Brendael English Springer Spaniels

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When looking to add a puppy to your family, you should look for a responsible breeder. A responsible breeder is dedicated to their chosen breed or maybe two. For most responsible breeders this is not their livelihood, instead it is a labor of love and an expensive hobby.

Breeding is not a "right"; it is a choice and a major responsibility. Successful breeding programs can take years to develop. Breeding dogs is complex, expensive, and demanding when done correctly. Breeding should be backed up by a knowledge of the history of the breed, genetics, the heritable defects commonly found, and strengths and weaknesses of the dogs being bred. When done correctly breeding is an expensive hobby, not a money-making endeavor.

The English Springer Spaniel Field Trial Association has published, and actively promotes, guidelines for responsible breeders. You can go to the ESSFTA web site for the full text.

What is a responsible breeder?

  • Responsible breeders study the breed to understand what makes a springer a springer. They acquire knowledge in genetics and the hereditary diseases that most commonly affect the breed.
  • Responsible breeders strive to breed to the standard and make improvements in every generation, planning litters as time, space, and resources allow. Because of this they may not always have puppies available. Puppy buyers may need to be patient and expect to be placed on a waiting list.
  • Responsible breeders have individuals used for breeding checked for hereditary disorders. At a minimum, this includes hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, eye diseases, seizures, and thyroid function. They should have this information on several generations. Even responsible breeders can have problems in their lines, the odds are better that a puppy from a responsible breeder will be a healthier companion than one from a pet shop or puppy mill.
  • Responsible breeders prove the worth of their best dogs by participating in conformation and/or performance events.
  • Responsible breeders are prepared to meet the costs of routine and emergency veterinary care.
  • Responsible breeders care for the litter of puppies for as long as it takes to find suitable new homes. They devote long hours to feeding, cleaning, grooming, socializing, housebreaking, and training puppies.
  • Responsible breeders evaluate puppies and screen potential puppy buyers prior to placing puppies with new owners. They will ask many questions, as you should be asking them. Generally you will not be able to choose a puppy on looks or by a photograph alone. Much more goes into choosing a puppy that its looks. It is more important to match behavior traits, temperament, and personality of the puppy with its new owner than the placement of his markings or an expression in a photograph.
  • Responsible breeders take lifetime responsibility for all puppies produced. They will provide help and advise on a long-term basis to their puppy buyers. They will also take back a dog and find it a new home where possible.

Responsible breeders can be found through visiting local dog shows to talk with area breeders or by visiting the AKC Parent Club, English Springer Spaniel Field Trial Association web site. On the site you will find "The Spaniel Manual," a booklet containing information that a potential puppy buyer should ask breeders, a breeder referral link where you can get a list of members who have agreed to follow the ESSFTA Code of Ethics, and other information about purchasing a puppy. And don't forget considering an older dog from rescue.

Please take the time to visit the following web pages. They contain additional information on purchasing puppies from responsible breeders.

Breeder Comparison Matrix -- online chart
Finding a Puppy -- online article
Responsible vs Backyard Breeders -- online chart

For more information on purchasing a puppy, please go to the next page on purchasing a puppy.


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Copyright 2006-2013 Susan Armstrong - All rights reserved

Updated July 2013