Helpful Tips

For Finding a

Reputable Breeder

As any breed begins to gain in popularity it attracts all sorts of fanciers. Many of these fanciers will have the true essence of the breed at heart and take raising them very seriously with regards to quality, health, temperament etc…However, there will also be many “breeders” attracted to the breed for the sake of making money and who will have little regard to the quality of puppy they are raising. Sadly this is how the quality of a breed as a whole can begin to suffer.

This can also make it difficult for a family who is looking for a quality companion to know where to begin. Even if you have no intentions of breeding or showing it is important to get a puppy from a reputable breeder who has spent many years ensuring the quality, health and temperament of their breed. Not only will your new puppy grow up to reflect the true essence of the breed in appearance and personality, but also it will likely be healthier and more adjusted for life in general.

When looking for that special puppy who will become your new family member for the next 15 years on average be prepared to pay a reasonable price for the quality you deserve. You may think $1000-$1600 is a lot of money to spend on a companion, but look at it this the words of one of our puppy owners, "People ask me how I could spend so much money on a dog and I tell them that if you divide the amount that you pay for a dog over the number of years that you are blessed to have it, it really turns out to be just a little over a hundred dollars a year. People blow way more than a hundred dollars a year on entertainment & travel. The happiness that a dog brings is a wonderful investment." Marla M.

The question is how do you determine which of the 1000’s of ads have been listed by breeders who are truly raising a quality representation of the breed???

In order to help people who are looking for a quality representation of the Papillon breed as a companion pet we have compiled a basic list of things to look for and things to ask during your search.

#1. Do your homework! Read information on Papillons and look at numerous photos so you can get an idea of the color and "look" you are wanting. Also, go to a few dog shows in your area if possible and view some quality Papillons in person so you have a comparison in mind.

#2. Look at the background of the breeder you are looking to purchase from. Check to see if the people you are purchasing from are actively involved in showing their dogs, as this will give you an idea of the quality of Papillon they are raising. Not every dog in their kennel or household will be shown, and they may not be showing every month of every year, but a winning show schedule will let you know the over-all quality of the dogs they are breeding. Many show breeders will also have a page on their website dedicated to show news or something similar. If they do not have this information available you can do a web search of their kennel name and breed (for us it would be Braylor's or Braylor's Papillons) and it should come up with show results pages, which will list the results of various shows where dogs of their breeding were exhibited. Even news for obedience and agility wins is important as this tells you the dogs from that kennel are intelligent and structurally sound. Some search engines will find these sites better than others, but if you type in a specific dog's registered name you should be able to locate its show results pages easily if it has been shown in the past year or so. Lets face it, a show news bragging page on the website is much more preferable to pages with photo after photo of puppies stuffed in teacups and listed for sale by number.

#3 View the parents or photos of the parents of your potential new puppy. Even an untrained eye will recognize a nice representation of the breed and this will also give you some idea of what your puppy might look like as an adult. Keep in mind both parents are not always available for viewing in person for 2 or more common reasons: #1 the mom will look very scraggly, gangly and bald after having a litter of pups and to an untrained evaluating eye you will not be able to determine the quality of her if viewing after a litter and she may also not appreciate you handling her pups as some are very protective of them...this is why an earlier photo of mom may be best & #2 the father should be a nice representation of the breed and can be viewed at any time since they do not go through hormonal sheds the way females do, however, most show kennels share their studs and therefore they are not always on the premises for viewing.

#4. View photos of the puppy you are interested in. Keep in mind, as with most coated breeds, Papillons go through a horrible gangly stage, which we call the teenage ugly stage. This occurs on average between 3-6 months. They will shed out their puppy coat and look very sparse and gangly until about 6 months old when the adult coat begins growing in. This can make it difficult for an untrained eye to evaluate a teenaged puppy. Again, this is why photos of the parents are important. The parent's quality will give you an idea about the pups and what they will look like in the future. A Papillon is not considered fully mature in coat and fringes until 3-4 years of age, but of course some will mature faster than others.

#5. Ask to see a pedigree on the puppy. This is basically a family tree, which will list 2-5 generations of the puppy’s relatives. A reputable breeder will be willing to provide a copy of the pedigree and likely even have it available online for viewing. Look for multiple champions in the first few generations of the pedigree. Many people will say "champion pedigree", but that can easily mean there is 1 champion 4 generations back. When you see CH before a dog's name in a pedigree it means that dog has gained its champion title, which is not an easy task. The dog must be fully trained, kept in show condition and match closely enough to the breed standard (in quality, type & structure) to be recognized by numerous judges. The terms SOM, SOD, DOM etc...mean that dog has produced 5 or more champion offspring showing they are a good producer of quality.

#6 Expect to sign a spay/neuter contract and receive a health guarantee of some sort.

#7 Ask what records you will receive with your new puppy. All reputable breeders should provide you with at least a vaccination record, but some will also provide you with a copy of the pedigree, some sort of guarantee, feeding and care instructions, breed specific info you might need to know, photos of parents and maybe even photos of your puppy as it was growing up. Others may even provide a little of the current food the puppy is eating to give you time to buy some as well as a favorite toy or at least a list of such. The list can go on, but at least be sure you are getting the basic information that you and your vet will need to continue the vaccines etc…that should have already been started on your puppy.

#8 Ask if they are a member of any Breed Clubs as most of these are difficult to become a member of and have guidelines and standards that must be followed to remain a member. The National Papillon club is called the Papillon Club of America or PCA. This proves dedication to the breed as well as ethics and standards as most clubs have guidelines that must be followed in breeding practices as well as puppy placements.

#9 Look for AKC registration (in the USA). This is the kennel club that most show people will have their dogs registered with. Do expect the registration to be deemed “limited” with regards to breeding rights and also know it is not uncommon for the registration form to be held until proof of spay/neuter is presented.

#10 Expect quality even though you are purchasing a companion pet. Many show breeders will even place a puppy of show quality into a home as a companion on a spay/neuter contract just to be sure it does not fall into the wrong breeding hands. This allows a potential companion owner to obtain a higher quality puppy at a companion price. Even when purchasing a puppy that has been deemed companion quality it should still have come from quality parents. Keep in mind there are many reasons a dog will not be shown: a few examples are structural faults, marking faults & too soft tempered meaning they can not stand up under the pressures and chaos of show life and instead prefer being a treasured lap companion. Even one tooth being out of place will prevent a puppy from being shown and thus causing it to be placed in a companion home. Most of these do not affect a puppy for companion status, but being sure your puppy comes from quality parents does affect the puppy's future. Some faults are considered worse than others and while some are acceptable some are not and a reputable breeder will make this decision based on the future of the breed and not on money. When dealing with a puppy mill or “breeder for profit” you are risking potential health issues, temperament problems, simply not looking like the breed should, etc....

Things to be Leery of:

#1 Be leery if buying from a breeder that quotes 2 different prices on the same dog: 1 price for a pet on a spay/neuter contract and another (higher) price for breeding rights. The AKC frowns on breeders that offer breeding rights for more money. A reputable breeder will place all their puppies on spay/neuter contracts unless being sold as a show prospect. Show prospects naturally bring more money as they will be the future champions and producers of quality Papillons for future generations to come. The show prospect should be free of disqualifying faults according to the breed standard and should be free of as many other faults as possible. There is never a 100% perfect dog in accordance with the standard, but it should be as close as possible for showing and breeding. If not, it should not ever be used for breeding. Breeding the lesser quality dogs will lower the quality of the breed as a whole and this is why many reputable breeders will be very protective of their dogs and whose hands they fall into.

#2 Be leery of breeders who request deposits on puppies that are not even born yet. None of us are fortunetellers and obviously cannot predict the future, let alone the personality of the puppy being born. A breeder can’t begin to be able to tell you if that puppy will be a good match for your family. Even if it is the right sex and color, personality is still an important factor in matching the right dog with the right family. For instance, if you are looking for an agility prospect markings are not important, but size, personality and structure are all very important. A deposit on a slightly older pup is acceptable as this tells the breeder you are serious and they are not wasting their time in holding a puppy for you until it is old enough to be placed in a new home.

#3 Be leery of breeders who raise more than 1 or 2 breeds. When breeding and raising is done properly it is not a money making business as there are show fees, handling fees, vet care fees, daily care and upkeep, etc...which eats up the money quite fast. It is typically a hobby for the love of the breed, not an income source. People who raise too many breeds can likely not afford proper care on that many dogs and also can not possibly devote enough time to that many breeds in keeping them trained for showing and in proper condition. There are always exceptions to this rule, but even an untrained eye can recognize a well cared for quality puppy.

#4 Be leery of any breeder who is not willing to provide all the information above or who is unwilling to answer basic breed questions to help you in your decision. This breed may not be right for everyone and if you are unsure about something, your breeder should be willing to provide you with the information needed to help you make a decision that is best for your family.

These are some of the basics that might help you in your search. Getting what you pay for is important and doing your homework is a part of that in order to be sure the price being quoted is equivalent to the quality of the puppy being sold. The old saying “you get what you pay for” is true in most aspects of life and purchasing a puppy is no exception to that saying. However, some pups will be over-priced and following these guidelines will teach you how to know that.

Here is a quick and shortened summation of the detailed list above:

#1 Do your homework.

#2 Research the breeder.

#3 View the parents of your potential puppy or at least view photos of the parents.

#4 View photos of the puppy before you buy.

#5 Ask to see a pedigree.

#6 Expect to sign a basic spay/neuter contract and ask about a health guarantee.

#7 Ask what records you will receive with your new puppy.

#8 Ask if they are members of any breed clubs.

#9 Look for AKC registration even though it may be limited and held until proof of neutering is provided.

#10 Expect quality even though purchasing a companion puppy.

Things to be leery of:

#1 Be leery of a breeder that quotes 2 different prices on the same puppy.

#2 Be leery of breeders accepting deposits on unborn or newborn puppies.

#3 Be leery of Breeders that raise too many breeds.

#4 Be leery of any breeder not willing to provide all the info above or who is unwilling to answer basic breed questions to help you in your decision.

Our philosophy:

It is the responsibility of any ethical caring breeders to ensure the future quality of their breed. This involves taking precautions in puppy placement as well as requiring neutering on any puppies they would not show or breed themselves. If a breeder/exhibitor has evaluated a puppy and determined it should not be used for breeding it is important that puppy does not end up in the hands of a less than ethical breeder who is only looking to make a “buck” on the popularity of that breed.

In order to not only protect our name as Papillon exhibitors and breeders, but to also protect our babies from falling into the wrong hands you will be asked to sign a spay/neuter contract, which will also contain our guarantee.

We will not only provide you with all the information you need to help make your new “butterfly” a happy healthy member of your family, but we will also provide you with just about every possible record you can think of.

We will be asking you some basic information about yourself, family and home as well as what you are looking for in a companion pet with regards to personality preference, age, color, sex, size, companion/show, etc….

This information is not requested because we are nosey, but because we feel it is important to match each prospective family with the puppy or dog that we feel is best suited to meet their needs. This not only makes the family happy, but also helps to ensure our baby will have a permanent home with their new loving family.

And finally, understand that shipping a puppy is typically very safe if set up properly. We are willing to ship a puppy because this gives many more families the opportunity to have one of our babies. However, we do have specific rules we follow in doing this. #1 Not all puppies mature at the same rate. Instead of evaluating a puppy by age we evaluate by that individual puppy’s maturity level. We WILL NOT ship a puppy until we feel it is capable of handling the flight and transition to its new environment. #2 When offering shipping it is also important to properly socialize a puppy so it is fully ready to handle moving to a new home.

While all puppies have slightly different personalities it would be normal for one who has just been on an all day journey to a new home to be scared, but most of our puppies bounce out of their kennel giving kisses when they arrive at their destination. The ones who are a little concerned and nervous at first are typically following their new owners around very shortly thereafter. While something can always go wrong in shipping something can just as easily go wrong during a long car ride to their new home. In fact, sometimes shipping can be less stressful on a puppy if the alternative is a really long car ride. Shipping is over in a few hours and in between that time they are mostly sleeping in an air-conditioned or heated office while a car trip back home can last 6 or 8 hours or longer if you traveled quite a distance to get your new puppy. Some young puppies have a little motion sickness until their bodies adjust to the motion of the car and for a young puppy this can cause low blood sugar and excess stress. All these things should be considered when deciding if you should have your new puppy shipped or if you should drive to pick it up.

We also allow people to pick up their new puppy at our home or we are willing to meet you at our airport with your new puppy so you can fly him or her back with you in the cabin of the plane if this makes you feel more comfortable. Sometimes this may be necessary during extreme weather conditions. If we feel a puppy is too small to safely ship we also have a friend who is able to hand-carry many of our pups airport to airport to hand it over to it's new family. This keeps our babies in the hands of someone we trust during the entire process.

Feel free to check out our Testimonial page to learn what others have said about our “butterflies”. Also notice each puppy’s location and know that most all of the ones living outside of Texas were safely shipped to their new home.

Visit our colors page to get an idea of how to ask for the color you are looking for.

Visit our Information page to see the changes a Papillon puppy can go through with regards to color and looks while maturing. Also by visiting our pedigree pages (linked from the Sire and Dam pages) you can see a photo representation of most of our dogs from puppy to adulthood.

Note: Some pages can only be reached from the homepage.

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Copyright Notice: DO NOT copy or use any photos or text from any of our Braylor's Papillons pages without our written consent.