Amid Tamaskan Community discussions on Facebook and the like, you’ll common find people recommending responsible breeders, typically associated with specific breed clubs, to those looking to bring home a pup. You’ll also come across terms such as “puppy mills” and irresponsible, sometimes also called “backyard”, breeders in reference to whom you should avoid. What exactly is the distinction between these kinds of breeders?
“Puppy mill” refers to a large-scale breeding operation where profit is priority over everything else, including dogs’ health. Generally, no consideration regarding the impact of a breeding pair’s health, conformation, or temperament is given by puppy mills. Typically dogs and pups are kept in unsuitable conditions; unkept, tiny, outdoor kennels where they do not receive human interaction, space to run, or play. They are overbred, malnourished and used as breeding machines, never leave their unsanitary cages, and generally do not survive very long. Pups are sold to anyone who is willing to pay and are typically found in pet retailer stores.
To be clear, in and of itself outdoor kennels do not make a breeder a puppy mill or irresponsible. However, it can be a red flag. If dogs are kept outdoors all the time, are they being cared for or looked after appropriately? Are pups being socialized appropriately to living conditions they will be exposed to when they go home (ie. indoors and around people)? Socialization is extremely important for tamaskan as they tend to be more aloof and due to their appearance, any sort of behavior issues can quickly escalate into serious repercussions. In some areas, there are laws requiring outdoor enclosures be used; even if this is the case, a responsible breeder will still socialize pups and make sure they are ready to go to their homes.
“Irresponsible” or “backyard breeder” refers to breeders who disregard certain breeding practices to ensure pups are as healthy and well-bred as possible and are typically motivated by profit. Sometimes breeders are aware that they could do more and simply choose not to in order to cut costs whereas other times it is simply due to a lack of knowledge. These breeders may seem wholesome and to genuinely care for their dogs, but if they do not health test or consider the coefficient of inbreeding of their pairings, they are doing their dogs a disservice. They are potentially creating pups with hereditary disorders (sometimes terminal!) that would have been completely avoidable had they just done basic health testing. They may or may not screen homes before sending pups home and are generally found on pet retailer websites or ads in classifieds. Minimal consideration regarding the impact of a breeding pair’s health, conformation, or temperament is given by irresponsible breeders.
Responsible breeders are those who do everything in their power to create healthy, lasting, pups that go to well suited, responsible, loving forever homes. They complete rigorous types of health testing, temperament and conformation testing to find breeding matches that complement their dogs. They are dedicated to the breed, and their dogs not only being healthy but also getting the best start as possible. A lot of time, effort, energy, and money goes into finding proper breeding pairs, feeding healthy diets, getting the appropriate vet care, and socializing pups to be well-rounded dogs. They are breeding to better the dog breed, they are creating loving pets for work or for companionship, and profit is not at all a motivation in their decisions. Typically, their breeding dogs are “members of the family” living in the house, and enjoying life as a dog should, only breeding a few times in their lifetime.
Associations with reputable clubs (yes, sometimes irresponsible breeders will create associations to appear more creditable), can be an easy way to determine some level of responsibility. For instance, breeders who are a part of the TDR (Tamaskan Dog Register) and ITR (International Tamaskan Register) have signed contracts stating the type of upbringing their pups will have. They also must meet the minimum breeding requirements of health testing in order to register their dogs, pups, and breed pairings. The utmost consideration regarding the impact of a breeding pair’s health, conformation, and temperament is given by responsible breeders. It isn’t uncommon to find breeders who will do even more testing than a club requires -perhaps they will get eye testing annually, raise their litter following the Puppy Culture Protocol, or choose to do additional health screenings on their dogs.
For more information pertaining to Tamaskan breeders to look out for, please visit