Why choosing the right breeder is so important!
When you buy a puppy you are also buying the breeder. You are going to have this dog for the next 12 or so years and should expect a breeder to be there with help and support in the future. Choosing a good breeder is the most important part of finding the right dog to share your life with.
Although beautiful, they are not for everyone, so do your research. Also consider adopting an older dog from RRCUS Rescue ~ they can make just as fulfilling a companion while skipping all the puppy antics like housebreaking, some training, the hyper nature of most pups and the need to be home at least once during the day to care for a puppy. I expect my puppies to go to homes who will make a lifetime commitment to this dog. It should be a member of their family - not just a temporary form of entertainment for as long as it is a cute puppy. I want them to live in the house and be loved by a family for their whole life and if something should happen that prevents you from keeping the dog - I want it back. I also expect all pet puppies to be spayed or neutered. In return, I'll be there to help with any problems you may have with the dog; health, behavior, temperament or training issues. This breed is my hobby - not my living - and I want it to be a fulfilling experience for all of us.
Tips on finding an Ethical Breeder
There are a variety of places you can look for a breeder; ethical breeders do not sell puppies in pet shops. Nor will they sell a pup without first determining if the home is suitable and will properly care for a puppy. Ridgebacks aren't for everyone and a good breeder will ask lots of questions before deciding if one will be right for you. If you want to buy a puppy with no strings attached, chances are the "no strings" policy will work both ways. There are always large breeders who operate with questionable ethics, but put on a great front, so ask around.
Many puppy buyers look to national or regional breed clubs or AKC for referrals to breeders and this is a good place to start but it is only the beginning. Just because someone is listed in a club directory or with AKC does not automatically make them ethical or caring breeders. You need to do a bit more research to ensure you are buying a healthy puppy with a good temperament from a breeder who will stand behind it.
You may also be interested in providing a loving permanent home for a rescue dog, which are usually adults who need a new home for some reason, please go see The Rhodesian Ridgeback Club of the Unites States Rescue Homepage for information on adopting a Rescue Ridgeback.
You must remember too - that mother nature has a bit to say about when puppies are available! A puppy should never be an impulse purchase - so start looking early, choose a breeder you like and trust, then wait for the right puppy for you. Most ethical breeders have waiting lists and don't have puppies all the time - so be patient. The local paper isn't the greatest place to start, it isn't usually needed when you have a waiting list. If you see an ad in paper take that extra step and check out a 4 generation pedigree with all health tests available such as OFA hips. If they are issued a number they have passed their hips. If there is no number, the hips were not done.
Some things to look for in choosing an Ethical Breeder
Here are some guidelines to follow:
Doing your homework in finding an honest, ethical breeder will pay off in the long run for you and your new puppy. The alternatives can be devastating, no support, initial deposits not returned if a pup isn't available, sick puppies and numerous health issues.