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Are you looking for a Puppy on the Internet?

You have come to the right place because I've got some "tips" for you that will help you find the very best puppy for you and your family.

Hello, my name is Sasz and I will be your teacher today.

The first thing I want to stress is the importance of buying your puppy from a reputable breeder.  Among other things, a reputable breeder is one that cares deeply for their animals, treats them humanely, takes time to learn about genetic diseases in their breed and conducts health clearances on the animals prior to breeding.

Now, how do you know who is a reputable breeder and who isn't?

 Click here to see types of breeders

After reading that page....come back here, please.

Here are some "RED FLAGS" that a breeder is less than reputable.

As you surf the internet for breeder, watch out for flashy web sites that are ONLY about selling puppies.  While many people now use PayPal as a safe form of payment, a web site that advertises, "Puppies for Sale" and allows you to pay for or reserve a puppy without speaking to anyone by PayPal and all major credit cards should be a "RED FLAG" that this is a commercial puppy producing operation.  Reputable breeders will have a web site that offers educational information with links to our parent club's web site, http://www.essfta.org to local dog club web sites as well as tips on caring and training dogs. 

Reputable breeders do not mass produce puppies

Any breeder who has puppies available more often than two or three times per year should be approached with caution.  A breeder who offers puppies available in intervals of weeks should be considered a puppy mill.   Even if these breeders claim to have Championship dogs in their pedigrees, health checks and guarantees, frequent breeding is a RED FLAG that they are breeding for profit and may not take the health and welfare of their dogs seriously.

Advertising puppies for sale is a warning sign

Be especially wary of those who advertise the sale of puppies to coincide with any Holiday.  For example, be wary of websites who advertise:

 "Just in Time for Valentine's Day"    

 "Ready Before Christmas"


A reputable breeder will not allow puppies to be marketed as gifts or in this manner.  Reputable breeders want families who understand the commitment to a puppy will last for 12-15 years throughout his/her lifetime and not wear off after the Holiday is over.

No matter how one paints the picture, puppies for profit is the definition of a Puppy Mill.


These are signs that they produce puppies as a product


When a breeder advertises the acceptance of Paypal & Credit Card Payments as a marketing tool to aid quick sales, it's NOT okay to use it.

  If the mother & father do not have health clearances

Be wary if the mother and father of the litter have not had health clearance tests performed before the breeding for hip dysplasia and normal vision.  Please go to the Health Links to see what diseases and health concerns are common to English Springer Spaniels and what tests should be done before the parents are bred.

If the mother & father are not of adequate breeding age

Adequate breeding age is when adult dogs are physically and mentally mature, NOT when they are able to reproduce.  This age is rarely before 2 years at such time they can have hip x-rays submitted for documentation.  The recommended age is 3 years.

If the breeder doesn’t ask YOU any questions

If the breeder doesn't ask you any questions, it is an indication that they don't care about the welfare of the puppies and are likely breeding for profit only.  Such breeders may be compromising the health and temperament of the puppies simply to make a profit.

If the dogs are not registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC)

Even if the breeder claims the dogs are registered with the AKC, that is no indication of the quality of the dog.  The AKC is a place to record the birth of purebred puppies.  It makes no warranty on the health or temperament of the animals.  For example if you compare AKC papers with a car title, you would learn all cars have titles, whether they are a junk heap that doesn't start or a shiny new Jaguar.  The papers don't equal quality.  The same applies to other canine "registries", many of which were created for the commercial breeders.  

If the breeder uses any terms like "Grand Champion", (unless they are Australian)  "Thoroughbred" or "Blue Blood", this is a good indication that the breeder is either ignorant or trying to portray their dogs as something they are not. 

The correct terms are:

AKC (USA) or CKC (Canada) Champion - These are show ring titles
Field Trial Champion - This is a hunting title
Master Agility Champion (MACH) - this is an agility performance sport title
Obedience Trial Champion (OTCH) - this is an obedience performance sport title


A few champions that are generations back in the pedigree does not constitute a "Championship Pedigree" or "Champion Lines".

  If a breeder boasts' having "rare colors" 

Be wary if a breeder boasts' having "rare colors" such as "lemon", "sable" or "tri-colored" Springers.  Tri-colored Springers are NOT RARE, and Lemons and Sables are undesirable traits because they require continual inbreeding of the dogs to maintain these recessive genetic traits.  When you breed for these colors, you often end-up with severe health and temperament problems.  Having a limited breeding gene pool can increase the frequency of negative traits.

If puppies are offered for sale before 8 weeks old

Be skeptical of the breeding operation if puppies are allowed to go to their new homes prior to 8 weeks.  Between the ages of seven and eight weeks is when puppies learn basic socialization from their mother dog and how to interact with other dogs in their pack.  Losing out on this critical socialization may result in a dog that is overly shy or aggressive with other dogs.


Web sites whose only focus is selling puppies could be considered commercial or backyard breeders. These are not reputable breeders.  Backyard breeders "produce" as much as 67% of all the dogs born annually in this country.

Of the 52.9 million dogs who live in the United States, approximately 2.9 million of them are killed in shelters annually (AVMA, 1998, and AHA, 1998)

No matter how one paints the picture, puppies from a commercial puppy breeding operation or an uneducated breeder can mean trouble.  Ask any canine rescue group where the largest numbers of their surrendered dogs come from and they will tell you that it is from commercial for profit puppy operations and breeders that do not do health testing or take the time to properly match a dog with its potential family.

How do we stop unscrupulous commercial breeders?

You can stop them by not buying from them. 

They can't make a profit from their "crop" of puppies, they will stop their breeding factories and seek their fortune from some other means.

So...where do you find a reputable breeder?

Start by going to our Parent Club, the English Springer Spaniel Field Trial Association web site, and read the valuable information available there.


(Wait...don't go there yet.)

Once on the parent club site, be sure and click on the Spaniel Manual to make certain an English Springer Spaniel is the dog for you.  This manual has great information of the different types of English Springer Spaniels  (bench and field bred) along with questions that the potential puppy buyer should ask breeders.  It also lets you know the questions you can expect a breeder to ask you.  Yes, quality breeders interview prospective puppy buyers as if they were adopting one of their children, so don't be surprised if the breeder  asks you personal questions like, "do you have a fenced back yard?", etc.

You will also find a breeder referral list on the ESSFTA web site where you can get a list of members who have agreed to abide by the ESSFTA Guidelines for Responsible Breeders.

Our site contains links to English Springer Spaniels Clubs throughout the country with contact email addresses.  You can search by state and find your local contact who should be able to direct you to puppies in your area.


Be Patient - the process of adopting a puppy should take some time.

Reputable breeders may not always have puppies available.  You might be placed on a waiting list or be referred to another breeder.  Don't expect to "shop" for a puppy with a breeder as you would at a pet store.  The average time between deciding you want a well-bred Springer puppy and bringing your new family member home, may take as long as six to nine months, but don't get discouraged.  Remember, you will have your new canine friend for 12-15 years.   A reputable breeder will be your partner over the lifetime of your puppy, to offer their wisdom, help and coaching to ensure you and your puppy have the best possible life together.

A Pet Store or Backyard Breeder will display their "product" in a window or a batch of pictures and offer a choice on a first come, first serve basis.   

There is much more to consider than just what the puppy looks like and the reputable breeder is an expert in those considerations.  A reputable breeder, with many years of experience, knows the individual behavior traits and temperament of each puppy in a litter.  A program of Temperament Testing is done on each puppy to determine individual socializing characteristics and by the time the pups are old enough to go to their new homes, the breeder knows enough about the expecting families and each pup's personality to match the right pup with the right family. Again, you should welcome this help from the breeder.

Having preferences is natural, in terms of wanting a male or female or stating your preference of color.  The more flexible you are regarding specific color, markings or sex, the better chance there is of matching you with a beautiful, healthy puppy.  


If, however, you strictly limit your preferences to a "shopping list", your shopping cart might be empty when you get to the check-out counter. 

Remember, reputable breeders have spent years producing a family of healthy, happy dogs. They have invested countless hours and many sleepless nights caring for the litter. 

Reputable breeders breed for themselves first and not for profit.  So please keep this in mind when a breeder makes the carefully considered match of puppy for you.

Why, you may ask, would you want to buy a puppy from a "show breeder" or a "field breeder", if what you want is just a family companion? Because showing dogs and achieving a title of Champion is the only genuinely objective way to measure the dog to the Breed Standard.  It is these breeders who will take the time to match you with an appropriate and healthy puppy.

Only those dogs who meet the Breed Standard should ever be considered for reproducing.  Even though you do not want a show dog, you deserve a pet that is the end result of a carefully planned litter ~ a pup which received the same care as a potential champion.

"Pleazzzzze !!!! Take my advice."

You CAN find a Reputable Breeder and we are happy to help you in your search.

We have provided a link to the ESSFTA web site where you will find help in finding a responsible breeder through the ESSFTA Breeder Referral and Education Program (BERP).

Don't forget to consider a Springer in need of a loving home from the one of the English Springer Spaniel Rescue organizations.  Our Rescue page will tell you about these fine organizations and direct you to rescue groups in you local area.

Okay... Click to proceed to the Links page or check out the menu to the left.

Thank you for your time and attention,


This page was developed by the Dallas - Ft Worth English Springer Spaniel Association, they have generously offered to allow the content and pictures to be posted to this site.




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Revised: December 10, 2013

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