Buyer Beware

Thoughts on breeders, Clubs, re-homes and rescues


Buyer Beware

Data-Boobook Entlebucher puppiesEntlebuchers are still a rare breed in the US. They are more expensive to buy than many other breeds. Over the lifetime commitment of your Entle, you will never regret investing that higher price initially for quality from a responsible breeder! The alternative of buying what seems to be a "bargain" Entle can be heartache, tears and significant costs later (for vet bills, specialists, medications and behaviorists…). There are no guarantees in life, yet your chances are much better with a responsible breeder who will work to safeguard puppies by health testing, offering knowledge, support and the help you need if any unexpected issues should arise. Plus you will feel good about not feeding the greed of shameful puppy mills. Problems with homeless, unwanted and unhealthy pets will not be solved by opening up kennel space with an impulse pet store purchase. The store will just replace one that is bought with a new puppy to profit off.

My suggestions for requirements of standards in buying an Entlebucher puppy from a breeder:
•   Health test results of both parents: OFA Hips, Eyes, Patellas, PRA DNA Genetic marker. Bonus for: heart and elbows.
•   The pup's parents have both passed the AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test (bare minimum).
•   Ask the COI (Co-efficient of Inbreeding) for your Entle puppy! Inbreeding of close relatives sets traits, both good and bad. Some breeders seem to care more about "the look" of puppies they produce, than the health or temperament of those puppies. We are also seeing that indiscriminate folks will breed whatever dogs they have because it is quickest and easiest. They know you will feel intimidated to ask about pedigrees or relatives. Please read: A Beginner's Guide to COI for insight into why it is important, especially in a rare breed! There are many Entlebucher breeders that take COI into consideration and care deeply about the breed's diversity, health and temperament in addition to a certain "look" or "type". At this stage of breed development in North America, value a breeder that follows the rest of the world's guidelines: look for a puppies COI to be under 5% in the first 5 generations.

Entlebucher Data as a puppyEducation, asking questions and holding breeders accountable is key! If you want an Entle but don't care if the parents are health tested, then check with shelters, rescues or NEMDA Rescue! Please do not encourage unethical breeding practices. By paying a breeder that does no health testing (or claims they do, but won't provide hard copies), you are agreeing that their lower standards and lack of ethics is a fair way to treat you, your family and your new puppy. I understand that the initial purchase price can seem expensive, I was like you and researched once too. In time, reality will settle in with your new healthy, well adjusted puppy being supported by your breeder and you will know it was a bargain. Cheaper prices may sting less initially but when the breeder cuts corners it is your gamble long term. The breeder already has your money and has moved on. If/when a health or other problem crops up and your phone calls are not returned, that initial purchase price won't feel so good. I have spoken with many Entle owners that really love their dog but wish they could do it over and do it differently. Their stories usually have a common theme, "it felt wrong but I fell in love with a picture/fantasy/promise so I ignored my gut and hoped for the best". Trust your gut and intuition!

How do you know if you are working with a quality, responsible breeder?
•   They microchip their puppies for a permanent ID.
•   Their contract guarantees they will take back a dog of their breeding at any time throughout its entire life, for any reason.
•   They belong to a local, regional or National Parent Breed dog club (for Entles the AKC Parent Club = NEMDA).
•   They openly share information; provide hard copies of pedigrees and all health tests for the Sire and Dam of your puppy.
•   They care about the welfare of the puppy/dog first and foremost. They prefer I come in person to pick up my puppy.
•   They freely offer their experience, assistance and resources to help in properly raising and training the puppy/dog.
•   They ask questions and check references because they want to make compatible temperament and personality matches.
•   They spend their own personal resources giving back to the breed: donations of time and/or money to health research, rescue, responsible dog ownership education; volunteering in a dog club, being involved on committees or holding offices.
•   They do some type of activity with their dog/s. I like a breeder to be active in trials/shows but therapy work, herding or any activity shows me dedication, goals and commitment to learning and teamwork.
•   They are committed to their own personal growth and education. They continue to learn about canine genetics, structure, breed concerns, behavior, health/nutrition, training...etc.

Do not be surprised if you cannot meet both parents on site. Actually it can be a bigger red flag if dad is on site because that breeder may not seek out other quality Entles or research pedigrees. Entlebuchers have a small gene pool. It does the breed a huge dis-service for breeders to consistently repeat breed pairings... even if the results were good the first time. Genetic diversity is essential for a rare breed with a limited gene pool! Lack of diversity creates bottlenecks which make health problems more prevalent and able to spread. Generally breeding an Entle pair both owned by a breeder is easier (and less expensive) for the breeder. I do not have a problem with breeders that own compatible pairs and breed them together, if they limit the number of repeat breedings and continue to search out other compatible matches for both, to strengthen the gene pool. After one repeat breeding, I question the breeder's motives, interests and knowledge of health issues and genetics. In order to further any breeder's breeding program they must read, research, network, keep informed about their breed's development, and continue to look for dogs that compliment their own breeding goals and interests... which means they need to look outside of their own kennels.

These are just some factors that contribute to the price of a puppy from a responsible breeder; if lucky they break even!

Finding a responsible breeder will take a little work on your part and can be a little confusing. For a wealth of info, Read:
Making a Difference: Being a Responsible Dog BreederEntlebucher C-litter puppy Caramello

As with any purchase, your own interests will best be served by doing some research, asking for references and working with someone whom you can develop a rapport and feel you can trust. I highly recommend meeting some Entlebuchers before getting one! If you can, meet at least one of the parents of your future puppy but if that is not possible try to meet a few different Entlebuchers. You will experience a range of differences in temperament, personality and size. That will help you decide what you would like in your own future Entle puppy or perhaps it will help you decide the Entlebucher breed is not a good match for your lifestyle. Either is valuable information.

Remember, you are interviewing the breeder as well! In general, if/when a breeder makes it too easy or convenient to get a puppy from them... consider it a RED FLAG; proceed with caution, healthy skepticism and be willing to walk away.
Some tricks, gimmicks and tactics to watch for
•  Paypal buttons on websites (accepting deposits with little to no interaction).
•  Offering 2 for 1 or littermates at a reduced rate.
•  Selling females for more money than males.
•  Screening calls &/or asking you to email them as their preference (usually because they are so busy).
•  Selling puppies at lower prices. Skipping health tests and cutting corners benefits the breeder NOT the buyer or puppies!
•  Pressuring you for a non-refundable deposit ($) before sharing the parent's health or other pertinent information (hard copies).
•  Excuses! They say the right things and sound good but don't actually follow through and provide hard copies (only excuses).
•  No follow up questions or reference checks. It's simple to ask you to fill out a questionnaire, did they read your answers?
•  Discouraging you from picking up your puppy at their place... being too willing and eager to ship an unaccompanied 8 week old puppy somewhere (usually as a service to help you out).
•  Fake Awards! Click on the link to see an example of a real fake ad from a breeder's website. Organizations like AKC, Breed and Dog clubs recognize members that work hard and put in effort to earn awards with established criteria. People with questionable ethics can use Photoshop, clip art or businesses that design official looking awards without merit, to took impressive or seem credible. If a breeder has no legitimate accomplishments or credentials, fake award/s are a way to deceive a buyer into believing the breeder is trustworthy and doing the right things. Ask questions about their "awards" to learn more.

Puppy Buyer Etiquette - This is an honest, straight forward blog post that explains the etiquette of buying a puppy from a responsible breeder. Thank you Joanna Kimball of Ruffly Speaking. I surfed around her site and appreciate many of her writings on breeding topics. While I don't agree with her 100% of the time, she has intriguing and thought provoking ideas.

Remember the old saying; if it seems too good to be true...


Thoughts About Clubs

colorful graphic named universe Nothing is perfect: no clubs, no non-profits, no businesses, no people… that's life! I still feel strongly that breeders and owners should belong to their breed's parent club. All major accomplishments for a breed, will happen only through the work of many dedicated enthusiasts. Membership in the parent club shows your interest is a strong mutual interest in seeing the breed be healthy and thrive! I am not referring to personal accomplishments; I am talking about the betterment of the breed.

Being a member of NEMDA, the parent club offers:
•   Access to the most current health, genetic and temperament information.
•   Ties to the global Entle community. NEMDA maintains relationships and shares concerns worldwide with other Entle clubs.
•   The ability to work toward and achieve greater common goals and purpose for the breed.
•   Networking opportunities for the humans and their Entlebuchers.
•   A standard, minimum Club Code of Ethics agreed upon.
•   Opportunities to make a difference and connections!

Supporting your parent breed's club is the best way to advocate for the breed and its future. Clubs facilitate an organized effort to affect positive change and accomplish things no one person could achieve on their own. Even to just pay dues to receive the newsletters..., those funds contribute toward programs for the health and well being of the breed! It's even better if you can volunteer your time, money or a talent. Any support of your breed's parent club is a huge thank you to your dog!

Entlebucher Re-homing and Rescue

Sometimes for whatever reason... an Entlebucher does not work out in its original home. A quality breeder always takes responsibility for any puppy they have bred. In this case, the term "re-home" is used. As part of their contract, the breeder will take back the Entle and/or assist the owner in finding a home, in the Entle's best interest. Entles of any age can find themselves in the position of needing to be re-homed. If you are interested in a re-homed Entle, work with a breeder or breeders to be placed on a re-homing list. An advantage to re-homing an Entle is that you will know the Entle's background and pedigree (for health and temperament knowledge), plus the breeder will be there for you as a resource throughout the dog's life.

The term "rescue" refers to an Entle found as a stray or in a shelter (unknown background) or an Entle whose original breeder would not take responsibility for the dog and abandons it. In that case, the NEMDA rescue program has procedures designed to I.D. the dog as a purebred Entle and help the Entle find a proper home. We have fostered a few purebred Entles and helped in their adoption process. Second chance Entles can make first rate companions!

Entlebuchers are a lot of dog in a medium-sized, compact package. They are not for everyone! We have been NEMDA Breed Ambassadors for over 10 years, which means we are willing to talk to and meet with prospective owners doing breed research.
Usually by spending time with them, it becomes clearer if the Entle breed is right for you and your family. There are many volunteer NEMDA Breed Ambassadors in just about every state in the US and many Canadian provinces. Contact by email, the NEMDA Membership coordinator. They can refer you to a NEMDA Breed Ambassador/s in your area for a close encounter of the Entle kind!



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Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole - Roger Caras

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