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Health testing does not make the dog.


There are numerous possibilities as to why a young dog was blind. Do you know for a *fact* this was something that could have been avoided had tests been done? And which testing would that have been?


With your requirements I wish you luck. Sometimes the very finicky are the ones turned away from good breeders as it tends to be forgotten that these are live animals and nothing whatsoever is ever perfect.


Good luck in your quest!

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More important than ability? Would a carrier be acceptable, or a CEA grade one affected? What about OFA good vs excellent? Or a carrier of any genetic testable disease? And what about the lack of testing for EOD?


I'm not implying anything about your ability as an owner. However, my experience has been potential buyers that are that detailed will generally find fault with the breeder should something go wrong. I love my puppy buyers and they're a perfect fit but I just don't want to be married to them

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If health testing is non-negotiable then start there and include only breeders who register ABCA. Dismiss any breeder who doesn't do (or won't do on request) all the testing you wish to see. As for the rest of your list,


3. I had friends with children come over and play with pups because I have no children of my own. That said, I have friends and neighbors who believe in100 people in 100 days and all that stuff, and I don't think that's necessary and haven't done it with my current pup (I live on a farm and just don't get out that much). A temperamentally stable pup will adjust to new situations (including new surfaces, new people, new noises, etc.) just fine. I've never had any problems teaching any pup I bought to leave cats, chickens, etc., alone, whether they'd experienced those things before coming to me or not.


4. This may be unrealistic, and I don't think it's a plus to have dam and sire on site. Some breeders use their own sire, but many use outside studs. My most recent pup came from a bitch who was imported in whelp. The sire is still in Ireland, and the bitch is located all the way across the country. It was a lovely breeding from a working dog standpoint, and whether mom and dad are together at the owner's site wasn't important to me. I think that a breeder who uses only their on-site stud is compromising on other qualities that should be considered when considering a breeding cross. If the breeder has three bitches and one stud, I would find it hard to believe that the one stud is the BEST match for all three bitches (generally). Breeding is supposed to be about trying to create pups that exhibit the best qualities of each parent (and all the dogs behind them) and using the one dog to complement the other. (This is from a working stockdog POV, and I realize that's not what you're looking for, but I think all breeders should strive to produce better than what they've got.) On the basis of those thoughts, I'd actually like to see a breeder find a mate that has the qualities that will give the best chance of creating better, no matter where that mate may reside. Again, in the working stockdog world, we often see dogs at trials. on farms, live streaming, etc., so can get a good idea about the dog. We can network and find out about things like temperament, health issues (some), and so on. In that regard, it's not necessary for the dog to be on site to be seen on the day the pup is picked.


5. Positive training: Of the parents? Of the puppies? I can't imagine there's a lot of training going on with pups until they go to their new homes, and I would be willing to bet that even those of us who use a mix of techniques are using mostly positive reinforcement with little pups. Again from a stockdog perspective, pups and adults need to understand corrections. The best way to know if a breeder fits your criteria in this regard is to get to know the person, long before you ever get a pup from them, so that you know their philosophies and training techniques. Honestly, this criterion wouldn't even cross my mind. I kind of come from the opposite side of that thought: I don't want to deal with anyone I know to be cruel (or who tends toward cruelty--my opinion of cruelty) to their dogs. But if they use positive reinforcement *and* positive punishment, that's not a deal breaker--so much of the training a pup will undergo is going to happen with you (7-8 weeks with the breeder vs. 15-16 years, less those first 7-8 weeks, with you) that I can't believe any non-positive training in the 3-4 weeks they have their eyes open and are mobile will have a lasting adverse effect.


With respect to testing, I've gotten just one pup who had the full spectrum of genetic tests. That information was great to have, but it didn't predict his noise sensitivity or some of the temperament things that I find annoying. I have bred two litters, and I produced epilepsy in one of the litters (despite being very careful, or so I thought, about checking out anything I could find on the lines I was crossing). From my POV, there are genetic issues that can't be tested for that are MUCH MORE critical (and heartbreaking) than what can be tested for. Some breeders will do all the testing required by buyers, and now that genetic testing companies bundle their tests, even problems that might be vanishingly small can be tested for. But we still can't test for epilepsy or early onset adult deafness. And hip status doesn't always predict that status for the offspring (although it may stack things in the pups' favor). So I'm flexible on testing, but, again, if that's non-negotiable for you, it's an easy way to narrow your list of potential breeders.


I would also take issue with you blaming a "good" breeder for a blind puppy. Surely there's a "rest of the story" there. Genetics are tricky, and I think most potential puppy buyers would do well to recognize that no matter how much testing is done of parents and other relatives, sh!t can still happen, through no fault of the breeder. I'm not saying you shouldn't try to stack the genetic cards in your favor, but please don't be quick to blame the breeder if somehow you still end up with a pup with a genetic problem.



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  • 2 weeks later...

Aviary-I don't know if you're still here and I'm not seeking to argue at all. I've been involved in producing one litter-I have the sire--both dam and sire passed relevant health tests, have solid temperaments and are both good working dogs (both have been reasonably competitive in Open trials and both are used for small operation farm chores regularly). The dam had one prior litter and the pups were all decent working dogs as well with good temperaments (though quirky as border collies can be).


There were several unpredictable health issues with the litter of pups and all have subsequently been reproductively altered, though all those in homes with livestock are good workers. Just to say as above with Julie's point about having produced epilepsy--sometimes the genetic mix just doesn't work that well and it's hard to predict that.


Kay Stephens in Texas is probably someone you would find fits most of your criteria pretty well (I don't think she necessarily has dam and sire on site) and she is a very knowledgeable person. She is currently looking to place two year-ish aged pups who look lovely of you are interested in that kind of opportunity. If you are looking for 2018, she's definitely someone I believe would be worth contacting to get a feel for whether she meets what you are looking for in a breeder.

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