WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A RESPONSIBLE BREEDER
Starting the Search:
- Attend an event such as the Pet Expo and talk to people who own the breed you want.
- Attend a local dog show - try the Dogs Victoria Dog Park at Skye. Here, you can also talk to the owners and handlers of the dogs (though not when they're about to go into the ring!). We have now retired from showing, but interested people may visit us at our home.
- Go to the Dogs Victoria Webpage and find the listing for the names and addresses of breed clubs. I am a member of the Cocker Spaniel Club of Victoria - there is a direct link on my LINKS page. Each club has a Secretary and usually a Puppy Officer whom you can contact for information on the breed and puppy availability; occassionally older dogs are also looking for a new home.
- Learn about the breed before you look to buy one. Read the breed standard, find out about grooming requirements, typical temperaments, health problems that are common in the breed.
- Price alone should not be a factor in deciding what breeder to buy from. While a high price doesn't necessarily guarantee high quality, a very low price often does not turn out to be a bargain in the long run. The puppy officer at the Cocker Spaniel Club of Victoria will advice you on the average cost of a puppy or an older dog. My puppies will be priced according to the stud fee charged to service a bitch is $5000 (2022-2023)
- Be patient. You may have to wait a few months (or longer) to find the right dog from a good breeder. This is a very short time compared with the ten to fifteen years that a dog will live with you. Get on to a waiting list and keep up contact through email - say "I'm just touching base and wondering if you have any definite plans for the next litter." Bitches come into seasons at different times, usually from 6 to 12 months so being patient is a must if you want a quality puppy from a reputable breeder.
The most important consideration - look for a recreational breeder in your local area or state and keep clear of large commercial kennels that breed for the 'puppy market'. Most breeders who live in residential homes usually have only a few dogs, and they often use guardian homes to look after and to love some of their breeding dogs. These breeders work towards the betterment of the breed and usually show their dogs in order for them to gain championship points and eventually their Australian Championship title. By adopting close to your home you can keep in contact with the breeder to assist with the puppy's development over time.
From 2020, each breeder requires a PET EXCHANGE REGISTER source number which must be provided to new owners on the sale or transfer of any dog or puppy - Glenbrook Cockers have met the necessary criteria and have met the required as reccommended for a recreational breeder and our Source Number is: RB1000774.
What's important when choosing a Dog Breeder?
Registration with the Australian Kennel Control Council / Dogs Victoria (state specifc). Only breeders registered with one of the relevant Kennel Clubs can provide a certificate of registration, showing the lineage of your dog and proof that it is indeed a dog with a pedigree. It is recommended that you contact the Kennel Club of the breed you are interested i.e. Cocker Spaniel Club of Victoria and be provided with a list of breeders.
Don’t rush in though - be wary - just because a breeder has pups available straight away it is important that you make sure that this breeder will support you with your purchase. It is important to note that some breeders breed for maximum profit, and as such breed as many litters as possible, whilst others breed to improve their lines and only occasionally have pups for sale. A responsible breeder will likely breed no more than three litters every year, running on several pups for confirmation showing, and selling the remaining pups to pet homes. Don’t negotiate solely through the web as you may regret your decision – especially if you seek to have quality after sales support and a healthy pup / dog. Take the time to visit the breeder's home and meet them in person.
Responsible Breeders DO:
- Breed in order to improve the breed and produce the best puppies they possibly can, and usually plan to keep at least one of them.
- Show evidence of at least two or three years of serious interest in their breed, i.e. dog club memberships, show ribbons, and Championship and/or performance (obedience, agility, tracking, field, etc.) titles.
- Breed only dogs that closely match the breed standard and are free of serious health and temperament problems.
- Tell you if they think you would be better off with another breed of dog, or no dog at all.
- Provide referrals to other breeders if they don't have anything available.
- Provide a written Dogs Victoria agreement, when selling a dog.
- Provide an ANKC pedigree.
- Provide a Health Certificate and vaccination records with every puppy they sell.
- Honestly discuss any special problems/requirements associated with the breed.
- Offer assistance and advice on grooming, training, etc., for the dog.
- If, for any reason and at any time, you cannot keep the dog, will take it back.
- Have dogs that are clean, healthy, happy, and humanely cared for.
Responsible Breeders DO NOT:
- Appear overly eager to sell/"get rid of" a puppy.
- Breed simply to produce puppies to sell, they breed to improve their lines and hopefully find their next new star.
- Breed a bitch on every season. Note: Bitches can not be mated more than twice in an eighteen month period.
- Have breeding stock that consists of only a "mated pair".
- Claim that their breed has no problems (some have fewer than others, but every breed has at least a couple).
- Sell puppies that are less than eight weeks old.
- Sell puppies without papers (registration from Dogs Victoria and 3-5 generation pedigree), or charge extra for papers.
- Have litters of multiple breeds.
What health tests should my breeder have undertaken?
Different breeds, are susceptible to different genetic conditions. Genetic technologies provide DNA profiling services for breeders which allows breeders to screen their dogs for genetic diseases, thereby allowing them to control the incidence of disease in their breeding stock. DNA testing for dogs can be used to better manage matings, and to make more informed selection decisions. Parentage testing guarantees that the pedigrees are accurate and bloodlines protected for the future. These services are utilised by GLENBROOK.
Potential puppy purchasers should ask to see the parents' pedigree certificates and ask questions about the parents and why they were chosen to be mated together. Responsible breeders will enjoy sharing their breeding plans with their puppies' new owners.
For Cocker Spaniels it is recommended that your breeder provide you with a health status in regards to Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) a genetic eye disease. Dogs that are Carriers and Clear will not get this disease and can be bred with once the status of the breeding partner has also been determined; and Familial Nephropathy (FN) a fatal kidney disease that occurs in English Cocker Spaniels - all our dogs are Clear of this disease.
Testing is now available in America to determine if the gene for Adult Onset Neuropathy is present in all breeding animals. All our dogs have been tested and are Clear. Recently a new disease has been identified in Cocker Spaniels which is Primary Cilliary Dyskinesia (PCD), unfortunately testing is not yet available.
PRA is a degeneration of the retina (the vision-sensing mechanism at the back of the eye) can lead to vision loss. The disease is characterized by the gradual loss of vision in both eyes as a result of the loss of the retinal cells that sense light, causing the first vision problems around three to five years of age.
FN disease is a juvenile-onset fatal kidney (renal) failure recognized in English Cocker Spaniels worldwide for more than 50 years. Dogs with FN typically develop chronic renal failure between 6 months and 2 years of age, with eventual and sometimes rapid destruction of both kidneys. The early clinical signs include excessive water consumption, excessive urine volume, reduced growth rate or weight loss, poor quality hair coat, reduced appetite, and vomiting.
AON is an inherited neurological disorder characterised by a weakness in the hind limbs, eventually leading to weakness in the front limbs. Neurological signs of this condition seem to progress gradually over 3 to 4 years. Clinical signs usually begin between 7 and a half to 9 years of age. These signs include weakening and unsteady hind limbs and uncoordinated movement. The weakness eventually progresses to include the front limbs. When all limbs are affected, there may also be difficulty in swallowing. The disease is a recessive condition and is unique to Cocker Spaniels. This means that a dog must inherit two copies of an abnormal gene (one from its mother and one from its father) before its health is affected. A dog that inherits only one copy of the abnormal gene (from its mother or its father) will have no signs of the disease, but will be a carrier and may pass the gene on to any offspring.
PCD is an inherited condition characterised by problems with respiratory function, most common symptoms being chronic nasal discharge and respiratory tract infections.
A status of 'clear' or 'carrier' will ensure that your pet will not be affected by these conditions. The Cocker Spaniel Club of Victoria supports responsible breeding and members agree to not knowingly sell any dog with a known heredity disease.
NB: At GLENBROOK all pups sold will not be affected by these condition as all breeding dogs have been screened or their status identified through parentage testing.
We also provide 6 weeks free puppy insurance with every puppy adopted through PETCOVER - a Preferred Breeders Program.
Each of our new puppy owners will receive an email outlining the activation of their 6 weeks free puppy insurance when the puppy leaves us for their new home. There is a 72 hour wait period. The policy provides us at GLENBROOK, peace of mind that our puppies are covered should medical intervention be required.