Pond Hollow Chesapeakes
Choosing A Breeder
Perhaps one of the most important elements in buying a puppy of any breed is selecting the right breeder. It is the breeder that you will have to trust to have done the "homework" in making the mating, doing the health clearances, providing a guarantee and matching your needs with the right puppy from the litter.
LOCATING While the Internet and email are good ways to locate breeders, contact purely through the Internet is not advisable. In this age of the Internet and web sites, it is often hard to separate fact from "fiction" when looking for a puppy. Email and web sites have made it very easy for people to represent themselves as something very different than what they actually are. Ideally, potential buyers should make the effort to go visit the home of the various breeders they may have contacted. Sometimes this isn't possible and in that case, a phone call would be the second choice. Watch out for breeders whose females lack titles. Many "hobby" breeders are too busy breeding their females to ever earn any title on them. Don't be afraid to ask questions !
FACILITIES At a home/kennel visit, first observe how the dogs are kept. Chesapeakes need and should have at minimum a kennel run that allows freedom to move at will. A number of "kennels" are actually dog cages in a garage or basement. This is not good for both the physical or mental development and health of the dog. Do the dogs have adequate shelter and access to water and does each dog has its own run or pen? Chesapeakes can be protective of their runs or crates. It is perfectly normal for the dogs to bark at you when you arrive. However, they should quiet down at the owner's command and the breeder should let the dogs out for you to meet. Chesapeakes of proper temperament should be able to be met outside of their runs.
THE BREEDER Do you feel comfortable with the breeder as a person? Do they answer your questions as fully as you would like? Ask: how long they have been involved with the breed; how many dogs have they personally titled (Unless you are working with the dogs routinely, you cannot know the dog's temperament and abilities to work and be trained); a good breeder should ask you why you choose the breed and this is the same question you should ask them. What made them choose a Chesapeake; do they offer a written guarantee; have they ever had any health problems with their dogs? The answer here should be yes as no one who has been breeding for awhile has not had some dogs that have developed hip, eye or some other health problem. If they tell you otherwise, look somewhere else. How often do they breed their females and to what age ? If every season and at 8 & 9, this is not a good practice. Find someone else.
PRICES The costs involved in health clearances, sending a female to a good stud dog, and raising the puppies are considerable. Current price range for a quality-raised puppy is $1100 to $1500. Some breeders will sell show prospects for higher prices than others in the litter. It is extremely RARE that an entire litter is show quality. Sometimes you will be told that the dogs come from a well-regarded line and are just the same as buying from the person who developed the line. Don't be misled. Every line of dogs no matter how good has individuals who should not be kept in a breeding program. The established and experienced breeder came to their reputations by eliminating those dogs that were not up to the goals- no matter if they were good looking, etc. The more novice breeder tends to be far less discriminating and accepts dogs that are average or less to retain for breeding.
Remember experience counts quite a lot when it comes to evaluating dogs, breeding stock and making breeding decisions!