Why Pedigree?

Sometimes people wonder what the difference is between buying a puppy from a pet shop, newspaper, internet or from a breeder.

Why pedigree, why is it more expensive?


A dog with a pedigree has certain advantages, because they are never breed by chance, but quite a bit of research has gone into the breeding.

One advantage is that you know who the parents were and grand parents. This is quite important for a conscious breeder, because he can avoid inbreeding, but also can research the inherited traits and can choose the mate accordingly, to pronounce these traits or lead away from them.
Another important issue are health checks of the parent animals, but also for the puppies. This way you know what you are getting and can make an informed descision. There is no regulations on puppy mills or back yard breeders. Therefore they breed whatever male and female are available. I have seen so many pet shop dogs with hip dysplasia, heart problems, patella problems. Registered NRCA rottweiler breeding: Potential parents have to have x rays taken of the parent animal's hips and elbows, a mouth certificate and an eye certificate. If they fail the requirements the animals can't be bred.
Dogs have a very small window in which they can be socialised (6-16 weeks). Before the dog leaves the breeder they will have come in contact with different objects and people, often other dogs and will have had the first trips in the car.
Dogs get all the necessary health checks, deworming, etc. THey have special areas to go to the toilet. If they are used to poo, drink, eat and sleep in the same place, they are a lot harder to house train. I use a puppy raising method called puppy culture.
You can always meet the mother of the puppy (if you visit her) and you can meet the father at shows, but sometimes the father might be interstate or even overseas. But photos and health certificates of the father wil be made available for you to watch.
You can only breed dog over 1-2 years and under a certain age (8 years), as well being not allowed to breed them every time, but you have to give the female time to recover, so twice in 2 years maximum rather than 4 times for a backyardbreeder.
Breeding, if it is properly done, is not profitable (see at end of page).
Also it is important that 95% of dogs that do not come from registered breeders (registered with the ANKC (Australian National Kennel Council)  come from puppy mills and back yard breeders (puppy mills at a smaller scale). These are the dogs that you find in pet shops, despite their denial, or they are sold through brokers (newspaper and Internet). Brokers are the nice lady that has a sister in the country side, that had an unexpected litter and there is even a "rescue" place, that threatens to kill the puppies if you don't buy them at an inflated price. If people just would breed lots of healthy dogs without a predigree, then I would not mind. The truth however is different. 
Normally these dogs have one litter after the next, without being able to get away from the puppies. When they are not productive anymore, they get disposed of. 
There are no healthchecks for parents and pups (because this would decrease the profit margin).
There is no socialisation of the puppies and parents, which means that they have mental health issues, like being overly fearfull ot aggressive.
They are hard to potty train, because they have learned that it is normal to soil their bedding area.
Since a lot of them are crossbreed with poodles (and not good quality poodles) a lot have heart problems, labradors come with hip dysplasia. I still have to see a lab from a pet shop/ broker, that does not have hip dysplasia. The puppies are as cute, but they are very expensive in the long run. Sometimes they are not significantly cheaper then properly breed dogs either. 
Non registered guard dog breeders often breed Rottweiler crosses with very unstable temperaments.
Information in pet shops is often wrong. We have observed pet shop owners changing the pet discription. A 8 week old "pure breed" sheltie, was still an 8 week old sheltie after a month. Maltese crosses change into poodle crosses as they become older. A Doberman/Ridgeback/Bullmastif crossbred dog wasn't going to grow up to be very big. The 6 week old puppy was already bigger then my 4 month old Rottweiler. It is just about the sale, not about the welfare of the dog (or the owner). There is no such thing as a hypoallergenic breed. While they might not sheed (instead you have to have them clipped), people are allergic to the saliva, not to the hair. Those dogs often come with undercoat compared to a poodle and matt easily.
Puppies get sold to early at 6 week of age, because they are cuter. However this really is to early  to be seperated from the mother and will often end up with temperament problems if not socialised properly. 
It is important to know in this respect that the ANKC does not allow their members (registered breeders with the ANKC or affiliated state or breed clubs) to sell to pet shops. While you might get a fake pedigree, with your dog it is fake.
Hybrid vigor.

Hybrid vigor is the most misunderstood hypothesis. I studied veterinary science and went to an agricultural school prior. It is out of the piggery industry, because crossbreed pigs show good qulaities from both parent animals. So a fatty, relaxed pig + a highly strung, super lean pig will give you (hopefully) relaxed, lean pigglets. These can be marketed at the best price. Maybe like me, you don't care, if your dog puts on weight really quickly (which is the number one reason to breed for hybrid vigor in the agricultural industry). Hybrid vigor in the dog world does not make sense for three reasons:

Purebreed dogs are not that inbreed, that outbreeding them to a different breed would make them healthier.
If you breed a Rottweiler with hip dysplasia to a Labrador with hip dysplasia, you will get puppies with hip dysplasia. Since there are no regularitory system in the puppy mill industry, they will use genetically unsound dogs. Only breeders with the ANKC have to check their dogs for genetic problems (if they are found in their line or not).
They don't breed with pure breed dogs. If you follow the raids on some puppymills, they always rescue poodle crosses. So even if there would be hybrid vigor, it would only be found in a true hybrid.
Maybe you really don't care about pedigree and you don't care if the dog would be very active or healthy, but you just want to rescue one?

There are good alternatives. Don't buy a pet at a shop, because this will increase the suffering of the mother animals and the other pups that are born. Don't buy through a broker (If you can't meet the mother, don't buy the puppy. A photo and no mother means the puppy came from a puppy mill and the photo might or might not be the mother.)
Instead visit the RSPCA, the animal welfare league or one of the many rescue organisations, that rescue dogs out of the pound. (There are also some breed rescue organisations). You could also foster animals for these organisations. http://www.petrescue.com.au/

 

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Litter expenses (please remember that all pre testing has to be paid even if you don't have a litter. They might inflate, if you have a problem, whelping complications (like a caesarian), an allergic reaction to a vaccine, or other problems (the idea for this page came from http://www.kadma.com.au/litterexpenses.cfm) These expenses are fro a healthy litter of six, in a dog with some genetic problems, in an area with moderate vet expenses. A stud dog in driving distance. Titles are also not factored in. Champion ship titles can be around $2000-$ 3500 (grooming, going to competitions, sometimes interstate), Grand champion titles can be up to 10 times this. Also not counted are Dogs Queensland membership and fees fro owning undesexed dogs. Kennel registrations and breeders license are also around $420 yearly, depending on the council.


Pre-breeding expenses for mother:
Hip and elbow X-Rays $ 500.00 (this included scoring in Western Australia and postage)
3 Progesterone tests - $195
Pre-breeding exam - $ 40

Breeding expenses:
Stud fee - $1300 - $5000
3 trips by car to deliver Ronya - $ 75 - $400

Pre-whelping expenses:
Whelping supplies (milk replacer, whelping pads, alcohol wipes, disinfectant, etc) - $225
Whelping box up to $ 850
Dry bedding and towls $280
Ultrasound for mother at 4 weeks - $ 60
Ultrasound for mother during last week - $ 60
1-2 Progesterone tests during last week - $ 65- $130

Litter expenses: based on a 6 puppy litter
Dewclaws removed & vet exam for pups - $ 60 - $100
1st shots C3 ($35 per pup) - $210
Worming (at 2, 4, 6 & 8 weeks) - $120
Puppy food & extra for mother during nursing - $400
Puppy pack (book, etc) - $25 per puppy - $150
Litter registration ($31 per pup) - $186
Micro-chipping ($30 per pup) - $180
Extra laundry, electricity, paper towels, etc - $ 50

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Contact Details

Dr Marianne D. Keller
Adelaide, SA, Australia
Phone : 0402590126
Email : [email protected]