I am currently researching breeders, and am wondering what is considered to be an acceptable/good health guarantee? I am wondering what all (hips/elbows/eyes/heart, etc.) should be covered and for what length of time?
Updated down the thread to add more info people were asking about. Hope that's how you are supposed to do this!
Honestly, in my opinion a guarantee is kinda pointless. We're talking about living, breathing things here and let's face...$hit happens. Most guarantees I run into ask that you give the puppy back and get another if something goes wrong...how many people will actually do that after falling in love with a dog for a year or two. Your best guarantee is doing what your doing-research ahead of time and looking for a breeder doing the proper health screenings (hips/elbows/eyes(including optigen)/heart). Also look for someone doing stuff with their dogs...ex. I do agility and hunt tests on top of conformation, so I want the breeding to hold up healthwise for me too
Wow, what a complicated question! I'd say, it depends on the litter and the breeder and your needs. How's that?
No really... I have seen folks "guarantee" the moon and stars above and it was as worthless as the paper it was written on. What ARE they guaranteeing if they didn't do the clearances in the first place, for instance? Or if they did, if it's known (or should be known) that grandpa failed elbows, or produced TVD, etc. What do you get in return if the dog comes up crippled (or dies)? Would you really want another pup from that breeder, and especially those lines?
Now that there are actual gene tests for things like PRA, CNM and EIC, I'd say you'll see those more commonly guaranteed becuase they are recessive issues, and should be easily predicted if the tests were done on the right dog anyhow. I'd have no issue guaranteeing any of those for life since I'm going to make sure one parent (at least) test Clear for each.
You will always take chances w/ the polygenetic disorders though like hip and elbow dysplasias, etc, and to be honest, since I'm 5 generations into some very sound lines, why would I or should I (at least fully) guarantee something not under my control? Afterall, if a puppy owner allows their 6 mo pup to jump off a 6' retaining wall and it comes up limping, and 18 mos later OFA fails elbows, should I take the heat? Same thing if puppy is kept crated far too many hours, is obese and not adequately exercised so muscles don't develop at same rate as bone growth. My guarantee on ortho issues only covers ~1/4 the purchase price.. or basically the OFA films and dx that you'd need to do. So though all my dogs so far have come back Good or Excellent and Clear elbows (knock on wood as I'm waiting on results from gen 5 as I type...), maybe that is not suitable for everyone, but it's the fairest thing I can offer at this point.
I think you have to find the pedigree that gives you the most confidence for the dollar AND find the breeder who you TRUST to be honest w/you and who WILL honor a guarantee down the road if things go sideways. One helpful hint may be to buy from a breeder who is doing the breeding for him/herself, planning to keep a pup from it. Make sure they believe enough in their litter to run on personally.
Good luck. Anne
WindyCanyon Girls, August 2014
Only idiots guarantee. What the rest of us do is help you if a problem is produced by either partially or fully giving you a refund on what you paid originally for the puppy. That is not a guarantee and most breeders understand they cannot guarantee that nothing bad will happen since we are dealing with genes here and sometimes, no matter how many clearances you do, no matter how many years you've been doing them, sometimes shit happens and there isn't a darned thing we can do about it.
♣ Laura ♣
Originally Posted by labby
I think the op was asking what was reasonable to expect a breeder to offer should a pup have an issue w/ hips, elbows, or heart etc. But perhaps I'm wrong...
With the availability of some of the new gene tests, I WILL guarantee against EIC, CNM and PRA.... but then, I believe in the tests... I know some breeders don't but for now, results seem mighty consistent with observation. Anne
WindyCanyon Girls, August 2014
If you're doing the tests and breeding accordingly, what's the point of guaranteeing against something that isn't possible? Seems kinda like putting in writing that the puppy won't grow up to be a panda, lol.Originally Posted by birdbrainz
In the past year we have bought 2 pure bread labs both with health guarantees from the same breeders. The breeders did all the proper testing and had all the proper clearances for breeding. However, our younger puppy has skeletal dysplasia and elbow dysplasia. When we called the breeder about the guarantee, their health guarantee was for us to bring our boy back to them and wait for a new litter. OUTRAGEOUS!!!!!!!! Would you give you child away???? I love my boys VERY VERY much and I would do anything for them giving him back was out of the question! After MANY heated conversations with the breeders they agreed to give us our money back. Which by the way didn't even cover half of the cost of the surgery and he will always have to take meds for his bones because of the skeletal dysplasia. The surgery cost us just over 3,000.00 and they meds are $40.00 a month. Please do your research and always hope for the best but be prepared for the worst!!!
I think you need to look @ the specific guarantee and how it works- and how comfortable you are with it.
Mine for Maverick was just absolutely unconditional- no questions, call us, we'll work stuff out.
Gabby's was specific- but she now has hip dysplasia and breeder is non-responsive (has been all through dx process).
I think you need to think about what is important- 1) having something in writing 2) having a relationship that makes it work or some combo. At the end of the day, 1) you need to be comfortable w/what's going on and 2) you should have a breeder that stands behind her pups- whether b/c of a writing or a relationship.
What's the point, you ask? What's the point we still apply for and publish AKC or CKC reg numbers? Perhaps since some "breeders" are making claims that their breeding stock is cert'd by OFA, etc, and yet, really are not, having that in writing is encouragement for the folks to trust you, or at least ask for documents from other breeders they may be considering buying from if that info is missing.Originally Posted by JacksAndLabs
I know of someone in my area (charging within $100 of my price on highly titled pedigrees, deep w/ health testing) who has stated that her dogs' OFAs are pending and will be posted very soon. That was well over a year ago (1.5 at least). Her girl who just whelped her 3rd or 4th litter is supposedly "preliminary" excellent. She's guaranteeing hips, elbows and eyes... has all the "talk" part down pat, yet the male she's been using for her last several litters (also one of her own) is only maybe 18 mos old now, if that. Of course she hasn't a clue about EIC, PRA, CNM etc and nor would her puppy buyers unless they shopped w/ someone else who may have it done and listed. Does nothing but breed her dogs, but makes training claims, which anyone w/ any experience, will just laugh at. But how does Average Joe pet buyer really know any better? It comes down to the rest of us doing what we can to educate folks thru this process.
I think it's VERY important to put it all on paper for prospective people what you really have done and what that should mean to them (their dog WON't ever go blind to PRA, won't need to be pts due to CNM at 5 mos old, and won't collapse and possibly drown due to EIC...). I encourage folks to ask for proof of those certs too. All of this health info is esp confusing to many, so we need to take the time to explain as best we can. It's worth that time, imo, to help educate others. I'll even help folks look at other breeders' litters available and determine which, imo, is the safer bet (since I don't breed that often and oftentimes not when pet homes are wanting to add a puppy). For instance, one person recently had 2 litters available within a month or 2. One was between 2 proven parents/lines--- parents, grandparents, etc. with depth of clearances and titles. The other was using a young prelimmed stud with a questionable elbow background, no titles, no extra clearances to speak of (EIC, etc). To me, it was a no-brainer which of the 2 I'd recommend... same price.
So though this doesn't necessarily address Guarantees (above 2 litters were covered under same contract I'm sure), it helped increase that person's chances of getting a healthy pup up front so they didn't have to hopefully deal w/ problems later. People need to know that not every litter from every breeder is considered equal, and w/ the recent booming popularity of chocolates, I can assure you there are going to be far worse health issues experienced w/ some breeders moreso than others. Anne
PS, as for length of time on ortho issues, most breeders will post 30 mos to allow for xrays to be done w/in 6 mos after minimum OFA age (24 mo) is reached. Most of us want to see OFA's or other board cert'd prof's opinion before we'd honor the contract. With PRA, since the form we are concerned about is late onset anyhow, any age limit is a bit laughable imo. I've seen some contracts that only guarantee against it thru age 2! What a waste, but the average puppy owner doesn't know any better.
WindyCanyon Girls, August 2014
I am finding this thread very educational. I wish I had know this stuff before I purchased any pup. The value I see is educating the buyers on what to look for, what to ask, what to expect. The data on the tests.
Relative to guarantees, I view a guarantee as worthless. Okay, if the pup dies on the way home, maybe a guarantee would be worth something. But for us, by the time we have the pup 6 months, its not going back. Its staying with us and will be cared for as best we can. I am confident that if HK went back to her breeder, she would be put down. Not going to happen as long as I can give her a quality life. If she has to be put down, ever, it will be with me holding her as tightly as I can.
Hershey Kisses, In charge of getting Ed out to the dog park so that he gets some exercise.