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Old 06-20-2013, 10:21 AM
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Emily Emily is offline
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Default Health Guarantees

How do you feel about health guarantees when purchasing a puppy from a breeder? Are they a prerequisite? A minor consideration? Not a consideration at all? Iíve been mulling this over for a while now.

For me personally, it doesnít factor in at all anymore. It used to; I used to definitely feel breeders should offer genetic health guarantees. But honestly, as Iíve gotten to know more breeders as individuals, Iíve started to feel that itís kind of unfair to ask that a breeder be both non-commercial but simultaneously treat their pups as product that can be replaced.

I feel itís up to me to examine the health testing of the parents and the line, and speak with the breeder about what genetic issues the dog may carry potential for, and make my own decisions based on that information. I canít imagine ever asking for my money that I gave the breeder a year and half ago back, or expecting them to have a replacement puppy for me in a timely fashion. Breeders are just people and things happen, I expect a breeder to do everything they can on the genetic health front, and then itís my decision. And even with health tested stock, issues pop up, and I guess I donít hold the breeder responsible for them as long as theyíve done their part by screening the parents and considering the health of the line Ė and as long as they have accurately disclosed that information.

Obviously this is personal and hardly a matter of right or wrong, so how do you feel? Iím curious if anyone feels the same or has a contrary point to offer. Breeders on the board, do you offer a health guarantee? Why or why not?
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Old 06-20-2013, 10:39 AM
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Genetics being what they are, I'm not sure I feel like they mean much concrete to me. I think they can indicate that a breeder has a certain level of trust in their breeding choices, but OTOH they are so ubiquitous that they've sort of become like grade inflation in my mind.

I guess it would depend on the specific context of why I was getting a puppy/dog and the specifics of the guarantee. If I absolutely needed a dog for a very specific working purpose and certain health problem would prevent the dog from being functional, then I would want some kind of replacement clause in the guarantee. If I'm looking for a pet or a casual/fun activities/sports dogs, I'm not going to be interested in replacing a dog who couldn't participate because of a health problem so it wouldn't be relevant to my interests.

It's actually generally not important to me for a breeder to have a guarantee that includes stuff like refunding money or paying for treatment if a pet dog develops a complex problem like hip dysplasia if they were health testing and using results to make good choices about the dogs they bred. Barring something where the inheritance is simple and well understood, there's only so much a breeder can do for many health problems to stack the odds in puppies' favor... then personally, I think you pays your money and you take your chances.
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Old 06-20-2013, 10:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sassafras View Post
Barring something where the inheritance is simple and well understood,
Oh yeah, I should have made this exception - there are some very simple and clear-cut health issues where I appreciate a guarantee. Like, Keeva is guarantee against PRA (progressive retinal atrophy) because it's a simple autosomal recessive trait and she just can't have it. Might carry (haven't screened her yet) but can't have it, based on her parents' testing results.

Thanks for your thoughts, Sass! They're similar to mine for sure.
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Old 06-20-2013, 10:52 AM
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Haven't even asked about the guarantees for the breeders I've talked to yet. I know my favorite has one but I'm not sure what it entails. I've asked about other contractual stuff like spay/neuter but not health guarantees. I know the breeder is involved with the breed's open health records protocol and that's more comforting to me than any guarantee could be.

In all actuality I am not going to return a dog to a breeder for a health problem. I mean... unless it's an obvious few day in thing. Most guarantees I see require you to return the dog and that's not going to happen. I guess you should look for one that returns the purchase price or part of it. But breeders aren't God and that's important to remember. These are living beings and they will not all have perfect health.

I want a breeder that health tests though. If a breeder is doing what is best (imo) for the pups' health then that's all I can ask for.
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Old 06-20-2013, 11:03 AM
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I guess it's not really something I specifically look for or anything that is a decision maker for me, but I think I will always prefer seeing a good health guarantee.

For me it's not the fact that I want my money back or want a new puppy - Juno came with a nice health guarantee but really there comes a point where I'm not going to do anything to act on it, other than just letting the breeder know. I just like seeing that the breeder is confident in the health of their dogs.

It is may be less of a consideration for people who know what to look for when it comes to breeders. It probably offers more "protection" for those who don't really know what they should be looking for and what red flags are. We actually had to take advantage of Lucy's health guarantee so I'm glad it was there - her knees and hips were shot by the time she was a year old, so we got our money back. My mom never believed me that this was a crappy person to get a puppy from, so it was nice we had that guarantee to fall back on and could get our money back from her. She actually kept insisting that we bring Lucy back so she could euthanize her - so health guarantees don't always get you what you want.

If it were a breeder I trusted and felt were doing all the "right" things? I'd probably pay less attention to the health guarantee. For most people though I would suggest that they look for a health guarantee when picking a breeder.
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Old 06-20-2013, 11:06 AM
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I think that health guarentees should be important to a puppy buyer. I'm not saying that just because there is a health guarentee that nothing will happen, but to me it means that the breeder is willing to stand behind their dogs no matter what.

Some breeders won't guarentee things like hip dysplasia, which I get because it's polygenic. But, many will offer to help offset the cost of hip surgery should that happen or be willing to take the dog back, whatever the owner prefers.

Good breeders will work with you and they'll want to make sure that the pu puppies they produce will have a good quality of life no matter where they are or what they're doing.

Just my two cents!
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Old 06-20-2013, 11:41 AM
ruffiangirl ruffiangirl is offline
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They are important to me, because I feel they HELP determine a breeders commitment to their puppies. My Shiba Inu, Tonka, had one, and while epilepsy was not written into it, his breeder stood behind him 100%. After his blood work came back with nothing to cause seizures and my vet and her vet talked about it it was decided that epilepsy was the most likely cause. He was neutered, and not bred. I was offered a new show pup from the breeder, she did not want Tonka returned to her, he was my pet above all else.

FWIW, i didnt take a new pup as I didnt want a third dog, at that time so she offered me a breeding back to my bitch when I was ready to get a black and tan show pup. I ultimately decided that Shibas were not for me and never breed Ruffian again.
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Old 06-20-2013, 04:44 PM
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Its something that I appreciate and value, and it shows to me that the breeder backs up their dogs. My breeder has a pretty good Health Guarantee, but that is not the reason I am going with them, but in saying that its not a deal breaker for me. I would rather see that the parents are health tested and the other stock in the puppies line are all healthy. A health Guarantee is just a bonus.
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Old 06-20-2013, 05:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cardiparty View Post
Good breeders will work with you and they'll want to make sure that the pu puppies they produce will have a good quality of life no matter where they are or what they're doing.
oh I totally agree, but do not consider a health guarantee a necessary part of that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ruffiangirl
My Shiba Inu, Tonka, had one, and while epilepsy was not written into it, his breeder stood behind him 100%.
That is great! But to me, the written guarantee wasn't really relevant to that situation, as she was willing to stand behind her dog regarding something that wasn't in the contract to begin with. So I guess don't view it as important in that instance? I think she would have done that regardless of whether or not she had a previous written guarantee.

I guess I think the breeder is either the kind of person and breeder who is going to do that, or they're not. They're either invested in their puppies for life... or they're not. ETA: And while I would want my breeder's support through any health issues, I very likely would not take advantage of any return/refund/replace contract anyway.

I can see why some take a guarantee as a sign of good faith, though. ETA: I admit it concerns me that it's being touted a prerequisite for being a reputable breeder, however.
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Old 06-20-2013, 09:03 PM
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TBH I haven't seen one yet written for a toy breed that was worth the paper it was written on. As much as I think it should be a consideration - right now for lack of participation by breeders in any kind of health testing it really can't be.
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