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mrenee

I thought I did my homework

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I'm so frustrated with myself.

 

I've been on the boards for awhile and been researching getting a Border Collie for over a year (I always knew I wanted one but was never in a position to get one until now).

 

I joined the boards because I believe wholeheartedly in the working bred Border Collie. I think that's the only reason you should breed Border Collies (any dog, really, but that's for another day). So i searched and searched for breeder that fit those standards.

 

I thought I found one who was relatively close and worked out with my timeline (I had to wait until I was in a pet friendly apartment) and was extremely happy. From my research (from their website and talking with them) I gathered that they worked their collies even though the didn't trial, did health tests, only bred a couple of times a year, the puppies were raised in the house and great process was put into their socialization.

 

I put my name down for the next litter and thought everything was peachy. I hadn't been able to visit the farm but I personally know someone who got a puppy from them and I had seen videos of both the mom and dad herding and interacting with people, so I was comfortable doing that with plans to visit the farm in the near future.

 

Well life got in the way and I haven't been able to visit the farm yet and as time had wore on I've realized that maybe my breeder is as responsible as I thought.

 

My puppy is already born and he appears to be wonderful. But my first red flag was that I had to pick him out from a picture, instead of waiting until he was older and picking him out by temperament. What really bugged me about this was the fact that from my first contact with these people I had discussed my emphasis on the temperament, not color, of my puppy and that I wanted to meet him before I picked him. They never told me that wouldn't be an option.

 

Then I found out how many litters they have at one time (more than 2 right now), and they currently have 10+ puppies that haven't even been sold yet. How can you put emphasis on socialization with that many puppies running around?

 

Not the litter that I'm getting, but one of their other littler is CKC, not ABCA registered. I don't know much about the CKC but I've never heard anything good about it. Also, again not the parents of my litter, but some of their other dogs were purchased from a breeder that I had previously nixed because of (what I felt) were their discriminate policy of putting litters on the ground and nothing else. Also, not all of my breeders dogs that they breed are actually trained to work. I think I didn't pick up on this because it didn't deal with the dogs my pup has come from and that was what I was concerned about in the beginning.

 

Oh, they apparently don't do health testing. They used to, but, as I was told, would have to charge much more for their puppies if they did do it (even though they are charging more than other breeders I looked at who do do health testing). I wasn't happy when I heard this, but it's partly my fault because I didn't ask up front I just went by the information I found on their website.

 

To top it all off, when I was trying to make plans to meet the puppies and parents a couple of weeks before I actually take my puppy home (which apparently can't happen because of scheduling conflicts) I was told that I can come get my puppy anytime after he's 6 weeks old. I'm not an expert but I didn't think you should let your pup go until at least 7 weeks. I told them that I wasn't coming to get him until he was 8 weeks.

 

Maybe I should just nix it and find a breeder that is actually reputable, but I'm not going to. I've already paid for him and I'm emotionally invested now. If he has health or temperament problems I will deal with them as they come. I don't think he will because I've talked to several people who have puppies from this breeder and these parents and they are all solid.

 

I'm just frustrated with myself because I thought I was doing the right thing and now I'm not so sure. I truly believe that these people love their dogs and do their best to do right by them, but that doesn't make them a superb breeder of working Border Collies. Please scold me, I deserve it.

 

This is the first time I've done this so I'm bound to make a few mistakes. I'm just so aggravated because I searched for so long and thought this one was the best of both worlds. It's only due to my own negligence that I didn't find out some of these details sooner. Like, it never ever occurred to me to make sure that I could meet the puppy before I picked him. I thought I had been upfront about that fact and no one ever told me that wouldn't happy. I also took some things at face value. Some of their breeding stock is trained to herd, so I never assumed that some of the others wouldn't be.

 

I'm still really excited to bring my puppy home. I can't wait until he gets here. But I feel a bit guilty now about supporting someone who doesn't adhere to a high standard of working bred BCs.

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From someone who has been there... it happens. If you play this game long enough, you're going to get burned. I was in a somewhat similar situation a couple of years ago, where I thought I had done my homework and ended up with a cryptorchid pup and a breeder who tried to take me to court before I returned the pup. Bad bad bad situation, many tears were shed and money was lost.

There is a learning curve to everything... you don't know what you don't know and therefore you're bound to make mistakes. Sounds like you've decided on keeping the pup, but you are fully in your rights to choose to find a different breeder. I returned the pup I had the problems with (the pup was great outside of the no testicles and a bad breeder that I didn't want to associate with) and a year later I ended up with Pepper- she's keen and eager on stock, has a great temperament, and a great breeder, I couldn't be happier with my choice.

I guess I'm not sure I've actually contributed anything here, other than stuff happens and don't beat yourself up over it, and if you think you will dwell on it, you can still back out. Might be out some money, but your peace of mind will be worth it in the long run.

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If you haven't gotten you puppy, see if you can get your money back...sometimes you will lose some as non refundable...like $100 or so......better to get a pup from responsible people.....than feel like you have to get one that may have issues....the purchase price is a drop in the bucket on what you will invest in the dog over her/his lifetime

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I agree with Diane. Check to see if you can get your purchase price, or the bulk of it, back; walk away; and try again elsewhere. Part of the issue is what you may or may not be getting in terms of this pup, and the other part of the issue is supporting a breeder you don't want to support. Of course, your emotional investment will make this hard, and that's fully understood by folks here.

 

If you find you can't resolve this in any other way than to take this pup, then give him your best (which I am sure you will) and consider this a big lesson learned.

 

Many of us have been in your position. My first three pups actually came from someone that I could not now, with good conscience, recommend. I have also spent several years training with someone that I could not now recommend, and went to several clinics with someone that I could not now recommend. When you don't have connections with people who are the kind of person you want to deal with, to give you honest and sound advice, it's easy to be misled or simply to not know any better.

 

Make the decision you feel you need to make, and go on from that point. And thank you very much for sharing your experience. I hope you continue to share it because when we can do that here, we help others to learn from our mistakes, and maybe prevent something similar happening to someone else.

 

Very best wishes!

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From my research (from their website and talking with them) I gathered that they worked their collies even though the didn't trial, did health tests, only bred a couple of times a year, the puppies were raised in the house and great process was put into their socialization.

 

Have they not broken the contract by misrepresentation?

 

You say they don't health test and don't have only a couple of litters a year so socialisation is unlikely to be as thorough as you expected.

 

Seems on the face of it that you should be entitled to your money back since you aren't getting what you paid for.

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As Pam points out, if the information on the website is false or misleading, you should certainly be entitled to a refund. Sure, it would have been prudent to check that everything they said they did on the website was what they were actually doing but you would think that if they represented themselves as doing those things, that's what they were doing. If, however, you paid *after* they said that the website was not representative of their current condtions or policies, then I don't know if you'd have any grounds for demanding a refund.

 

CKC is nothing but what I call a "junk" registry. In recent years, there have been a number of these "registries" that have popped up to fill the demand for "papers" for those people who think they make their pup purchases more valuable, but are totally a "registry" for the indiscriminant backyard breeder, ignorant, and puppy millers. It's one of those that makes AKC look golden...

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RUN AWAY! Get a refund if you can (they lied about health testing, so you deserve one), but even if you can't, pass on the puppy. You will have your puppy for 12 to 15 years. The initial purchase price is just a tiny investment. It's better to wait and find a good breeder than to "settle" for a sub par animal and be disappointed for more than a decade.

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PS, if CKC = Continental Kennel Club, run away even faster! That is a registry full of breeders that got kicked out of the reputable registries. The pedigrees aren't even worth the paper they are printed on because so many were falsified.

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How are you "emotionally invested" in a puppy you haven't even seen yet? Get your money back.

 

For what it's worth, many pups from working parents ARE chosen very early, generally based on sex or markings. Each pup in a well bred litter has an equal chance of becoming a good working dog, and since no one can identify the talented pups at 8 weeks old, prospective owners might as well choose the pup that appeals to them. Just wanted to give a heads up that if you follow through and choose a different breeder, that part of the equation may remain the same.

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Both Liz and Megan just gave very good advice - Liz's about the CKC and Megan's about the puppy selection process.

 

It is common for many people to ask the breeder to "choose for them". Also, for many good breeders, since pups are often spoken for before breeding, there isn't often the "pick and choose" process. A picture doesn't tell you anything but how a pup looks, and meeting a little pup can tell you some things but, on the other hand. is not a reliable gauge of what a pup will be like when it grows up.

 

I'm like everyone else - I can fall for a pup or dog in a photo just because the animal in the picture or how he/she appears appeals to me, but a photo doesn't really tell you anything worthwhile about what that animal is truly like.

 

Very best wishes getting this figured out for yourself. And don't hesitate to ask here or in a private message if folks know a breeder or can recommend one. It may take a little longer but it will be worth the wait to support a responsible breeder and get a pup from such a person.

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I waited for years for my new pup. Got to meet her as a 3 week old blob. My intents of picking by personality was out the window in a hurry. Mom is a proven producer and I have seen the pups work. I would have gladly taken any pup. As it was, I got to pick the one most pleasing to my eyes and was held to it with photographic proof!!! She had turned out to be perfect for me.

 

As far as the rest in your situation, you said you have seem, met or talked to others that have bought nice and healthy pups from them? To me it would then boil down to, did you overlook certain things while being excited about your new addition or did they outright deceive you? One of my first dogs I asked the seller if the pup was registered....yup, it was. But I did not ask where (my bad as I was stupid enough to not know that a BC could be registered anywhere but back then, pre AKC, with any place but AIBCA (?) and ABCA). Turns out it was with some South Texas Pet Regisyry!! :)

 

And you will have to decide just how deep you believe in the supporting true working dog breeders aspect. Just how important is it. All of my guys are either true local, as in I have seen the sire or dam work, dogs or out of trial dogs that again, I have seen the breeder or sire and/or dam or both work. Which right there puts a different spin on it.

 

But I must say, things have changed for my selection process over the years as my desires have changed. Although my focus has always been workability, I have learned to trust certain aspects more and others less.

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You're making an even bigger one if you take this pup. Regardless of others....you're keeping a bad breeder in business and knowingly. You think you have an investment now, wait till everything falls apart.

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I don't have anything constructive to add, the others have given great advice. I just wanted to say I'm sorry. I can hear the disappointment dripping off your post.

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To me this is a major red flag - rationalizing not doing health testing.

 

Since you are very uncomfortable with this situation, you have a chance to get out now - before the pup is bonded to you (and vice versa). I understand that the timing can be an important factor, and that you really want a puppy NOW rather than having to wait another XX number of months, but I think you have received good advice here. I know it will be a difficult decision.

 

And if you need to get a deposit back, I wouldn't worry about a little white lie (or a big lie) in this situation to convince them to return your deposit. (Sorry if that offends anyone.) That will probably be more effective than letting them know that you don't like their breeding ethics - otherwise they may get huffy and not be so willing to return your deposit.

 

Jovi

Oh, they apparently don't do health testing. They used to, but, as I was told, would have to charge much more for their puppies if they did do it (even though they are charging more than other breeders I looked at who do do health testing

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I had a deposit on a pup. At the very end, the breeder changed the terms of the agreement. I got creeped out and bailed. It was very disapointing.

 

Several months later, I wound up purchasing a pup sight unseen from a breeder after multiple phone conversations and emails. I trusted the breeder to make the right choice for me. When the litter was 7 weeks old, she sent me an email with some photos saying here is your pup. The pup is now 1 year old and I am extremely happy with him. His temperment has changed (for the better) during the past 10 months.

 

I've seen pictures of the pup that I did not get. Suffice to say, I am very happy with the way things worked out.

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I appreciate everyone's posts. You have given me excellent advice. I have read them all multiple times.

 

I feel a bit better about picking my pup from a picture. I guess I was just a little taken about because I thought I was clear about the fact that I wanted to meet them first, and that we were on the same page about it.

 

To clarify a few things: I definitely do not think they have outright deceived me. If I did I would get out quick. I think it's been a combination of me being excited and asking misunderstanding between the questions I was asking and what I was looking for.

 

The sire and dam of my pup are ABCA registered. They are both trained to work on cattle. Through videos I have seen them both work and was satisfied that I wanted a pup from them. I also talked to reference that the breeder provided who weren't relatives and were familiar with both the sire and the dam. I think this is one of the reasons that I didn't pick up on a few things, there were no red flags with the sire and dam of my puppy. I have no doubt about my puppy's potential workability.

 

The problem came in with their other dogs. None of them are registered AKC, because they disagree with the AKC (as they told me). So I was quite taken aback when I found out a couple of there other dogs were registered CKC, which I don't know much about but had heard, as some of you all said, that it was a "junk" registry. If they just owned these dogs it wouldn't bother me, but these dogs are also used for breeding.

 

The health testing was on the website, which is the first thing I found. Later on I was told that they no longer use their website, it has old information and they only use their Facebook page. Why they don't do health testing anymore, I don't know. It was more of a careless mistake then outright deception that I thought they did. However, my contract does state that my puppy will be healthy and be up-to-date on all vaccinations, etc, so if he does turn out to have some sort of genetic problem I could argue that that voids the contract. My contract also states that I can always return the puppy for any reason, and if it's something that's their fault I would be entitled to a refund.

 

I do personally know someone who has a puppy from this breeder from the same sire and dam. He was actually the one who recommended them to me. Working ability was high on his list of criteria so that may be one reason that I wasn't as critical with them as I should have been at first. I have spoken with numerous people (through facebook) who have gotten puppies from this breeder and from the same sire my puppy has and I've not found any that have any health, temperament, or genetic problems.

 

I think these people are doing what they feel is their best to breed happy and healthy dogs. It just doesn't line up with what I believe is the best way to go about it, and my frustration lies in the fact that I thought it did line up.

 

For multiple reasons, some of them very personal and not easily explained, I have almost absolutely decided to stick with my puppy. I know many of you don't approve, and I respect that and understand why. I do realize what I am risking and what I am supporting, even if it was sort of inadvertently at the beginning. I will definitely not be purchasing a pup from them again or recommending them to anyone. But I will give my pup the best life possible.

 

Again, I think everyone for their response. They were all thoughtful, full of information, and have given me a lot to think about. I appreciate the personal experiences people have shared with me. It's good to know that people have been on both sides of this same coin and how they handled it. This board has been a great tool in teaching me about the Border Collie (even though I grew up with one I found out I really didn't know a lot when I joined) and the culture that surrounds the breed I will definitely be here as long as I have BCs, and hopefully that will be for the rest of my life.

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I'm a bit confused as to why you posted in the first place, since you had no intention of taking any of the advice given, after saying you knew you made a mistake. And now spending a great deal of time justifying your choice. Apparently you were only briefly concerned that you really didn't do the research you should have and now are satisfied that you made the right choice. Color me befuddled by the whole thing.

 

J.

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Okay, I'm confused. You were all worried and upset and concerned about this breeder, and then suddenly ... you're not?

Why did you post here, if you're going to go ahead and get that pup anyhow?

Why is a breeder who lets pups go at 6 weeks old no longer a red flag to you?

Why is a breeder who has multiple litters on the ground (and thus minimal chance to handle and socialize them all) no longer a red flag to you?

Why is a breeder who will only let you pick a puppy from a photograph no longer a red flag to you? (Gosh, I'd hate to pick one and find out it's horrendously timid or wildly hyperactive or some other behavioral or physical problem.)

Why is a breeder who does not work or prove all their breeding dogs no longer a red flag to you?

Last but not least, why is a breeder who does not do ANY health checks no longer a red flag to you?

But then again, in your original post, you already said you weren't going to nix the puppy purchase, so I honestly have no idea why you posted this at all. If you just wanted to talk yourself into getting a puppy, because you can't bear to back out of an agreement ... then you kind of wasted everybody's time. Including mine.

I guess I'm just hot and tired enough this evening to feel snappish, so I'm hoping by asking some pointed questions, I can talk you out of going against your best instincts. If this is a mistake, this is a mistake that's going to last you 12 to 14 years. (Or given the lack of health checks, it could cost you a lot of money.)

Good luck.

~ Gloria

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I'm confused as well. I wouldn't trust a breeder to make smart choices if they have CKC registered dogs in their program. Tells me they don't value or understand a quality dog, that they don't care what they are producing.

 

I am almost afraid to ask what colors of dogs the breeder has.

 

You say you know one satisfied customer. So what? I bet I could find you 100 satisfied customers who got pups from a high volume breeder known for producing a lot of BCs with epilepsy, nasty temperaments and bad structure.

 

Are you buying this pup to not insult the friend who already has a dog from the breeder?

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I don't want anyone to think that I think I have made the "right" choice or that by posting I am trying to justify it to myself. I merely stated that I made a choice, one that I'm still not entirely sure about and one that I may or may not ever be sure is the right one.

 

I don't think any part of any of my posts attempts to justify my choice. It's merely an explanation of how I came to my conclusions in the first place and how many of those were eventually proven wrong, mostly by my own ignorance. Much of my second post was to explain some things that I thought were a bit unclear in my first post.

 

I posted to share my experience with others. Even though I'm embarrassed to admit that I messed up, especially to a group of people who are so passionate and so knowledgeable about the breed that I love, I hope that someone who goes through the same thing in the future may see where I messed up and avoid the mistakes for themselves. I posted to hear advice and experience from others, even if it's snappish and critical. You all have given me much to think about, and still thinking I am. I'm sure I will be thinking about this for a long time.

 

Liz, surprisingly the one I know is CKC is black and white. They have a blue merle, a red and white, and the rest are black and white or black/white tri. To their credit, they don't place emphasis on color, which was another reason I was confused as to why they were breeding CKC litters, I would think that would be only for color.

 

Gloria, most of those are still red flags for me. Picking the puppy from a photo isn't as much anymore since many people shared that it is a a fairly common practice even within the working community. I know that the logical thing to do would be to nix this puppy right now and wait for one from a better litter from a more reputable breeder. Liz, it's not because of my friend that I am sticking with this puppy. As I mentioned before, the reason is very personal. It has to deal with family and as much as I value everyone here, it is not something that I want to share with people on a mostly anonymous public forum. It leaves me very emotionally invested in the situation and in this puppy even though I haven't met him yet. I'm not sure I'm strong enough to overcome the emotion with the logic. It's not something I'm happy about, but it is what it is.

 

I realize that this puppy could be very unhealthy and that I will be investing a lot of money in him if that's the case. I realize that he may have major temperament issues that I will have to deal with. These are things that I'm aware of and will do to give the puppy the best life possible. I know that this is a lesson learned and in the future I will work my hardest to not make the same mistakes and do the absolute best by the breed that I can. As I said before, I appreciate the responses and appreciate the time it takes for you to read and post them, even when it seems like I'm not listening, which I know is what it must seem like. But, again, I really do take all of this to heart.

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I will add to the voices that chime in to say it's not uncommon to place a working-bred pup from a photo. Many such litters aren't within easy driving distance of their new owners. A reputable breeder will know something about the temperament of each pup from having spent time with the litters, but ultimately, people choose according to the order they were on the list, and if you can't meet them in person, you look at the photos and you ask the breeder's advice, and those two items form the basis of your decision.

 

Just as a caution: anyone who thinks all is well because "My contract also states that I can always return the puppy for any reason, and if it's something that's their fault I would be entitled to a refund" may be deluding themselves. Most pet owners bring a puppy into their house and it immediately becomes a member of the family; returning it even in the face of severe genetic problems (which usually don't emerge for months and months) really doesn't represent an option. If you think you're attached to a pup you've never even seen already (based on some photos) to the point where it's hard to back out, how much harder will it be after you've bonded to a pup that's been in your home for six months?

 

For what it's worth, this is how the least-reputable breeders survive. Family arrives "just to check a litter out", with the full intention of running the other way if they see red flags. Then they spot the puppy faces and all is lost.

 

If you decide to stick with this puppy, you might consider investing in pet insurance. That way if major health problems do emerge you won't be as deeply out of pocket. (Which is not to say that pups with health issues only come from "red flag" breeders - sh1t happens when you're dealing with live animals, it's just a matter of probability). As others have said, the purchase price can be nothing compared to the vet bills you could easily encounter during the first year.

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Just as a caution: anyone who thinks all is well because "My contract also states that I can always return the puppy for any reason, and if it's something that's their fault I would be entitled to a refund" may be deluding themselves. Most pet owners bring a puppy into their house and it immediately becomes a member of the family; returning it even in the face of severe genetic problems (which usually don't emerge for months and months) really doesn't represent an option. If you think you're attached to a pup you've never even seen already (based on some photos) to the point where it's hard to back out, how much harder will it be after you've bonded to a pup that's been in your home for six months?

 

 

Been there . . . and this was a working dog -- though my working dogs were also family members.

 

No, there was no way Twill was going back to the breeder when I found out she was dysplastic. It was far too late by then.

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So what are others supposed to learn from your "mistake"? That's it's okay to buy a pup even when lots of red flags are waving madly at you, because you are already emotionally invested? Sounds like the very same argument people use to justify buying a pup at a pet store.

 

I'm not going to rant about genetic issues, because genetic issues arise even in the most well-thought-out litters, but I fail to see how this could be an object lesson for anyone else, except perhaps for someone else who thinks that emotional investment (in a photo, no less) somehow makes it all okay.

 

Big, fat sigh. Once again I'm left wondering why we bother when even the people who claim to understand and should certainly know better still go ahead and make poor choices....

 

ETA: And in the interest of full disclosure, I will say that I once took a pup sight unseen, but then again, I knew the parents and had seen them working on more than one occasion; knew the bloodlines well, having a close relative of the pup in question (my main work/trial dog at the time, who was nearly a sister to the pup's dam--same dam, sire of my bitch was the sire of the pup's dam's sire); knew the owner of the parents; and knew I could trust her when she said this was the pup for me, And she was right, even though I wasn't really even in the market for a pup at the time. This is the sort of situation people are talking about when they talk about picking pups from a photo of a working litter, or at least it's what I'm talking about. And that's not the same as sending in your money after contact through a web site and then picking a pup from a photo having not met the parent nor having had any real contact with the breeders. But I think you actually know that.

 

J.

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I know that the logical thing to do would be to nix this puppy right now and wait for one from a better litter from a more reputable breeder.

 

yes, it seems like the responsible course of action. It's possible to undo a lot of things with dogs, but bad genetics and not enough socialization in their early development is really hard to overcome.

 

For what it's worth, this is how the least-reputable breeders survive. Family arrives "just to check a litter out", with the full intention of running the other way if they see red flags. Then they spot the puppy faces

 

I was just reading how adults are naturally attracted to disproportionately large heads, eyes and hands and instinctually want to care for the creature... apparently it keeps us from killing our kids. I'll report back in a few years.

 

Rebecca

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I want to make it clear to the OP that I did not chose a pup based on a photo. I had several discussions with the breeder and in the end sent her a very detailed email on my needs and desires which were largely behavorial. Although it was a working bred litter, i was looking for a sports prospect. The litter was tempermemt tested and based on the results of that test and years and years of breeding BCs, a pup was chosen for me. From talking to the breeder, I could tell that a lot of thought was put into the choice. The breeder had already sent me pedigrees and the results of health testing and to some extent I was able to research the parents and related dogs on line. The breeder made it clear to me that she "would not know what she had" until the pups were around 7 weeks old and it was possible that no pup in the litter would meet my needs. Based on research and talking to people, 7 weeks seems to be the age when temperment begins to show. Prior to that time, you may as well chose from a photo.

 

The breeder was located about 10 hours from me and I had debated making the trip, but decided against going because I did not want to wind up overruling the breeder and making a decision based on looks or emotion. The pup that was chosen for me was not the flashiest in the litter and he was very very independent when he was younger, so I may not have even chosen him. However, he has grown up to be a working fool (to the exclusion of everything else in the environmen) and is now very handsome.

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