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Finding The
Right Breeder

 

 

 

The FLCA encourages you to do as much as possible in assessing a potential breeder and that you find a healthy Lappy from one that is responsible and ethical.  There are plenty of internet breeders, some are not ethical or responsible and this is where doing your homework will be well worth the effort in adding a healthy, happy puppy to your family.  The Finnish Lapphund Club of America is a good place to start as most of it's members have websites where you can view some of their dogs and also contact them with any questions and request information. 

 

Adolescent, Adult or Rescue?

If you have decided that a Lappy is the breed for you, before you begin your search one thing to think about is; would an adolescent or adult Lappy fit your needs, perhaps better than a puppy?  Breeders often have young dogs that were their pick-of-litter that for one reason or another just didn't make it as a show dog.  They also may have older dogs that have been retired from the show ring and would love to be a member of a family as a number one or two dog or they may be aware of a dog that for some reason may be looking for a new family.  They are usually trained, some are housebroken and may already be spayed or neutered.  The usually will have had their vaccinations, parasite control and may have been certified free of genetic disorders.  With a lifespan of around 15 yrs. plus, these dogs will provide you with many years of enjoyment without the hassles of chewing, digging, potty-training, leash training, obedience training, etc. that comes with a new puppy and most of the time considerably less expensive.  

Another option is that of a "rescue" dog.  The term "rescue" doesn't always mean they were abused or found at deaths door from a neglectful prior owner.  More often they become "rescue" dogs because the prior owner didn't do their homework about the breed or the breeder was not upfront with them about the breed and the dog wasn't what they though it would be.  Other reasons for potential rescue situations include a change in their family situation due to a job loss or family and household moves.  As a relatively "new" breed to the United States, the Finnish Lapphund is currently not in need of an official "rescue" organization and hopefully with responsible breeding by breeders, we won't need one anytime soon.  The breed is fortunate that the circle of breeders is small and all are usually aware of dogs in a "rescue" type of situation.  Should you consider one of these dogs feel free to contact the FLCA Rescue Chairperson at the link above who can help you in your search.  There usually is a nominal fee for a rescue but again, it is considerably less expensive than a new puppy and you have the pleasure of knowing that you have provided a "homeless" Lappy with a loving family.   

 

Puppy

Should you decide that you would prefer a puppy the FLCA would like to provide you with some information to help you find a responsible, ethical breeder and what you should expect from them.

The FLCA will always encourage potential families to contact and visit more than one breeder and get to know the breed, however the Finnish Lapphund is still relatively new to the U.S. and breeders are spread out all over the continent so this may not be possible.  Nonetheless you should contact several breeders with your interest and questions and set an appointment to visit if geographically possible.

 

Thinking about breeding?

The FLCA strongly urges you discuss breeding with seasoned breeders.  While the thought of a litter of cute puppies appeals to many, the cost and possible heartache that comes with breeding is not for the faint of heart.  The expense of breeding and raising a litter can easily reach to several thousand dollars and if a medical emergency arises the costs dramatically increase not to mention the possible loss of a mother and/or puppies.  One must factor in genetic health screening, stud fees, travel, and vet expenses just to accomplish a breeding which is followed by puppy vaccinations, parasite control, food, vet health checks, registrations, etc.   Of course then there is the time involved for at least 8 weeks of constant clean up, feeding, grooming, socializing and screening of potential new homes, if people are looking.   Careful and strong consideration is in order before taking on the task of breeding.

 

Contacting Or Visiting A Breeder

Ideally, your first visit to a breeder should be done before they have puppies but regardless of the timing, you should expect to see healthy adult dogs with good temperaments who are happy and welcome your visit.  All dogs should have access to fresh water and shade, the ability and room to exercise and play and their kennels and/or living and exercise quarters should be clean.  Feel free to ask questions about the breeder's philosophy on breeding, relatives of puppies residing with the breeder, what their genetic screening criteria are, etc.

If a visit is not possible due to distance, spend time with potential breeders on the phone.  Most breeders are passionate about their breed and are happy to spend the time talking about them.  Be prepared to answer lots of questions about your lifestyle, your home, what accommodations you have for a dog, what other pets you may have, etc.  A responsible breeders number one priority is a forever home for their puppies and that the Finnish Lapphund is a good fit for you, your family and your lifestyle so be honest about your desires for the kind of family pet you want.  Don't be surprised if the breeder requires a home visit either by themselves or a trusted friend, such visits are not uncommon as breeders strive to secure a home that is ready and prepared for their dogs.

 

Visiting A Breeder And Puppies

If you are able to visit be aware that responsible breeders may not allow  you to visit until the puppies are at least 6 weeks old, don't be discouraged as this is for the  protection of the puppies.  Puppies should be born in their home and remain there for the first few weeks at minimum to allow for good socialization.  The puppy area should be clean and dry, protected from the elements and have fresh water readily available.   If the puppies are old enough for handling they should be outgoing with nice coats free of parasites, clear eyes and should not be thin, withdrawn, sluggish or aggressive to humans.

While you will be able to see the dam of the litter you may not be able to see the sire as the dam may have been shipped out of the area for breeding or the litter may be the result of artificial insemination.  If this is the case the breeder should have photographs of the sire and be knowledgeable about they type of dog he is with regards to size, temperament, etc.

 

Warning Signs

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Breeders who don't ask questions about you, your family or your lifestyle.

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Breeders who won't answer your questions or their answers are vague.

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Breeders who won't provide you with genetic clearances for the sire and dam of their puppies.

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Breeders who don't screen for genetic disorders.

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Breeders who charge more based on sex or color or if you want AKC papers.

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Breeders who will not provide a written contract which includes the terms of purchase and a health warranty.

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Breeders that allow you to handle 3 week old puppies that live outdoors or a dark cluttered garage who are without constant human contact.

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Breeders that require you to breed your pet quality female and return puppies to them.

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Breeders who obviously have far too many dogs or many dogs of multiple different breeds.

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Breeders who won't allow you to meet their other dogs.

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Breeders whose dogs are aggressive to "outsiders".

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Breeders who always have puppies and/or sell to brokers or in "litter lots".

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Breeders who allow puppies to leave before they are 8 weeks old.


The decision is made!

You have chosen the Finnish Lapphund as the breed for you and selected a breeder.  Keep in mind that the Lappy is still considered a "rare" breed with limited breeders in the U.S. so be prepared to be put on a waiting list.  When planning a litter responsible breeders take many things into consideration such as, temperament, genetic health clearances and conformation to give them the best possible chance of producing sound and healthy puppies because first and foremost, every puppy born grows up to be a loving companion and pet.  They do not breed just to sell puppies.  Being flexible with regard to color and even sex may mean a puppy for you may be available sooner.  Be prepared to spay or neuter your pet at the appropriate age and if your breeder encourages you to select one puppy over another, listen to them.  At the very least they have spent over 1300 hours becoming familiar with the personalities of each puppy and their input is invaluable.  If your lifestyle is relaxed and you are a "stay-at-home" type of family the calmer puppy would probably fit you better than the one tearing around all the time who may be a candidate if you are considering some sort of performance participation.

Once you hear that the litter you've been waiting for has arrived and that a puppy will be joining your family, start to prepare for their arrival.  Your breeder will be able to guide you with information as to what you should have when you bring your new puppy home.

 

The big day arrives!

"Your" puppy is at least 8 weeks old and ready to join their new family.  Things you can expect from a responsible breed when you pick up your puppy may include:

 

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A  3 or 4 generation pedigree of your puppy.

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The AKC puppy registration so that you may register the dog to you.

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A contract outlining the terms of sale for your puppy i.e. pet or show quality as well as a health warranty.

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You should be provided a history of all vaccinations, wormings and any other medical information on the puppy including the type of vaccination and worming medication used.

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Proof of OFA certification (if the parents are at least 2 yrs. old) or preliminary OFA clearance (if one or both parents are under 2 yrs. old) for hip and elbow dysplasia for both parents.  NOTE:  This information is also available online at: www.offa.org, the site is easy to navigate just put in the name(s) of the parents.

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Proof of prcd-PRA clearance for at least one parent or proof that the parents are "clear" by parentage meaning that the grandparents of your puppy are "clear".

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Proof of CERF certification for any other eye disorders (excluding prcd-PRA) on both parents.  This eye examination should have been completed within 2 years of the breeding date.
 

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Feeding instructions and general information to help with new puppy jitters.

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Their phone number!  A responsible breeder makes themselves available to you for questions, concerns, etc. as you and your new puppy learn to live together.