What Does Irresponsible Dog Breeding Look Like? (Explained!)

Irresponsible dog breeding is allowing ignorance of proper breeding practices or putting the almighty dollar before the health, safety, and well being of the animals.

The rest of this article will tell you what the dark underbelly world of irresponsible dog breeding looks like and how to avoid it.

Why is there irresponsible dog breeding?

Irresponsible dog breeding can take many forms, but the desired outcome looks the same. This irresponsibility leads to dogs with unnatural or debilitating health problems, overuse of certain individual sires, and inhumane treatment of the animals. All of this in order to obtain more money, certain aesthetic characteristics, or more puppies for the puppy farms. 

What is responsible dog breeding?

In the U.S. American Dog Breeders Association Code of Conduct, there are guidelines such as proper maturity of the animal, goals of improving bloodlines, reducing overuse of certain sires, proper veterinary care, and avoiding reproducing certain ailments or illnesses. Responsible dog breeding also means refraining from sending young puppies, under 7 weeks old, to puppy farms.

What are the effects of irresponsible dog breeding?

This world of irresponsibility means that dogs are bred, and overbred, in undesirable environments without the proper veterinary care and with little to no concern for long term bloodline issues and health issues in the dogs. This all can then cause too many dogs which leads to homelessness or euthanization.

How does overbreeding come into play? 

One of the inevitable consequences of irresponsible breeding is the overbreeding of certain dogs; it can mean using the same female or male dog way more than is natural. Inbreeding and overbreeding has been linked to health problems, defects, and ailments in certain breeds.

According to the American Kennel Club, some of the most overbred dogs include Labrador Retriever, Yorkshire Terrier, Beagle, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, and Boxer. German Shepherds for example are now prone to hip dysplasia and gastric disorders.

What does overbreeding mean for the dog’s life?

When a furry four legged friend is stuck in an overbreeding situation or facility, it means their happiness and health is being put low on the priority list. It can often mean they are in small unkempt cages, stacked on each other. There can often be a lack of access to good water, socialization, or decent exercise.

In the case of puppy mills and their desired sires, it can often mean the expectation of having 2 litters of puppies a year. A responsible breeder would ensure that a mother would only have about 3 litters in her lifetime.

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Are there any governing institutions surrounding breeding? 

Given the reputation for irresponsible dog breeding, it may surprise some that the industry of dog breeding is federally regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Under that system, there are approximately 2,000 federally licensed dog breeders in the United States. However, the number of unregulated breeders outside of this umbrella is vastly more.

The laws are there to protect the animals

The Animal Welfare Act (AWA) is the overarching protective law that prevents inhumane treatment of animals, which would include irresponsible breeding. According to the USDA, in regards to licensing for dog breeders there are exemptions; having 4 or less female dogs for breeding, sales where the buyer, seller, and dog are in the same space and able to observe the animal, buying dogs solely for your own use, and more.

How to find out if your breeder is responsible?

If you are looking at an individual breeder and want to find out if they’re responsible, the most telling way is to visit their facility and see how the dogs are treated and kept. You’ll want to ask questions about the process, history, and families of the dogs; a responsible breeder would have nothing to hide here.

Irresponsibility when it comes to canine breeding can also take the form of ignorance, which means that certain backyard breeders don’t learn the proper procedures to follow or take certain health problems into consideration. Certain watchdog organizations like the ASPCA are great resources for those looking to learn more.

What are some telltale signs of an irresponsible breeder?

As we mentioned before, living conditions and the transparency of the breeder are one of the greatest indicators of whether or not you’re dealing with a bad breeder. Other indicators could include breeding the bog before age 2, having a ton of litters available for lower than market prices throughout the year, having odd or rare breed characteristics as a selling point, and counterintuitive spaying and neutering policies.

Are genetics the answer?

Responsible breeders like the ones we’ve mentioned above follow the laws and keep the wellbeing of the dog at the forefront. A responsible breeder will use genetic testing when going to breed two animals.

This can be as simple as taking a swab test from both animals and looking for hidden conditions or problems. From there, they can ensure that one animal who is free from those conditions mates with one who may have those conditions in order to allow the dominant and recessive aspects of genetics to play out. Such a step, which is skipped during irresponsible breeding, would prevent many of the ugly genetic problems that certain breeds suffer from.

The cost difference for responsibly bred dogs

Anybody who has shopped around for so-called purebred breeds or highly desirable breeds knows that the price point can be way up there.

The upfront cost of a responsibly bred animal, regardless of breed, is going to be higher than those irresponsibly bred. Irresponsibly bred puppies may come at a lower price point, but the cost may also be more in the long run because that breeder didn’t take into consideration health and genetic issues the dogs had. Something that is pricier than a responsibly bred dog, are ongoing veterinary bills.

Responsible dog breeders should be open to hearing any health concerns and can make certain guarantees regarding the future health of the dog because they did their research.

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