In general the average person carries out more research when buying a new car or a set of golf clubs, than they do when buying a dog. Buying a new pup is like walking a mine field for the most experienced of dog people. Without arming yourself with sufficient knowledge you allow breeders to potentially hoodwink you into believing you’re buying something that you’re not. This is the main reason for so many dogs having poor health and behavioural issues which unfortunately results in many shelters being over-subscribed. It’s your responsibility as the pet owner to check that your pups parents have been properly tested. (The main health tests for American Bulldogs at present include Hip & Elbow Displaysia aswell as NCL and Ichthysosis). Failing to carry out these simple checks can result in expensive vet bills and also allows breeders to carry on producing dogs from untested stock.
As a Buyer you can help ensure that you avoid financing those who may implement poor breeding practices, many of which are either unethical or inexperienced.
Before visiting any litter, it is vital that you ask as many questions as possible before seeing the pups. Almost all pups are “cute” and look “good” and nine times out of ten, most people will leave a deposit once they have spent ten minutes in a room full of puppies.
It is important that you familiarise yourself with the breed standard for both structure and temperament. This is why it is very important that both parents can be seen. Information on the American Bulldog breed standard can be found on the ABRUK and NKC websites.
When buying an American Bulldog or any pup, there is no need to buy from a breeder who only breeds for “pets”. It will always be beneficial to go to an established show or working dog breeder, who will nearly always be looking to place dogs to pet homes. Their Breeding criteria and selection process for breeding stock will most definitely be over and above anyone else’s.
One thing you must check when buying your puppy, is that is comes with the correct registration papers. The two most recognised registries for the American Bulldog are the American Bulldog Registry UK (ABRUK) and the National Kennel Club (NKC). Before placing a deposit, you MUST ask to see the papers for the Dam and Sire, to check that they are registered to a recognised body.
Assuming you’ve found your trustworthy breeder, it’s important to understand how the pups have been bred. Is it a line breeding or scatter breeding? Scatter bred dogs can be very good, but it is increasingly difficult to select a good dog from a scatter breeding, as you will be presented with a medley of different traits infused by various dogs, and it’s almost impossible to pin down, which traits were added by what dogs, making it very difficult to predict any sort of potential breeding outcome. Line breeding allows the breeder to have greater certainty as to what is likely to be produced from the breeding. It is also a myth that in-breeding produces sick or weak dogs. Some of the best dogs have been produced using inbreeding, when done correctly. This allows the breeder to harness the good traits and hopefully produce something even better. The flip side is that in-breeding can also compound any faults that the parents may have…making them more severe. This is why correct testing is vital, prior to considering in-breeding.
A responsible breeder will always have a goal they are attempting to achieve with every breeding they do. They will never breed, just to see what they produce. The pedigrees of the mating couple will be researched along with the genetic, physical and mental traits of the dogs behind them. It is very important that the breeding stock is health tested as well as temperament tested. Familiarise yourself with any breed specific health issues. All of this can seem pretty daunting, but our advice would be to start your research months in advance of getting your puppy. Don’t rush into taking a pup just because it was the best option available at the time. Take your time and make sure it’s the best option for you and your family.
After talking and meeting with various breeders you should be able to gauge, which ones are in it for the betterment of the breed and are not just sales men/women who are in it for financial gain. There are also thousands of dog-lovers who breed, whose intentions may be good, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they know what they’re doing. Remember, if something doesn’t feel right…it probably isn’t.
For more information on Line breeding, please click on our Breeding Methods Page