Hobby breeders are passionate about dogs, and many just want to experience producing a litter. They don't necessarily want to make breeding a career nor are they investing their lives into traveling around showing dogs. Their dedication is preserving a particular breed of dog by protecting their dogs and the breed standards.
Traits of Responsible Hobby Breeders
A responsible hobby breeder belongs to dog clubs and organizations, is willing to provide references, knows the puppies’ ancestry, and breed to improve bloodlines and the breed. Other characteristics include:
- Performs genetic testing and provides proof
- Sells puppies with health guarantees and contracts
- Raises puppies indoors and feeds only premium dog food
- Encourages or requires buyers to spay or neuter pet-quality pups
- Knowledgeable about training, socializing, breeding, and health
- Rarely breeds and only breeds dogs which meet breeding standards
What is a Backyard Breeder?
Backyard breeders are motivated to make money. They usually don't screen buyers and seldom refuse to sell a puppy even if the customer is clearly unsuitable. Most do not offer health guarantees beyond proof of shots, and many have very little understanding of AKC standards or breed history. Often pups are sold who appear to healthy, only to be diagnosed within the first year of a serious genetic disease.
How often does a hobby breeder produce a litter?
Because a hobby breeder does not mass produce dog or breed females at every estrus, they rarely make a profit from producing a litter of puppies. Few make a living from their efforts, and hardly any receive a meaningful portion of their income from breeding their dogs. While there is surely nothing wrong with a breeder being profitable, it just is not the principal intent of a hobby breeder.
Evaluating a Hobby Breeder
Keep in mind that, by definition, anyone who owns a female dog at the time it gives birth is a breeder. It is not always easy to tell the difference between a responsible hobby breeder from an unknowledgeable backyard breeder. Things to look for as you search for your breeder:
- How long the breeder been involved with the particular breed
- If the breeder shows their dogs in conformation, obedience, or agility to prove their dogs' quality as breeding stock
- Determine if the breeder's dogs are screened for genetic health defects
- If the breeder's dogs are kennel dogs or house pets
- At what age the breeder sends puppies to their new homes
- What the breeder does to socialize the puppies .