It can be very difficult for people looking to buy a Cocker puppy to know where to find a reputable breeder. Cockers are hugely popular which has meant there are many breeders who produce puppies purely for financial gain – they have little interest in the health & temperament of their puppies & will not be willing or able to provide any after sales help or advice. Distinguishing this type of breeder from the caring, responsible breeder who does everything possible to breed happy, healthy puppies is not always easy. Here are a few pointers which will hopefully help would-
Reputable Breeders Do…
Reputable Breeders Do Not......
What is a Puppy Farmer?
“Puppy Farmer” is a derogatory term used to describe breeders who produce large numbers of puppies purely for commercial gain -
For more information on the trade in puppies & puppy farming in general, have a look at these websites:
What is a Backyard Breeder?
This term covers those breeders with no serious interest in or knowledge of Cockers but who may own a bitch & decide that it would be nice to have a litter on the basis that it would be educational for the children or will help pay for the family holiday! If they happen to own a dog themselves, they will use him and if not, they will use the nearest, available dog. Often no research will have been carried out into whether the dogs’ pedigrees are compatible & there will be no knowledge of possible hereditary problems & very little awareness of how to rear puppies successfully. This can result in a nice, healthy litter (more by luck than good judgment!) but can also result in puppies with health/temperament problems. Sadly such breeders will lack the knowledge/experience to provide any after-
“Just A Pet”
Many people looking for a Cocker puppy make the mistake of thinking that as they want their dog to be “just a pet”, then it does not matter too much where their pup comes from, whether he has “papers” or not or whether he comes from health tested parents etc. But nothing could be further than the truth since fulfilling the role of “just a pet” is the most important job any Cocker Spaniel puppy could do. If you’re looking for a pet Cocker puppy, health and temperament should be very important priorities – no pet owner wants a puppy with a poor temperament or one who goes blind early or dies young from a preventable hereditary disease such as FN. Reputable, specialist breeders will breed for good temperament and will use the available health testing schemes to ensure their pups grow up to be as healthy as possible. If you want your puppy to have been given the best start in life so he can grow up to be a happy, healthy member of your family, then it really does matter where he comes from and you should expect nothing less than the highest standards from the breeder of your pet Cocker. So be prepared to ask lots of questions before deciding on a breeder and do your own checks eg use the Kennel Club's online health testing database to see whether the parents of a litter you are interested in have had the recommended tests:
Remember that price is not everything! Puppies are not like household commodities where you can shop around for the "best deal". Reputable breeders do not sell their puppies cheaply & whilst it might be tempting to respond to an advert offering puppies at less than the "going rate", the puppy may not be such a bargain in the long run. On the other hand, a high asking price is not necessarily a guarantee of quality either!
Be patient! Reputable breeders do not have a constant supply of puppies & it may be that potential buyers will have to wait weeks, perhaps months for a suitable litter to be born. Mistakes are often made by buyers who will not wait … they want a puppy NOW & so will often rush out & buy in haste (perhaps ignoring the warning signs that the breeder is not reputable). Remember, you will hopefully have your Cocker for 10-
Don't assume that because a breeder has an attractive website that they are reputable. Yes many good breeders do have their own websites where you can find information about their dogs but many not so good breeders (including some puppy farmers) also have professional-
Never buy a puppy because you feel sorry for it, either because it appears shy & fearful or because you are unhappy with the conditions it is being reared in. This is a recipe for disaster -
How do I find a reputable breeder?
Cocker Breed Clubs are good places to start your search. The Secretaries of each Club should be able to recommend breeders who maybe have puppies available or who are expecting a litter. Contact numbers for all the Breed Clubs can be found here
The Kennel Club has a Puppy Sales List, which is sent to enquirers as part of their Puppy Pack & also appears on the Kennel Club website . This list contains details of breeders who have registered puppies recently. Please note that the KC does not guarantee that breeders on this list are reputable -
Copyright J Simmonds 2003-
Finding a Reputable Breeder