Along with “what type of dog am I?”, the question of “where did I come from?” is a question that mum often gets asked. I’m not a pure breed and not an obvious mix. I am a Labrador and Cocker Spaniel mix and I was breed to specifically be that mix. As a mix it is called a Spanador. However answering those 2 simple questions is something that mum struggles with these days. While she absolutely LOVES me she wishes she knew back then what she knows now. We also hope this post will help others make more informed choices when they are choosing to add a dog as a wonderful member of the family.
What we know now is that most of these “designer” mixes are breed by people who are more likely (we don’t know everyone who does so this is just our take) to be in it for commercial reasons. The dogs involved in breeding are likely to be having a lot more litters of pups than what is probably healthy for them. Being part of a commercial operation they are also more likely to be one of many dogs that these people keep and may not get the same attention and affection that us dogs really need. It may be a bit disturbing for some but here is a little clip from the RSPCA Vic on a worse case scenario.
While pups all look cute it is worth asking questions before falling in love with the idea of a pup…
So a couple of things we know now that Mum wishes she knew back then…..
1. Meet the family: If you are looking to bring a dog into your family you should expect to be able to meet the dog prior. With most breeders this involves meeting the litter, the puppy’s mum and sometimes the dad (depending on where the dad located and he may not be with the breeder’s family but may have been bought in to ummmm “do the job” or “donate”). As well as you learning about the puppy, also expect you will learn a bit about the breed itself and the sort of temperament and requirements that you will be in for. In many cases the breeder is also checking you out to see if you are suitable for their pup. Most care about their pups and want to see them going to a good home. They might ask about your lifestyle. If they don’t think you are suitable then they may even say “No” to you purchasing their pup. Don’t think I have seen too many pet shops ask too many questions before they take the money and then we wonder when it all becomes to hard for someone and the dog needs to be surrendered. Really good breeders will often keep in contact after and if there is an issue or a change in your family circumstances they may even take the dog back or help organise re-homing. They would prefer to have the dog back with them and potentially rehome (depending on the issue) than to see the dog surrendered. So if someone isn’t letting you see the pup prior to purchase or aren’t asking you any questions than maybe question why they are in it. If you are interested in going down the Breeder route than directories such as the Dogs NSW Breeder Directory can be a useful source. Other ANKC affiliates will also have directories
This is my half brother Toby (yep I’m the little one in the photo) who Mum already knew through a friend and came from the same “breeder”. So Mum thought it was ok.
2. Save a life: How many wonderful dogs are out there who have been surrendered and are looking for a forever home. Being completely honest getting a rescue dog wasn’t something mum felt comfortable with at the time of getting me as mum and dad planned on starting a family so wanted a dog that they knew the history of. In reality, and with what she knows now, this wasn’t an excuse. There are many breeds of dogs and also dogs of different ages. It is likely she could have found a puppy of a similar breed to me just like The Pawfectionist where Luke lives. Luke is a Spanador just like me who was sadly surrendered at 1 year old and was lucky to find a fantastic forever home.
So looking at a rescue dog there are a couple of options out there. The RSPCA shelters have lots of dogs who have been surrendered for a variety of reasons and are the 1st place many people think of when you think of rescue dogs. What we didn’t know about before was also all the breed specific rescues. These groups check places like the RSPCA for dogs of their specific breed who have not been able to be re-homed and may even be likely to be put down. They are run by volunteers who take the dogs into their homes as foster carers and look after them until a forever home comes along. They literally save these dogs from death row. Some of these groups include Australian Working Dog Rescue ( Cattle Dogs, Border Collies, Kelpies and other high energy dogs)and Labrador Rescue. Essentially if you google a breed name and the word “rescue” there is usually a specific breed group that comes up and also some general rescue group that do the same thing of rescuing dogs from the pound and putting them with one of their foster families. We know some awesome dogs that have come through rescue organisations.
There is growing public education thanks animal rights and welfare groups about the existence of more commercially focused “breeders”. Hopefully more people are aware of where there potential puppy comes from. While it is becoming increasingly common for people to know pet shops aren’t a great place to purchase a pup… a lot no longer sell pups and some now only have rescue dogs available… we got “caught” because we thought we were going through a “breeder”. Mum and I hope these couple of simple things help educate others on what she wishes she knew. We hope this helps you consider the “where did I come from?” question and make an informed choice.