Response to Forbes’ “French Bulldog Puppies: Inside The Business Of Breeding New York’s Most Fashionable Dog”

Original Article: French Bulldog Puppies: Inside The Business Of Breeding New York’s Most Fashionable Dog

Response By Rita Rice, NADBR VP of Research

Forbes writes a balanced article about the pitfalls of popular breeds, how to shop for a quality puppy, and how to avoid accidentally supporting irresponsible, neglectful, or abusive breeders.  While it’s easy to respond with platitudes, every potential owner needs to examine their own needs and wants for their new family member.  Apartment and/or city life brings challenges that aren’t always answered by adopting a shelter dog.  Breed specific rescues are one possibility, responsible breeders another.  First, though, the new owner needs to decide if they’re in love with a breed or with a fad.  Popular breeds are often popular for a reason; they fit common needs and lifestyles. Popular breeds often attract numerous responsible breeders; for example, an entire Breeder/Pet Owner online “College” was founded by a group of Golden Retriever breeders who are dedicated to breeding happy, healthy Goldens for companion owners.  Unfortunately, these breeds often attract “fly by night” breeders, “amateurs” who buy a couple of dogs and think to make some easy money (responsible breeding is many things, but never easy), and “retail rescues” who suddenly “find” a glut of the desired breed in another part of the country (usually in an unregistered breeder’s kennel).

While Forbes touches on the issues, the article fails to help these potential homes find their desired canine companion.

So how do you find that preferred pooch?

First, don’t assume that the best breeders charge the highest prices.  Your breeder should justify their price: that high price tag should be accompanied by membership in a parent club (such as the French Bulldog Club of America), AKC championship (or working titled) pedigrees, proven health testing submitted to the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (offa.org), health and temperament warranties, and a LOT of owner support.  A breeder doesn’t need all of these to do a good job breeding, or be a responsible, ethical breeder – but their prices should reflect the difference; there’s profit, then there is price gouging.

With a rescue, you should know where your puppy comes from.  Vague responses or claims of “high value” breeds languishing unwanted in shelters 2,000 miles away should be treated with the same skepticism as the half price car on the lot (with good breeding, you’ll own your pet longer than you will own your car – and spend as much money in care and maintenance).  No matter where the shelter, there is almost always a major Metropolitan Statistical Area within a few hundred miles, and those pups are as desirable there as anywhere else in the US.  Your rescue should be well established, with a track record and – if purebred – an affiliation with their AKC Parent Club.

Finally, you should be willing to wait.  From the time a breeder plans a litter, waits on the dam to come into season, breeds her, whelps the litter, raises the pups, and send them to their new homes, you might be looking at a wait of 6 months or more for that responsibly bred pup.

So what if you do all of those things, and your perfect pup proves impossible to find?  Look at similar breeds.  Love that Frenchie?  Maybe a Boston Terrier will capture your heart just as easily.  Looking for a Golden Retriever?  Perhaps a Labrador (or Flat Coated Retriever, or a Chesapeake Bay Retriever if you want a non-shed coat) will fit your family to a T.  Check the AKC website: breeds are organized by Groups, which means that you can find many similar breeds for comparison and research.

And when you’ve found that baby, and the wait seems interminable….join a Facebook Group or other online forum.  Buy training books or watch videos or podcasts.  Puppy proof your home; I recommend that new owners crawl through the house at puppy level – if you can reach it, so can they!  Check out training classes, day cares and dog parks (visit them and meet other like minded owners).  Catch up on sleep, and work on your bucket list; your free time will be limited to the length of time your pup can be crated at home, and no matter how well trained your puppy you should expect a few 2am wake up calls (if not for a potty break, then for emergency snuggling, or the spectacular scream of a puppy who catches his toe in the door of his crate).  Make friends with your neighbors, and bribe them with food; they, too, will be subject to the wail of a puppy in (imagined) distress, if you live in close quarters.

Most of all, enjoy the decision you’ve made, knowing it is the right one for your home and lifestyle, and get ready to have your heart and world expanded by your new friend!

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