How to Choose a Breeder
Buying a puppy is different from the experience of buying anything else. Picking the right breeder will mean support, behavioral counseling, and training advice throughout the life of your Airedale. When evaluating an Airedale breeder consider:
- Does the breeder actively show or work their Airedales? By competing in conformation or dog sport events a breeder has the opportunity for a objective expert to rank the dog as a good or bad representative of the breed. You should buy from a breeder who mates only Airedales who have titled in conformation or performance events or proved themselves as working or service dogs. (preferably both) Conformation titles prove the dog has been judged as physically matching breed standards while performance titles (agility, obedience, flyball, etc) prove the dog is healthy physically and mentally and is able to be trained.
- Does the breeder belong to the Airedale Terrier Club of America or other national or local breed clubs? Membership in organizations indicates that your breeder is up to date on best practices for breeding, breed-specific information and training methods, and is professionally linked with other breeders.
- What health guarantees does the breeder have on their puppies? A good breeder will state in their contract that the Airedale will not have genetic
medical problems at any point in his life, and if it does there will be compensation available.
As important as questions to ask a breeder, are red flags to listen for:
Red Flag: a breeder who lets you take an Airedale puppy home at 6 or 7 weeks old.
Puppies learn important socialization by remaining with their mother and littermates for 8-12 weeks. Veterinary research indicates that when a pup stays in its litter with it’s mother and siblings till 8-12 weeks, the puppy will learn it’s place in a pack (thus may find it easier to relate to you as its leader as an adult dog), learn appropriate play from its siblings, and and bite inhibition from its mother. By 10-12 weeks the puppy will have a firm foundation on housebreaking by watching and following its mother. Weaning at 6 weeks may indicate a low level commitment on the breeder’s part or quantitative breeding practices requiring puppies be sold quickly to free space for another litter already on the way.
Red Flag: A breeder who picks a puppy for you without interviewing you.
Some breeders will pick a puppy for you or give you a choice of only a few of the puppies in the litter. This is a common practice among responsible breeders who either want to get to know their puppies and then match the puppies with appropriate families, or who will select a percentage of the litter to be kept and evaluated for potential to be shown. You should be concerned if the breeder picks a puppy for you before you tell the breeder about your lifestyle and the activities you plan to share with your dog.
Red Flag: not being allowed to see all the Airedale puppies or the breeder’s home.
You should be able to see all available puppies, mother, and their living environment. All puppies should be healthy and bright eyed– although even the best female dog may look haggard after caring for all her puppies for two months. The area where the dogs are kept should be inside the home in a clean area that seems well maintained. The puppies should be being encouraged to go outside with their mother to go to the bathroom. (It’s highly unlikely the Airedale puppies will be housetrained, but NOT encouraging them to go outside means you’ll be starting from scratch when you take your puppy home)
Red Flag: Puppies kept in cages or outdoors.
Never buy from a breeder who doesn’t live among their dogs. No matter how clean the kennels or cages are, it is our opinion that it is impossible to breed mentally healthy, well socialized Airedales when the mother and puppies are kept outside of the home and away from people. If the adult dog is to be kept by humans as an indoor pet, puppies should have exposure to indoor living and human interaction frequently during the early weeks of its life. It is, of course, necessary to confine curious puppies when they cannot be watched, but pet gates and closed doors should be used in place of cages or barns. Never, buy from a breeder whose Airedales are “outdoor dogs” only. Outdoor Dogs are less socialized and breeding outdoor-only dogs can produce puppies that struggle to socialize with humans.
While not a major concern, be cautious of a breeder who has both parents on site.
This one causes some raised eyebrows, but if a breeder is carefully breeding the best to the best, it’s unlikely they will be lucky enough to own both the male and female. Be wary of a breeder who cannot provide you copies of a several-generation pedigree on the sire and dam. (They don’t have to recall it from memory, but they should have access. It is important that they have researched their Airedales enough to, at minimum, have not bred dogs who are relatives of each other)
The very minimum you should receive when you pick up your pup is
(1) the AKC registration slip. You will select a name for your puppy and submit this form to AKC, with a fee, to register the pup in your name.
(2) A record from a veterinarian indicating what shots the pup has and when the puppy was wormed.
(3) Three days supply of the puppy food the pup is used to eating. Abrupt changes of food can upset small stomachs.