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Pet Store Kerries vs. Responsibly Bred Kerries


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If you think buying a Kerry from a pet store is a convenient way to get one, please read on! How much is that convenience really worth? Not only will you be getting a dog of inferior quality at a higher price, you could be getting one with serious health problems and unsound temperament that will neither look nor behave like the Kerry that first attracted you to the breed.

Here's a look at what you get with a pet store Kerry that was most likely bred by a puppy miller, and one bred by a responsible Kerry breeder.
Pet Store Puppy Well Bred Puppy
The Pet Store Kerry The Responsibly Bred Kerry
Price: $1,299 - $1,799 Price: $800- $1,000
Breeder: The American Animal Protection Society estimates that 90% of pet store puppies come from puppy mills. These breeders produce puppies solely
for profit without regard for health, temperament, or conformation. The puppies are taken from their mother at 4-6 weeks of age, sold to a broker, then shipped by van, truck, or plane, sometimes 6 to a crate designed for 1 or 2 dogs, to pet stores. Many die enroute due to stress, dehydration, starvation (from lack of food and water for 4 or more days), infection, and other diseases. Puppies that survive these conditions are often difficult to train, incubate disease, and have behavior problems.
Breeder: Responsible breeders are members of a national or regional Kerry Blue Terrier Club, an all-terrier club, or an all-breed club, and show their dogs in AKC-sanctioned shows. They produce home-raised puppies solely to improve the breed in health, temperament, and conformation--the only legitimate reason to breed a litter. The puppies are raised in a clean, healthy environment with plenty of fresh air, exercise, play, postive human contact, and interaction with its mother--all of which contribute to a happy, well-adjusted puppies and adults.
Dam and Sire: The puppy's parents are most often not of champion stock (which would indicate quality), and are frequently imported from puppy mills in foreign countries where Kerries are often bred for profit and no other reason. The dam and sire are literally bred to death in small, overcrowded wire cages, stacked high in outbuildings that lack sanitation, ventilation, and protection from the elements. Inadequate food and water is common. You will never see the puppy's dam or sire. Dam and Sire: The puppy's parents are almost always of champion stock, indicating that they are good representations of the breed and measure up to the breed standard. They are usually kept in the house and treated as important members of the family, rather than maintained in kennels. The dam is on the premises and available for you to see, and sometimes the sire as well. No respectable breeder would ever sell a puppy to a pet store or for resale.
Pedigree: Usually none is provided. If one is provided, there is no assurance that it is correct, as fraud is rampant in puppy mills. Often even the puppy miller doesn't know who was bred with whom. In some cases, only the dam and sire's call names are provided. Puppy mill puppies may or may not be purebred. Pedigree: A 4 or 5-generation pedigree is provided. CH before a dog's name indicates an AKC Champion, and both parents are usually champions. Champion bloodlines show that the breeder places a high priority on producing quality puppies, and likely chose the sire based on his/her knowledge of genetics and the breed standard.
Pet Store Puppy Jazzman
Registration: Any of a number of sham registries than register anything bred--including mixes of all types--used by puppy millers to circumvent restrictions of the AKC: CKC (Continental Kennel Club), ACA (American Canine Association), APR (American Purebred Registry), APRI (America's Pet Registry, Inc.), UKC (Universal Kennel Club), and many others. Many of these registries deliberately use the same or similar acroynms as legitimate registeries (such as the Canadian Kennel Club--CKC, and the United Kennel Club--UKC) to confuse and mislead buyers. Registration: AKC (American Kennel Club)--the only legitimate registry for Kerries in the US. The AKC is one of the oldest, most respected registries in the country, and now requires all frequently bred stud dogs to be DNA-tested. However, while all well-bred Kerries in the US are AKC-registered, not all AKC-registered Kerries are well bred.
Health Certificates: Often, none, but if they exist, falsified health records are not uncommon. Health Certificates: Copies of certificates from the Orthopedic Foundation
for Animals (OFA) on the hips of both parents, and the Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF) on the eyes of both parents are freely provided on request. Complete health records are always given, and the results of prebreeding tests done on the dam and sire (for such hereditary disorders as vonWillebrants Disease, Factor XI, and hypothyroidism) should be available.
Health Warrantee: Varies with pet store. Typically, you have a 15-day period in which to return a sick dog. Some medical expenses may be reimbursed, though you usually need to use a "pet store-approved" vet--one who likely earns a good deal of his income from the store. Health Warrantee: Responsible breeders stand behind the health of their
puppies and will exchange the puppy (or locate another one) if any problems occur within the first few months of ownership. Many breeders reimburse the owner for medical expenses incurred.
Return Policy: Varies with pet store. Typically, you have a 15-day period in which to return a dog for credit on another one--not for a full refund. Return Policy: The dog may be returned to the breeder at any time during the life of the dog. (This is stated in the USKBTC's Code of Ethics.) Full refunds are usually provided within 1-3 months after the sale.
Breed Information: Little to none. Most pet store employees are ignorant of our breed's characteristics and requirements. If they know anything of the breed, they usually learned it from a breed book stocked by the store--not from experience. The puppy they have may be the first Kerry they've ever seen. Breed Information: Expect to receive complete and knowledgeable information on the Kerry's temperament, grooming and training requirements, health care, feeding, and more--information that was gained from experience, not from a book.
Screening Procedure: None. Pet stores are in business to make money--not to place dogs in responsible homes. Screening Procedure: Written screening tools (such as questionnaires) are
often used, followed by one or more interviews and a home check. Responsible breeders care where their puppies go and how they will be treated.
New Owner Support: None. You are on your own. This lack of support often leads owners to relinquish their puppies at area shelters, contributing to the ongoing suffering of our companion animals. New Owner Support: Expect to receive free or low-cost ear setting and
grooming from the breeder, or referrals if you don't live locally. Contacts for vets, puppy training classes, and the local Kerry Club (often with a 1-year complimentary membership) are often provided. Expert help and advice is always just a phone call away.

Links to Articles on Pet Stores and Puppy Mills

Prisoners for Profit: The Shame of Puppy Mills

Pet Store Puppy Mills

Pet Mills: An American Disgrace

Just What Is a Puppy Mill?

Puppy Mill Nightmare

A Prisoner of War

For more links, see:

Small Paws Rescue

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