A recent article in the Bulldog Club of Northern California newsletter inspires this column. The newsletter’s editor asked club members to help buyers assess whether a Bulldog is right for them. But perhaps a more meaningful exercise would be to assess whether the buyer is right for a Bulldog. It’s one thing to assess one’s own needs, and quite another to assess the special needs of a Bulldog.
As a prospective dog owner, just because you are determined to own a Bulldog regardless of the cost is not enough to ensure that one is right for you. If you have never lived around a Bulldog, you may be in for much more than you bargained for. An assessment based merely on admiration of the Bulldog’s unique appearance and pleasing disposition is not valid. Bulldogs have a whole array of special needs.
The Bulldog’s needs must be assessed even more carefully than your own. Only then are both dog and owner likely to live in harmony. Every reputable breeder knows that Bulldogs are not for everyone. They also know not all owners are good for Bulldogs! The growing number of unwanted Bulldogs found in animal shelters is testament enough.
The disturbing number of Bulldogs returned to breeders on one pretext or another for refund is proof that someone’s assessment went terribly wrong.
Far too often the breeder fails to adequately screen prospective buyers. This is not a simple or pleasant task, even for veteran breeders. Novice breeders are especially reluctant and unprepared to pry into the lives of potential pet owners.
The most astute breeder can be misled by people who conceal their true intentions. And sometimes a breeder is innocently misled by a person who is anxious to please and says all the right things.
It takes a fair amount of diplomacy and courage to inform a possible buyer that they are not prepared to own one of their puppies. Sometimes there are just too many red flags to comfortably ignore, and the sale must be aborted. The reputable breeders I admire most are those who must be convinced they buyer is worthy a owning a Bulldog. A number of things can be done to help ensure that all the Bulldog’s needs will be satisfied. I cannot speak for all reputable breeders, but through the years I have developed my own criteria to protect the welfare of puppies sold as pets. Most of this relates to the kind of care and environment the puppy requires.
In my opinion, the new owners must agree to:
q Return the puppy to me in the event of a family emergency or unavoidable circumstances that make it impossible to keep it. These circumstances can include bankruptcy, divorce, separation, or death of the owner. Refund of the purchase price is resolved on a case-by-case basis.
q Return the puppy to me within a week for a refund if a veterinarian determines that the puppy is not in good health or free from congenital defects that could threaten or shorten its life.
q Register the puppy with the American Kennel Club, and spay or neuter if (if a pet puppy) at their expense.
q Allow the puppy to live inside the home for the rest of its life – never outside or in a remote location away from the household.
q Make adequate provisions for the puppy’s care while one or both of the owners are at work.
q Ensure that the puppy is never required to live in a cage after it has been housetrained.
q Enclose swimming pools or ponds, and never allow the dog in a pool unattended.
q Never allow the dog to run free in the neighborhood, or in the yard unless it is fenced.
q Allow me to come into the home and observe the puppy’s environment.
q Provide air conditioning both in the home and in the car.
If you meet all or most of these requirements, you just might qualify to own one of my dogs.
- William Andree, 204 S. Beach Dr., Monticello, IN 47960.