about the genetics they are trying to improve on and those they are trying to eliminate. When you are looking through the pedigree look for Championships, as this can denote dogs of at least no eliminating faults...longevity, how old are the ancestors, did they all die young or are some still alive ... and hip scores, many pegigrees will illustrate hip test results. Since dyslplasia has a genetic component this can be an important factor. NOTE: DO NOT TRUST BREEDERS WHO DO NOT HAVE THE PEDIGREES OR THE PARENTS, OR WILL NOT READILY DISCLOSE THEM, HOW CAN THEY BE BREEDING GOOD DOGS IF THEY DON'T KNOW THE BLOODLINES THEY ARE WORKING WITH?
7) Are the parents registered with a Kennel Club?
Breeder ethics can be monitored to some degree by membership in a National Kennel Club, or the ability to register their dogs with their National Kennel Club. NOTE: DO NOT TRUST BREEDERS WHO CANNOT SHOW YOU REGISTRATION PAPERS FOR THEIR DOGS. EVEN BREEDERS IN THE USA, WHERE THE BREED IS NOT OFFICIALLY RECOGNIZED CAN HAVE THE DOGS REGISTERED WITH OTHER KENNEL CLUBS. IN CANADA IT IS ILLEGAL TO SELL A DOG AS "PUREBRED" WITHOUT CKC REGISTRATION PAPERS.
8) What sort of contract does the breeder use?
You must pay attention to the fine print in the contract. No matter how thorough you are, there may be a problem with your puppy after it comes to you. What responsibility does the breeder maintain for their puppies...are they willing to take them back? Do they offer a money back clause or a puupy replacement? Can you choose a puppy from a different line if the problem could be genetic? How long are their genetic health issues clauses? NOTE: DO NOT TRUST BREEDERS WHO ARE NOT WILLING TO SHOW YOU A COPY OF A CONTRACT, OR WHO WANT TO OPERATE ON A HANDSHAKE. THE CONTRACT IS YOUR ASSURANCE THAT IF SOMETHING GOES WRONG, BOTH YOU AND THE BREEDER HAVE THOUGHT ABOUT HOW ISSUES SHOULD BE RESOLVED.
9) Can the breeder provide you with references?
Breeders should be able to provide you with a list of owners who have previously purchased their puppies. You will want to ask those people questions around how receptive the breeder has been to answering questions that might have arisen after the puppies went to their new home...whether the breeder was prompt in supplying registration papers ... and how the breeder responds when there is a problem with the puppy ...has the breeder been willing to replace a puppy or take a puppy back if there was a problem with its new home?
NOTE: DO NOT TRUST BREEDERS WHO CANNOT SUPPLY YOU WITH ANY NAMES OF PREVIOUS PUPPY BUYERS. YOUR BREEDER CAN BE YOUR BEST SOURCE OF INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR PUPPY AND YOUR BREED, AND THE BREEDER SHOUULD BE EAGER TO CONTINUE TO MAINTAIN CONTACT WITH PUPPY BUYERS.
10) How does the breeder choose the right puppy for you?
A good breeder will spend time learning about your lifestyle and character, so they can match up a puppy that will suit you best. This can include asking questions about where the puppy will spend time, what you are planning to do with the puppy, whether you are planning to breed etc. These answers will help them find you the perfect pup. NOTE: DO NOT TRUST BREEDERS WHO DO NOT ASK QUESTIONS. A GOOD BREEDER WILL BE MORE CONCERNED ABOUT THE HOME YOU ARE GOING TO PROVIDE THEIR PUPPY THAN ABOUT WHETHER YOU HAVE BROUGHT YOUR CHECKBOOK.