Looking for an Irish Wolfhound? How to find a responsible breeder.
Adding a new family member to your home is an important life event. It is critical that you take your time, do you research and be prepared to wait for your new best friend. Everyone wants their new pet to be healthy, well bred, well socialized and to be a good representative of the breed. So, how do you find such a puppy? Well, you are off to a good start in visiting this website and becoming educated about the process and what to look for. We encourage your to visit the Irish Wolfhound Club of America website at www.iwclubofamerica.org as well as there is a wealth of comprehensive information there.
Things to look for in a breeder:
Most responsible breeders will have their puppies spoken for BEFORE they are even conceived therefore unless there are extenuating circumstances, it is NOT a good sign if a breeder has a litter of puppies of adoption age (10-12 week) available for purchase.
A good breeder will have had their breeding stock health tested. An Irish Wolfhound should have had at minimum, cardiac testing and hip and elbow radiographs taken and eye certification before being bred.
A responsible breeder will ALWAYS test their litters for Portosystemic Shunt (liver shunt) before placement. If a breeder says their dogs don't have that or they have never had it before, so they don't test for it, run, don't walk, away. PSS is nearly always a fatal without expensive, extremely risky surgery and while there is no crime in having an affected puppy in a litter, it is unconscionable to have placed that puppy into a new home when there is a simple blood test that can screen for it. INSIST on it, and better yet, if you have to insist upon it as it is not being done as a matter of good practice, walk away. You are not dealing with a responsible breeder.
A good breeder will have proven the quality of their hounds in the conformation ring. While it is not necessary that every dog have a CH beside their name, the pedigree should be FULL of Champion titled hounds. One or two hounds in a 4 generation pedigree does NOT make it "Champion lines" as so many claim. Do not fall prey to a breeders claims that showing is for snobs and that they don't need to be shown to prove their quality. Please do not feel that you "only want a pet" so it is not important that your hound have a good pedigree with titled relatives. A pet from a good breeder with proven quality lines, will not only be a better representative of the breed, but most likely also a healthier hound with the proper wolfhound temperament as generations of hounds before him will have been tested and bred to have these qualities. It costs just as much to buy a poorly bred hound as does a carefully well bred one and you will save money and heartache in the long run with a healthy well bred companion.
A good breeder will ask many questions of you. Please do not take offense at this. A good breeder wants to make sure their puppies are placed into the best possible homes and will want to know how the hound will live. They may well insist upon a home visit, veterinary references and require updates on the hound. This is all for the good of the hound. A good and responsible breeder will welcome JUST as many question from YOU about THEM, so feel free to compile a list and a good breeder will be happy to answer each and every one of them. A good breeder should also be able to give YOU references!
They will be knowledgeable about the breed in general and in their hounds specifically.
A good breeder will be well known in the IW community and active in the breed. Look for a breeder who is a member of their local IW club if there is one and also of the Irish Wolfhound Club of America. They will abide the code of ethics called for by the IWCA.
A good breeder may have a website of their own and a web presence but they will NEVER EVER place an advertisement online with any of the puppy sales websites. NO EXCEPTIONS. They will not sell their hounds over the internet on their own website either.
A good breeder will not claim to have "rare" colors, will not claim to be a licensed or USDA breeder and will not charge more for full registration or "breeding rights"
A good breeder will ALWAYS place their hounds with a contract!!!!!! A good breeder will place companion puppies with spay/neuter agreements and/or limited registration.
A good breeder will have their hounds registered with the American Kennel Club or the Canadian Kennel Club if in Canada. Any other registry is not acceptable. Please know that the AKC is just a registration organization though and while you are looking for and AKC registered dog, this, in and of itself does not guarantee quality. Many puppy mill puppies are also AKC registered.
A good breeder will be there for you and the hound for the lifetime of the hound. They will be there to support you and answer any questions you may have. They will insist that the hound come back to them if for any reason it cannot stay in it's home. They will be a resource for you. Do not underestimate the value of having a good breeder as a mentor, a sounding board, a source of information and support for you! It is priceless and something a good breeder takes a great deal of pride in.
A good breeder will be a true steward of the breed. They ONLY breed to further their breeding program, to produce a superior Irish Wolfhound that improves with each generation, never ever to supply a pet market. While most litters will end up having puppies that indeed go into new homes, the purpose of the litter is for the breeder to keep at least one puppy, maybe more to further their program. Beware the breeder who breeds and places all the puppies into homes.
It cannot be stressed enough that you MUST BE PREPARED to wait for your hound to be born and come into your home. While you may get lucky and a good breeder will have a puppy available, more likely you will wait. Go to shows, attend club meetings, get to know breeders and their hounds. Do your homework. When you find a breeder you click with, ask to be placed on their reservation list and wait for your new family member. It is hard to wait when you want something so badly, but the wait is worthwhile.