Finding & Rescue

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Please, with the new trend in designer dogs and mutts being bred and sold for thousands of dollars from both large mill operations for the retail pet trade and by smaller private breeders for the sake of making money.  Please check this site and read carefully the pages regarding designer dogs and health issues. No Puppy Mills, VA.  The information is universal. The link opens a new window.  Bad breeders and less than ethical people hurt those trying to breed healthier, sounder dogs and who are out there proving it.  Even if you want a pet, good breeders do have pet pups, they just do not intentionally breed for the pet trade. They breed to better the dogs and those not making the grade will be carefully placed as pets.


There are only TWO places you should consider getting a Sheltie (or any dog) from: a good, reputable breeder and a rescue. 

You forgot to list pet stores. Why? A pet store is the WORST place to go. Yes, they are convenient and yes, they will sell to anyone, but there is no quality control. Also, a pet store will tell you exactly what you want to hear to make the sale and not what you should hear. Puppies at pet stores come from puppy mills. These facilities mass produce puppies with little consideration for the health and well-being of the breeding animals and offspring. Puppies are often raised in nasty conditions and not socialized. Health care is limited to what is needed for shipping. Parents are not tested for hereditary problems - it is not cost effective for the miller. There is a greater chance you will get a pup that has hereditary problems and even behavioral ones from lack of socialization. Being kept in a cage for the formative weeks is not proper socialization. Millers are concerned only with how much money they can get from their dogs. Pet Stores are concerned about the bottom line as well. Think, is it easier to sell $800 worth of pet products in one day or one $800 puppy? Pet Stores will insist their dogs are from breeders. Technically, they are, anyone who lets dogs breed can be called a breeder. But s reputable breeder does far more than sell dogs and you will NEVER find a pup from a reputable breeder in a store. (However, some Back Yard Breeders - see the next section - will also sell to pet stores and many people think BYBs are good breeders.) Some pet stores will even say the pups are from rescue groups. Well, no reputable rescue will send puppies to pet stores for sale.

What about a newspaper ad? Many back yard breeders just breed purebred dogs many just breed dogs, crosses or not. Some BYBs like to create breeds out of ignorance or the desire to make money from a sucker who knows no better. How many times do ads run for Sheltie-Poos? This is nothing but a cross between a Sheltie and a Poodle. A BYB may not know the standard for the breed and often breed dogs that are not good breed representatives. AKC registration is NOT a Good Housekeeping seal of approval for dogs. What quality the dogs being bred are is up to the integrity of the breeder. So do not be blinded by AKC. And do NOT be blinded by Champions in the background. There is far more to breeding than getting Champion dogs to mate.

Back yard breeders tend not to breed the best quality dogs. It is questionable whether they will test the dogs before breeding for genetic issues. Do you want to support someone who really does not have the best interest of the breed at heart - though they may think they do? Some reputable breeders may have started off with a backyard litter and probably sold the litter through an ad. However they have educated themselves about good practices and the importance of bettering a breed and proving they have good dogs. Almost no reputable breeder advertises in the paper when there are pups for sale. Good, reputable breeders go by word of mouth through club members, being contacted after dog shows, recommended by various dog clubs, etc. They have no need to advertise through newspapers.

Why a rescue?  Aren't dogs given up because they have problems? No, in fact many dogs are given up due to other reasons: move, new baby in the family, not enough time for dog, family was not prepared for what it means to be a responsible dog owner. Some are given up because they just got old. Yes, some of these dogs may not be the best trained, but they are far from lost causes. Many "behavior issues" are merely bad manners that the former owners never worked with. It is very possible to find a loving, sweet pet through a rescue. Shelties are very popular and this popularity leads to an abundance of them in rescue!  Rescuing a dog give a second chance not only to the dog you adopt but also to another dog who may be unwanted. Adopting a dog opens up space for another rescue to come in and hopefully find a home.

For more on choosing a dog, check out:

Am I Ready For A Dog?

What To Ask A Breeder.

Will O'Wisp's Sheltie Rescue Links

American Shetland Sheepdog Association




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