Diavolino Italian Greyhounds

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The Backyard Breeder

There's another group of dog breeders who you also need to be aware of - the Backyard Breeder.  These are also known as BYBs or Backyard Greeders.

Many good quality, smaller scale breeders worry that they might be seen as a Backyard Breeder because they don't breed very often.  That fear is unfounded, as in my opinion, a person could breed once every ten years, and if they do it right, they earn my respect.  You don't have to breed a lot to be a good breeder.

For me, I find it fairly easy to identify a BYB, yet others find it difficult.  I am often amazed at people who tell me that they got their dog from a great breeder and when they describe the breeder, they are in fact, a BYB.

Here's some things to look for when trying to determine of the breeder is a Backyard Breeder. 

Backyard breeders often own only one or two dogs.  Sometimes more, but not always.  They often own both the mom and the dad, or the father is their friend's dog, or is owned by the guy down the road who happened to own a dog of the same breed.  The parents may or may not be registered.  They seem to think that registration is a certificate of quality rather than a certificate of purebred status.  I don't know how many times I've heard that "Well, she's registered so I should breed her".  Yeah, my car is registered too but that doesn't mean it's good enough to run the Indy 500.

The most research Backyard Breeders put into the pedigrees of the mating is to ensure that they aren't brother and sister.  Beyond that, they don't care.  They rarely, if ever, show their dogs.  The explanation they give is that they are only trying to produce healthy pets, so Champions mean nothing, nor does the pedigree.  They think everyone should have the opportunity to own a dog as wonderful as their dear Fifi.

Backyard breeders often have a litter because they really want a puppy from Rover, so they bred him so they could have one of his puppies.  With no regard to the fact that Rover may be carrying a hidden genetic disease.  And no understanding that the puppy could be just like Rover, just like the other parent, or not like either.  I certainly don't have the personality of either of my parents!

When you ask a Backyard Breeder about health testing they say that the vet says their dogs are perfectly healthy!  Yet if you ask them about OFA or CERF they get a blank look on their faces.  BYBs don't understand that vet checked is as much like Health Tested as Zircon is to Diamond.

Sometimes a Backyard Breeder has a litter or two to recoup the cost of the parents.  "I'm just gonna breed her once to get my money back then I'm gonna spay her".  Or a Backyard Breeder has litters simply because they are careless about watching their intact female.  Some BYBs will breed once in awhile to make a little extra pocket money or to pay for Christmas.

Another indicator of a BYB is someone who breeds so their children can 'experience the miracle of birth' without explaining the flip side - the thousands and thousands of dogs that get euthanized in our country's shelters every year.

If your puppy from a BYB ends up with a health problem, they will say "Oh that's too bad, but what do you want me to do about it?  Both the parents were fine".  Or "Wow, that's three from that litter that had it, good thing I spayed the mother".

So now you have a puppy with a genetic health problem that could have been prevented if the breeder had done their research, plus a breeder that will not reimburse you any costs and has no way to replace the puppy.

The breed standard is just a concept to a BYB.  If they are even aware of the breed standard, adhering to it doesn't apply to them as far as they are concerned because they are only breeding pets.  Alternatively, they really do think their dog is perfect.  And I can tell you one thing, I have many Best in Show winning dogs and none of them are perfect.  At least they are very good dogs, and I know what they need improvement on and will breed them to dogs that can help with that.

Backyard Breeders will often find their stud dog by posting a flyer on the mall bulletin board "Looking for a XXXX to breed to my XXXX".  Or they'll call around saying "My bitch is in heat right now!  I need to find a male for her!"

You may or may not have to sign a sales contract when you buy from a Backyard Breeder.  They may or may not check your references.  Usually not, but some go through the motions.

BYBs will often use the terms "full blooded" or "pure blooded" or "pedigreed" or even "thoroughbred".  The correct terms are purebred and registered.

I still remember one guy calling me, wanting to breed to my male.  His bitch was in heat at that precise moment, but even though she was registered, he doubted she was 'fullblooded'.  He wanted to breed to my black male because he thought that breeding to a black dog would make her puppies more pure.  He was quite offended when I turned him down.

Many Backyard Breeders still seem to think it's OK to place puppies at 6-8 weeks old.  They don't realize that weaned does not mean solely that they are eating solid food, but that they are also no longer in need of their mother's nurturing.  In IGs that is more like 12 weeks.

So just because the breeder you are talking to breeds rarely, that does not mean they are a Backyard Breeder.  As long as they are breeding Champion, health tested, mature dogs, and requiring references and screening of their buyers, they are probably a good place to buy a puppy!

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