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Old September 3rd, 2014, 12:15 PM
amer amer is offline
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Location: Montreal
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Finding out about a BAD breeder (a day before picking up a puppy)

It never occurred to me that a breeder of champion dogs could possibly be an irresponsible breeder, which is why, I have to admit, I did not do a full due diligence before. Luckily, this all came up today instead of tomorrow (when my husband was supposed to be picking up our puppy).

I'm so sad and angry at myself for not seeing all the signs before. I think I just wanted the cute puppy so badly that I hushed any uneasy feelings.

My hubby and I fell in love with Tibetan Terriers a few months ago, and we decided that we were ready to welcome one into our lives. We are both very thorough people and always do our research. We've been in touch with breeders in our area and we drove almost 6 hours round trip a few weeks ago to attend a dog show just to meet some of the breeders in person and to see the dogs.

Every breeder that we contacted (in Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Vermont) has a wait list. Some even so far as a one year wait list.

Then a business trip to San Francisco came up for my husband and he searched for breeders in the area, just in case. Imagine our joy when he found a breeder that had beautiful puppies ready to come home. She has been breeding Tibetan Terriers since 1976 and has many champions in her line. We saw some of her referrals and were satisfied with the positive reviews.

Looking back, I guess I naively thought that a breeder of a 'pure breed' who has champion dogs MUST be a good breeder. Even other breeders have her dogs!

By fate, my best friend (whose father has been showing and breeding dogs all her life) asked me about the breeder this morning. She saw the signs and put 2 and 2 together.

My friend quickly sent me online complaints of people who had bought dogs from the breeder. The general problems were that the dogs would be/get sick, and the breeder would stop replying to them. She claims she has a "strong health guarantee", but then she disappeared on people who had bought puppies that turned out to be sick. There are also many positive reviews of the breeder online, and every complaint is met by a string of comments from defenders praising the breeder.


Reading the complaints made the feeling in my stomach impossible to ignore. So I sent an email to one of the breeders that I had been in contact with (I'll refer to her as the VT breeder and the 'bad' as the SF breeder). I couldn't think of who else I could reach out to.

I sent an email briefly asking is she had heard of the SF breeder. Within seconds she sent me this:

"Do not do it. Health issues. Breeds really large dogs. Bad reputation. She wad ousted & sued by the TT Club of America years ago and is dishonest."

Followed by an email that said CALL ME and a text that said "I don't have my strong glasses with me. But I saw the name ______ (SF breeder). You need to call me."

I called her and she gave me a list of instances of the SF breeder's dogs having health problems. It turns out the SF breeder even embezzled from the Tibetan Terrier Club of America (I just emailed the TTCA to check with them). The VT breeder had met the SF breeder and has looked into her history, and she was just so adamant against the SF breeder that she told me she'd help me find a breeder here that has a sable puppy available as so that I don't have to buy from the SF breeder.

I followed up that call with a call to the AKC. Even though they don't keep track of complaints against breeders, the person I spoke with said:

"The one thing I CAN tell you, is that this breeder has A LOT of dogs registered and A LOT of litters". Her tone told me everything I need to know.

Now that my eyes are open, here are the signs that I had managed to ignore:

-I found one of the puppies she's selling listed on PuppyFind

-her website has no information on her dogs (EVERY website from other breeders talks about their dams and sires, as well as very personal stories and lots of photos)

-even though I sent many, many specific questions (about everything from the pup's diet and training, to family medical history, to DNA tests, etc) -- I never received any full, detailed or really satisfactory answers. All the answers talked around the issues.

-we only got one photo of the puppy

-she has dogs available!

As sad as I am to not be welcoming a puppy home this weekend, I just can't go through with getting a dog from a breeder that has questionable practices.

I can't say for certain that she IS running a puppy mill, but I know for sure that I don't want to support someone who might be. Or even someone who is breeding dogs in less than ideal conditions. When we get our puppy it will be from a breeder I can trust. Hopefully the VT breeder will have a litter with a sable female soon!

I would love to adopt from a shelter (and actually my dream dogs are Bull Mastiffs! -- even despite their bad health), but my husband is very particular about the qualities he likes in a dog -- and Tibetan Terrier is the only breed he will agree to getting. I know I can't convince him otherwise, and I want him to be just as happy as me with the dog, which is why we've chosen this breed.

I'm not sure if I'm allowed to say the name of the breeder in question (would it be slander?), but if anyone here is considering getting a Tibetan Terrier from a breeder outside of San Francisco please let me know who! I would hate for someone else to go through this if I can help them.

Last edited by amer; September 3rd, 2014 at 12:58 PM.
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Old September 3rd, 2014, 01:02 PM
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Loki Love Loki Love is offline
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Location: Regina, SK
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Heartbreaking for you for sure - but I commend you for taking a step back and thinking with your head and not your heart.

Your dream pup is out there waiting for you - and now that you know more of what to ask about, and warning signs - you'll find a great breeder.

I suggest finding a local (or as local as possible) breed group - attend some shows and start to speak with breeders. Yes, a year is a long time to wait, but for the right breeder and right puppy, it's worth it.

Good luck!
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Old September 3rd, 2014, 03:22 PM
amer amer is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Montreal
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Thanks for the support Loki Love!

I'm still in shock that we came SO CLOSE to getting a puppy from a bad breeder that I don't think it has fully sunk in that we won't have the puppy I had already fallen in love with. I had to cancel vet appt, puppy classes, appt for raw diet... and I have a whole bunch of supplies that we bought for the pup, plus the carrier and supplies that my husband is now stuck logging around in San Francisco :S

When this sad moment passes, I will be in touch with the breeders in this region to determine who is the best for us (I have a strong feeling we'll go with the VT breeder who I already feel grateful to!).

I now plan to meet the breeders and their dogs before even getting on a wait list, to visit when the dam is pregnant and when the litter is born as often as possible until the day we can take our puppy home. Now that I know that I can't take for granted a breeder's love for their dogs (even champion pure breeds), I will be so vigilant!
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Old September 3rd, 2014, 05:27 PM
Longblades Longblades is offline
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Do NOT say the name of the breeder here. But you can tell people who PM you.

I'm sorry. I bet you were in love at a distance already with the puppy. You are to be heartily commended for doing what is right. We wouldn't support someone who built cars that were unsafe or unreliable and refused to honour a warranty when they broke down. It's even more important, or just as, to help curtail the production of poor little puppies with health problems. But oh my, it's so much harder with a cute puppy.
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Old September 3rd, 2014, 05:31 PM
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hazelrunpack hazelrunpack is offline
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Good sleuthing, amer! And so much better to have found out ahead of time. It's a disappointment, but now you're prepared with supplies and contacts for when you do find a good breeder and bring home your pup! So it's not a total loss--just a little glitch in the road!
"We are--each of us--dying; it's how we live in the meantime that makes the difference."

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Old September 3rd, 2014, 06:51 PM
amer amer is offline
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Location: Montreal
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Thank you Longblades. I figured as much about naming names.

Is there a site for rating/reviewing breeders? I'm not finding anything really useful. I saw what seemed like a promising idea that doesn't seem to have worked out: The Breeder Ratings. It seems like a great idea that could become an invaluable resource if implemented properly.

Our entire family had fallen in love with her (at least the idea of her and her super adorable photo). Even without having her here yet, our routine and life had already changed in anticipation. In many ways, I do feel a void knowing she won't join our family.

BUT you're absolutely right about the importance of selecting a good breeder. I hadn't given it enough thought, and it is a HUGE deal. I thought that as long as I bought from a "real" breeder (a vague concept that I defined by 1. breeding a pure breed (registered pedigree), and 2. having champion dogs) -- and never a pet store, a "puppy mill" or byb -- then I would be doing the right thing. Now I realize how much more complicated the definition of a good breeder is, and how important it is to personally get to know the breeder and to build a relationship with them that will last the entire life of the dog.
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Old September 3rd, 2014, 07:06 PM
amer amer is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Montreal
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Thank you Hazelrunpack! I appreciate your encouragement, and I agree. I will continue to research and learn as much as I can -- and might even pick up another toy or two! -- so that I am ready for our puppy when the time comes.

I do feel sad thinking that there is a puppy out there that we abandoned in a way. Choosing to not support someone who is a bad breeder doesn't change the fact that the beautiful innocent puppy deserves a loving home -- that part is very hard.
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Old September 4th, 2014, 05:57 AM
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Marty11 Marty11 is offline
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Amer your wise to put a halt on this purchase. I fell for that doggie in the window and she has not been a healthy dog for 8 years. Patience is needed when you have a good breeder. Sorry for what you just experienced.
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Old September 4th, 2014, 07:22 AM
amer amer is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2014
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Thank you for your support Marty11. I'm sorry for your doggie's health problems. I'm sure that your love and care has improved her life immeasurably, but I can only imagine how hard it must be for you.
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Old September 4th, 2014, 03:27 PM
Barkingdog Barkingdog is offline
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This is sad news but it would had been a lot sadder if you and your husband had gotten the puppy and fell in love with it and have it very sick on you. Could ask a vet if they know breeder that can be trusted?
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breeder, puppy mill, tibetan terrier

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