Friday, October 29, 2010

Searching for a Poodle puppy?

It is rare to find Poodle puppies coming into rescue organizations or animal shelters, so most likely if you have your heart set on a puppy, you will be purchasing a dog from a breeder.
A link at the bottom of this post contains a list of Poodle breeders for your reference.  We do not know these breeders personally, so it is very important to ask the right questions when you make contact with the breeder. An ethical breeder will have a lot of questions for you as well, because they want their dogs placed only into homes with purchasers that are well-matched for them.

If you are considering becoming a breeder, please make  that the breeder breeds  only dogs that have had all genetic  health clearances  recommended for that variety of Poodles (Toy, Miniature of Standard) by the Poodle Club of America. Also, ask for a written contract and make sure you understand exactly what the breeder will offer you if your dog does develop a hereditary health issue.  Will they offer you a replacement puppy at no charge or at a reduced price?   If yes, will you be allowed to keep the original dog or would they expect it to be returned to them?  No one wants to return a beloved canine companion to the breeder a year after they have purchased it, so make sure if a replacement is offered, that you will still have the option of keeping your original pet.  Of course all companion Poodles should be spayed or neutered, so the contract you sign with the breeder will also be likely to specify a date by which you should have this done.

When purchasing a Poodle puppy as a companion, make sure that good health and good temperament are your priorities.  All Poodles are pretty, so don't choose your puppy based on the colors a breeder might have, choose based on the soundness of that breeder's breeding stock. It is human nature to be drawn to certain colors of dogs, so I am not saying give up the desire of your heart, just don’t agree to buying a certain pup too quickly simply because of color. Wait until you can have an apricot colored puppy who comes from an ethical breeder. 

Health screening tests have been developed to help Poodle breeders screen for certain problems in hopes of eradicating genetic diseases.  
Here are some of the health issues commonly encountered in Poodles:
Addison's Disease, Atrial Septal Defect (ASD), Gastric Torsion (Bloat), Cushings Disease, Epilepsy, Hip Dysplasia, Hypothyroidism, Legg-Calve-Perthes, Neonatal Encephalopathy, Patellar Luxation, PRA, Optic Nerve Hypoplasia, Juvenile Cataracts, Sebaceous Adentis (SA) and Von Willebrand's Disease (vWD).

So get ready to do your research, and have fun looking for that new curly addition to your family!  Here are a few places to start you on your search:
Poodle Club of America Breeder Referral:
Mutli-Colored Poodle Club of America:

But in regards to ethics, a breeder does NOT have to be a member of PCA or MCPCA to be ethical!  Some people simply don’t enjoy being members of organizations, plus, all dog people (people who have been “in dogs” for a number of years) can tell you stories about people who were even board members of national breed clubs, who in their dealings with unethical.

This article is primarily to give you an idea about health problems, so you can ask the right questions when you call a breeder. Expect that they will ask you a good many questions as well, because ethical breeders want to make sure their dogs go to good homes.

Last but certainly not least, ask how the puppies are being kept. Ethical breeders may have any number of set-ups, from an exercise-pen with potty pads down in the bedroom or kitchen, to indoor/outdoor runs in a fancy kennel building, to a stall in a stable. Sadly, so can unethical breeders and puppy millers!  Ask how many dogs they keep, and if they keep more than a dozen or so, ask if they have kennel help.  Ask if you can come visit, even if you live so far away that you know you will need to buy a puppy and have it shipped to you---because if the breeder never allows anyone to visit, they may have something to hide.

Most of the tips are simple common sense. But…Poodles and Poodles mixes are both so endearing, especially as fluffy puppies, that sometimes we allow our heart to rule instead of our head!!  So before you take that leap, read back over this article and sit on things a day or two. If you are a praying person, pray about it.  If not, at least think about it in your quiet moments.
Best wishes for a long and happy life with your new pup! 

Thank you, Rick Miles, for use of photograph, and to Melanie Schlaginhaufen, who wrote the original version of this article.

1 comment:

  1. Arlene Mills of Crabapple Downs Poodles in Colebrook , NH is a wonderful breeder. I got my Sunny from her six years ago!