WHY BUY A PUREBRED FROM A RESPONSIBLE BREEDER?

By Jo Ann White

There are many good reasons to buy a well-bred purebred Shih Tzu from a responsible breeder. The first, of course, is predictability. You will know whether you are getting a breed that exemplifies what YOU want from a dog, rather than an albeit cute puppy that could grow up to be something other than what you expected in terms of size, temperament, appearance, and many other factors. Unpredictability also applies to those “designer dogs” that are part Shih Tzu. They may well combine the worst, rather than the best, qualities of the two breeds involved.

The word “breeder” alone will not suffice when you choose where you will buy your puppy. The word “breeder” simply means the owner of the mother of your puppies. If this person doesn’t know your breed standard and isn’t trying to breed Shih Tzu that look like the standard and are physically and temperamentally sound, the results, again, could be unpredictable. Puppy mills and backyard breeders are concerned only with profit, not quality, and will accept any buyer with a credit card or check. Ethical breeders screen new homes (be prepared for lots of questions), will serve as knowledgeable mentors after you take your puppy home, and will take back or rehome any dog they produced at any time. In other words, they care.

Because ethical breeders spend lots of time socializing, caring for, and observing their puppies, they will be able to recommend the puppy most likely to fit best into your life. In most cases, they will NOT let you take your Shih Tzu puppy home before it is 12 weeks old, so that it is old enough to adjust well. They will tell you what you need to buy before you bring your puppy home, have started your puppy’s paper training, had its health checked, and begun to accustom it to having its nails cut, its feet trimmed, and its coat brushed. All of this gets your puppy off to the best possible start.

Some people truly enjoy raising puppies, while others would prefer not to deal with housebreaking, crate training, chewing, teething, and all of the other things that go along with raising a youngster. If you would prefer an older dog, a breeder may have a retired show dog that would like to spend the rest of its life as a pampered only pet, or be able to refer you to a reputable Shih Tzu rescue organization that knows the breed well, has screened its dogs, and can, once again, find the Shih Tzu best suited to YOU.

Remember that responsible breeders do not contribute to pet overpopulation. They find homes for every animal they breed and keep track of them once they leave. They take great care in producing dogs that are calm, friendly, playful, and inquisitive—healthy, well-adjusted animals that look like Shih Tzu and respond quickly and easily to basic training. They also support breed rescue. The dogs that wind up in shelters do not come from responsible breeders, but from poorly bred, randomly raised, or “damaged” dogs that spent their early lives in one or more unsuitable homes.

CREDIT:This article first appeared in the December 2013 issue of the AKC Gazette, and is reprinted with permission. To read the Gazette in digital format, go to www.akc.org/publications