How to find and identify a Responsible Breeder
Just like in any other sport, serious participants belong to clubs, be it Soccer or LaCrosse or Swim Clubs. Serious and responsible fanciers belong to American Kennel Club (AKC) affiliated kennel clubs - the most important being the "Parent" club of the breed. In our case this is the Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of America. Local and Regional Club membership and involvement is important, too - the Lakeshore Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club is the regional, PWCCA Affiliated club in this area. These Clubs are the best starting point to find a member-breeder. See links on my home page.
Read the Club's Code of Ethics!
Does the breeder show their dogs? Again, just as in any other sport, competition is the only way to judge your progress/efforts - are you a fast swimmer? The only way to know is to go to swim meets and compete. The same for the dog fancy - are you producing puppies that are good representatives of your breed? The only way to know is to go to an AKC dog show where dogs are measured against a standard of excellence.
Does the breeder test for any inherited health problems in the breed? They must. "Our lines don't have health problems" they say? Rubbish! All dogs (all humans for that matter) can have health problems. Some can and should be screened for and it is irresponsible to not do so. Any breeder you contact should know the current health problems in the breed, the status of testing, and willingly tell you about it.
Does the breeder tell you the drawbacks of the breed? Every breed has characteristics that are challenges. If your "breeder" tells you their breed is perfect, they are selling, not informing. For example, Pembroke Welsh Corgis SHED! A Lot! You don't need a salesperson, you need someone who can help you choose a lifetime pet.
Does the breeder interview you? Do they ask you for an application? Does the breeder want to know what your situation is & how you will care for your dog? If they do not - run away! If they offer to meet you to drop off your dog, run away! If you cannot meet the mother of the litter, see the entire litter, and see all of the breeder's other dogs; run away!! Does the breeder have a contract for you to sign? They absolutely should.
Bottom line, you should wish to buy a dog from a breeder who needs to be convinced that you are the best home for that particular dog. If the only qualification they require is cash or a check - do not buy from them. Don't believe what you see and read on a webpage - it is often pure fiction. Seeing is believing and only a visit will accomplish that! When you visit - the home should be clean. All dogs should be clean & well groomed. Equipment should look of good quality. It's unacceptable to have matted feces on puppy bums, watery gooey eyes, dirty paws with long nails. Gone are the days when puppies were born and raised under the porch!
What to Expect if you buy a Corgi from a Reputable Breeder
So you think you've found a reputable breeder - what can you expect now?
First of all - there should be no difference in the price of a puppy of either sex - nor are there any "rare" characteristics, special coat colors or different sizes (think teacup or miniature) in Pembroke Welsh Corgis. This is another sign of a salesman, not a reputable breeder! Don't fall for the "runt of the litter" line either - unless there is some special circumstance, puppies normally do not vary greatly in growth rate and good breeders ensure the health and appropriate growth of all puppies. If someone tells you this puppy was the "runt" of the litter, they are exposing their own failure to properly care for the litter; or, they are trying to sell you the puppy. Again, you don't want to buy from someone who is selling!
Show prospects, of course, are more expensive but virtually all reputable breeders aren't going to part with a show puppy to a complete stranger to the dog game.
Puppies should be raised in the home and, if there are kennels, they must spend significant time as house dogs - after all this is where they will live. Leash and table training should have begun and they should be well on their way to being crate trained.
Puppies should have had a full veterinary exam and at least two vaccinations before they go to their new homes; 10 weeks is the minimum age to place a pup. Your breeder should review the parent's health clearances, the pedigrees and AKC paperwork with you. They should provide information about care, grooming, feeding, and training. Your choice of veterinarian should be discussed. Puppy and obedience classes are encouraged - you need your Corgi to be a good citizen - in your home, out for walks, at the veterinarian, you name it. More dogs are turned into shelters for behavior problems than any other reason.
Spay and neuter should be discussed and virtually all circumstances dictate that you will be required to spay or neuter your Corgi. It's better for their health as well as preventing the addition of unwanted dogs to this crowded world.
Lots of follow-up by telephone and/or email is the norm when buying from a responsible breeder - you can think of it as not just buying a puppy but gaining a lifelong resource of dog knowledge & guidance for you & your Corgi.
Why the American Kennel Club and Why buy a purebred dog?
The American Kennel Club is the oldest and far and away the most respected dog registry in the USA. The AKC is a "Club of Clubs" - which means that they give the ownership of the breed to the Parent Club. The Parent Club is the only party able to describe the standard of perfection of their own breed. The AKC governs registration, good record keeping practices and conditions. They regulate their events and examine and approve the judges who are authorized to judge the breeds and events. Bottom line, it is the gold standard.
What is a pure breed? A pure breed is one who has been in existence for many years, who has repeatable characteristics between generations, whose records of parentage are provable. Is a Labradoodle a breed? Of course not!! By definition it is a mixed breed or mongrel. Labradoodles are only created by crossing Labrador Retrievers with a Poodle. There is no predictability in cross breds. The offspring could be as tall as a Standard poodle or as short as a Labrador. They could have the body weight and coat of a Poodle or the body weight and coat of a Lab - or something in between. They could have the laid back temperament of a Lab or the outgoing, energetic temperament of a Poodle, or, something in-between. And people pay big money for this?
Pure breeds, when in the hands of reputable breeders, have predictable size, weight, coat, shape, health, temperament, and type. Isn't that a great thing? You, as a buyer, can be sure the eventual adult dog will be a great fit for your lifestyle! This will drastically improve your chances of making a good choice for you and your family. A purebred is NOT synonymous with "in Bred" or "over Bred" dogs. Yes, that happens in bad situations like puppy mills - but you are smart enough not to buy from a Commercial source already, right?
Mongrels are NOT healthier than pure breds. Think of 10 families you know and think of 10 dogs you know. Do any of the dogs have inherited health problems? Perhaps. Now think of the families. Does anyone wear glasses? have a hearing aid? Have allergies, asthma, heart problems? How about epilepsy, MS, learning disabilities? Chances are, someone does. Humans are almost complete "outcrosses" and health problems appear regularly. In purebred dogs it's the same - in fact, due to the ethical breeders, there are tests for many inherited health problems in purebred dogs and the incidence of those conditions are diminishing - no one does that for mongrels.
As your Pembroke will be, hopefully, from a reputable, Club member-breeder, you should feel good about your choice!