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Rather than categorizing breeders into categories such as puppy mill breeders, backyard breeders, and show breeders we have found it best to answer these 4 questions about the breeder before choosing a breeder.
If you can answer yes to all 4 questions below you have a much better chance of making the right choice for a breeder. We can tell you from are personal experience that by choosing a breeder based upon the fact they are a show breeder or not choosing a breeder because they fall into the backyard breeder category because they don’t show can be a major mistake. Below we will discuss the importance of each question and how it can affect your choice.
By breeding for the improvement of the breed the yorkie breeders become more knowledgeable about health issues and evaluating the quality of the Yorkshire terrier. With this knowledge and if they are ethical they can better advise their customer on the quality of the puppy they are considering to purchase.
If one studies the history of the Yorkshire terrier you can see that their look has changed over the course of their history. And it makes sense that most people are going to want the most current yorkie. This is somewhat of an exaggeration, but you should get the idea, but if you were buying a computer would you buy a computer from a company that never made improvements on their original computer or would you buy a computer from company that is constantly striving to improve their original computer?
In breeding for the improvement of the breed we’re not basing improvement solely on AKC standards. Following AKC standards is a good starting point but AKC standards are primarily for having a standard to show against and if your raising show dogs you have no choice but to breed for improvement based upon AKC standards. What the public wants may be slightly different from the AKC standard. One example is many people prefer Black/Gold coloring vs. AKC standard Blue/Gold. The AKC standard has changed over the course of its history. It was last revised April 12, 1966 and we feel that it’s the breeders that Breed for improvement based upon the AKC standard and public preference will continue to put pressure on AKC to periodically revise the AKC standard.
For instance in the late 50's a "parti" Pomeranian -Madame Butterfly won world recognition in the American Kennel Club Association as the first ever "parti" Pomeranian to win. Hence the American Kennel Club now recognizes a Parti Pomeranian. If it wasn't for this breeder breeding for public preference the parti Pomeranian would have never been recognized by AKC.
Many show breeders rely on the income they receive on the sale of puppies to support the expense of showing their dogs. When show breeders can’t support the cost of showing thru the sale of their puppies you will see the AKC standard revised. Without this balance between qualified show breeders and qualified yorkie breeders you would never see changes in the AKC standard. You would still see 15- 20 lbs. Yorkshire terriers.
This question and “Is the breeder honest, ethical, and a good business person?” are the two most important questions to be answered. If you could answer yes to these two questions for all breeders you wouldn’t see near the problems in the dog industry. Many people rely on the breeder to inform them on the quality and any health issues related to the puppy. The sad truth of the matter is that a large majority of breeders aren’t knowledgeable about health issues and evaluating the quality of a Yorkshire terrier. Quality can be defined as degree or grade of excellence. The only way to determine quality is to compare one dog to another.
This is one of the strengths of a show breeder or a yorkshire terrier breeder that attends dog shows. When the only dogs you see are your own you tend to get what we call tunnel vision. Your able to determine which of your dogs are the best of your dogs, but the best of your dogs may be poor quality when compared to other people’s dogs. A yorkie breeder needs the constant comparison of their dogs to other high quality dogs to truly determine quality.
This is going to be the hardest of the questions to get an accurate answer. I am going to give yorkshire terrier breeders the benefit of doubt that they are honest and ethical and what is many times believed to dishonest or unethical is just lack of knowledge about health issues and quality. What I have found is that many yorkshire terrier breeders are not good business persons. A breeder that is a good business person will try to balance the dogs needs, the customers needs and hers or his own needs. You want a breeder that sells their dogs on the positive value of their dogs, and on customer service, and not on the negative of another breeder. Be cautious of breeders that only will sell puppies on a spray and neuter contract or on a contract that is so restrictive. These are typically people who want to control without considering the customers needs and could be very difficult to work with. I would also be very cautious of breeders that say show breeders are the ideal people to get your puppy from and all other breeders are puppy mills or backyard breeders and not to buy from them. The odds of this type of breeder considering a customers need in my opinion wouldn’t be very great. The fact is, producing high quality dogs is more expensive than producing low quality dogs. But not every one can afford high quality dogs and shouldn’t be left with the choice of having to buy a high quality dog, which they can’t afford or buy no dog at all.
If the breeder is a good business person they should offer some sort of health guarantee and be able to back it up in a timely fashion. The being able to back up the guarantee in a timely fashion seems to be a big problem with a lot of breeders in the industry. We recommend that two clauses be put into the purchase contract. The first is that if a dog is returned do to health problem the customer has the right to a refund or a replacement dog of equal value. The second clause should be that if a dog is returned due to a health problem and the customer wants a refund, the breeder must pay the refund to the customer within 10 business days.
If you can answer yes to the first three questions but for whatever the reason don’t feel comfortable with the breeder we recommend that you keep looking for a breeder. If you can’t answer yes to the first three questions but you feel comfortable with the breeder we still recommend that you keep looking for a breeder.