Maybe you've never heard of puppy farming. Maybe you have, but you've seen cute photos of little fluffy puppies that look fine, and you don't quite understand what the problem is.
Maybe you really want a purebred puppy, and you are prepared to take the chance. Maybe you have been swayed by some of the arguments put forward by commercial breeders, or orgnaisations like Canine Breeders Ireland. If you fall into any of these categories, then read this page.
A puppy from a puppy farm is more likely to cost you a lot more money in the long run, than a puppy sourced from a reputable breeder.
- Genetic problems - reputable breeders will undertake testing to determine the predisposition to develop certain genetic problems. Reputable breeders will not breed with dogs likely to pass on these problematic genetic traits. Puppy farmers are unlikely to carry out this testing. Their focus is high volume breeding. Some could not care less what happens to the puppy once they have their money.
- Illness - low quality food, stressed parents, inadequate housing, overcrowding are amongst the issues that contribute to the ill health of some puppies from puppy farms. Giardia and parvo are some of the common illnesses in puppy farm dogs. Parvo often kills. Whilst puppies can survive Giardia infections, they can often require a number of trips to the vet and costly tests and treatment. And not only this, but the stress and heartbreak for the owner.
- Behavioural problems - some puppies are taken away from their mothers too soon and they are not properly socialised. This often results in undesirable adulthood behaviours such as aggression. If your puppy ends up displaying these types of behaviours in adulthood not only will it affect your daily life and have a huge emotional toll, but you may also need to engage the services of an animal behaviourist and this will obviously have a financial cost.
What is left behind - the plight of the breeding bitches and studs
Increasingly these days we are making consumer choices based on the ethics of the business we are dealing with. The situation should be no different when you are looking to buy a puppy. Perhaps you are thinking that you can give the puppy a good home and rescue it from a bad situation. And quite possibly you can. But by buying a dog from a puppy farmer you are not only funding their business, but you are probably also perpetuating a cycle that commits breeding bitches and stud dogs to an awful existence.
It is as plain and simple as this - puppy farming, even where the facilities are adequate, is still detrimental to the welfare of the dogs in it.
"dogs maintained in these environments were reported to have developed long-term fears and phobias, compulsive behaviours such as circling and pacing, possible learning deficits, and are often unable to cope fully with normal existence, this study provides the first clear quantitative evidence that dogs confined in the CBEs for breeding purposes demonstrated impaired mental health and, as a result, diminished welfare"
McMillan, FD, Serpell, JA, Duffy, DL, Mental health of dogs formerly used as ‘breeding stock’ in commercial breeding establishments – http://www.appliedanimalbehaviour.com/article/SO168-1591(11)00300-5/abstract
Myth: Breeding bitches and studs are treated well. It's not in the puppy farmers' interests not to look after their stock.
Sadly this is not true. Many puppy farmers are all about low quality and high volume. This means that dogs do not get access to adequate veterinary care, proper shelter and they do not get stimulation and exercise, because all of these things cost money. This has been proven to be the case from the inspection records we have obtained of large scale puppy farms in Ireland. These will be uploaded in due course.