I’m working on a multi part series on definitions of common terms used in ‘the dog game’.
Today’s definition: Puppy Brokers (sometimes colloquially called ‘dog dealers’)
A puppy broker is someone who buys puppies, either individually or entire litters, and then re sells them at a marked up price. For example, a broker might buy a puppy from a small town Penny Saver for $50, and then re sell it through their website for $350. At the height of demand for European bred French Bulldogs, some brokers were buying puppies in Eastern Europe for as little as $300, and re selling them for as much as $2,500. Being a broker can be a very lucrative business.
Brokers can be huge commercial outfits, like The Hunte Corporation.
Hunte is estimated to supply 80% of North American pet stores with their puppies (85,000 sold in one year alone). Hunte breeds no dogs of their own, but purchases them from primarily mid western commercial dog breeders, Missouri in particular. They then are vetted at their main facility, and shipped out across North America, to stores like PJ’s and Petland. The AKC, by the way, just loves Hunte Corporation. The CBC did a great expose on the pipeline that got a puppy named Dinglehopper from Missouri to Toronto, where he was purchased from PJ’s Pet Store.
Brokers can be shady, like the ones who buy up the puppies Hunte and other big commercial brokers don’t want.
These outfits buy ‘second class’ puppies, also known as “B” grade puppies, either directly from the breeders or sometimes through a contact at the big brokers. They then re sell these puppies through penny saver ads, or at flea markets, or from Walmart parking lots. Some of them have a new twist to this – they market their “B” grade puppies as ‘rescues’, charging ‘adoption fees’ higher than they could get at flea market, and with the ‘adopter’ having signed away any expectation of getting a healthy dog.
Brokers can be importers who buy foreign litter lots of puppies, mainly from Eastern Europe.
Since whelping costs are MUCH lower there, and puppy prices very low as well, import brokers can purchase an entire litter of puppies and then re sell them at inflated American prices. Some import brokers don’t import the puppies until they have ‘orders’ for them. Many of them have slick looking websites, some of which will make claims about “FCI” puppies being miraculously healthier than North American bred ones.
Brokers can be small, and claim to be ‘Finders Services’.
These people claim that they have a secret pipeline to all of the “most exclusive” breeders in North America – breeders that you, Joe Public, couldn’t possibly qualify to purchase a puppy from. Some of them offer all kinds of bells and whistles – they’ll hand carry the puppy to you, they will stay in your home for a week and do puppy ‘nanny’ duty. These places, generally run by just one or two people, will claim that they’re doing buyers a service by pre screening puppies and breeders, so you don’t have to.
Here’s what you need to know – NO reputable breeder will EVER knowingly sell a puppy to a broker of ANY sort.
A good breeder wants to meet you. Scratch that – a good breeder will INSIST on meeting you. They want to make sure you are a good home for the puppies they’ve raised and loved and looked after. They want all of your contact information. They want you to keep in touch, and send photos, and let us know if something goes wrong.
NO good breeder would ever turn a puppy over to strangers, to be sold to strangers. The very idea is repugnant. We need to know that our puppies are safe and loved and being cared for.
There is no ‘secret puppy pipeline’, like the “Finders Services” claim there is. They find puppies primarily by calling ads from the Penny Savers, or looking for local back yard breeders – the only kind of breeders willing or clueless enough to sell to them.
ANYONE can get a great puppy, from the best breeder in the world, if they’re willing to do their homework, and show some patience – and you don’t need a broker to be your middleman.