Red Flags of a Backyard Breeder / Puppy Mill
Disclaimer: This list is specific to Pembroke Welsh Corgis. Breeding standards and practices tend to vary from breed to breed.
- Requires non-refundable deposits to be placed on a wait list
- Purposefully breeds for fluffies (and often charges more for them) – Fluffy coat is considered a “fault” and naturally does occur in some lines, but breeders who are intentionally breeding for these coats do so only for money.
- Purposefully breeds for "unique" colors like merle coat – The merle gene does not exist in Pembrokes, so the only way for a breeder to get this coat is to mix a Pembroke with a Cardigan (which is a completely different breed) or some other breed that carries the merle gene.
- Sends puppies home at 8 weeks – According to the PWCCA code of ethics, a breeder should NOT send puppies home until at least 10 weeks of age. Puppies experience a fear period between 8-10 weeks of age, so it’s not an ideal time to throw them into a new environment. They learn valuable lessons like bite inhibition by staying with their mom and littermates a bit longer. There could also be some health issues that weren’t obvious before 8 weeks of age that may affect which home would be the best fit for the pup.
- Ships puppies to buyers they've never met – Most reputable breeders will require an in-person meeting before promising a puppy to someone they don’t know.
- Allows puppy buyers to get their pick of the litter in the order of deposit received – Backyard breeders and puppy mills ultimately don’t really care where their puppies end up as long as they make money, so they allow buyers to pick on a first-come, first-serve basis. Reputable breeders, on the other hand, will take your preferences into account (such as gender, coat color, lifestyle) and offer you the puppy that is the best fit for you once they reach a certain age.
- Has a "guardian home" program – This is a way for puppy mills to exponentially increase their profits and churn out more puppies without having to pay the costs of actually raising a healthy breeding dog with a sound temperament and structure. Do not fall for this!
- Does not show their breeding dogs in conformation or compete in dog sports such as herding, agility, rally, obedience, tracking and nosework.
- Does not belong to PWCCA or local breed club – PWCCA and the local breed clubs hold their members to the highest standards in breeding. While there are SOME exceptions that a breeder may not belong to a club, you can still vet a breeder through your local club, as the reputable breeding community is fairly small.
- Promotes NuVet supplements – NuVet provides 0 scientific evidence of the claims they make, and your puppy does NOT need this as long as it’s getting a balanced diet. NuVet is widely recognized as a money-making scam used by backyard breeders. Read more here.
The reality is that the demand for Pembroke Welsh corgi puppies is way too high to be met by reputable show breeders alone. But just because a breeder is not "reputable" doesn’t mean they can’t be responsible. As a puppy buyer, it’s important to educate yourself and watch out for these red flags so that you can hold breeders accountable to maintain ethical breeding practices, and so that you don’t inadvertently support puppy mills and backyard breeders who cut corners in order to maximize profit.
Part 3 coming soon!
In the meantime, check out these links:
- PWCCA membership directory
- PWCCA upcoming dog shows (best way to meet reputable breeders in person)
- Blog Post: How we got a corgi from a reputable breeder
- Blog Post: Getting a Corgi Puppy (Part 1)