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How to Find and Evaluate Maltese Breeders

Information from various SM members has been incorporated in to my post below. Contributors are Coco, Cosy, I Found Nemo, LadysMom, Mom2Bijou, MySugarBears, Nikki’s Mom, Poppy’s Mommy, Puppy Lover, Sicilian Rose, and Tobys Mom.

Adding a Maltese to your home is an important decision, since your new family member will hopefully be with you for many,
many years. If you take the time to research breeders and only buy from a responsible breeder, you will save yourself heartache
in the long term. Also, if you spend a little more money and buy from a responsible breeder, you will likely have less genetic health issues
and spend less over the lifetime of your Maltese. In many cases a responsible breeder’s prices are the same or less than a pet store's
or backyard breeder's prices.

A lot of people know not to buy from pet stores. They know to buy from a breeder, but it is likely that they don’t know that
there are certain types of breeders that they should avoid.

Most people would not dream of contracting a company to do thousands of dollars worth of home repair without thoroughly checking
the business out. When it comes to puppies, though, people often seem to skip this step and rely on their emotions. The information below should help you in your research to find a responsible breeder.

You may wonder what a responsible breeder is. There are a lot of things to look for but if the first one isn’t met, then you might as well
move on right away. The most important aspect of being a responsible breeder is that the breeder knows the lines behind the Malts
she is breeding. She makes sure that the Malts are good representatives of the breed... being very close to breed standard either by
achieving a championship or being evaluated by Maltese experts. Because she knows the dogs in the parent's pedigree, she is likely aware if there are any genetic diseases in the lines.

Also, in most all cases, a responsible breeder is actively involved in showing her dogs. Because she breeds to improve the breed and
to continually have dogs to show, she will from time to time have puppies that are considered “pet quality” because of minor “faults”.

Types of puppy sellers to avoid:
You may find a home breeder who has bred pet store puppies and you see that the home is clean and the puppies are kept in ideal
conditions. But this is NOT a responsible breeder. Why? Because the breeder likely does not know the Malts that are in the lines of the
breeding pair. She does not know the diseases that may be in the Malts’ lines. Nor is it likely that the Malts will be within standard and
you may end up with a 12-pound Maltese or one with curly hair, or bad temperament, etc. The type of breeder that has just been
described is called a Backyard Breeder [BYB] and even though the puppies are in a home, this is still a BYB.

BYB’s typically breed to earn income off their puppies and usually are not knowledgeable about the breed and they let the puppies go
to their new homes at less than 12 weeks old; and oftentimes the puppies go to their new homes with kennel cough, coccidia, parvo
or other diseases.

Also, don’t buy a puppy from an online site. This is not the same as a breeder’s site where you can learn all about the breeder
and be evaluated by the breeder to see if you are a good fit for one of their puppies. Stay away from online sites that have puppies’
photos lined up as if they were selling a commodity. These types of sites don’t evaluate buyers and they take credit cards without any
sort of vetting process of the buyers. Buying from this type of site is likely to end up badly.

Another type of seller of puppies to avoid is called a broker. A broker does not breed her own dogs. She buys puppies from a
breeder to sell. It is not recommended that you buy from a broker. A broker is treating the sale of puppies like a business and in most
all cases, she doesn’t have any knowledge of the background of the puppies. Sometimes it can be hard to distinguish that a seller of
puppies is indeed a broker. If you are following the suggestions here on how to find a responsible breeder, you should not even be at
the point of evaluating a broker. However, if it should happen that you are, it’s best to just move on.

Please be aware of the following RED FLAGS when working with a breeder.

> Breeder is not comfortable with your reasonable questions and is defensive.

> Breeder will not show you the parent’s pedigrees.

> Breeder is not knowledgeable of the Maltese and the kennel names listed within the first 3 generations if the pedigree.

> Breeder’s price is considerably more or considerably less than the prices that other show, reputable breeders
charge for their pet or show quality puppies.

> Breeder agrees to sell you the puppy but gives you nothing in writing if you ask for it.
Most breeders will ask for a deposit (often non-refundable) until the puppy is ready to go home, at no sooner than 12 weeks.

> Puppy is registered with a registry other than the AKC. Make sure you check the AKC suspension list, too. (See link below)
Breeders will try to tell potential buyers all sorts of reasons why they have "chosen" to register their puppies with the alternative
registries, when in reality they may have been suspended from the AKC.

> Breeder is willing to sell the pup without a spay/neuter contract (no breeding.)

> There is not a health guarantee for genetic health problems and a certain amount of time allowed that the buyer can bring the pup
to their own vet for a checkup and returned to the breeder if there are any health concerns.

Other points to help in your search . . .

> Google the name of breeder and kennel. You would be surprised how many hits you can get on discussions about the breeder
on forums like this or even reports on the breeder from the AKC and other agencies.

> The breeder should give you a written check list from their vet indicating the Malt is in good health. My breeder, for example, gave me a document that had about 10+ areas that the vet checked and the results, such as teeth, knees, etc. You should ask for records
of vaccines, worming, etc.

> A good place to start your search for a reputable breeder is the American Maltese Association Breeder’s list. If an AMA breeder
doesn’t have a puppy for you or live near you, they can likely recommend a breeder that they are personally familiar with.
(see links below). Please note that there are responsible Maltese breeders who are not AMA members.

> Maltese are prone to having liver issues. It is a good idea to have a Bile Acid test done before getting the puppy. There is a lot
of information on SM regarding liver shunts and Bile Acid tests, if you do a search on those words. There is some information
saying that the test should be done at 6 months, which of course will be too late for those getting a Maltese at 12 weeks.

> When you are researching and asking questions of a breeder, always be polite and kind. Do NOT treat that reputable breeder
like they are on the "stand" so to speak. Always remain polite and respectful.

> Another thing you might want to ask a breeder, when purchasing a male puppy, is if both testicles have descended. Also for
both males and females, ask if the puppy has an open fontanel.

> It is always “buyer beware”, just recently Lacie's Mom warned us that "bad" breeders will even enter their dogs in a show just
to get a ribbon and a picture taken so they can claim their puppies come from "show dogs".

And of course, it goes without saying ... never, ever buy a puppy from a pet store ... no matter if it is a lovely place, clean and bright ... No responsible breeder sells her puppies to a pet store, so you are almost certainly getting a puppy from a puppymill or a breeder who is not reputable. You'll get all sorts of stories from pet stores about their "select group of breeders" .. Don't buy in to it ... Run, don't walk, away.

Informative Links:

American Maltese Association Breeders List:

ASPCA article

Humane Society article

Rip Off Report:

Prisoners of Greed site with information on researching breeders:

Research Puppy's Origin:

Link to
(Type in the word “breeder” in to the Search to find a list of good articles.)

Foxstone Maltese and Divine Maltese, responsible breeders, have some excellent articles on their sites, as follows:

Information on “Teacup Maltese”... marketing ploy:

How to find a responsible breeder:

The 12-week rule:

“I don’t want a show dog, I only want a pet”

Divine Maltese article

And of course, you can always help a Maltese in need by getting your Malt through a rescue organization:
Northcentral Maltese Rescue
Southern Comfort Maltese Rescue
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