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Norm for keeping breeding animals

July 15th, 2005, 02:08 PM
Hi guys - sorry about the title, I couldn't think of any better way wording it!

What I am trying to ask is how breeders of dogs/cats generally keep their animals? I mean, is it "normal" for reputable breeders to cage/crate/kennel their chosen breed?? Do reputable breeders limit the amount of animals they have at one time?

I would like to think that reputable breeders keep their animals as companions - but is this really how it works??

And another question - how many animals would a reputable breeder breed at one time?

Thanks in advance for your help/comments!


July 15th, 2005, 02:18 PM
I am not a breeder, but I can tell you from expierence dealing with one, that there are normally not too many dogs on site, unless a litter is on the ground. As well it is also seen when only one of the parents are on site. Many breeders do use crates for many reasons....feeding times, keep the males and females apart during season, as well as for showing. No COE ethics breeder would ever keep their dogs in a crate 24/7. But it is also not always possible for 5 dogs to live together in perfect harmony, especially when not fixed. So they rotate their animals. My breeder has a retired breeding bitch that she had spayed, that now lives in her bed with her. But the others are playful companions. As well as breeding stock, so one must be very careful in order not to have an OOPS....

July 15th, 2005, 02:37 PM
Thanks rottielover - I guess I kinda figured/hoped that reputable breeders would do their best to have their pets as part of the family.

I have worked on and off for a breeder since my teens and I think I've lulled myself into believing that he is a reputable breeder.

I've never believed that I could do anything to change it because he doesn't seem to be breaking any laws. It's just not how I believe in keeping and treating animals.

Lucky Rescue
July 15th, 2005, 02:48 PM
The only domestic pet breeding animals that may need to be kept in cage (and I mean LARGE enclosures) may be stud tomcats and that is because of the spraying.

As Rottielover said, a bitch or queen in season must be separated to keep an undesired breeding from taking place, and this is something a responsible breeder would do - not breed a bitch to any dog every time she is in heat.

Anyone who breeds so many dogs they must be kept in cages is breeding to produce pets to make money from, and that is backyard breeding or puppymilling and is not reputable or ethical.

July 15th, 2005, 03:21 PM
ALL the reputable breeders I know who have "cages" (using the term loosely in their case) use them for when the Queen (cat) is pregnant and needs an enclosure and it is a huge area that allows her and the kiittens privacy as well as comfort and lots of room to move around. It also keeps them secure tho she is in a seperate room from the tom anyway - NOT the one that she mated with.

Reputable breeders do not need cages of the usual variety except as Lucky says maybe to isolate a Tom and even then they have a large one not the kind one thinks of and we see at SPCA or vet's offices.

Like this:

July 15th, 2005, 03:37 PM
This is a good link that will lead you to No Puppy Mills Canada
No Puppy Mills Canada (

You can read about BYB puppymills and reputable breeders, many other great links aswell.

July 15th, 2005, 03:37 PM
My breeder has a few of these (see attached picture) for kittens, isolation and introducing a new female. His are a bit shorter and without the ramps but the ledges are carpeted.

All his males are kept in separate cages but in the same room as the females (who are free to roam around in the room).


July 15th, 2005, 06:14 PM
I know nothign about cat breeding... thedog breeders I know all have a kennel room where each of their dogs has a cage.. But they live and play with the family.

There may be imposed nap times cause things can get hectic, but they live like most people's pets do. At least in the breeders I am aquainted with.

July 15th, 2005, 06:16 PM
I have to admit if my breeder had her cats in that cage, I would NOT be a customer!

July 15th, 2005, 07:56 PM
I have two friends that are breeders, cockers and newfs

Neither use crates, but the newfs do have a large enclosed run on property because they're soooo big and make sooo much mess LOL get it wink wink

As for the cockers they roam the house puppies and all, one litter at a time mind you and chew on everything. I don't know how many computer and phone cords have been replaced at that house.

July 15th, 2005, 07:59 PM
Neither use crates

How do they keep the dogs from breeding every time the females come into heat?

July 15th, 2005, 08:43 PM
The breeder of my dog, had 5 dogs on site.
All these dogs have the run of the house, for the most part. They do have their own room, with their cages. This is where they sleep and eat. There is a big back yard that they have full run of. There is only ever one breeding bitch on site. Right now, there are no breeding bitches, not for another 2 yrs.

Then, there is a breeder near me, I will not state names or dog breed.
Her Dogs are kept in a long building behind her house. They have a kennel/run area on one side, all fenced into their own area, and they have a door where they can bo back into the building if it is cold, I'm assuming inside is blocked off for each individual dog as well. It's seven 'dog runs' in a row. Behind that building there is a large yard, whch when I was there, was used for board, I believe, as there were dogs of all breeds in the yard.

They have daily contact with the family, but are not kept in the house. I dislike this way of breeding ...HOWEVER, ALOT of their dogs show to championship. When I was visiting they had just had a littler 3 weeks previously, and were keeping 3 of the 4 as they looked as if they would be show quality.

I would prefer my own dog to come from a home raised atmosphere, as opposed to the second option there. I would consider that second scenario 'show breeding' and thats about it.

July 15th, 2005, 09:58 PM
both of the purebreeds that [my family] has had have come from 'show breeders' and were deemed 'undesirable' (runts/disqualifications) but thats besides the point. Both of these breeders had crates for the dogs, not as a full time thing, but, at least for one of the breeders, it was because she often did not sell her dogs until they were a little older (around 3-6 months) and so she started to crate train them. They lived out of the city, and spent most of the time with the family, but they didn't run loose 24/7. I don't think the sole use of crating makes a breeder undesirable, but I do think if the dogs are ALWAYS in kennels, it seems a little sketchy.

July 16th, 2005, 01:00 AM
Wall I was referring to cats. If you need crates for cats, there is definiteyly something wrong - to me anyway. Maybe others are comfortable buying a cat from somoene whose kittens are in cages but the breeders I now have several rooms they use if they need to seperate kitties. Too many cages and crates and there is a fine line between a miller and a breeder!

July 16th, 2005, 01:14 AM
I went to see a really great breeder's facilities and there were kennels in there. About maybe 5 foot by 5 foot kennels. She breeds Shelties and Minpins an has a lot of dogs. Maybe 6 shelties, and about 8 minpins, plus all the puppies (she had two small litters of minpins and one litter of Shelties). She had basically one kennel per family and when the kennels were open, the dogs could run freely up the stairs an into the yard.

There were little obstacle courses for them and toys and they were all free-fed, because she felt that was the best way to get the dogs to be totally not food possessive.

They went out in shifts. While one group was free, the other group (mostly males, and the youngest pups) were kept in the kennel. The dogs were all so clean, and healthy-looking.

To make a long story short, crates, in my opinion, are ok, depending on their size, the number of dogs in them and their use. If the dogs are in tiny dirty crates all day, no. If they are in big clean crates some of the day, then yes.

July 16th, 2005, 10:34 PM
Sophie is a retired breeder. Where I got her from was great. They wanted all their girls to have loving homes. They were bred once or twice then retired.
I became Sophies foster mom and took care of her. She was brought back for a week to the breeder then returned to me. When Sophies time was close to have the puppies she went back to the breeder, where they have a vet on call for all expecting moms. When I went to visit Sophie and her 5 puppies, she was in a nursery with four other moms. They all had their own large four sided inclosures and was very clean. No smell, no urine and no poop in their, well I would describe it as over size play pens. When the time to have Sophie back, the breeder said Merry Christmas and I took Sophie in for her spay.
Yes, she makes money on her pups but many of them become show quality dogs. One of her dogs won best of oppisite sex (male) at Westminster this year. Actually they took 20 dogs to that show and won a few ribbons. These dogs only go to good homes with a spay, neuter package. And a huge legal contract.

July 16th, 2005, 10:43 PM
Jackie both are small family breeders they dont' produce large litters on an on going basis. Small amount of dogs on site with the pups at any given time.

I have no idea about how they keep them apart I'm sure they do or there would be LOTS more litters coming out of both those places.


July 17th, 2005, 08:29 AM
great. They wanted all their girls to have loving homes. They were bred once or twice then retired.

That sounds like the way to go, only breed a couple of times with a least a couple of years in between!

Thanks for everyone's thoughts and experiences. I think I can safely deduce that the breeder I work for is not reputable.

I love his cats so much and when I asked him to let me bring an old breeding queen home (with him retaining full ownership) he refused. It was like he was keeping her as a trophy because she was the best of the best in her prime.

I know he is not breaking any laws outright, he's hovering in a "grey area" where nobody can really stop him.

Thanks again,


Lucky Rescue
July 17th, 2005, 09:23 AM
I went to see a really great breeder's facilities and there were kennels in there. About maybe 5 foot by 5 foot kennels. She breeds Shelties and Minpins an has a lot of dogs. Maybe 6 shelties, and about 8 minpins, plus all the puppies (she had two small litters of minpins and one litter of Shelties). She had basically one kennel per family and when the kennels were open, the dogs could run freely up the stairs an into the yard.

Someone who has 14 adult dogs, two different breeds, and THREE litters on the ground at the same time is breeding to create pets to sell, and not to continue a line or get a new show dog for herself. I doubt all these breeding dogs are titled champions!

How the dogs are treated has nothing to do with the fact that a person is a backyard breeder/puppymill when they are breeding on this scale. They need not be abusive or neglectful to be unethical.

July 17th, 2005, 10:56 AM
As a matter of fact they are all champions. She went through them all with us while we where there. Her shelties are her main pride and joy, and they are BEAUTIFUL. This has been this woman's only job for the past 18 years (her hubby brings home the dough). Her dogs are beautiful. She has the full pedigrees, she has all the health tests done, and she makes you sign such an elaborate contract. She really cares for these dogs. Not a sheltie in there had ONE mat. They were clean, and healthy.

And the three litters were small and of varying ages. One group was 8 weeks and were all leaving that week. The next group was 4 weeks, and the sheltie ones were just born. That is all the litters she is having this year, and all the pups are sold way in advance of being born. The person I know who got her pup bought it in January and only got it at the end of June.

You have to also factor in the retired ones. There were a handful of seniors in there too.

July 17th, 2005, 11:34 AM
The situation Prin is describing is really common. The breeder of our Belgian had plenty of dogs on site, (2 breeds; Belgians and Great Pyrenees)from different generations, litters, all of them either retired show champions, or currently showing. The only dogs the breeder would sell were ones with 'show flaws' (that's why our dog was sold to us). She was a completely reputable breeder, dogs were in excellent health, and they even had sheep for the retired dogs to herd. Absolutely nothing wrong with that as I see it.

July 17th, 2005, 11:57 AM
Yes- and it adds up fast. If you have two males and two females of each breed- that's already 8 doggies. Plus all your retired ones, plus any pups you have around... Plus any possible returns.

July 17th, 2005, 12:12 PM
I agree,and breeding more than one breed is a flag for me,as is more than one litter on the ground at one time.
How the dogs are treated has nothing to do with the fact that a person is a backyard breeder/puppymill when they are breeding on this scale. They need not be abusive or neglectful to be unethical.

July 17th, 2005, 01:11 PM
The trainer we used for my dog breeds Gldens and had two litters on the ground within days of each other, and another bitch was pregnant.
That threw up flags for me as well.
Prin = "This has been this woman's only job for the past 18 years (her hubby brings home the dough)." Honestly, he'd have to be bringing home A LOT OF DOUGH to be able to support as many dogs as you mentioned. As is well know, breeding, reputable breeding, is not cheap.

July 17th, 2005, 03:41 PM
Having kennels is not at all unusual for a breeder. My stepfather used to breed akitas, he owned a kennel with his friend who bred labs. So both the labs and akitas were housed together on the grounds (well not together, but at the same kennel as they were neighbors and the kennel sat between their land). My stepdad at one point had two retired bitches and one retired stud, all three champions and spneutred, a bitch and a dog he was currently showing to get their champions, one bitch who he was breeding currently who already had her championship, and a championship stud he got from another breeder who he bred with his championship bitch. The bitch he bred was the mother of the other two dogs who he was showing, and had one more litter because he wanted another show dog then she was retired. he only had litters when he needed a new show dog which was not very often. of all these dogs he only ever bred two of his bitches, one of the retired ones,and then the other I talked about, and studded out one dog to another shower/breeder, after that he stopped showing and breeding. Of course only the dogs that were not show quality were sold as pets, and only after a very regerous screening.

He loved his dogs very much and spent a lot of time with them. It cost him a fortune to do this but he enjoyed showing a lot. He really wasn't into breeding he only did it to get more show dogs from the lines that he believed had the absolute best breed standards. The very first dog he showed (the retired dog I told you about) came from the best line of akitas in existance at that time (he was showing in the late 70s throught the 80s) and he brought it over from somewhere in europe (I can't remember where now). This dog cost him a small fortune in it's slef but was what he claimed one of the best dogs he ever showed or owned, and produced the most wonderful offspring that fit the standard perfectly.

July 17th, 2005, 05:19 PM
Jackie - I don't think the problem was with the Kennels ... its when 'breeders' have mutliple litters on the ground, or are breeding more than one breed of dog. That raises flags for some.

July 17th, 2005, 05:26 PM
I don't think I agree here. I mean what else does she have to do? Yes, she breeds two types, but they ARE champions, they ARE tested, she sells them ahead of breeding them, she takes them back if you no longer want them, they leave microchipped with your name and her name on the microchip, they are healthy, they are happy, and yes her husband makes wads of money.

It's just because she has two breeds? There is no "oops" breeding there, there are absolutely no mixes there. Having 3 litters a year to me is not that many, if she is showing all the parents and having them all health tested, and the pups go to carefully screened homes.

I don't get it.

July 17th, 2005, 05:40 PM
I really don't get it- I searched the forums for ways to tell if a breeder is a BYB or a miller, and all of the things are accounted for.

Like the list Lucky posted in this thread:

Do they show their dogs? Yes.

Are the sire and dam of the litter champions? Yes.

What are the genetic defects common to this breed, and have their dogs been tested and cleared of them? (a reputable breeder will be happy to answer in detail!) YES

What do they like about any dogs they are breeding or puppies they have? She'll go on and on and on about it.

How often do they breed and for what reason? Once a year, when the dams are ready because they still want better pups to show.

Do they have a waiting list? (they should) Very long waiting list.

What are the pedigrees of breeding stock? Ask to see them. Yes. They have all the pedigrees ready, and when you pick up the pup, you get the pedigree and pictures of the parents as part of the kit.

Do they take back their puppies at any time in the life of the dog? Yes, and if it is stolen or lost, the pup is microchipped to their address.
There is a also spay/neuter contract, the dogs have free reign on the house, she keeps the whole area clean.

And this from nopuppymillscanada:
the parents likely have not been screened for health problems They are
puppies usually are not sold with contracts they are
the breeders are not in it for the long haul she definitely is
They will be working on new personal objectives in five years when your pet has a problem and you need help. she won't be, as part of the contract, she can be reached day or night with any issues

So if it satifies all the criteria, but she has two breeds, she's a BYB?

July 17th, 2005, 06:51 PM
Thats not my list,it was not extensive enough.Two breeds and that many litters on the round and that many dogs is byb imo,same as spay/neuter contracts.

July 17th, 2005, 08:54 PM
Prin-exactly the same as the breeder I'm thinking about. How many byb's provide full pedigrees and things like hip-dysplasia guarantees? None that I've ever heard of.

July 17th, 2005, 09:14 PM
And what is the guarantee?All money back,or you return the pup and get a replacement from same litter or same lines that would have same problems?Nobody can guarantee against hd,and most want the dog back or will send a 'replacement',who can afford another dog with one with health issues already?

Lucky Rescue
July 17th, 2005, 09:25 PM
Here is one of the best and most detailed sites I've seen on good/bad breeders!

July 17th, 2005, 09:38 PM
Arg. A lot of the links on that page don't work for me... I still think she doesn't fall into the category of a BYB. Other than having two breeds, I don't see it. I mean if she had one breed, she'd have around 4 dogs with about 5 puppies. Where is the harm in that? I really don't see it. I would like to figure this out, because if you consider her a BYB, I really wouldn't be able to tell a BYB from a reputable breeder to save my life.

July 17th, 2005, 09:43 PM
Most people cant.Are you involved with rescues of those breeds?They may know.
I would like to figure this out, because if you consider her a BYB, I really wouldn't be able to tell a BYB from a reputable breeder to save my life.

July 18th, 2005, 10:42 AM
How do they keep the dogs from breeding every time the females come into heat?

This at times depends on the breed.With my breeder,the Sires were not there.They Sires came from another Ch/Titled breeder.Her dogs were not crated.They were a part of the family even though they were show/working dogs.

As for some breeders having 2 different breeds,I really wouldn't say it was a red flag.But then again,that depends.I know of a few breeders who do have 2 different breeds that they show/title.They also belong to the club of their breed.They do not breed more then once or twice a year.Sometimes they will even skip a year.The breeders I know only breed to better the breed.Not to pump out puppies.I also know of some breeders who don't even breed.

Also,a very good reputable breeder knows exactly when their Dam is about to come in heat.

doggy lover
July 18th, 2005, 10:53 AM
Any breeder that I have known or met have the dogs as pets aswell. They are in their homes and the pups are kept in the homes, so that they get the interaction with people and children as well. I wouldn't buy a puppy from someone that keeps them caged or pened all the time.

toby's tracy
July 18th, 2005, 12:06 PM
I also know of some breeders who don't even breed.

What do you mean by this? That they don't breed to sell? Or that they don't breed at all? Are they still breeders if they don't breed the dogs?

I'm just learning about all of this as I follow this thread. It seems so complicated!

July 18th, 2005, 12:23 PM
I would like to figure this out, because if you consider her a BYB, I really wouldn't be able to tell a BYB from a reputable breeder to save my life.

Same here Prin, and I'm not involved in rescues or know anyone involved in rescues, just a regular pet owner who cares about the well-being of the animals.

LL1, could you post your extensive list of criteria differentiating reputable breeders from BYBs?

July 18th, 2005, 09:06 PM
Please, LL1, can you post your criteria? I'm so lost now. It's actually kind of frustrating. :D What is the difference between a BYB and a reputable breeder?

Lucky Rescue
July 18th, 2005, 10:27 PM
Here is a very simple chart, comparing bybers to responsible breeders.

July 18th, 2005, 10:36 PM
Thanks, LR. The thing is, from that chart, she still seems reputable. SHe seems to pass all the "tests", but you all think there is still a doubt because she has 2 breeds?

doggy lover
July 19th, 2005, 09:55 AM
I have known two rep. breeders that have been breeding two types of dogs at one time. Ihave heard of others that do as well, and I have met some that devote themself to one breed only.

July 19th, 2005, 06:02 PM
I agree with Prin here...if this breeder honestly puts this much time and energy into her min pins and shelties, wonderful. We can't question everything about her just because she has more than one breed. I used to show and breed horses. I had hanoverians and arabs (a funny looking herd to anyone who knows horse breeds :crazy: ) because I appreciated each breeds' individual strengths and beauty. It was a lot of money and hard work, but it was also very rewarding.

There are tons of schutzhund kennels in the US and europe that breed and train Shepherds, Dobes, and Rotts because each breed has different strong points.

Just because she shows and breeds more than one breed does not mean she's doing it for money. If she's really putting all of this time and money into raising healthy pups for pet and show, I think that she's doing a great service to the breeds.
I see no reason to question her ethics. I mean, I think that she really loves this dogs that much that she shows them, gets them vetted and certified, cares for them responsibly, and finds good homes for them. Her husband is bringing home the money and doesn't mind that its spent on the dogs...I think she deserves kudos and not judgement.