Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Health Testing Policy

A few words about health testing, my policy, and why I require this:

I require all my puppies to be health tested, whether they will be bred or not.

Let me repeat that. I require ALL my puppies to be health tested, WHETHER THEY WILL BE BRED OR NOT. There are no exceptions.

Ultimately the reason for this testing is because we wish to continue breeding dogs so that future generations may enjoy them in the capacity that we enjoy them today – healthy and happy. We need to know the health of AS MANY dogs in the family tree as we possibly can in order to continue doing this ethically and effectively. This means the requirement for testing is not limited only to individual dogs that will be bred. Knowing the health of just one out of 5 or more puppies in a litter is simply not enough to make the best choices.

Breeding dogs is somewhat like gambling. How you choose to gamble is up to you. The breeders I work with prefer to know all the cards in play. We spend a lot of time researching pedigrees and checking health tests not only on the dogs being bred but their littermates, aunts and uncles and so on. We’re counting cards, we have partners who are counting cards and we’re all constantly trying to find ways to make the right choices and put the win in our favor.

Others prefer to gamble by wildly rolling dice that are loaded against them and placing blind bets with limited information. The fact of the matter is, not all breeders are the same… There are breeders you can buy from that have 1 page contracts or even no contracts at all - you hand over the money, they hand over the dog, and you go your separate ways. There are also breeders who breed dogs with genetic cataracts or known heart issues. There are breeders who raise their dogs in a garage or out building and do very little training with them for the first few weeks. There are breeders who only health test the dogs they intend to breed and some that don't even do that. These breeders all have a right to make these choices, and you have a right to buy from them if you so choose. They are not me. They are not the breeders I work with. I can tell you that there are plenty of other breeders out there that think we are overbearing and nuts. They have every right to hold this opinion. However, I find the people we sell to understand the value in what we do. They’re card counters, too.

I understand that all of this breeding mumbo-jumbo can be hard to understand, but when you consider where you buy a puppy, I ask that you give very serious consideration to the philosophy of the breeder from which you wish to buy. Please think about what that breeder does and how s/he makes breeding decisions. If you see value in a breeder gathering as much health information as possible, please remember how important it is to pay it forward to the next generation by completing appropriate health testing on your puppy when the time comes.

We love Samoyeds. All Samoyeds. What we don't love is hearing about people who try to save money by buying from breeders too cheap to do health testing. We don't love hearing about sick, disabled puppies. We don't love hearing about dysplastic puppies that are so bad they have to be put down. We don't love hearing about cheap dogs whose breeder didn't do eye testing on the parents or the pups and who are blind from cataracts or glaucoma.

We understand that dogs with health tested and researched families are not immune from ever having any health issues. But we also know it is a heck of a lot less frequent when we make better decisions with more complete data.

Written with collaboration by Amanda Van Eperen, Julie Dunkle, and Andrea Dunkle