Before you decide where to purchase your Finnish Lapphund puppy, let's talk about what a reputable, ethical breeder is, and how to identify one.

1. Experience: How long has the breeder has been involved in showing and breeding dogs? Counting the years the breeder was a child in their parents' home, and counting the dogs in their childhood home doesn't count. We're talking experience as an adult, not when they were a child, living with their parents. We mean in their own residence....where they have been involved in: a) showing dogs and b) breeding registered purebred dogs. Not just Finnish Lapphunds, but any purebred registered dog breed. Why ask this question? Because experience matters. The Finnish Lapphund has been AKC recognized since June 30, 2011. The Finnish Lapphund parent club, the FLCA, formed in 2005, when the main venue of note for dog shows for this breed was in UKC. So breeding and showing since 2005 is one thing, but if this was the breeders' first actual show dog or dogs, then they had to raise it first, and learn the ropes. Statistics from AKC consistently show that most people who try out the sport of 'dogs' are in and out of it in approximately 5 years. Few exhibitors or breeders make it past that litmus test and a truly experienced breeder usually can document sustained participation in the sport for more than twice that long as a minimum, and usually much longer. Some of the most outspoken self-proclaimed experts in any breed are folks with their first show dogs. Experienced breeders with decades of time watching, learning and asking questions as well as exhibiting their dogs (and breeding the best to the best to move forward) will tell you that the more time passes, the more they realize how much they still have to learn.

2. Participation in AKC events: Showing the parents of the puppy you are considering is how a reputable, ethical breeder will compare their impression of the quality of the parents to the opinions of judges and other breeders. Competing against other dogs of the same breed will help prove that a dog is suitable to pass its genes on to offspring. The breed standard is a blueprint that describes the ideal specimen of a breed, and when breeders strive to produce dogs that meet the standard, this is how the breed is kept healthy, structurally sound and visually a correct example of the breed. As a prospective buyer, looking for a healthy long-lived companion, you should expect that your puppy will grow up to resemble the breed you chose, both visually, structurally, AND in their temperament. You selected this breed because of how it looked and more importantly because of how the personality and temperament of this breed was described. AKC Champion and Grand Champion titles are a sign that the breeder has invested the time, training and money into proving the quality of the parents. It is vital that you see all that in the pedigree and health records of the parents of any puppy you consider. Look at it as something like a seal of approval, or a 5 star rating.....


3. The reasons this breeder is breeding: Ask the breeder why they are breeding, why they are breeding these particular two dogs together, and what they expect to accomplish by doing so.

What you don't want to hear from a breeder: "Because we want a puppy, our friends/relatives/neighbors want a puppy, it would be a good experience for my kids to see a litter of puppies born, the female ought to have a litter before she is spayed, we would like to make the money back from the purchase price of this dog, we could use some extra spending money", etc. If the breeder avoids the question of why they are breeding, or can't really give you a very good explanation of why this particular breeding is planned, is another red flag.

GOOD answers: We love this breed, and the parents have earned AKC titles as well as passing health tests considered desireable in this breed. We have been in this breed for (fill in the blank) years, and prior to that we also showed and bred (fill in the blank) and we want to improve upon these dogs, to produce something even nicer, to go forward with in this breed.

3. Health Clearances: Have both dogs had their health clearances? That includes OFA or Penn Hip ratings on hips, elbows and knees, CERF eye exam, PRA gene test and/or PRA status of both parents.

4. Additional details to ask about: Shipping, guarantees, lifetime support, lifetime take-back requirement, etc. You will want to ask these things as well. Discuss it all with the person you are considering obtaining a puppy from.