Buying From the Breeder
The conscientious breeder plans a breeding to reproduce the best characteristics of an outstanding sire or dam. His guide is the official AKC Standard of the breed — the written “blueprint” that helps keep the breed uniform for generations to come. (You can find the breed standard, revised in 2005, at the American Boxer Club website: www.americanboxerclub.org). The more common disappointments for pet purchasers come from commercial sources — especially pet shops that often buy puppies from the infamous “puppy mills” that take little notice of the quality or health they are producing. The pet store or dog broker will sell you a puppy with a breeder’s name attached to the paperwork — but this puppy may easily have been born in a puppy mill. His sire and/or dam are nowhere on the premises. The reputable breeder, on the other hand, will not only be able to demonstrate the pedigree and registration papers, but will also show you either the sire or dam themselves, or pictures of the parent who may be owned elsewhere. Though the mere presence of “papers” does not guarantee good health, conformation, or temperament, you will most often find these attributes in the puppy that has been raised with loving care in the home or kennel of a conscientious hobby breeder.
The serious breeder often strives to produce a potential “champion.” Since not all in the litter can quite reach this goal, the breeder will able to offer you a good-looking brother or sister of the show prospect at a reasonable price. Sometimes the distribution of white markings alone may make the difference between the so-called “pet” and show-potential puppy. The pet puppy will have benefited from the same proven bloodlines, nutrition, and medical care as its “champion” littermate. His breeder will have health tested the parents and done the best he can to insure good temperament, soundness, and longevity. Here is your best buy.
Locating A Breeder
Your local dog show is a good source — and is one of the purposes of such shows. Check out local Boxer clubs in your area. The American Boxer Club Breeder Referral can direct you to breeders across the country.
Find a Responsible Breeder
Excerpt from the AKC article Thinking of Buying a Puppy? Find a Responsible Breeder
- To find a responsible breeder, go to a dog show or visit the breed’s Parent Club for additional resources and contact information.
- Don’t be put off if a breeder isn’t immediately responsive. Hobby breeders often have full-time jobs and they don’t always have available puppies. Be selective. Find a breeder who is knowledgeable and make sure you’re comfortable with them.
- Visit the breeder’s home or kennel and ask to see at least one of the puppy’s parents. Get an idea of what the future holds for your dog in terms of temperament and appearance.
- Observe the premises. Is the house/kennel clean? Odor-free? Dogs and puppies should be clean, well fed, lively and friendly. Look for signs of malnutrition such as protruding rib cages or illness such as runny nose/eyes, coughing, lethargy and skin sores.
- Pay attention to how the dogs and puppies interact with their breeder. Does the breeder appear to genuinely care for the puppies and their adult dogs? Both dogs and puppies should not shy away from the breeder and should be outgoing with strangers.
- Find out about the health of your puppy and its parents. Breeders should be honest about the breed’s strengths and weaknesses and knowledgeable about the genetic diseases that can affect their breed – including what’s being done to avoid them. Breeders should be willing to share proof of health screenings such as OFA and CERF certificates with potential buyers.
- Establish a good rapport with the breeder. He/she will be an excellent resource and breed mentor for you throughout the life of your puppy. You should be encouraged to call the breeder if your dog has a crisis at any stage of its life.
- A responsible breeder may ask you to sign a contract indicating that if specified conditions of care are not met or you become unable to keep the puppy, he/she will reclaim it.
- Don’t expect to bring home the puppy until its eight to 12 weeks of age. Puppies need ample time to mature and socialize with its mother and littermates.
- Breeders should be willing to answer any questions you have and should ask many of you as well. Breeders will want to make sure their puppies are going to good homes, with people who know what to expect and have made all the necessary preparations.
- Don’t leave the premises without the appropriate documentation of the dog’s pedigree, a.k.a. “papers”. The words “American Kennel Club” as well as the AKC logo should be clearly visible. You’ll need to send in this application form to register your dog with the AKC. Be wary of a breeder who refuses/hesitates to give you papers, wants to charge you more for AKC papers, offers papers from a registry other than the AKC, or tells you he/she will mail them to you at a later date.
Check this list!
- Tails should have been docked within a few days of birth.
- Optional removal of front dewclaws (fifth toes) is done at the same time. The Boxer has no rear dewclaws.
- Ear cropping is customary and appropriate but not required — it is a matter of personal preference. Uncropped ears are permitted under the breed standard. If cropped, this procedure is done under general anesthesia, usually between six and nine weeks of age. If the puppy is taken before cropping, the breeder usually makes arrangements. The breeder also advises regarding aftercare and taping if ears are not already standing. Sometimes this is a lengthy process.
- In the male, both testicles should be descended into the scrotum. They should be in place by two to three months of age. A dog with undescended testicles may still make a fine pet, though he would be ineligible to compete in the conformation show ring. Consult your veterinarian for advice.
- Avoid the unusually quiet, inactive puppy, or the one that might shy away from you. This might mean a fault in temperament or even ill health.
- Papers the Seller Should Furnish:
a. A three or four generation pedigree signed by the seller. There should be no extra charge for this. The pedigree preferably gives the color of the sire and dam, and the AKC registration numbers of each.b. The registration from the AKC, which is an official document identifying your puppy’s individual registration number, sex, birth date, sire and dam, and name of the breeder(s). There are two ways to register puppies for the first time:(1) Limited Registration
If the puppy is not to be bred, and is being purchased only as a companion pet, the breeder may check off the Limited Registration option. This does register the puppy with the AKC. However, it does not allow any registration of offspring from the mature dog. The breeder (and only the breeder) can cancel the limited registration should the puppy at maturity be considered of breeding quality.
(2) Full Registration
If the puppy is considered to be of breeding quality, the seller will check off the full registration option.
- Records the Breeder Should Furnish:
a. Date and type of vaccines given. Depending on the type of vaccination program started, your veterinarian will advise you on following through. Vaccination protocols are evolving even among the medical professionals.b. Date and agent used for worming, if done. Do not worm your puppy without consulting your veterinarian. Avoid store-bought preparations which can be dangerous.c. Diet your puppy has been receiving. It is well to maintain the regimen begun by the breeder, especially while the puppy is adjusting to his new home. If changes are to be made. do so very gradually, so as not to upset his system. When he is an adult it will be wise to maintain your Boxer on two smaller meals a day.
Staying in Touch
It is very advisable to maintain a relationship with your puppy’s breeder. The breeder can be an invaluable friend to you throughout your Boxer’s life, and can advise you about care and health matters that are unique to the breed.
Bringing a puppy or even an older dog into your home and your life is a major decision. It brings with it responsibility and commitment, but it also renders joy, laughter, and happiness.. No one of us who has ever shared his life with a Boxer would have it any other way.