IN your backyard breeders. Huh?

Massachusetts Puppies For


Discovered these sites last week. Seems that they exist in most states for most breeds. Take a few minutes to poke around on this site and it will be obvious to an experienced breeder that this is a puppy broker and that although the insinuation is that these pups are locally bred, they do ( to their credit, I suppose) state that the pups come from an “exclusive national network of the finest” breeders and not necessarily from the state headlined.

They position themselves as knowledgeable, ethical breeders right in your backyard, but, although its easy to list Codes of Ethics, anti-puppy mill rhetoric and generally talk the talk, there is one thing they can’t do and that is to be, quite literally right in the client’s neighborhood. Visit-able, able to lend a hand, answer calls with crate training questions, eager recipients of cute photos and stories ( who else cares like Grandparents!). Providing family raised puppies, sold DIRECTLY to their new owners ( no middle men need apply).

Hmmm…knowledgeable, ethical breeders right in one’s backyard….that’s something we know something about. We just might have to redefine what the term “backyard breeder” means! Maybe we are the real “IN your backyard” breeders. Seems I know a bunch of breeders who could fill that niche for real! 

It seems that one of the primary reasons dogs end up in shelters is actually due to owner relinquishment and that pets that were paid for were less likely to be represented in shelter populations. Purebreds make up about 30% ( still more than any of us want to see) of shelter inhabitants ( Wow! You mean we aren’t single-handedly responsible?!). It also suggests that many of the relinquished pets were under a year old. What if those owners had had a breeder to call to help guide them through rough spots or, if it came to that, to offer to take the dog back? You may find perusing this study interesting.…

Given the recent awakening of the public to the value and pleasures of all things “locally grown”, it seems a perfect time for us to fully inhabit our roles as the local experts – the ideal place for puppies to be born and raised. Maybe we can be “Local Hero” dog breeders – small, sustainable, ethical and accessible to puppy seekers who choose not to adopt.

It’s all marketing, at some level. If they can do it so can we, but we have some humps to get over – not the least of which is our own virtually allergic reaction to the idea of ourselves as “pet” breeders. I don’t believe, for a minute, that we need to give up our day jobs and start pumping out puppies, but I do think, as a bona fide “national network of the finest breeders”, we can have a real positive effect by embracing the “pet” side of our work. We must not be reticent about positioning ourselves even more clearly as the right choice. Let’s brainstorm some ethically palatable ideas.

If not us, who? I think we all know who…

6 thoughts on “IN your backyard breeders. Huh?

  1. I love this new blog…I really hope we can set this one on fire! I am proud of the breed that I am involved in as a “hobby breeder”, and don’t want to feel ashamed that I breed. As far as a “pet” breeder…well…that is part of the whole thing. There are far more pet prospects in any given litter (though some may feel that they have entire litters of show/performance/breeding prospects) than anything. The majority of my time, energy and attention goes into the correct placing and assisting in the rearing of these “pets”. The “pet people” are also the source of some of the closest friendships and best homes. If that makes me a “pet breeder” than I am proud to be one! I agree wholeheartedly with where this blog is heading!!! Thank you!!!

  2. I think you’re on the right track with trying to convince people not to buy from brokers, but I don’t think local vs. non local is the way to go. There are people in every neighborhood just about breeding dogs with no health checks, no buyer screening process (other than Got dough?) and no intention of helping the buyer or taking the puppy back if it becomes a year old terror or just inconvenient later on. Just buying from someone close to you is not necessarily going to get you a quality breeder.

    • Anne, Oh I agree completely. I think it may just be one piece of helping puppy buyers to see, with their own eyes, the difference. Certainly they should continue to be educated to expect a high standard of breeding, health clearances, take back agreements, etc. Everything we already do and that the brokers are saying they do as well. I would hope that if we are easier to connect with, to visit and so on clients will be less likely to fall into the broker traps. They should not think that just because someone is local they’re reputable. It’s just one place we can demonstrate a real difference. Hopefully…

  3. At least starting local (being able to visit, etc.) in addition to health clearances and take back policies…offering open door help…may stop people from buying from the internet from a photo and empty promise. There are lots of “not so reputable” puppy mills that appear to be supportive, have clearances (most I’ve never even heard of having done!) that have websites with children playing with the puppies, and a family and nice house…anyone can build a site. People need to visit and build a relationship with a breeder…in my opinion.

    This website kills me…
    Last summer on an internship I saw a Golden-doodle come in for his after-the-airport pickup, and he was dull, uninterested, and breathing hard. I asked the man where he got the dog from, and he cited this website. I jotted it down and checked it out as soon as I got home.
    They list every breed of dog and designer breed imaginable. Now THIS is one impressive website, one that obviously lures many, many people in. Looking at the Australian Shepherds, I was blown away. $2,500 for this puppy?? That you can’t visit, can’t meet it’s parents, don’t know who bred it?
    Their contract has a separate clause for English Bulldogs, excluding things they consider ‘normal’ for the breed, such as skin allergies and cherry eye, things that responsible breeders are attempting to minimize. They also include a clause about potential litigation against the seller, and how that litigation needs to take place. Red flag?
    Their testimonial page shows celebrities with dogs supposedly purchased form this website.
    Looking into it further, I found many complaints registered through the Better Business Bureau.
    The question I had was really, where are these puppies coming from? I was under the impression that no ‘good’ breeder would sell their dog via a broker over the internet, so who is doing it?

  5. My guess is that the pups come from commercial breeders all over the country. This group is the same as the one I posted links to, just a different web site. The same pups are listed on most of their sites. I will carefully withhold judgement on other breeders ( not my purpose here), God Knows we’ve all had a pup surprise us by developing diarrhea or a sniffle after leaving our fastidious care and going into their carefully selected homes! However, I believe puppies are best raised in an environment that prepares them for life with pet owners and that those owners must have connection and support from whomever they are working with. We can do that. Puppy buyers have many choices, we are just one – but the only one, in my opinion, that can help prevent inflow to shelters. We are just not very proactive about inhabiting that role – yet.

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