There is a lot of controversy on this subject. The word “ethical” is used quite often and seems to mean different things to different people.
I’m going to tell you what I look for when purchasing a puppy for my breeding program, and these are the standards upon which I base my business:
Most importantly I look for puppies that are raised under foot. This means purchasing from small, in-home breeders where the pups will have an abundance of handling and socialisation. Some of the larger kennels have gorgeous dogs, but I don’t feel the dogs get the attention they deserve, and I choose not to support that. I don’t ever want to see a dog live its life in a dog run and only taken out to be exercised which is what happens at most of these larger kennels.
I want to be able to go to the breeder’s home. If they live far away, like in the UK where I have purchased from in the past, then I want to see photos of the parents as well as videos. It’s far too easy these days to grab a couple of photos from the internet and say these are your puppy’s parents.
When viewing photos of puppies, I always look not only at the puppy but also at the surrounding area. You can tell a lot about a breeder by what is or is not in the photo. Is the puppy pen clean? Are its littermates there? Mum should be not too far away as well. Is the puppy propped up in front of a blanket sitting by itself? Quite often these are the photos used by brokers. Yes, beware, there are a lot of brokers out there who portray themselves as breeders but do not breed the dogs themselves and who knows what you’re getting then!
Be suspicious if the breeder wants to meet you anywhere other than their home for you to pick up a puppy. This, too, can be a sign of a broker.
In my opinion, a reputable breeder will stand behind their dogs. As a prospective puppy buyer, you should be able to see the breeder’s personal Facebook page, for example, as well as their breeding page. Facebook is very useful resource and by joining Frenchie groups, you can learn which breeders are trustworthy and which are not. Ask questions! You can still be fooled on Facebook. Any time money is involved; there are people out there trying to scam you. I have heard about false accounts being creating using other breeders’ puppy photos as their dogs and trying to sell them. Cross-referencing with websites and reviews is important.
I ask to see lineage and DNA on any puppies in which I’m interested. What is most important to me is the health of the parents. Issues with the back are huge with this breed and in fact the gene that creates those cute little corkscrew tails is the same gene that causes abnormalities in spines. I like to see x-ray reports from both parents to make sure they’ve been cleared for breeding and have no Hemivertebrae. I also ask to read over the purchase contract and health guarantee. It is important to keep in mind that breeders do our absolute best to produce puppies without health problems. However, I tell my puppy buyers, “ If we could guarantee health, we would be doing it with our children.” Any breeder who tells you they’ve never seen this or that in their line, not one of their dogs has had itchy skin, hurt its back or had soft palate issues is not being truthful. I look for someone that I can work with for the life of my dog. I want to build relationships with the breeders I buy from and use their knowledge to help my dogs and pass that knowledge on to you. A good breeder is happy to answer any questions you may have, and if they’re too busy to get back to you right away, then they should let you know and set up a time when you can both talk.
Buying a French Bulldog is a big purchase, not only monetarily speaking but you’re also committing yourself to the life of that dog. And the right dog is worth the wait. I truly believe the right little soul will find it’s way into your heart, whether that puppy is from me or someone else. Be patient and do your due diligence when choosing your breeder.