Frequently Asked Questions
[What makes a breeder reputable?]
[Is the miniature bull terrier right for me?]
[What is the difference between pet quality and show quality?]
[Can dogs with limited registration participate in AKC events?]
[What should I receive from the breeder along with my puppy?]
[Can a PLL carrier still be affected by sight loss?]
[Are there any books that might be helpful to new owners?]
What makes a breeder reputable?
The answer to this question will most definitely vary depending on who you ask. There really is no definitive criteria that defines a reputable breeder versus a non-reputable breeder. Although, there are certain factors that should be considered before choosing a breeder. An ill-informed decision can result in a lifetime of health issues and medical bills.
Honest breeders provide documentation of health tests performed on breeding stock, documents related to health testing on pups if necessary, and a health guarantee. They will not sell a family more than one pup at a time (ex: a pair of siblings/littermates). Typically they do not advertise on sites like craigslist, undercut other breeders’ prices by a substantial amount, sell puppies through venues like pet shops, or offer multiple breeds for sale. Beware of breeders selling puppies for significantly less than the mainstream. People claiming to have amazing bloodlines, but have no registration paperwork or do not provide registration for their puppies, should be avoided. Also, be cautious of people who raise multiple dog breeds because this usually signals a puppy mill or home breeder that doesn’t health test.
Unfortunately, irresponsible breeders aren’t the only people to avoid. Scam artists are crafty, often designing complex websites in an attempt to make a quick buck. Although the images and text are stolen from other places, the scam sites appear legitimate to unsuspecting buyers. However, there are always red flags. Repeatedly we have seen false claims of housebroken puppies and free shipping coupons. Without a doubt, these claims remain consistent within the scammer community.
Is the miniature bull terrier right for me?
A potential purchaser should always research their breed of interest before inquiring about puppies. This ensures you have a general idea of what to expect and the kinds of questions to ask. A knowledgeable breeder can fill in the gaps and inform clients about things they might otherwise overlook. A miniature bull terrier puppy is intelligent, comical, strong, and family oriented. They are also mischievous, high energy, require strong leadership, and very destructive at times. A minibull needs consistent training and positive reinforcement. A majority of them do best when they aren’t left alone for long periods of time. Depending on temperament, miniature bull terriers may or may not get along with other pets. Socialization is important and must begin at an early age. Since they are prone to health issues they require breed-specific screenings which can be costly. Their looks are extremely appealing but their needs and personality make them a poor choice for some families.
What is the difference between pet quality and show quality?
The terms “pet quality” and “show quality” are commonly used to describe purebred puppies. However these terms are misleading and indicate there is variation in quality amongst siblings on the same litter, when in fact there is not. In most cases there is virtually no difference between the two except the price. Under normal circumstances puppies originating from the same litter are equivalent in terms of quality. The literal meaning refers to whether new owners receive full registration rights or limited registration rights. Dogs with full registration can be used for breeding and subsequent puppies can be registered. On the other hand, dogs with limited registration are typically not used for breeding purposes because their puppies cannot be registered. For clarification purposes, a better term for show quality is “show prospect”. Serious breeders evaluate each litter to determine which pup is the best representation of the breed as dictated by the registry (a.k.a. the breed standard). This puppy is usually retained by the breeder or placed in a show home for the purpose of seeking a championship title on the show circuit. This is the breeder’s way of saying “Hey, check out this super nice dog I produced” or “This female is a good representation of what I’m breeding at my kennel”. Dogs at conformation events are exhibited with the expectation that, at some point, they will produce puppies. That is why these dogs must be intact (not neutered or spayed) and possess full registrations. So, to summarize, it is up to the breeder to allow or prohibit breeding of a specific dog. Each breeder has their own reasons behind prohibiting full registration, which may or may not have to do with breed standards. Pet quality pups are cheaper than show potential pups. Only dogs with full registration can be exhibited in conformation shows, hence the higher price tag.
Can dogs with limited registration still participate in AKC events?
Yes. A dog or puppy with limited registration papers can participate in all AKC or club sanctioned events (rallies, agility, barnhunts, trials, obedience, field events, tracking, coursing, herding), except conformation shows. The purpose of a conformation show is to evaluate a dog based on breed standards, therefore evaluating a dog’s potential to produce exceptional offspring. Since puppies born from a dog with limited registration cannot be registered it is pointless to show them in conformation.
What should I receive from the breeder along with my puppy?
This will vary depending on the breeder. There are a few mandatory items that every breeder should send home with a puppy. This includes the original AKC registration certificate, sales receipt or bill of sale or contract, veterinarian records, microchip, and a health guarantee. Many breeders will include other miscellaneous items such as small toys, puppy food, a blanket, or even a 4 or 5 generation pedigree. A pedigree is optional. Pedigrees are easily obtainable from the dog registry by the puppy’s new owner. A puppy kit may include breed related paperwork or reading material. While this is good practice and informative for new owners, 90+ percent of it gets tossed in the trash within a couple of days.
Can a PLL carrier still be affected by sight-loss?
Yes, a PLL carrier has roughly a 10 percent chance of being affected by the PLL gene it carries. Infact, a recent study showed that even PLL clear dogs can suffer from primary lens luxation. While, in both cases, this is extremely rare, it does happen. The primary gene has been identified in bull terriers but researchers believe there may be more than one gene that contributes to the condition. However the chances of this phenomenon are slim enough that the AKC and OFA deem it acceptable to utilize PLL carriers in breeding programs. For more information on PLL, visit our health page: [Miniature Bull Terrier Health]
Are there any books that might be helpful to new owners?
There are not alot of publications dedicated to standard bullies, let alone miniatures. Many publications we consider relevant were written in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and pertain to the historical aspect or early development of the breed. Even so, there are a few select books we highly recommend to new owners. When Pigs Fly: Training Success with Impossible Breeds by Jane Killion (paired with her series Puppy Culture) and Bull Terrier: Think Like A Dog by Paul Allen Pearce are great training reference for headstrong miniature bull terriers. Other breed-specific books like The New Bull Terrier by John H. Remer, Bull Terriers Today by David Harris, A New Owner’s Guide to Bull Terriers by Betty Desmond, Bull Terriers: Complete Pet Owner’s Manual by Carolyn Alexander, and All About Bull Terriers and Miniature Bull Terriers by Marilyn Drewes are lovely additions to any collection. The AKC publishes a plethora of books about general puppy training and dog showmanship. No book is a definitive guide but each one offers a different perspective on the breed. The best knowledge comes from experience.
There are a number of misconceptions about reputable breeders, most of them fueled by other breeders themselves. Below are some of the most common misconceptions.
Hobby breeders tend to be “backyard breeders”.
This is in no way, shape, or form an accurate statement. “Backyard breeder” was coined as a derogatory term to distinguish some breeders from others. It does not literally suggest that someone breeds dogs in their backyard. Rather it is intended to differentiate responsible breeders from those that use substandard practices to produce pups. Some commercial breeders use the term to refer to smaller hobby operations. Nevertheless, very few people can quit their job inorder to breed dogs. And, not everyone would want to. On the other hand, it’s also not accurate to stereotype a large commercial breeder as a puppy mill. The quality of care provided to dogs is what differentiates responsible breeders regardless of the size of the operation. A commercial breeder is just as likely to use sub-par methods as a hobbyist, and vice versa. Hobby breeders really enjoy the experience they get from a smaller operation and limited number of dogs. There are pros and cons to each strategy. Knocking another breeder’s methods in an attempt to gain a buyer’s favor is not very nice and definitely not good business ethics. Unfortunately, this term is frequently used by some breeders to elevate themselves above their competition. Buyers should perform their own evaluation of a breeder by asking questions and requesting health documents.
Reputable breeders will invite potential clients to their home.
This is another common misconception about breeders that is not always true. Whether or not a breeder invites you to their home is entirely a personal preference. Yes, most breeders want to meet with new owners and a majority prefer personal pickup. Even so, not everyone is comfortable bringing complete strangers to their home. This doesn’t mean they are operating a puppy mill or have something to hide. It simply means the breeder doesn’t openly invite strangers to the place where they live, raise children, and house valuable dogs. Safety should always be a priority.
A reputable breeder is a member of a breed-specific club.
Do not be fooled by this marketing ploy. While some breeders choose to be part of a club or organization, many others do not. Anyone can join most any kind of club. The only thing it means to be part of a club is that you knew the right people to get references and paid a membership fee to join. A member’s level of participation is usually not dictated by the club, and neither are breeding practices. In fact, club members can pay an extra fee to be added to breeder referral lists. These lists do not reflect reputation, ethics, or club participation. That is why every referral list also has disclaimers.
Reputable breeders have a waitlist.
A puppy waitlist is not necessary. Some breeders have them and some breeders don’t. This is entirely a personal preference and holds no merit when evaluating reputation. It’s not uncommon to be referred to another kennel that has available puppies, eliminating the need for a waitlist. On the other hand, breeders may have lengthy waitlists but they can usually provide a time frame for litter arrival.
Reputable breeders don’t need to advertise.
Reputable breeders do advertise in some way, shape, or form. They must, or else they would never sell any puppies. No one would know they even existed if not for advertising. The debate begins with how a breeder advertises. Serious kennel owners are picky about methods or venues they use to promote themselves. They typically don’t advertise on sites like craigslist. Most kennels have a well-organized webpage but this alone doesn’t mean the breeder is reputable. Shady organizations and scammers also have webpages. Registries like the AKC and UKC have a breeder referral program or marketplace. Regardless of where a breeder advertises they should always have a screening process in place, require a contract, and perform breed-specific health testing. A breeder willing to sell puppies with no questions asked should be avoided.