Responsible Breeders vs. Backyard Breeders

Because of the increasing number of homeless GSDs waiting to be adopted, German Shepherd Resource and Rescue Center, Inc. strongly supports adopting GSD from a rescue like ours, a shelter or other animal welfare organization over purchasing a pup from a breeder.

That being said, we do not oppose dog breeding when it is done responsibly, the dogs are well cared for and the breeder maintains lifetime responsibility for all the animals s/he has bred.

Our friends at Pit Bull Rescue Central ( have brought to our attention this informative comparison of Responsible Breeders vs. Backyard Breeders written by Victoria Rose. If you are considering the purchase of a GSD pup from a breeder, please take the time to read this comparison before making the purchase. We guarantee it will be time well spent.


Traits of Responsible Breeders

Traits of Backyard

"Into" Dogs (shows, training, clubs, etc.)

Not "into" dogs (has "pets" around the house)

Belongs to dog clubs and organizations

Is not involved in the "dog world"

Proves quality of dogs and suitability for breeding by competing for titles and certificates in conformation, obedience, agility, field trialing, Schutzhund, herding, tracking, earthdog trials, etc.

Quality of dogs is almost always substandard, however, he does not test his dogs in shows or trials (Dogs are just pets or "breeding machines")

Pups' pedigrees are filled with dogs who have obtained show titles/working certificates; never breeds dogs without "papers"

Pedigrees mostly a list of pets bred by backyard breeders; pups may not even have "papers"; may be mongrels (Cockapoos, etc.)

Supports rescue groups; knows his actions inevitably play some part in pet overpopulation and euthanasia (one of every four dogs in shelters is purebred). Even with all his efforts to stem over- population, he knows "cracks" will lead to canine deaths

Honestly believes that because he places/sells all his pups, he does not contribute in any way to the needless slaughter of millions of dogs per year in shelters (Does not see his role in his pups making pups and them making more pups and so on)

Knowledgeable in every facet of breed, including that of health issues/defects; researches genetics when choosing mates

Not particularly educated about breed, often not aware of his own breed's genetic defects; does not consider mate's genetics

Knowledgeable about house breaking, training, socializing, breeding, health; constantly reads dog-related materials

Has own ideas which may not coincide with professionals' opinions; won't bother to read any of the hundreds of dog books available

Can and will help and educate puppy buyers re these issues

Says "Goodbye" and "Good luck"

Willing to give you his references

Has no references

Knows his puppies' ancestry

Knows nothing about the other dogs on puppies' pedigrees

Follows up on puppies' well-being; collects health information affecting his dogs

Does not concern himself with the puppies' well-being or how puppies' health affects his breeding "plan"

Breeds to improve his own dogs, his bloodlines and the breed

Breeds just to breed or make money or see his "great dog" procreate

Rarely breeds as he does not use dog breeding as a business and strives for quality, not quantity

Breeds regularly if for money or if puppy mill; if for ego, breeds once in awhile, or "just once" before neutering or spaying

Rarely repeats a breeding

Often repeats breedings, mainly those that are cheap and convenient

Breeds only dogs which meet breed standard

Dogs used for breeding rarely meet breed standard

Breeds only dogs with stable temperaments

Breeds shy/aggressive dogs with poor temperaments

Breeds only dogs over 2 years old, and a limited number of times

Breeds dogs at almost any age, and any number of times

Mate choice could be anywhere in the country (almost never breeds his own males to his own females)

Mate choice is that which is convenient, cheap, local (very often owns both sire and dam)

Does all genetic testing and will provide proof; does not breed animals with genetic defects or which are carriers of defects

Does no genetic testing; ignorantly breeds defective animals or those which are carriers, thus, perpetuating disease in breed

Puppies are sold from waiting list created before breeding even takes place

Puppies are sold after birth in the local newspaper, first-come, first-served

Pet-quality pups generally cost $500-600+ (show-quality costs more)

All pups are pet-quality and are relatively cheap, usually $200-$400

Puppies are sold with health guarantees

Puppies are sold with no guarantee

Puppies are sold with contracts

No contracts; does not care what you do with puppies

Requires pups back if new homes don't work out

Says "Find them good homes"

Dogs on property are friendly, socialized, trained

Dogs on property may be aggressive or shy, and untrained

Does not own more dogs than he has room, time or money for; Dogs are groomed, exercised, healthy, happy

Puppy mills are overloaded, "warehoused" dogs are not groomed or exercised, don't look healthy or happy

Will show you pups' parents if available, or if not, will have pictures

Might have to "lock up" pups' aggressive or shy parents (dogs that should never have been bred)

Raises puppies indoors

Raises puppies outdoors

Stays home to care for puppies

Dam and pups are alone for long hours

Feeds only premium dog food

Feeds cheap, grocery store dog food (containing 4D meat/chemicals)

Visitors remove shoes and wash hands to prevent spread of parvovirus

Has no understanding and takes no precautions to prevent puppy-killer disease

Keeps pups with mom and litter a minimum of 49 days to ensure sibling socialization and important lessons from pups' mother

Doesn't know leaving litter earlier can cause lifelong temperament problems or staying too long can hurt bonding with humans

Socializes pups by systematically handling them and exposing them to various noises, children and other animals before sending them to new homes

Does not understand or want to be troubled with any kind of training; just tries to keep puppies quiet and contained until sold

Tests pups to match their temperaments and drives with buyers' personalities and lifestyles

Knows nothing about puppy-testing or matching puppies with buyers; allows buyers to pick the "cutest" one

Can honestly evaluate pups' quality

Says all pups are high quality

Never sells to "impulse" buyers

Is not concerned about buyers being prepared for pups

Never sells two pups at the same time to a novice

Would consider this killing two birds with one sale

Interviews prospective buyers, checks home and references, refuses to sell to substandard homes

Sells first-come, first-served to whomever has the cash; does not find out which homes are substandard

Wants to meet whole family; won't sell if children are abusive

Does not consider anything past obtaining the funds

Sells only to buyers with disposable income (AKC reports it costs $1327 per year to properly care for a dog)

Is not concerned whether or not buyers can afford to properly care for pups

Waits for buyers who offer lifelong homes (Knows that only 30 percent of all dogs stay in one home throughout their lives)

Does not reject high-risk buyers: (renters, young people, those with poor track records, low income, other pets, dogs kept outdoors)

Understands dogs are "pack" animals; sells pets only to buyers wanting to make pup an indoor dog and part of the family

Doesn't care if pups live as outdoor dogs or chained dogs, being unhappy or anxious being isolated and separated from "packs"

Sells only to buyers who make pup's safety a priority

Does not consider pups' best interests

Encourages or requires buyers to spay/neuter pet-quality pups

Encourages buyers to breed, regardless of quality

Encourages buyers to train pups; refers to good trainer

Shows no concern for pups after sale; knows no trainers

Makes sure buyers understand pup's considerable need for time, attention, exercise and training

Does not provide even his own dogs with enough time, attention, exercise or training

Responsible Breeders Improve the Breed

Backyard Breeders  Damage the Breed

Copyright © 1999 Victoria Rose, PO Box 4816, Auburn, CA 95604;

Proud mom of the beautiful Dobermann Calidancer V Teraden, CD, OA, AD, OAC, OGC, NJC, RS-N, GS-N, JS-N, CGC (As a pup she cost $900. She is trained in obedience, agility, personal protection, wheelchair assistance and tricks...And she is spayed.)

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