Is this a puppy mill?

The puppy I came close to buying last spring was advertised online.  The seller was a middle aged single mother, in a high rise apartment .  She brought the puppy and the parents of this adorable Shipoo (shih tzu and poodle mix) to the lobby for me to look at.

When I asked about the temperment of this puppy vs. his littermates, she said they were all fun and friendly, although she did admit another puppy was the biggest. I put down a payment to reserve my cutie.

At 8 weeks, I took him to my place for a “day visit”. I became alarmed when seller told me it was his FIRST TIME away from apartment.  She had never taken him outdoors.  In the five hours he was at my place, he never moved from the carrying case, despite encouragement.  I felt leery of taking a dog with so little socialization and admitted it to her. Breeder initially said I could “try” the dog for a week, but then called back to say she wasn’t comfortable with a tryout, for the dog’s sake, and  she felt I wasn’t ready for a puppy. She returned my deposit. She was right about me, and I think I was right to hear alarm bells.

Fast forward 9 months.

When I went to pick up Crystal at rescue headquarters, Ruth said she’d come from the Millars. I was envisioning a family. But she meant “miller“, as in puppymill miller. Rescue groups like that word.

The kennel operators like to use Breeder, sometimes adding Hobby Breeder. Puppy farm is sometimes used. The kennels often have cutsy names – Precious Paws, My Widdle Angels, Paws-R-Us. My highrise Shipoo breeder was a Kitchen Breeder.

Backyard breeder  carries the connotation that they are a home grown operation.

The American Kennel Club estimated in 1996 that about 70 percent of purebred, AKC-registered puppies were from “backyard breeders“, according to trainer Kathy Diamond Davis.

Government regulations rarely use the term “puppymill”. They prefer commercial breeder, or commercial operation, sometimes “high volume” kennel.

Top dog breeders want to be known as Professional Breeders, or show breeders, and usually stick to purebreds, and limited litters.  They are  recognized by the American Kennel Club, but so are many big commercial breeders. That is no guarantee of much, but you can find out if a particular breeder has been disciplined by the AKC. But that is only if breeder applied to be AKC registered in the first place.

Bunchers, brokers, re-sellers -all part of the kennel-to-customer chain.  Want to know how the industry works? Start here.

Excellent explanatory website here.

How are so many puppies “home raised”? Some breeders “lend” their dogs to families, and recall them when it is time to breed or sell. This is called “Foster breeding

This seems like a healthier alternative to living life in a cage, or am I missing something about this business model?


Pushback: With the rise in popularity of rescue groups and animal welfare activists, breeders are pushing back.

“Animal rights is the single most destructive thing that has happened to animals (and animal welfare) in the history of the world. It’s more destructive than disease.” from Margaret Byrd on a dog owners’ site Dogpress.

A US breeder advocacy website is MyDogMyChoice, another is

As with most issues, there are exaggerations on both sides.

This entry was posted in dog mills, kennel canines, rescued dogs, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Is this a puppy mill?

  1. susan says:

    WOW, all sorts of info. COngratualtions Sis on joining the dog owner world!! They are such great companions and full of love. She is a lucky dog!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s