Choosing a Anne L. Legge

Once you have decided on a breed, you can research breeders through dog shows, advertisements in newspapers and magazines, and on the Internet. But how do you actually choose a breeder?

For Bloodhounds, start with the American Bloodhound Club website (, which identifies the Breed Referral Advisor for your area. The advisor will give you a list of ABC member breeders, who have signed a code of ethics, as well as provide additional useful information. Membership in the national and/or regional Bloodhound clubs indicates a commitment to the breed and participation in a support group of Bloodhound people.

When you contact a breeder, expect a third degree about your experience with the breed and a lecture about the characteristics and special needs of Bloodhounds. Many breeders use a questionnaire to obtain information about your home and family, facilities and pets, plans for the dog--showing or other competition, mantrailing, breeding, and/or family companion, etc. The point of all this is to match the right puppy to the right home.

In turn, you should question the breeder about her years in the breed, experience with breeding, and whether she shows or works her hounds. Ask whether breeding stock is registered with the American Kennel Club, the most prestigious and active registry. Other comparable registries in North America are the United Kennel Club and the Canadian Kennel Club, but many other registries are suspect. If at all possible, you should visit the breeder and see the dogs and the facilities.

Ask whether the breeder does health certifications. Hip x-rays should be certified and rated by the OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals), GDC (Canada), or PennHip.

Elbows and hearts should also be certified and rated by OFA, hearts preferably with an echocardiogram. There is also a DNA test for degenerative myelopathy. All breeds have health concerns which conscientious breeders are attempting to eradicate by testing and doing health clearances.

Prices vary, but you should expect to pay about $1500 for a quality Bloodhound. Beware of the bargain puppy or adult. The dog who is cheaper in the beginning may not be cheaper in the long run.

Breeders differ in how they decide placement of puppies. Some of us employ a Puppy Personality Test done by an experienced evaluator at 7 weeks to supplement our own knowledge of the breed, the parents, and the litter. Some breeders insist on selecting a puppy for you. Some require co-ownership, specifying conditions in a contract. Expect a degree of obsessiveness from responsible and experienced breeders.

When an agreement is made about a puppy, you are entitled to certain documents: a pedigree, registration papers, a health certificate signed by a veterinarian, written documentation of certifications, a record of worming and inoculations, care and feeding instructions, and a written contract. If you have no interest in breeding and plan to spay or neuter, are buying a dog with limited registration, or are buying a dog which has been spayed or neutered, you are still entitled to this paperwork.

You should feel comfortable with the breeder you chose for this expensive and important investment, this new member of your family. A good breeder will become your mentor, will be available for questions and counsel, and will be willing to take back the dog at any point in his or her lifetime.

Disclaimer: This article is provided by the American Bloodhound Club purely as the personal opinion of the author for informational purposes only. The American Bloodhound Club, it's members and the author make no warranty, express or implied, or assume any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of this information or will be liable for any loss, damages, claims or injury that accompany or result from any use of this material. This article may not be copied or distributed without the inclusion of this disclaimer