Monday, September 13, 2010

Ten Tips to Finding the Right Dog

Illustration by Kevin Brockbank for the Oct 2010 issue of Dogs Today.

Terrierman’s Tips to Finding
The Right Dog from a Good Breeder

One of the reasons dogs are in such a mess is that consumers who buy dogs are almost completely uninformed when they start the process.

The advice given is always the same: "buy the right dog from a good breeder."

But what does that mean? The right dog? Right for what?

In fact, most people do not live lives very well-suited to dogs. Unlike a bicycle or a shotgun, a dog cannot be tucked into a storage closet, and forgotten. A dog requires attention several times a day, every day, rain or shine, vacation or not. Is your life really that stable? Is anyone’s these days?

And a good breeder? What’s that? No one ever says.

So where to start? Consider these ten tips as a starting place for anyone looking to get “the right dog” from a “good breeder.”

1. Remember that a dog is not a hat to be tried on and discarded.
A dog is a life-long commitment, and it must mesh well with your life as you live it, not as you wish it to be. In short, do not get a dog that needs a lot of daily exercise if you are a couch potato, and do not expect a dog to do well if it is crated eight hours a day while you are at work. Highly-motivated working dogs rarely make good pets, as few owners are able to give them the exercise, work and emotional release they need. If you are young, and your living arrangements and finances are unstable, skip a dog entirely and get a cat -- they won't mind long periods alone, and are much cheaper to care for.

2. Get your priorities in order.
If your first inclination when purchasing a dog is to buy an all-breed book and begin flipping through the pages, you are already making a mistake. The goal of all-breed books is to fill your mind with a romantic ideal of a brand-name dog. The danger in doing this is that once you get this picture locked in your head, you have already "chosen your breed," which means you have rejected healthy non-pedigree dogs without even considering them. It also means you have probably chosen a canine registry. With breed and "registration papers" occupying the first and second slots in your priority list, gender and coat color typically fill slots three and four. That means health and temperament fall to level five and six. No wonder so many people end up with unhealthy dogs! Remember that all-breed books are the dog market equivalent of a sales brochure; they offer lovely pictures and descriptive puffery, but they are not Consumers Report or Which magazine. You would not buy a car based on a sales brochure. Why are you buying a dog this way?

3. Kennel Club paper does not mean quality; it often means defect.
All-breed books are often full of nonsense, copied from one to another, and none tell you very much about health problems and temperament challenges. If you flip through an all-breed book, for example, you may fall in love with the Golden Retriever, but the book will not tell you that 40 to 60 percent of these dogs come down with cancer, or what it will cost to treat that cancer. If you insist on a pedigree dog, take the time to really study the diseases and genetic problems associated with each breed. Look at real longevity data, and ask a veterinarian what it will cost to fix a pair of wrecked hips, to treat chronic heart disease, or to remove a dog’s eye if it has a luxating lens.

4. Realize that breed clubs are trade associations.
The main function of breed clubs is to create and rationalize an artificial market for show dogs bred in a closed registry system. The second function of a breed club is to serve as a marketing hub for puppies sold to a public who are told that breed club affiliation is the first sign of a “good” breeder. In fact, breed club membership is little more than an indication that a breeder has the patience to suffer through breed club politics. Most breed clubs require no health or performance testing of any kind, and offer up only weak ethical guidelines related to the age and frequency of mating. Many good breeders can be found in breed clubs, but breed club membership alone tells you nothing.

5. Be prepared to wait, and be prepared to say no.
Go slow! Study up on breeds and types. Read with a very skeptical eye. Above all, steel your heart and your resolve before you set out to look at dogs in the flesh. If you cannot drive two hours into the countryside, walk into someone's living room to see a mass of wriggling puppies, have tea with them, and walk out without buying a dog, you are not emotionally ready to make a sensible purchase. You are a mark, not a serious consumer. If you must take your spouse and children with you to look at puppies, be sure to agree beforehand that you will drive away without making a purchase no matter what. You can change your mind and come back later, but only after everyone has sat down at a table and talked it all out. Remember that when you set off to buy a dog, you are not looking to make a new friend; you are looking to buy a healthy dog that will be with you for years to come.

6. Accept that dog breeders often have a casual relationship with the truth.
If a breeder says the sire and dam of your prospective pup has been health-tested, ask to see those test scores and know what the results really mean. If they say the sire and dam have worked well in the field, ask for photographic evidence of that work. Remember that dog dealers are not more ethical than car dealers. Dog breeders hope the dog they sell you works out, but if it doesn't, that's your problem, not theirs!

7. Look for danger signs.
If a breeder will not show you the kennels, walk away. If they will not show you the sire and dam (or at least provide contact information for the owner of the sire), go elsewhere. If you ask about health problems in the breed, and they seek to minimize them or say they have never tested their breeding stock because they have "never had a problem," hold on to your wallet and really think hard. If you are looking for a working dog, but the breeder does not work their own dogs, you are at the wrong kennel. If you examine a five-generation pedigree, and the same dog appears more than once, ask yourself if you really want an inbred dog?

8. Disenthrall yourself from puppies and consider dogs that have been "run on."
All breeders hold back a small percentage of their best prospects to see how they develop, with the eye to keeping them for breeding purposes themselves. These dogs, which have been "run on" for five or six months to see how they develop, are often available due to kennel crowding and the smallest of faults that have nothing to do with substance. There is often real gold to be found here, and it generally comes with several added bonuses: semi-adult dogs that have had all their shots, can control their bowels, and may have rudimentary training. And have no fear: if you acquire one of these dogs, they will learn a new name in a week or two!

9. Value is not the same as price.
Some of the best dogs in the world can be had for a song at your local pound or shelter, while some of the most expensive and miserable genetic wrecks are sold for thousands of pounds by Kennel Club breeders. Caveat emptor! As a general rule, an "expensive breed" is one that is a genetic mess because it has a small heavily-inbred gene pool, or else it is a conformation disaster with most pups born caesarian. Oddly enough, many of the dogs found at shelters are dogs that benefit from a certain amount of hybrid vigor -- a fact reflected in lower health insurance premiums for non-pedigree dogs.

10. Money-back guarantees are virtually worthless.
If a dog dealer offers you a "money-back guarantee," be advised that such a guarantee is worthless unless you are willing to return the dog to be euthanized on the spot. No breeder will pay for a hip operation or double cruciate ligament repair on a two-year old dog that you insist on keeping.

The bottom line: purchasing any dog is a calculated risk, but if you use your head rather than your heart, you can reduce the risks and improve the odds of a happy match for owner and dog alike. Select in haste, however, and there is a very good chance you will regret in leisure.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _


Linda Ward said...

"And a good breeder? What’s that? No one ever says."

I do. I learned from the best, and now advise people looking for puppies. Admittedly I've only had TWO enquiries all year, but at least one of those rejected a litter of puppies on my advice, and is about to pick up this month's copy of Dogs Today (also on my advice) to help her search. The other bought one without me seeing the puppoes, so our first training session consisted mainly of correcting some of the behaviour faults the breeder introduced.

Most people wouldn't buy a car without some expert advice, but will buy a dog. :(

Anton said...

so many people buy a dog on an impulse. Opening a breed book is already far too much time wasted on thinking about a decision for some of todays dogfeeders.

Too bad nobody will read this article that actually should read it, thats all i keep thinking.

There should be a minimum cool down period of 3-4 years at least before a first dog is entered into somebodies live. After this has been evaluated. Another 5-6 years for each subsequent dog.


BTW i practice what i preach, waited 7 years to get my first dog. 3 of which i knew the breeder i was going to get him from.

Anonymous said...

Anton sounds like you are not impulsive at all. Just curious, if you found the perfect woman for you to marry, would you wait 4 years before proposing marriage, then another 3 years before actually marring her and taking her home?

I think sometimes in life you have to gamble, an educated gamble, but still a gamble.

Anonymous said...

Good start, but to truely increase the odds of getting a good puppy, a person should understand the whole dog scene, the shows, the vets want a profit too thing, the breeding, the breeders, the dogs as lab rats, and just how nuts people can be.

But even breeders who have been at it 40 years can end up with culls.

Knowledge helps, but some problems in dogs just don't show up when the dog is a puppy. And some puppies grow up fine, they just aren't a good match for the type of family that bought them.

And you are right, it seems to often be that people get a dog when their home and lifestyle are no more suitable for a dog than it would be for a pet horse or a herd of sheep.

And many people love puppies then cast them out into the backyard and ignore them, because they love puppies, and when the puppy becomes a dog, their love is dead, they don't interact with the dog anymore. Sad. Gotta wonder if they feel that way about their children too?

Anonymous said...

Some good advice here, especially the concept of not buying a dog for an idealized lifestyle that is not your actual lifestyle, as it will not magically materialize by virtue of the fact that you got this particular dog breed.

I'd warn on #8, getting a "run on" dog. As a trainer, I've worked with a couple of such dogs that were held back and both had major anxiety issues. They seemed to have missed out on critical socialization at the breeding facility. Even a reputable breeder may not take all the necessary steps to socialize a dog for the 3, 4, 5 months that they hold onto it while they decide whether or not to sell, and these dogs are not necessarily equipped to smoothly transition into the average person's "normal" life/home.

I think a reputable breeder can be a GREAT option for a puppy, a "clean slate" that you're going to mold from the start, but if considering a dog that's any older, recognize that older dogs from professional breeders can have the same types of behavior problems as dogs from shelters and breed rescues, and sometimes even worse, depending on the breeder's setup and commitment to the dog as it aged.

Romany Dog said...

A couple of comments:

1) I don't agree about the wisdom taking an older, half-grown pup from a breeder. So many breeders fail at socialization that I think generally speaking it's best to get the puppies out of there ASAP. I had a breeder try to sell me an 8 month collie puppy but then admit that after living in her kennels the puppy wouldn't be able to adjust to my noisy home filled with children. WTF?

2) Totally agree about written guarantees. They aren't worth crap. Try to find a breeder who is actually a decent person--that is worth far more than a guarantee from someone who is morally bankrupt.

Can you tell I've been burned quite a few times?


Seahorse said...

I'm picky. I'm patient. I hate to make mistakes. I read and research. Then, I act...and wring my hands hoping I've got it right.

Our dog-loving household went eight years dogless after our last Jacks died. In that time we wandered in the wilderness that had become the JRT World. It was terribly disappointing. I looked, searched, flipped stones, made calls and saw dogs in person. I wondered where all the good dogs had gone in the 20+ years since we got our wonderful terriers. I gave up several times, but I just KNEW there had to be good dogs out there somewhere. I pressed on and eventually found them.

Four years after I found "the dog" I finally have my puppy. So far she's everything I'd hoped and a cupcake. She's from a wonderful, careful breeder who gives the puppies fantastic starts in life. Will my puppy be perfect and defect free? Time alone will tell. Life isn't perfect, despite trying to make it so, but I like to stack the deck in my favor when I'm gambling.

This blog has been of TREMENDOUS help to me, as has Patrick in answering my many questions. Thanks, Terrierman! :))))

Have I mentioned what a kick-ass puppy I got after waiting four years? LOL, maybe I have.

Seahorse :)))

Anonymous said...

The puppies that the show breeder chose to keep were not the ones that she thought would make the best pets - they were the puppies she thought would make the best show dogs.

Racing greyhound breeders keep the puppies that they think will grow to be the best racing dogs.

Dog fighters keep the puppies that they think will grow up to be the best fighters.

The idea that the puppies that the breeder holds onto until they are nearly grown are 'better' stems from a 1950s attitude that fancier is better.

When the airlines started to refuse to ship puppies under 8 weeks old,I started to hear all sorts of dog people quoting "Don't buy a puppy less than 8 weeks old".

Why did they start saying this? Because puppy mills, sometimes with hundreds of breeding dogs, couldn't ship their puppies until the puppies were 8 weeks old.

Since the families buying a puppy usually preferred a 6 week old puppy, the puppy mill puppies were not being bought as quickly - people simply said that they wanted a younger puppy.

And about leaving the puppy with the breeder so it will get more socialization? A breeder with 6 puppies or a puppy mill with hundreds, just can't give the puppies the personal time and attention, the one-on-one contact, that a family with just one puppy can.

There was one study of the "perfect" age to get a puppy, and it concluded that 49 days was the best time - that's 7 weeks old.

But the reasoning was that puppies less than 6 weeks needed to stay with their mother, and that the 6 to 8 week stage was a the narrow window of time for bonding.

So that to be a good pack hound, the puppy needed to spend part of the 6-to-8 week time-window with his brother and sisters, and to be good with people, the puppy needed to spend part of that 6 to 8 week stage with people.

What is wrong about saying "7 weeks" like the study says? Oh yeah, because puppymills can't ship until 8 weeks, and we can't let home breeders get the edge over puppy mills that keep their dogs in cages, can we?

But I will add that some of the more fagile toy varieties should be kept until 8 weeks or even longer.

Today, with the level of inbreeding, inherited diseases, and mis-bred puppies (bred to be show dogs but sold as pets), based on my experiences and my knowledge of dog breeding, I would say to first look at the hybrid "oops" litters.

That's often where a pet dog of one breed had puppies by a neighbor's pet dog of a different breed.

Of course, there is a big differnce between puppies from a Golden Retriever who got pregnant by a Collie, or a Toy Poodle that had puppies by a Chihuahua, or a Pit Bull with puppies by a Mastiff.

And be careful, not all puppies sold of hybrids are hybrids, some are mixes, like where a Toy Poodle had 2 puppies by a Chihuhua, and both puppies were given to the owner's sister, and those two puppies matured then had puppies together.

Incestiously bred dogs often have inherited health problems, that's why puppies from litters where the two parents are of different breeds are often healthier.

Mailey E. McLaughlin, M.Ed. said...

Pawsnmotion and Romany are right. "Held-back" dogs are only as good as the breeder is. A 7-month-old dog that has been languishing in a breeder's kennel will be a nightmare in many cases--Possibly OK for a trainer who wants a working dog, but crappy as a pet. I'd rather have a 7-month-old shelter dog; at least it's probably been in a home, and even at the shelter it's probably had more socialization than at a breeder's kennel.

Otherwise, good tips. And I have to disagree that "no one" tells you how to find a good breeder. Lots of websites do.

PBurns said...


Doubtful Guest

If there are a lot of other articles like this, please let me know where they are. You see, I have gotten three requests to reprint this piece in the last 36 hours, and I have a wall full of dog books that offer very little useful information on how to buy a dog.

Is there someone else that starts off by saying that you may not want a dog at all -- try a cat? Is there someone else that points out that going to an all-breed books is Mistake Number One, and that if you go down that road you have already put health in the number 5 slot? Is there someone else that notes that breed clubs are commericial trade associations of puppy peddlers and should be treated as such? Is there someone else saying Kennel Club dogs more often mean defect, and has actually done the work to support that point? Not that I know of. And apparently, not that others can find, which is why this article has gotten three reprint requests in such short order.

As for the notion that run-on show dogs are somehow defective due to poor socialization, this is simply NOT TRUE and reveals someone with little experience with run-on dogs, dog showing, or show dog breeders. Let's start with a simple fact: Most show breeders do NOT have 20 dogs in kennel. Most show breeders have 3 to 5 dogs and breed only one or two litters a year and they might keep back only one or two dogs (at most) to see how they develop. The notion that these dogs are tossed in a kennel and ignored like fattening cattle is laughable. In fact these dogs are generally doted on like a mother hen with a single chick. After all, this is the New Dog With Promise. This is the Great Hope for the Future. And so the puppy is handled, put on stacking blocks, walked, combed, and taken to shows to be evaluated by others. This young dog is entered in puppy classes, taught to walk calmly on lead, and taught to look up at the owner who is clutching bait in his or her mouth. Time with other dogs? Unending! Abuse or neglect? Not likely.

Somewhere along the line, however, a judge or two (formally or informally) may say that the feet are out a bit at the pastern, or that the tail is carried a bit low, or that one ear is carried a bit odd. Perhaps an issue has developed bewteen one dog and another in the house (it happens). Doubt has crept into the breeders mind.... and opportunity for a smart person looking to acquire an exceptionally well-socialized animal from good stock.

A large commercial kennel and a true show kennel are rarely the same thing for a simple reason: It costs a LOT of money and time to campaign a dog to a championship, just as it takes a lot of time to make a good hunting dog that is proven in the field. A run-on dog is NOT the dog at a commercial kennel that was "remaindered" and not sold. It is is the dog elevated and given very special time and attention right up to the time it is reluctantly placed in a pet home. They remain, as I note, an exceptional opportunity most of the time.


PBurns said...

Heather, you have it a bit backwards on the eight-week law.

The law came about after research on puppy and dog socialization (there has been more than one study) showed that dogs do best when kept with the dam for at least eight weeks.

That research made its way into many state laws prohibing the SALE of puppies before this date. See >>

Note this is about SALES, not about shipping. In fact several states (Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania) do not even allow rescues to give away puppies under the age of 8 weeks. Maryland makes it illegal to even DISPLAY a puppy under eight weeks of age.

Airlines, not interested in abetting breaking state sales laws or being an instrumentality of a crime (to say nothing of the bad publicity of having small puppies die on route) made rules preventing dogs less than 8-weeks old being shipped, as well as requiring vet checks, special shipping containers, and the like. Now, these same airlines are starting to refuse brachycephlaic breeds (flat-faced dogs) due to high mortality, and also refusing to ship in high heat (same reason).

As for puppy mills, they do not ship their dogs by air, but by truck, and they sometimes work around the sales law by consigning them to brokers at 6 or 7 weeks (one more reason to stay away from puppy mills).


Romany Dog said...


My comments about the puppy being "held back" were based in part on my experiences with a particular "show miller" who holds back several puppies from each of her many, many litters and definitely does not take time to socialize them. I agree with the other poster that whether a held back puppy has been socialized well, or at all, depends on the breeder.

Also, can I comment on "how to find a reputable breeder" articles that you find all over the internet? They invariably say "is the breeder active in their breed club?" and "Does the breeder show their dogs in conformation? This is important because it shows that their dogs fit the breed standard," blah, blah blah. To which I say, "horse sh*t." LOL


PBurns said...

Agreed on all points. We have folks with 20 "hunting dogs" too, but that's fiction as well. Real showing and real hunting is too much like work to do it for a pack of young dogs. No one has enough time. Hell, it's hard enough to get even one dog out in the field enough that first year.

As for the breed club nonsense, that's exacrly why setting the record straight on what a breed club REALLY means is important, as is the notation about how defective show dogs are and why All Breed books are the first step to destruction.


Mailey E. McLaughlin, M.Ed. said...

Well, I certainly wasn't talking about all breeders, but as a trainer I have met quite a few dogs that were first sold as adolescents, and the majority of them were not lovingly socialized. Now, technically, if so, they did not come from good breeders, because good breeders WOULD socialize.

So I guess it's a roundabout argument. If you find a truly "good breeder," their hold-backs would probably be in good shape.

The problem is that many dog buyers don't do the homework to find the good breeders. And crappy breeders can look like good breeders if you don't know what you are looking at.

Is there someone else that starts off by saying that you may not want a dog at all -- try a cat? Is there someone else that points out that going to an all-breed books is Mistake Number One, and that if you go down that road you have already put health in the number 5 slot? Is there someone else that notes that breed clubs are commericial trade associations of puppy peddlers and should be treated as such? Is there someone else saying Kennel Club dogs more often mean defect, and has actually done the work to support that point? Not that I know of.

As for other articles, Ah, but I didn't say that their articles are as "in-depth" as yours. You are right that few or none ask the exact questions you do in this article, but some get pretty close--closer than puppy buyers would have found years ago.

One I like is here:

Not perfect, and I'm sure much you will disagree with (the "hybrid vigor" part, especially). But googling "find a responsible breeder" will get SOME decent information. It isn't a total wasteland anymore. :-)

Anonymous said...

Again Patrick, thank you for bringing us this article. It is intelligent and knowledgeful.

If old dog hands like on your blog can each only find one small thing each that they disagree with - then the article is most excellent!

All the dog people have had slightly different experiences, ands so have slightly different conclusions.

It takes well more than the average number of experiences to be able to draw broad conclusions correctly.

For example: if 25% of the puppies a breeder sells, die a horrible death from genetic disease before they are a year old, then the other 75% of the people who bought puppies, still might sing praises about that breeder and say what wonderful puppies she sells - because they got one of the good puppies, and they base their conclusions on their experiences.

I agree with most everything in the helpful article - except trusting breeders to do right in socialising the puppies they keep.

Again, it depends on the breeder.

My previous and long held policy of smiling and keeping my mouth shut, has let me into proximity of less than perfect people who show dogs and sell puppies.

These are often not evil people at all; many of them are very friendly,

but they are often selective in their attachments, and although surrounded by dogs that give unconditional love, this is often the very trait that I notice about them - their love is NOT unconditional, it is based on winning and being useful to their status.

Perhaps, a dog that has just flunk out of the show ring, might be different than one whose potential was obviously washed out when the puppies was 3 months old, and has been 'sitting on the sales lot' since?

Anonymous said...

If you really want feedback on the article, since I read and like your blog, I made notes, and here is my 36 cents worth, one point at a time:

Quotes are really paraphrases, computer lacks little circa sign.

1. "You might be better of with a cat." How true, and a magazine can point that out. At one time, I did sell puppies, and I only said that flat out to a buyer once.

They told me how many hours they worked, what an active nightlife lifestyle they had, and no yard or doggie door to a patio. Then they asked me to advise them on a breed. I said "cat".

They didn't like cats and were insulted. Much later, they saw me somewhere, and the wife came up and said that some other breeder had sold them a puppy, and it was working out okay, blah blah blah, how dare I have said "cat".

But, truth be told, lots of people should consider a cat, a ferret, a bunny, a rat, a parrot - dogs aren't the right pet for all lifestyles.

Article rating: Good point, and at the top where it should be.

2. "Many dog breed books = propaganda". Very good point, don't mess up your mind with the wrong ideas while looking for the truth. The lies are out there thick, and picture books tend to plant a frame around the little part of what's out there that they are designed to show off.

3. "Papers can = defect". A person could write pages on that one. Inherited diseases in purebred dogs is a main idea that people wanting a puppy need to understand. Excellent, because there is so much propaganda to overcome.

4. "breed clubs = trade associations". I have used the term "breeders' union" and "veterinarians' union" to describe some organisations, but people in those associations don't cotton to that level of directness in speach.

Good point, but it's not going to make you any brownie points with those people.

5. "wait, say "no". "Wait" part: I can think of one time when the breeder that I wanted a puppy from did not answer, so I bought else where, then got a letter from the breeder who hadn't answered, and she did lots of health tests and was upfront about the health problems in the breed.

The puppy that I bought quickly (yes, an older puppy kept by the breeder) developed an inherited disease, and there were problems with the contract that I had signed).

But I have sold good puppies to people who hadn't looked at any other litters, and all went well.

"NO" part: Oh, this could be a book in it's self, on when to say no, when to walk away, and when to go long with the breeder.

Good but this could be a whole article.

Romany Dog said...

Can we talk about "reputable breeders" who make buyers fill out a 20 page questionnaire and then have a "health guarantee" that requires that a puppy dies within one year and that the buyer pays for an autopsy? And then provides for a replacement puppy? Nothing makes me angrier than seeing breeder after breeder providing completely FAKE health guarantees that serve no purpose whatsoever except to trick the buyer into thinking the breeder is "reputable." Same thing with the questionnaire. How difficult is it to have a few conversations with a puppy buyer and determine whether they would provide a good home for one of your puppies? The questionnaires exist only to feed the breeder's ego and make them look good to other breeders. If dog breeder could just stop being fake and worrying about winning dog shows and one-upping other dog breeders, and think for just one moment about how they could best serve the puppy buyer...!!

PBurns said...

Heather, you have taken to posting comments to your comments and posting 5 or 6 or more a day and it's getting a bit much.

How about you go off and start your own blog and see if you can build a following after two or three years?

The anomymous stream-of-consciousness is getting a little tiresome on this end and is veering into the time-waster zone.


Connemara said...

I would like to add what I believe is a helpful tip when researching breeders:
1. Ask them if they have a guarantee and stand behind it.
2. Then ask them to tell you about the time(s) they have had to replace, refund or offer up good on the guarantee.
3. Then ask for the contact information to say three people that got pups less than perfect... pups they had to be responsible for under the guarantee.

All top breeders who do it right, health test and so on will have a pup now and then that has an issue. Anyone who says different is not being truthful. If they are worth their salt, they will be on good terms with those families - where something went wrong.

This exercise can be one true measure of what the breeder is really like. If they can only talk the talk and not walk the walk, as you said; the guarantee is useless.

I realize there are more things besides this one area of concern - I just wanted to put it out there.

ChristyMac said...

Hello P and thanks for the information. Just wanted to add that it's pretty easy to tell what the breeders are like by visiting - I couldn't afford a puppy I admired at a (small, local) dog show, a Lakeland terrier (if that even is a breed :). The breeder offered o sell me an adult dog that was missing one eye and he couldn't show - 3 years old.

At their house they had 10 dogs, were obviously attached to them all, and even made me sign a contract that I would offer the dog back to them if it didn't work out. When they got teary when we left, and asked for photos from time to time, I knew they were the kind of breeder I was looking for.

Thanks for pointing out what people should look for, and to be patient. It works.

My one-eyed dog was already leash trained, etc and is a joy.