Exclusively Setters

Home for Irish Setter Lovers Around the World

How did you choose the breeder of your puppy?

This is the opposite question to the thread Ursula started. Many people on this site do not breed but own just one or two exclusive setters. I'd be interested in knowing what you looked for in a breeder when making your choice.

Sept. 5th: new pictures added

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The breeder of my oldest IS has only bred one litter.
Actually I didn`t mind about who the breeder was but looked for the suitable combination.
If it would have been my first own dog then I think I would have payed more attention to what the breeder has to offer - advices and help. Not that I didn`t get all that I asked for but for the first dog I´d propably would have needed more quidance and breeder closer to me.
I looked for someone who had the respect of other breeders, someone who would stand behind their puppies and replace it if some problem should arrise. Plus I had to like the look of their Setters.

I had to wait two years before she had a puppy bitch she would sell me. She wanted to make sure I was not a flake that would buy a bitch, run off and never show her. She also required I co-own the dogs with her that I bought.

I've been showing about 19 years now and I don't want to co-own anymore. I never had a problem with the first breeder who I did buy 5 Irish Setters from, but if you're a head strong person, its best not to co-own. vbg

I won't buy from a breeder that requires a co-ownership now, but with just starting out years ago it was a safe thing to do.

Is co-ownership a common thing everywhere? Especially with bitches?

I do co-own some bitches.
As I work with my dogs, it is impossible for me to keep too many, so co-ownership sorts that out. I normally offer this to old puppybuyers (that I know well).
They then get the puppy at 50% of the price and we share the costs of X-ray etc until the bitch has had her first litter (if ever).
I pay everything in connection with the litter and then the dog belongs 100% to the new owner.
I have had almost 10 bitches like this but actually only used 3 of them. The rest I have given to the owners as they either did not turn out as i thought or I had a bitch at home the same age that I used instead.
I was looking (and waiting) for my irish setter 2 years. I had to convince parents that I will be a good owner for irish setter but waiting was profitable.
I was looking at parent, pedigree and health.
Kennel from which Havana comes is breeding excellent hunters (but their dogs win at show too). They rarely have excellent litters for showing.
I decided get puppy from this kennel because it was very nice litter. In Havana's pedigree are 'big stars' like: BIS Cruft's CASPIANS Intrepid, WW'01,'02,'03, EurW'99,'00, Multi. Ch. Vicary's US DOLLAR, WW'92 Ch. Vicary's LITTLE LOLLY, Multi Ch., EurW Ch.Vicary's PEACHY and she have really nice character.
I work little differently than the rest. I go from the back of the pedigree to the front. That way I can zero in the few potential Dams and when I have around three or four, I look at the kennel. That way, even though I pick one breeder, I will still have possible other option for the future dog ;o)))
The most important things to me are the health testing, the temperament and the soundness of the dogs. To me, that includes the "livability"- the ability to live confortably with people (no hyperness, etc..) Even though I do like to show, I would never get a dog "just for show" . To me the livability has to be there. Everything else is cream on the top :)))) Too many dogs "don't turn out" and I would never just spay and keep it as a "pet" because they are not good in the showring. To me, a dog is for better or worse :)
Thanks to all for your inputs. It seems that only breeders have replied as I don't really think the average pet setter owner would really study pedigrees and look at different lines before making a choice. I fear quite often the pet buyer is not even aware of certain health issues...

What I was actually hoping for was a reply on the lines of the following: choosing a puppy from a breeder who is around for the majority of the day, only has one litter at a time (no puppy farming!), who raises his/her puppies with a maximum of socializing during those early critical weeks when it is so important that puppies have good human contact, are exposed to household enviroment, have various toys to play with, get to know different surroundings & different people including children, in short learning to cope with new stimuli. The puppies' dam should also be present and demonstrate a friendly disposition.

I'd say the majority of irish setter pups go into pet homes, where show qualities are not necessary. But wherever they go, they should be given best possible start to life. This will help avoid problems like fearful & aggressive behaviour. It will also increase the dog's capability to bond and learn.
You are correct. The APO (average pet owner) does not know enough about dogs to research properly. That may be changing slowly though, with the advent of the internet, etc. I have a grooming shop with a clientele of approx 1000 dogs (very few setters) - the number of purebred dogs is probably less than 1/3. The majority of these PB's came from shelters, rescue, pet stores, internet puppymill, BYB's. I'd say the number who actually purchased from a breeder is in the single digits. There has been, at least in this area, an anti-breeder trend, that I HOPE, with the internet and education, people will evolve past. Some of the things I hear are "I don't want a showdog" "All breeders dogs are inbred" "I have to jump through hoops to get one" "They must be very expensive""It's better to rescue/adopt/save from a petstore" "They keep the good ones and only sell the bad ones as pets", etc, etc. Many people do not like the contracts breeders have - neutering, limited reg or co-ownership, must have fencing, no small children, someone must be home, etc., etc. Most do not want to be put on a waiting list, or to have a breeder choose for them... they want to see a pup on the ground and/or pick it themselves. AND they want it NOW.
It is hard for a person who wants a pet IS in this country to find one. Breeders here do not advetise in the newspaper, you will not find one on the notice board at your local supermarket, lol. Pet people do not routinely hang out at shows etc, or have dog magazines. Good breeders do not always have pups available and have waiting lists, so even when someone finds a breeder they won't always wait.
I myself evolved through many of these stages. Although we always had dogs when I was young, my own personal acquistions went from "He followed me home', to an "IS puppies for sale" sign in a front yard (MY all time heartdog), then an ad in the paper, finally phone calls to breeders but asking all the wrong questions, lol. Then finding the internet lists, making contact with breeders, and looking ahead of time for all those things we all know we should be looking for. My 'research' didn't really start when I wanted 'just a pet', it was after I got interested in showing a dog.
Joan Clancy (NY, USA)
Thanks Joan and Ginger. You are both so right: it all comes down to educating the potential dog buyer. I find that thanks to internet it has become a lot easier to inform people of what they should be aware . But still, even when you try hard to inform people what to look out for, quite often they will opt for the cheaper dog from God knows where...
Not long ago I was asked for advice from someone interested in buying an Irish Setter. The woman broke off the discussion by declaring that I was just trying to find excuses for asking such a horrendous amount for the puppy. She could get a purebred elsewhere without paying so much. The purebred puppy she means comes from eastern european puppy mills...
Fortunately by swiss law it is forbidden to sell dogs & cats in pet shops. But it is still possible to buy a puppy from a car boot on a motorway, albeit illegally...
One thing that has brought on a great improvement here in Switzerland has been the advent of puppy play school, that began around 15 years ago. Most people have heard of these and are willing to take their puppy to these groups. From there many continue to training classes and learn how to cope with their dog. A huge benefit to all.
eastern european puppy mills... yes... but please remember: demand and supply...

it is a pity that many countries think of "us" (=eastern/middle europeans) as puppy mills only. stereotyping. not everybody is bad here! Susan, this comment is not against you, hope you know that! it is just a general comment on how we often are looked at, because of some unserious non-caring "breeders". this is why UK is basicly unwilling to export any dog here (talking about breeds in general).
Ireland also has a problem with puppy farms!! A lot is also due to supply and demand! A lot of people want to buy cheap puppies and then wonder why they never get registration papers, and I ask if they have seen the mother and most have not seen anything other than the puppy they have bought!!!!! To me alarm bells would ring when you have to collect your "pedigree puppy" in a parking lot!! Most of our good breeders are genuine honest people and hopefully the puppy farms will be a thing of the past soon!!
Hi Laura, you are quite right - I even thought whilst writing this was a rather sweeping statement. I apologize and must state that I do not have the members of this site in mind!
As you say the problem is the demand and as long as we don't educate puppy buyers here we can not rid ourselves of the puppy mill imports. The breeds affected are mainly Golden Retrievers and the Toy breeds, unfortunately. Another big problem is that our customs authorities do not take the offence of puppy smuggling seriously enough - or have other things to worry about. The Swiss Kennel Club is trying hard to inform politicians and public that the 'dog problem' can't be solved by banning certain breeds and demanding all dogs to be kept on the lead. Much more important is early puppy socialising and education of the average dog owner.

As to export, I feel the personal contact betwen breeder & buyer must be established, if necessary even flying over to visit the breeder before having a puppy sent out.
Susan, as i mentioned, it was not meant against you. I know that Hungary is one of the puppy mills (toy-breeds mainly, but there were times for Great Danes also, exported to China - I just hope that it was not for eating them). I feel ashamed for these people but as you say, there is not much to do against it until goverment, customs, etc don't take this issue seriously. I also know about people who took over their puppy at the train station and never questioned why that happened. Wanting a show dog, they were cheated and see the result now - too late. The 'breeder' has disappeared, might be in some other breed now that sells better...
We also have a law for keeping all dogs on the lead - which in turn is against the animal law saying that you have to provide your dog the necessary exercise... What should we do? :-) I'll keep on taking my girls to various places to run, by risking penalty fees (happened once, in front of our towerhouse) and also being shot (we have some very "nice" hunters, forest keepers here...). I know of dogs that were shot some meters from the owner! OK, this happened in the countryside but still it is no excuse. And the hunting laws allow it - but surely not some meters from the owner, only when the dog is chasing game. But who on earth could prove this or the opposite afterwards? And it won't bring your dog back anyway...
Export: I flew over to Sweden to visit some months before the pup purchase (I took the flight again and took her by myself). Having lived in Sweden earlier, I knew lots of dogs, but have never seen the Copper's dogs in life as far as I could remember. It was a great experience, they are even more beautiful in real :-)))) And the result is my Danka. I think that Camilla and I have a wonderful contact. Luckily she has heard of me and Odin before :-) Though she might have been pissed off with me when Danka was in her growing phase: I complained a lot, was worried about everything, etc - because Odin was never meant to be a show dog, I did not pay so much "professional" attention to her development back then and forgot about how 'ugly' they can be sometimes and how overshot the bite may look, etc :-)) But I think Camilla forgave me :-)




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