Q: We have been looking for a boxer puppy and are confused by what we read on the Internet and in classified ads. Prices are all over the block. Our last one died of a heart attack and had some temperament issues, so we certainly wouldn't return to that breeder. It's a breed that works well with our family but nowadays it's hard to tell good breeders from bad. We don't want a show dog, and have found show breeders to be a little off-putting to “pet people.” Any advice?
A: Even top breeders can't guarantee a problem-free dog for life. However, these folks selectively breed to lower the chances of inherited diseases and other issues. Show and performance dogs represent the finest in their breeds in structure, health and temperament or they wouldn't be competitive in the ring.
These hobby breeders can be difficult to find, mainly because of the anti-breeding mentality that unfairly places them in the same category as irresponsible breeders and puppy millers. Very few advertise and most only produce litters once or twice a year.
Sometimes personalities clash or you'll run into a show breeder who is defensive, condescending or doesn't return phone calls. The sport attracts some quirky types, so keep searching until things click.
It's worth the wait.
The Internet is a blessing and a curse when it comes to searching for a furry family member. Puppy millers are quite savvy when it comes to selling their “products” online. They know how to tug at heart strings with adorable puppy pictures, wallet-friendly pricing and little (if any) pedigree information.
Your first stop on the Internet