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How to Find A Breeder

You’ve done your research and decided that a Dutch Shepherd is the right breed for you.  Now what?  How do you find a good breeder? 

How to find a breeder

1. Have goals - Decide what your plans are for your future Dutch Shepherd.  If you are wanting to get involved in a particular sport or activity, visit clubs and/or trainers that can help you achieve those goals.  Most sports are difficult to do on your own and it takes a supportive community to help guide new handlers to success. See bullet point on Registration types to see how it might interfere with your future goals.

 

2. Ask for referrals – If you have met Dutch Shepherds that fit the profile for the breed that you are looking for, ask the owners for a referral to the breeder they chose.  Ask why they chose that breeder and if they would purchase a dog from them again.

3. Health concerns – Dutch Shepherds, like most breeds of dogs, have their own set of health concerns that should be taken seriously and dealt with responsibly by good breeders.  Conditions such as hip and elbow dysplasia, transitional vertebrae and eye disease, among others.  Never accept a breeder’s word that their line is free from disorders.  At a minimum, ask to see proof of hip, elbow, spine and eye clearances.  Eye clearances should be done yearly.  Good breeders will be familiar with the health disorders in the Dutch Shepherd and will be willing and able to discuss health results and common problems in the lines they breed.     

4. Decide where you stand on certain ethical issues.  These are topics that are debatable, but you should know your own thoughts on them before you talk to any breeders.  Issues, such as age of breeding stock, how often females are bred, how many litters the breeder has each year, whether the breeder has buyers sign a purchase agreement, offers a health warranty, or breeds for non-standard traits such as large size or disqualifying colors.

5. Talk to the breeders – You should be prepared to ask questions and also be asked questions.  Ask for references from other puppy buyers, veterinarians and members of Dutch Shepherd organizations, like WDSAA.  Ask about why they chose to breed Dutch Shepherds, what their goal is as a breeder and about their breeding philosophy.  Ask to see copies of health tests and scorebooks.  Ask about titles on breeding stock and, if there is a lack of titles, ask why.  Ask how the breeder socializes their puppies, if they are exposed to different environments, new people and other dogs.  Ask about registration for their puppies and make sure that the puppy will come with registration that is compatible with the goals you have set.  Good breeders will usually ask questions of prospective buyers, such as what your experience is with working dogs, how many dogs you currently own, what goals you have for a puppy, who you will be training with, if you are interested in breeding, your living and work situation.  Ask yourself if you feel like this breeder is someone that you can have a longstanding relationship with and count on to help support and guide you through the life of a Dutch Shepherd.

6. Visit the breeder – If at all possible, take the time to go meet the breeder and their dogs in person at their home or kennel.  Observe how the dog interacts with the breeder and with strangers, whether the premises are clean and if the dogs are clean and well-fed.

7. Be Patient – Most Dutch Shepherd breeders do not breed litters year-round and they can have waiting lists.  Once you find the breeder you feel comfortable working with, it may take some time for the right puppy to come along.  Be willing to wait.  It will be worth it in the end. 

Regs

registration types

Due to the initial rarity of the breed in the US, there are several types of registration for Dutch Shepherds. Some registries may limit your future plans.
 

FCI

AKC FSS

UKC

BRN/KNPV

FCI is the “world registry” for purebred dogs. Purebred DSs imported from overseas, unless noted otherwise, should come with FCI registration. In nearly all cases, FCI is easily transferred to all other kennel clubs and will have minimal limitation on any future plans with your Dutch Shepherd. FCI registration will allow you to compete at both national and world level in IGP.

The Dutch Shepherd is currently under Foundation Stock Service with American Kennel Club. If you are looking to do conformation, or performance sports within AKC with an unaltered dog, you will need AKC FSS registration. AKC FSS registration will also allow you to compete at a National level in IGP. Eligibility for world level competition varies based on sport venue and the host club’s rules. AKC accepts FCI registration transfers.

UKC was one of the original kennel clubs to register Dutch Shepherds within the US. As such, there are lines with several generations of UKC registered dogs. Dutch Shepherds with UKC registration will be able to compete in all UKC sports including conformation. UKC registered dogs will be able to compete at the National level in IGP. UKC accepts FCI, and AKC FSS registration transfers. Note that AKC will not accept UKC registration transfers for Dutch Shepherds.

KNPV is a police sport based in The Netherlands. Some participants utilize a volunteer system to keep track of lineage with the designation of BRN (In English - Bloodline Registration Number). This has grown into breeders and handlers worldwide using this system to track their lines and breedings. Please note that BRNs are part of a lineage tracking system and NOT a true registry. Many of these dogs with a BRN number are Malinois x Dutch crosses multiple generations in. Within the US, these dogs are only eligible for registration through alternative listings with approval from the respective kennel club. BRN dogs can compete in IGP at club levels and some National levels. They can also compete at WDSAA Nationals but are not eligible for the designation of National Champion.

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