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Choosing A Breeder

First you must decide what type of puppy you want. PWDs come in multiple colors and markings and two coat types curly and wavy. Do you want a male or female? What activities do you want to pursue with your puppy? How flexible are you about the type of puppy you want? If you want a specific color, coat type and sex be prepared to wait for that puppy as it may take several litters to produce that particular combination. Remember most quality breeders will have presold a number of dogs in each litter based on reservations placed before the breeding. Once you have done your basic research about the breed and decided what type of puppy you want, the next and most important step is choosing a breeder.

What type of breeder should you choose? Our unequivocal recommendation would be a reputable hobby breeder who breeds one or two litters per year. This type of breeder typically is very concerned about the breed and has planned this litter for months sometimes years. The parents will have had full genetic evaluation and will have been appropriately matched for structure and temperament. The puppies produced by a hobby breeder will be raised in a home environment and will have had excellent nutritional and veterinary care. The puppies will have been socialized and evaluated prior to placement. You should not buy your puppy from a pet shop or a large commercial kennel breeder and never buy sight unseen via the internet.

How can you recognize a reputable breeder? The answers to the following eight questions will help you recognize this type of breeder:
•Does the breeder belong to the national breed club the Portuguese Water Dog Club of America (PWDCA) or at least a regional club such as the Portuguese Water Dog Club of Northern California (PWDCNC)? Both these clubs have strict code of ethics for their members and investigate complaints against their members. These clubs have significant requirements for membership particularly the PWDCA and membership demonstrates commitment to the PWD.
•Does the breeder show dogs in conformation to allow judges to assess the kennel's breeding stock? The show ring provides testing and validation of breeding program and demonstrates that a breeder's dogs match the breed standard. Multiple generations of champions produced from that breeder's kennel indicate that the breeder has a consistent breeding plan. Breeders who have achieve a reputation over many years in the show ring will not risk that hard won reputation by being dishonest in dealing with you.
•Does the breeder supply you with the health testing (OFA, CERF, GM1 and Optigen prcd status) done on both parents of your puppy? A responsible breeder will have this information readily available and this demonstrates their conscientious approach to producing healthy puppies.
•Does the breeder have a written contract to protect you, the puppy and the breeder? You should be allowed to review this contract well before you take your puppy home. You should specifically note if you are required to show your dog. We strongly believe that purchasers of a companion dog should not be required to show their dog. Remember most companion dogs are sold with a spay/neuter agreement in the contract.
•Does the breeder provide detailed written instructions on puppy care and training? All conscientious breeders will try to educate the puppy buyer in the best way to care for a puppy. We give all our clients detailed written information prior to and at the sale of a puppy. We are always available by phone or email to mentor our puppy buyers.
•Does the breeder allow you visit their home to see the conditions that the puppies are being raised in? A good breeder will show you the puppies and encourage you to visit and help socialize the litter several times prior to getting your puppy. We strongly encourage this interaction between prospective owners and the entire litter. We only ask that you do not become attached to one puppy as we try to match individual puppies to the most ideal home for them.
•Does the breeder allow you a reasonable interval to have your puppy examined by your own veterinarian to be sure that the puppy is healthy? A responsible breeder will allow this and provide the puppy's initial veterinary exam and inoculation record. California actually has a Puppy Lemon Law unfortunately this only applies to commercial sellers of more than 50 dogs per year and does not apply to the hobby breeder. However we always stand behind our puppies and will accept the puppy back and refund the purchase price if the puppy is found to have a significant veterinary problem.
•Does the breeder have you answer questions before you are allowed to place a deposit for a puppy? A good breeder wants to know the details of the situation that his or her puppy will be going to. Most require a face-to-face interview as well. At Dacher we feel that those who purchase our puppies are going to become a member of our family for the life of the puppy, so we try to match our puppies to the best home for each individual puppy.

Created May 2006
Modified November 30, 2011