DIFFERENT TYPES OF BREEDERS
The're not all the same
You can acquire Weimaraner puppies from people like us, who are often called “hobby breeders”. We are the people who are also usually at a dog show, field trial, obedience trial, or other performance events. Most likely they have just a litter or two a year, if that. They know the standard, know pedigrees, do the proper health clearances on their dogs. They will be a member of the WCA and usually a local Weimaraner club. There are also hobby breeders who do a lot of breeding and sell a lot of dogs, but who care about health clearances, know the standard, and in general are the same as the smaller hobby breeders, but on a larger scale. And finally there are puppy mills and backyard breeders or pet stores (where puppy mills ship the dogs they breed.)
Many people who are getting their second Weim obtained their first dog from a pet store or a backyard breeder and, while they cherished their dog, over the years they have educated themselves and are now looking for dogs where they can know more about temperaments and health issues, going back for several generations.
In the following paragraphs we describe the various types of breeders so you can make up your mind from whom you want to buy your puppy. And, assuming no one wants to buy from a puppy mill, we have tried to paint a picture so you can tell when one of these internet or magazine ads will take you right to those folks.
There is only one standard (and you should read it!)- go to https://weimaranerclubofamerica.org/AKCstandard.php . While there is only one standard, there are many styles of Weimaraners that fit that standard. One way to determine which breeders have the "look" you want, is to go to some dog shows and watch the dogs. Even though you may be looking for "just a pet", you'll find watching people with their dogs, how they treat them and how they show them, to be very informative.
Responsible Hobby Breeders
We think the best place to get a Weimaraner is from people are very involved with their dogs which may mean they compete in some facet of the sport. For some reason, we are called hobby breeders. I guess getting a puppy from a passionate breeder has the wrong connotation.
Weimaraners are active in conformation, hunting, obedience, agility, tracking, and several of the newly added performance events offered by AKC. If the breeder is competing and involved in one of these areas, it is more likely that he or she is breeding to produce dogs that will perform well in these areas; in other words, breeding better Weimaraners. And these people are spending a great deal of time and money with their dogs so temperaments and longevity are important to them.
You should also expect that good breeders will have some accomplishments to point to. Don't be fooled by the people who talk 'Championship lines'. Ask how many of THEIR dogs have earned titles in the last 12 or 24 months at AKC sanctioned events.
Be concerned if your Breeder does not plan to keep a puppy out of the litter. When you find a person breeding dogs but selling every puppy, and have had multiple litters in the past year or 2, it may be a red flag they may be doing the breeding just to make money. If this is the case you need to be concerned about why they invested the time and money in making sure it was the best breeding they could possibly do. Be sure to ask them why they are not keeping a puppy, and listen to the answer they give you. There are times a breeder cannot keep a puppy. But when you talk to them about this you'll probably find it very easy to tell those that are just trying to make money or if they are a responsible breeder who want to improve the breed.
Be alert if the breeder owns both the brood bitch and the stud dog. In breeding good dogs, it is extremely common to either ship the mother (dam) or to have semen from the father (sire) shipped to the breeder. There are hundreds of stud dogs in the country. If, with all those choices available, the breeder chooses to only consider their own dogs, you may want to ask why. And YES there are very good reasons for breeding to your own dogs in your breeding program. Talk to the breeder about why they choose to breed to their own dog.
Be worried if a breeder offers a choice of colors. The only correct color for the Weimaraner is shades of mouse-gray to silver-gray. The Blue color is a DISQUALIFICATION! Also be aware a “Silver Lab” it is a mutt most likely the result of a Labrador bred to a Weimaraner. This is a marketing ploy to sell dogs, any dogs!
What types of guarantees and contracts do they have? Most reputable breeders will use a written contract and they will include in that contract that they will take a dog back at any age for any reason. This is not to say that they will refund your money. But they will provide or find a home (in other words be responsible for) any dog that they have bred for the life of that dog.
Large scale breeders are people that have more than just a couple litters a year and may have many litters annually year in and year out.
Some of these breeders go back to a time when many of the best kennels developed impactful breeding programs because they were able to support large numbers of dogs. Indeed some of these people started with some of the foundation dogs of our breed. Others started as hobby breeders having occasional litters, and now have many litters a year, which certainly moves them into the large breeder category.
Some large scale breeders have been involved with Weimaraners for many years. Some have their best dogs exhibited by top handlers with a view toward achieving their Championships and more, and of course the monies from their puppy sales goes back into their breeding program. Some of the dogs from these kennels have won top honors at dog shows, field trials, and other WCA/AKC sanctioned events.
Some of you see Weimaraners as pets and companions, personal hunting dogs, and house dogs in living rooms and on the beds. You may be distressed by large numbers of dogs spending most of their hours in kennels or crates.
Since many large scale breeders do treat this as a business, and sometimes it is included as part of another canine related business (boarding facility, training, etc.) These people would not be successful without good customer service and customer relations. Some of the larger operations employ a staff of people to care for the dogs. And even those who don't have paid help, do not skimp on care and socialization. These dogs are their assets and their livelihood. A reputable large scale breeder will have a well-run, clean kennel facility with dog runs and paddocks for the dogs to exercise in. Dogs will rotate in and out of the home for socialization and house time. They will not have crates on top of crates stacked all over the house where the dogs spend the majority of their time.
All reputable hobby breeders (whether large or small scale) will get all the necessary testing and health clearances that are recommended by the Weimaraner Club of America. Many of these breeders are active in the National and local Weimaraner Clubs and some are AKC judges.
In reality, small scale breeders - hobby breeders - breed for themselves, as such, the will never produce enough dogs to meet the requirements of those who want Weimaraners. And these larger scale operations are far superior, for dogs and people, than the puppy mills and backyard breeders.
Puppy Mills and Backyard Breeders
The difference between puppy mills and commercial breeders is not in the number of litters they have or the dogs they own. It is in their motivation, how they interact with dogs and their commitment and responsibility to the purebred dog community and the health and care they provide to dogs.
Puppy mills and Backyard Breeders have the same motivation; making money by selling dogs. If Tupperware were more profitable, they would be doing that. They breed multiple litters a year, and have no involvement with their dogs other than breeding them, are not part of the purebred dog community and may or may not be selling the dogs with appropriate paperwork or contracts. It's hard to say whether these dogs have clearances or not; it's easy to falsify clearances when you are not in the mainstream. Most of these people operate from home and cut costs whenever possible to increase profit. Some have fancy kennel names and advertise their puppies on the AKC website. The key is they do nothing with their dogs other than breeding to make money. These are the people who will not talk to you about contracts and guarantees or send you paperwork on just an inquiry. Their goal is to get you to their establishment, hoping you will fall in love with the puppies. Think of them as farmers; and their product is dogs.
We've had reports that some of these people are actually abusive to potential customers who visit and then do not agree to buy on the spot, following up with phone calls and threats. A number of them offer “trained puppies” for a couple thousand extra dollars. These puppies are often “trained” with shock collars and cattle prods.
You'll find that these people almost always have puppies, have a presence on every web site that lists breeders, probably have a great web site of their own. They typically advertise in the newspaper as well as the low-end consumer dog magazines such as Dog Fancy. These people are typically not eligible, as a result of their breeding practices, to belong to local Weimaraner Clubs. They will tell you that they don't belong because people are jealous of them and their dogs. Their dogs from untitled parents usually cost significantly more than quality dogs from a hobby or commercial breeder. These are the people selling the special Blue Weimaraners, or Weim crossed with some other breed.
Backyard breeders are the people who have Muffy or Tex and think it would be nice to have that yearly litter, often starting at about a year of age to make the extra money. They are often uneducated about pedigrees, clearances or health issues. Again, you'll find these people advertising in the local paper.