The Breed

Why choosing the right breeder is so important!

When you buy a puppy you are also buying the breeder. You are going to have this dog for the next 12 or so years and should expect a breeder to be there with help and support in the future. Choosing a good breeder is the most important part of finding the right dog to share your life with.
Although beautiful, they are not for everyone, so do your research. Also consider adopting an older dog from RRCUS Rescue ~ they can make just as fulfilling a companion while skipping all the puppy antics like housebreaking, some training, the hyper nature of most pups and the need to be home at least once during the day to care for a puppy. I expect my puppies to go to homes who will make a lifetime commitment to this dog. It should be a member of their family – not just a temporary form of entertainment for as long as it is a cute puppy. I want them to live in the house and be loved by a family for their whole life and if something should happen that prevents you from keeping the dog – I want it back. I also expect all pet puppies to be spayed or neutered. In return, I’ll be there to help with any problems you may have with the dog; health, behavior, temperament or training issues. This breed is my hobby – not my living – and I want it to be a fulfilling experience for all of us.

Tips on finding an Ethical Breeder

There are a variety of places you can look for a breeder; ethical breeders do not sell puppies in pet shops. Nor will they sell a pup without first determining if the home is suitable and will properly care for a puppy. Ridgebacks aren’t for everyone and a good breeder will ask lots of questions before deciding if one will be right for you. If you want to buy a puppy with no strings attached, chances are the “no strings” policy will work both ways. There are always large breeders who operate with questionable ethics, but put on a great front, so ask around.

Many puppy buyers look to national or regional breed clubs or AKC for referrals to breeders and this is a good place to start but it is only the beginning. Just because someone is listed in a club directory or with AKC does not automatically make them ethical or caring breeders. You need to do a bit more research to ensure you are buying a healthy puppy with a good temperament from a breeder who will stand behind it.

You may also be interested in providing a loving permanent home for a rescue dog, which are usually adults who need a new home for some reason, please go see The Rhodesian Ridgeback Club of the Unites States Rescue Homepage for information on adopting a Rescue Ridgeback.

You must remember too – that mother nature has a bit to say about when puppies are available! A puppy should never be an impulse purchase – so start looking early, choose a breeder you like and trust, then wait for the right puppy for you. Most ethical breeders have waiting lists and don’t have puppies all the time – so be patient. The local paper isn’t the greatest place to start, it isn’t usually needed when you have a waiting list. If you see an ad in paper take that extra step and check out a 4 generation pedigree with all health tests available such as OFA hips. If they are issued a number they have passed their hips. If there is no number, the hips were not done.

Some things to look for in choosing an Ethical Breeder
Here are some guidelines to follow:

  1. Go to the breeders house or kennel and ask to see the dogs and how they live, go inside the house and kennel, ask to see their contract and health tests in writing. Ask to see at least one of the parents to evaluate their temperament. Most breeders who care for their dogs with pride will let you inside their kennel and home. Look, listen and learn. Do you care if your puppy comes from a home raised environment? How many dogs do they have on the premises? Do they live in the house or in a kennel? If kennel dogs do they all have clean indoor/outdoor runs large enough for adequate exercise? If there is a large number of dogs is there full time kennel help? Do they do any activities with the dogs such as showing, lure coursing, obedience? Are the sire and dam champions? The answers to these type of questions and your personal observations while visiting will tell you volumes about what kind of breeder you’re dealing with.
  2. Go to shows or other events; such as agility, lure coursing, obedience to see dogs that consistently place AND have good temperaments.
  3. Check references – ask around and talk to other people who have bought dogs from the breeder and see what their experience has been. Or you can try contacting the local or national breed club and ask if there is any history of complaints against a particular breeder. Just remember they may not give you an answer in our litigious society, so ask breeders and past buyers.
  4. Is the breeder in good standing with both the local and national breed clubs? This isn’t an automatic seal of approval but you can often start by asking a breed club for a list of breeders.
  5. Ask other breeders, although they can be biased they won’t usually tell you negative things about other breeders unless they’re are serious ethics questions with the breeder your inquiring about.
  6. Expect to see results of genetic screening like thyroid tests, OFA hip and elbow results and any other testing a breeder has done, prior to making a commitment for a puppy. You can go to the to look up most health test results like hips, elbows, thyroid, cerf and DM at the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals website.
  7. What health guarantees come with the dog? Sad to say, these days if it’s not in writing there’s no guarantee. Your puppy should also come with a health certificate from a licensed Veterinarian, a history of shots and worming and any special care items that may apply. Most breeders also use contracts to ensure that a pet quality dog is spayed or neutered and these often include a health guarantee spelling out how they will handle any problems.

Doing your homework in finding an honest, ethical breeder will pay off in the long run for you and your new puppy. The alternatives can be devastating, no support, initial deposits not returned if a pup isn’t available, sick puppies and numerous health issues.