Articles


ARTICLES

A: THE COLLIE CHARACTER
B: COLLIE COLOURS ACCORDING TO THE STANDARD
C: NEUTERING/SPAYING YOUR COLLIE
D: DESIGNER DOGS: JOKE OR HOAX?
E: REGISTRATION PAPERS OR PEDIGREE PAPERS – WHAT DO THEY REALLY MEAN?


A: THE COLLIE CHARACTER
By: Mim Bester

The first thing to know is that each breed of dog is different in appearance and each breed also has its own character traits. The main character traits of a breed often reflect the purpose for which that breed was developed. Collies are sheepdogs and although most these days will never work as sheepdogs their attitude, temperament and physical characteristics should still reflect their sheepdog birthright.

There are two varieties of collies, but they both are the same breed. There is the well-known collie (rough) who has the long, thick glamorous coat, and there is the collie (smooth) who has a short, dense coat. The smooths have a coat that is easier to care for, but they are not as well known as the rough variety, who were made famous by the Lassie movies. Because the roughs and smooths are one breed the varieties can be interbred and in the resulting litter there usually will be both rough and smooth coated puppies.

It is believed that the rough, with their big insulating coats, worked in the highlands of Scotland and Ireland, while the smooths worked in the lowlands where temperatures were often slightly warmer. Both had very similar jobs, although we think the smooth had a greater role in droving sheep to market along lanes and roads, while the rough’s main tasks were herding and maintaining a flock on the hills and moors.

Both varieties of the collies (roughs and smooths) share the same breed characteristics, which is what would be expected, as they are the same breed. However breeders and owners have noted minor differences in personality between the collie (rough) and the collie (smooth). The smooth is a little more active and robust and often is described as “already doing it, while the rough is still thinking about it”. Both varieties are easy to train and very intelligent.

The collie was originally bred to work with a shepherd in caring for sheep. A dog entrusted with this job must be able to work with a person and take directions but be intelligent enough to think for themselves when required to do so. They had to be alert and watchful of their flocks. They also needed to be gentle, nurturing dogs, as it was sometimes their job to find lost lambs and bring back sick sheep. As a sheepdog they were required not to be too friendly with strangers. The shepherd needed a loyal, staunch companion, not a dog who would socialize all over the district. It was necessary for them to be active when there was a job to be done but to be calm and quiet when the sheep and shepherd were resting.


Baqilodge Breezealong minding her family

Even though most collies are not working sheep any longer they still retain the above attributes. They are easily trained and usually do very well in obedience training – however, because of their intelligence they can become bored quickly and do not like to repeat the same lesson over and over again. If they are made to do so, they will often put in their own variations on the task. They will end up doing what was asked but in their way! They are very much a family dog and will take a great interest in all family activities, but frequently they choose one family member who they will consider their master.

Collies usually take a special interest in children, and their herding and minding or nurturing instinct is often applied to them, as well as to other animals. (Sometimes you will get the distinct feeling that your collie is looking after your children so that they don’t come to any harm). They will also be very keen to join in family activities and to go walking, jogging, camping etc, but at the end of the day they will be happy to rest contentedly and quietly with their family.

There have been many well-documented cases where collies have saved or rescued people from dangerous situations and collies feature regularly in the Dog Hero Awards held in America each year. So you can see collies are alert, intelligent and dependable dogs. Your collie might be aloof with strangers. This is what has been required of them as a sheepdog. They are also very good at being able to determine if there is something different or unusual happening in their environment and they will let you know, making them a useful watchdog.

Collies love to play games that require a bit of imagination and the more time and love you give them will determine how well their intelligence and personality will evolve. These can be developed to an extremely high level. The higher the level the more rewarding a companion they will be.

One very important thing to understand when it comes to training or teaching a collie is that they may be led or guided but never pushed. Collies will learn very quickly if treated with kindness and gently shown what is required of them. They will refuse to learn and will generally sulk and become very stubborn if they are shouted at or handled roughly. If you treat your collie poorly it can become almost impossible to undo the damage – they do not forgive intended transgressions. However, they will immediately forgive genuine mishaps, such as accidentally stepping on them. They always know the difference between an intended action and an accident. They also have a highly developed sense of humour and thoroughly enjoy being in on a good joke, but they will be offended if they think the joke is on them and they are being laughed at. Some collies will even “smile” by pulling their lips above their teeth. Many individuals of this breed will also “talk” to you, by making vocal sounds in response to you talking to them.

Champion Baqilodge Hats Off

Collies have rather stoic natures and bear pain without whimpering or whining. It is sometimes difficult to tell if your collie is unwell or is hurt. For this reason it is wise to check with your veterinarian if your dog should suddenly limp, stop eating or seem listless. Some breeds will limp or whine for sympathy, but never a collie.

This lovely breed (both varieties) is very gentle and sensitive and has an intelligent playfulness and cheekiness that will endear them to you forever. They make loyal and constant companions.


B: COLLIE COLOURS ACCORDING TO THE STANDARD
By: Mim Bester

There can be quite a variance of colour in collies, but the colours that are stated in the English Standard (which is the Standard Australian breeders adhere to), are quoted here:

COLOUR – The three recognised colours are sable and white, tricolour and blue merle.

Sable: Any shade from light gold to rich mahogany or shaded sable. Light straw or cream colour is highly undesirable.

Golden Sable and White: Baqilodge Eureka

Shaded Sable or sometimes called Red Sable and White: Baqilodge Bobby Dazzler


Mahogany Sable and White: Champion Baqilodge Easy Does It

Tricolour: Predominantly black with rich tan markings about the legs and head. A rusty tinge in the top coat is highly undesirable.

Baqilodge Avantgarde

Blue Merle: Predominantly clear, silvery blue, splashed and marbled with black. Rich tan markings to be preferred, but their absence should not be counted as a fault. Large black markings, slate colour, or a rusty tinge either on the top or undercoat are highly undesirable.

Baqilodge Knock On Wood

White Markings: All the above may carry the typical white Collie markings to a greater or lesser degree. The following markings are favourable: White collar, full or part; white shirt, legs and feet; white tail tip. A blaze may be carried on muzzle or skull or both.

NOTE: If a collie is coloured differently to the above descriptions, it does not make them less worthy as a pet and sometimes even as breeding stock depending on the specific deviation. It just means that they might have difficulty competing in the show ring as they would not conform to the Standard1.

1. Every breed of dog recognised by the Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC) has a written Breed Standard. The Standard describes what the perfect dog of that breed should look like. It is used by breeders in our efforts to breed the most correct dog possible. (Perfection is NEVER completely attained in any one specimen). The Standard is used by Judges to determine which dog best fits the description of their breed. Each Breed Standard is quite detailed and what might be a fault in one breed may be a desired trait in another breed. For example: it is a fault for a collie to carry their tail curled over on their back, but this is what is required of the samoyed. Standards for the same breed can also differ slightly from country to country. For example the American Collie Standard describes the collie very closely to the English Standard with just a couple of minor variations. One is size. The American Standard allows for collies to be up to two inches taller than what is required by English Standard.

Australian breeders use the Standard of Country of Origin of the Breed or where the breed was developed. Thus collie breeders abide by the English Standard for the collie where as german shepherd breeders use the German Standard as their model.

If you would like to read the Collie Standard click on the following links:

Smooth Collie Pictorial Standard (When opened click again on poster to increase size)
Rough Collie Pictorial Standard (When opened click again on poster to increase size)

Because the Faults section from the Collie (Rough) Standard is unreadable I have reprinted it below: (These faults also apply to the Collie (Smooth)).
Faults


C: NEUTERING/SPAYING
By: Mim Bester

The truth is that both dogs and bitches usually make better and easier to keep pets if they are neutered, but most importantly you will be decreasing risks to their health.

Any Baqilodge collie sold as a companion/pet should NOT be bred from. Breeding collies should not be taken lightly and is a time consuming and expensive hobby. There is very little to gain from breeding unless you are committed to the breed and are prepared to learn and to study at great length. Breeding is a passion and an art form. There are no financial gains, nor material rewards.

If you are wishing to breed, I would ask you to talk to me about this. Firstly in any breeding you need quality animals that phenotypically and genetically demonstrate soundness of body and mind and embody the qualities of true collie breed type. Most often puppies sold as pets do not possess all the qualities required for breeding.

Once again, if you are considering breeding collies, please discuss this with me. At the very least, I can help you make educated and appropriate plans. I can also help with any difficulties that might present.

Now back to the subject of neutering/spaying:

It is recommended that a bitch puppy be spayed before her first season.
Reasons for spaying your female are:
* Prevention of pregnancy
* Not having neighbouring males visit – not to mention barking and howling outside your gate or door all hours of the day and night
* Prevention of blood spotting on your floors and carpets
* Prevention of false pregnancies (fairly common)
* Decreasing the risk of mammary tumours (less than 1% occurrence when the bitch is spayed before their first heat compared to 50% in fertile bitches over 5 years of age)
* Stopping uterine infections – such as pyometra – a potentially fatal infection that is relatively common * Preclusion of tumours of the ovaries or uterus (fairly common)
* Ending stress – for both your bitch and for your family during uterus. Stress can lead to increased health problems for both parties

There is no scientific evidence that shows that it is better for a bitch to have her first heat cycle before spaying. In fact the opposite is true – especially in relation to mammary tumours and infections.

Reasons for neutering males are:
* Behaviour – (less testosterone equals less trouble, especially if they are neutered before the hormones kick in and they become sexually active, which can happen as early as 8 months).
* An unneutered male can be aware of a female in oestrous miles away and this can turn them into amazing escape artists. Dogs have been known to tear down fences when they have not been able to jump over or dig under them.
* Aggression toward other male dogs
* “Making love” to inappropriate objects – like your great aunt’s leg
* Prostate enlargement (occurs in about 60% of unneutered males 5 years or older)
* Prostate tumours and infections
* Tumours of the testicles, penis, and anal areas
* Perineal hernia (rupture of the posterior abdominal wall)
* Not eating when he knows girls are in season – which leads to weight loss or condition and stress (for both you and him)

Your dog’s development, mental or physical, will not be affected by neutering. Spaying however does mean that, in particular, your bitch’s coat texture can become softer and the coat more profuse. Both dogs and bitches DO tend to gain weight quicker and easier after being neutered, regardless of what your vet might tell you! But this is not a good enough reason to not neuter. You will have to pay extra attention to diet and exercise.

PLEASE NEUTER YOUR COLLIE AROUND 7-9 MONTHS OF AGE, FOR YOUR COLLIE’S BENEFIT AND FOR YOUR OWN PEACE OF MIND.


D: DESIGNER DOG: JOKE OR HOAX?
By: Mim Bester

The definition of design is:
– To create a detailed plan of the form or structure of something, emphasizing features such as it appearance, convenience and efficient functioning. (Microsoft 2003 Thesaurus)

What exactly does the term Designer Dog mean?
Currently the term DESIGNER DOG has been hijacked and is being used to market a breeding between two different breeds of dog – namely cross breeding. For example, the mating of a cocker spaniel and a poodle to produce a purported “cockerpoo” or a yorkshire terrier and poodle to create a so called “yorkipoo”. The term “Designer Dog” when used to describe these kinds of dogs is nothing more than a “label. It is very clever marketing that has duped people into believing they are buying something special. The puppies from these breedings may be healthy, cute and lovely to live with dogs, (then again they might not be – we will discuss this further later), but to buy them believing they are anything other than a cross breed, mutt or mongrel is just deceptive marketing.)

Does a “designer dog”, in the meaning that we currently think of it, meet the criterion of the above definition of design? NO. They are just a cross breeds who have been bred without a plan (e.g. pedigree).)

Just how much detail do you think goes into the mating of two cross breeds?)

In most instances; no thought, no planning, no health checks – nothing – other than to acquire a breed of dog and breed it with a different breed and then choosing a breed-like name for the offspring. The two animals chosen for breeding will not even be good representatives of their own breeds. How would I know this? Top quality animals of any breed are so highly valued that they are not available in these circles. Quality breeding animals are rarely available to well known registered breeders of long standing with excellent reputations. So these “designer” breedings start with animals that have already been discarded by more professional breeders as not of breeding quality and would have been sold as pets.

Let’s look at the definition of “design” again:
– To create a detailed plan of the form or structure of something, emphasizing features such as it appearance, convenience and efficient functioning –
How ironic! This describes the breeding of PUREBRED dogs by professional breeders exactly.

Animals of long standing pedigrees that have been researched, scrutinized, and evaluated fit this description, and could accurately be called a Designer Dog. The PUREBREDS whose breeders have, over many generations, selected the correct elements of breed type, structure, temperament, and health in individual dogs within their breed to carry the correct characteristics into future generations. Dogs bred to a detailed plan (the Standard of the breed – each breed has a written Standard) for the form and structure of the breed, emphasizing features such as it appearance and detailing the efficient function of the breed (e.g. the reason the breed was developed in the first place, i.e. herding dog, hunting dog etc.). These are the true Designer Dogs. Breeders study, plan, research and have had their stock evaluated in the show ring. They constantly assess every aspect of their breeding programmes. THIS IS DESIGN – AND THEY ARE PRODUCING THE TRUE DESIGNER DOGS.

Want to know more about cross breeds?
When cross breed matings are done, we can not be sure if the offspring will look more like one parent or the other. It might be expected that they will be a blend of their parents, but that is not often true. It is very unlikely that the puppies in a cross breeding will even look like each other. In fact it is more likely that there will be a wide range of features and characteristics among the offspring and if any of these puppies are bred on, especially by inexperienced breeders, the next generation could show different traits again.

Unfortunately there often are more harmful consequences to deal with than just the negative term “cross breed”. We know that there are health problems in every breed of dog and dedicated breeders are trying to reduce or eliminate these in their chosen breeds. Many of these problems are breed specific. Orchestrating cross breed matings opens the flood gates for these genetic problems allowing a disease that might be found in a cocker spaniel, for example, to be introduced and mixed with another breed that does not have this problem particular health issue within their breed, should these crossbreds be bred on. Many of the inherited problems are likely to stay hidden for the first generation or maybe even several generations, but at some point it will meet it genetic match and it will then show itself. So now we end up with a cockerpoo who might carry and show deleterious genes that came from the cocker spaniel and genetic defects that are from the poodle. WOW – that was GOOD BREEDING – NOT! Crossbreeding in the hands of experienced breeders can be problematic; in the hands of amateurs it can be catastrophic.

Crossbreeding – the mating of two different breeds, doesn’t guarantee freedom from health issues or temperament problems. In fact many problems are likely to arise and these have been seen and documented by veterinarians. Also reputable breeders who have been or are in the process of developing a breed have noted and have had to deal with serious problems. Many of the so called Designer Dogs are being euthanized or surrendered to Animal Shelters due to temperament or health problems. Families have no idea as to how small or large the dogs will grow or what their energy drive, prey drive and general disposition will be as an adult. So sadly, the puppy that started out as a Designer Dog ends up in the Dog’s Home as a mongrel.

Hybrids are not banned from becoming purebreds. Just recently in Australia the Tenterfield Terriers and Jack Russel Terriers have gone through the processes required to become recognised breeds. The Australian Shepherd was developed in America and is a fairly new breed. During the development process accurate and detailed records have to be kept documenting strict practices and following stringent guidelines and procedures that have to be met over many generations. In fact this is how most of our pure breeds have been established. However, the so called “designer dogs” of today are not interested in developing a breed. They are one generation mutts.

Who is who?
How do you know a reputable breeder – even those who are developing a breed and breeding dogs outside the framework of recognised breed councils as opposed to those that see a quick way to make a buck?

Registered breeders – the true designers of Purebred dogs (DESIGNER DOGS)
* have a very well developed understanding of their chosen breeds
* can tell you the history, the function, and the characteristics of the breed
* are very aware of breed predispositions, (both good and bad elements, temperament and health issues)
* have contact with many other breeders within their community, country and often world wide
* are aware of trends within their breeds
* will probably have multiple dogs OF THE SAME BREED, who will all have some relationship to each other
* breeding stock will carry relevant health certificates, which they will be happy to produce
* animals will be clean, in good health i.e. bright eyed, attentive, not too fat nor too thin, acting their age i.e. puppies full on and excitable, older dogs probably quieter and possibly even showing the signs of age – for example – deaf. They will be well housed, well socialised, and it will be obvious that care and attention has been bestowed on every single dog in the kennel. They will be spoken about with pride and handled gently.
* will take lots of time telling you about the breed.
* if you are thinking of buying a puppy, will ask many questions about you, your home life conditions, your life style, and your expectations of your puppy. Questions that will expose how you would treat, train and live with your dog. The proposed lifestyle of this puppy is of great importance to the breeder
* will ask to you stay in touch with them through out the life of your dog if you buy from them. They will be prepared to be a backstop for you, to offer advice or help if you need it in the care of your dog
* will want to know of any health or temperament problem if you should encounter them
* are involved with, or are members of, clubs and societies of their breeds and are actively involved in one or more of the dog disciplines. eg. conformation showing or obedience, herding, tracking, etc.
* have all their dogs registered through one of the canine controlling bodies
* dogs have registered pedigrees and the breeder has knowledge of and can describe all the dogs within a 3 plus generation pedigree. They often have photos of many of the dogs within a 5 generation pedigree.

Breeders who are in the process of developing a breed – another true designer
* have and do all the above

Opportunists/ Scammers/and Backyard Breeders – (Hoaxers who have hijacked the term ‘designer dog’ for their cross breeds)
* usually have very basic or no knowledge of the breeds of dogs they breed
* are lucky to fill one or two points of the above criteria
* and if they have multiple dogs they are usually OF DIFFERENT BREEDS and unrelated.

IF YOU WANT A DESIGNER DOG – CHOOSE A TRUE DESIGNER DOG AND BUY A PURE BRED DOG FROM A REPUTABLE BREEDER WHO IS REGISTERED WITH THE APPROPRIATE STATE CANINE CONTROL AND CHECK THE DOG HAS A VALIDATED CERTIFIED CERTIFICATE OF REGISTRATION AND PEDIGREE PAPERS (THESE PAPERS WILL BE MARKED EITHER LIMITED REGISTER OR MAIN REGISTER)

IF YOU WANT A CROSS BREED – CHOOSE ONE FROM AN ANIMAL SHELTER OR DOG’S HOME. DON’T SUPPORT HOAXERS WITH THEIR SCAMS.

E: REGISTRATION PAPERS OR PEDIGREE PAPERS – WHAT DO THEY REALLY MEAN?
By: Mim Bester

Baqilodge only sells puppies with papers. However there are two types of Registration Papers – Main Register and Limited Register. Puppies that are sold to “show homes” or to breeders, as breeding stock, will be registered on the Main Register. All other puppies are sold on a Limited Register registration:

What do Registration Papers mean?
The first thing to understand is that registration/pedigree papers do not have any bearing on the quality, health or temperament of your dog. All they can tell you is that your dog and their ancestors were registered with an appropriate animal registry and these details have been recorded.

Simply, registration papers are a pedigree or family tree that has been validated by a recognized animal registry. In Tasmania this is the Tasmanian Canine Control (TCA). A pedigree is a record of your dog’s ancestors: sire (father), dam (mother), grandsire, granddam, great-grandsire and so on.

The TCA will record your dog’s pedigree. This information is kept on file at the TCA’s office. Recorded will be your dog’s registered name, breed, colour, sex, parentage, date of birth and breeder. This information will also show on your pedigree registration papers, as well as any titles your dog’s ancestors have won at sanctioned shows, obedience or performance trials. It will also record if any of your dog’s ancestors have come to Australia from another country in the last three generations.

If you are looking for a pet or companion, you may or may not be interested in more knowing more about their family. However, if you intend to breed or show your dog getting accurate information about their background is absolutely critical. The pedigree will be your keystone to a lot of research that you will need to do before you continue with a breeding plan.

What does it mean to be a Main Register Baqilodge Collie?
At Baqilodge, Main Register puppies only differ from Limited Register puppies in that they have been deemed as having show or breeding potential and they have appropriate homes to go to or they are staying in my own breeding program.

Main Register Baqilodge Collie puppies are more expensive than puppies placed on the Limited Registered. Prices of our Main Register puppies are determined by their bloodlines and what those bloodlines can offer to other breeders.

What does it mean to be Limited Register Baqilodge Collie?
Limited Registered puppies are issued with TCA validated pedigrees stating all the information contained on a Main Register pedigree. The have all the same health checks, vaccinations, and are microchipped. They are given the exact same socialization, general care, attention and love as any Main Registered puppies before going to their new homes. There are only three differences – those being:

1. Should any offspring be born of a Limited Registered dog at a future date they will not be recognized by any of the Canine Control Clubs and therefore cannot be registered. This vastly decreases the value the dog as a breeding animal and also the value of any offspring. Thus making them unattractive to agents or backyard breeders.

2. Limited Register dogs are not eligible for entry into conformation showing. However they are still eligible for all other sanctioned events, including obedience, trialling, herding, agility, therapy dogs, lure coursing, etc., and are definitely recognised as registered purebred dogs.

3. At Baqilodge these puppies, in respect of the above limitations, are priced lower than Main Register listed puppies.

Why are there two different Registers – The Main Register and the Limited Register?
In Australia all live puppies bred by registered breeders must be recorded with their State Canine Control. Not every purebred, pedigree puppy has all the attributes required by the breed Standard. These puppies are usually referred to as “pet puppies” by the breeders and are culled (pulled) from entering any breeding program. It can be just a simple thing like colour or markings that makes the difference between a show/breeding puppy and a pet puppy. Sometimes there is no specific reason other than one of two of their siblings showed a better aptitude for exhibition and kennel life. This is where the danger lies. Regardless of how well a dog has been breed and how well they represent the Standard they only represent 50% of genes passed on in any following generation. So if these dogs get into the hands of uneducated, or sometimes even unscrupulous breeders and are mated to the “wrong” mate, they are at risk of producing puppies way below the quality of themselves. (This is at odds to what dog breeding is all about. Breeders try hard to improve upon each new generation of puppies). If or when this happens it only brings problems to the breed as a whole and disrepute and heartache to the original breeder. That is why two registers have been created.

The Limited Register was introduced to facilitate professional breeders – allowing them to sell their purebred stock as healthy companions in the same way that applies to Main Register puppies.

The Limited Registration restriction is aimed to:-
a) curtail agents buying puppies for the export market to places like Asia

b) stop our precious dogs being used as breeding factories by unscrupulous people posing as breeders and being sold to unwary buyers as show or breeding candidates, and

c) both protect and uphold the value of the bloodlines of professional breeders; a number of which have spent tens of thousands of dollars acquiring stock from the best bloodlines of their breed in the world, including importing from other countries.

(You may remember back in the ’50 when Lassie was a popular TV show. This encouraged many people to want collies of their own – they wanted the beautiful, faithful and loving and intelligent temperament of Lassie. Of course, as always, there were people who saw a quick way to “make a buck” and to supply this market. You also might remember that collies at this time gained a reputation of being “snappy and unreliable with children”. THIS IS NOT THE TRUE COLLIE PERSONAILITY. This is a result of “bad breeding”. When the goal of breeding is just to “supply a market” the emphasis is placed on “money”. So things like proper care (diet, veterinary care, housing, health checks, temperament tests, etc.) all take a back seat as this eats in to any profits. We had people breeding collies who did not even care enough for the breed to research and find the right gene combinations to produce happy, kind collies – let alone anything else. Our lovely breed paid dearly for a selfish human act. It has taken dedicated collie lovers some time to mend the reputation of our gentle breed. Unfortunately the collie is not the only breed to have suffered this way due to media popularity and unprincipled people calling themselves breeders).

However today, responsible breeders can now choose which puppies may continue in their own breeding programs or go into show homes, and other breeding programs. These puppies are placed on the Main Register. All other puppies are placed on the Limited Register. (There is a provision for Limited Register puppies to be upgraded to the Main Register but that is at the discretion of the original breeder).

I would hate for anyone to think that I am suggesting every person wanting a purebred dog has poor intentions – that would be so wrong and totally ludicrous. I am just trying to answer any questions as to why there are two forms of registration.

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If you are looking for a well bred dog, that reliably represents the breed you have chosen, it is your job to try and find a professional, ethical and skilled breeder. This can involve a lot of research and ultimately trust. However these breeders DO exist.

If you are thinking of showing or breeding it is imperative that you relay your plans/ideas to the breeders you are hoping to buy from. They can help you make educated decisions. If they feel you are the right person to continue with their line of dogs, they will make sure your puppy is registered on the Main Register.

Regardless if your dog is to be a pet or show dog, I would suggest you look for the high profile breeders who are involved with their breed on a number of levels, e.g. clubs, showing, obedience, rescue, training, teaching, education etc.; Breeders who have national and international contacts; Breeders who are successful in their chosen canine disciplines. These are the breeders who have reputations to protect. They got to their position through hard work, dedication and love of their breed. Don’t hesitate to ask them for references from other breeders, owners of their stock and their veterinarian. Mind you don’t be shocked if they ask you for specific references before they consider you a prospective owner of one of their puppies.