Please note that all PWD breeders and all PWD litters are not equal! Lately, there have been a disturbing number of PWD litters being bred where the parents are under age, and/or without ANY health testing, and/or one or both parents are on AKC Limited registration (a registration that denotes the sire and dam are not to be bred).
The “breeders” of these litters have not put any thought into the potential health issues lurking in every pedigree. The quality of the puppy you get and the support you receive is directly correlated to the quality of the sire and dam used and the method by which the breeder raises, socializes, and places the puppies. Buyer Beware!!!
Below is a general list of questions and answers about what to expect when looking for a PWD for your family.
How many litters a year does your average breeder have? Most breeders average one or two litters a year. Some, one every two to three years, while others may have four, five, or even more a year!
When a good breeder has a litter their lives change drastically. For the first week after the pups are born they are rarely able to leave the house so they can keep a close eye on the dam (mother) and her pups. For the next couple weeks a breeder’s job is a bit easier. The pups are a bit hardier and mom takes care of their every need. From that point on the breeder is hard at work caring for and socializing the pups. This includes exposing the pups to different surfaces, noises, situations, and people. As well, it is important that each pup get plenty of individual time.
During the 8 to 10 weeks that pups are kept, the breeders outside activities are vastly limited. Besides caring for the dam and the pups, lots of time is spent talking to people on the phone about the breed, and interviewing prospective homes. So as you can see the average breeder dedicates two to three months to a litter (besides the lifelong commitment).
If a breeder has many litters a year they are not necessarily to be avoided. By the same token, if a breeder has many litters it may be difficult for them to offer you follow up assistance and advice. For certain, each situation and breeder is unique. Go with your gut feeling….if something doesn’t feel right…move on!
This is the breeder’s first litter should I consider getting a puppy from them? It depends; every breeder has to have their first litter! If the breeder is knowledgeable about the breed and breeding, has done the health testing, is a member of the PWDCA, AND has a good mentor (who is a long time PWD breeder, and is usually from whom the new breeder got their bitch from), and has the best interest of the breed in mind, they may have the perfect pup for you. (**PWDCA membership roster is not public, so you will have to ask the breeder about their involvement. You can do a search on the PWDCA site for the breeders name to see if they hold club committee positions, etc. )
If the person is having a litter “to make their money back” or to “teach their children about birth”, or because their dog is “just the best” I would avoid getting a puppy from them. Remember, your dog’s breeder is your best resource when it comes to answers about health or behavioral issues you may have with your puppy. If the breeder is not knowledgeable, how can they help you?
I was able to meet the Dam (Mother) but not the Sire (Father), is it customary to meet both? Most breeders use a stud dog that does not belong to them, so unless they have used a local sire, or one owned by (and living with) them, you should not expect to meet the sire. In most situations you should expect to meet the dam. I would be concerned if the breeder owned both Sire and Dam and seemed to breed them together over and over.
How much should I expect to pay for a PWD puppy? Most breeders charge between $2000 and $3500 for a quality PWD puppy. A $2000 pup is not necessarily inferior to a $3500 pup and conversely, a $3500 pup is not necessarily superior to a $2000 pup.
Most breeders charge the same price for every puppy, while others price according to “show” or “pet” quality. The price of a puppy should NEVER be the result of what color, coat type (Wavy or Curly) or what markings a puppy has.
What if I want a puppy of a specific color, coat type, markings, or gender? Certainly, each person is welcome to have a preference for color, markings, coat type, and gender, just realize that these preferences could greatly lengthen the time it takes to locate a puppy.
A good breeder is going to try and match the right puppy up to the right home, regardless of those other factors. Coat colors or markings should never change the price of a puppy.
Why does the breeder choose the puppy for me? A good breeder has spent the last 8 to 10 weeks getting to know the puppies. Even within a single litter, temperament can vary from laid back to high drive. The breeder is looking to put the right puppy in the right home based upon what temperament would be most suitable for each family.
A family with young children would not be suitable for a dog with a dominant personality, just as a family searching for an obedience or agility prospect would not want a laid back cautious temperament.
Some breeders use an outside person to temperament test or evaluate the litter for show/breeding prospects, while others, who have more experience, may do this themselves. Most breeders will listen to your preferences, and if possible they will attempt to place a puppy of your choice with your family.
The most important thing to remember is “It is not the outside of the dog that is important; it is the temperament that matters most”.
What makes a dog show quality or pet quality? The difference between show and pet quality can be very minimal. A low tail set, a lighter eye, smaller bone, misaligned teeth, or a less than perfect shoulder or rear angles. An average litter can expect to have a couple show dogs, and the remainder quality pets. An “All Show Quality” litter is rare. Please keep in mind what one breeder may consider show quality, another breeder may feel is pet quality, and vice versa.
Why do some breeders require a deposit? Some breeders use a deposit as a measure of how committed you are to getting a puppy from them. Others use it to tie you to them so that you won’t look any further for a dog.
What most people don’t realize is that by giving a deposit, the breeder is not necessarily guaranteeing you a puppy. Some breeders take a deposit before a litter is even born, thus they have no idea how many puppies they will have. Before giving a deposit you should always find out what a deposit implies. If you change your mind is the deposit returned? If the breeder doesn’t have a puppy they deem suitable, is your deposit returned? Many breeders require a deposit, others don’t. Just find out what the deposit means.