Who – or what - are we rescuing?
The obvious answer is Bull Terriers in need of a home, but for those of us involved in the Rescue “What” are we rescuing is unfortunately becoming more of an issue.
We are extremely blessed that our Texas Gulf Coast Bull Terrier Club has a group of dedicated responsible breeders who ensure that this breed we all love continues to stay in breed standards. However, the Bull Terriers that we rescue do not come from ethical Bull Terrier Club of America accredited breeders such as these, but from the for-profit only breeders on Craigslist, Facebook and other internet sites, who are the absolute polar opposite of reputable breeders.
For-profit (FP)/backyard breeders (BYB) do not health test for Deafness, Lethal Acrodermatis (LAD), Heart or Kidney Disease – all unfortunate issues with our breed. Accredited breeders health test to include: BAER Test for deafness, LAD DNA Test, Color Doppler Echocardiograms on Hearts and Urine Protein Ratios on Kidneys.
BYBs do not “take back” their puppies for ANY reason – but do offer a 7 day guarantee if the puppy DIES in that first week. Accredited breeders state in their contracts that “if for any reason you cannot keep the Bull Terrier… it comes home”. They accept their lineage back for YEARS.
The only “check” BYBs make on potential homes is the one they accept for payment! You may be required to be on a waiting list for a puppy from an accredited breeder. You may also be required to complete their puppy questionnaire, have home visit(s), provide vet and personal references and drive to pick up your puppy so the breeder is comfortable in your desire to have one of their puppies. You will also be required to sign a contract for the protection of the puppy/dog and the breeder’s bloodlines.
BYBs will sell you a puppy at 4-6 weeks. Puppies will be 10-12 weeks before they leave the accredited breeder. They recognize the importance of staying in the litter and with their dam for that length of time.
Your BYB puppies may be commercially transported or they will meet you in a parking lot. They disappear after selling you a puppy. Accredited breeders puppies must be picked up in person and the breeder will monitor/mentor as needed for the health and well-being of the puppy for its lifetime.
BYBs advertise pups on Facebook and/or Craigslist or have a fancy-looking website. Accredited Breeders can be found at dog shows exhibiting their breeding stock against the Breed Standard, they advertise in Show magazines/BT Club publications, they have waiting lists for their litters because of referrals, word of mouth and their reputations for quality Bull Terriers.
BYBs have frequent litters, using the same Dam many times. Breeding is not planned based on improving the breed, but purely for profit. Any sire is acceptable, with no concern for health or temperament. Accredited Breeders do not breed every time a female comes in season. They research pedigrees and plan breedings based on producing the best Bull Terrier possible, this includes health testing, and temperament of both dam and sire being paramount. Health tests are available for buyers to view.
BYB puppies are likely not microchipped. Puppies may not be able to be AKC registered. Accredited breeders puppies are microchipped, BAER tested, AKC registered, vet health checked and up to date on shots prior to being placed. The litter has been AKC Registered and paperwork is provided to register puppies. Many accredited breeders are AKC Breeders of Merit.
The obvious comparison is that anyone with the money can rather quickly purchase a puppy from a FP/BYB without knowing if this is an appropriate home for a bull terrier, or an appropriate breed for the family. The health of the puppy isn’t guaranteed and it probably wasn’t seen by a vet or vaccinated. Good breeders have a waiting list for their litters and have no need to “dump” them at a reduced fee and their dogs never end up at a shelter. Breeders do not need for adopters to “feel sorry” for and adopt a pup that is scrawny, sickly and in dire need of care.
As a rescue, we provide care and services that should have been provided by the backyard/ for profit breeder. We educate and mentor the adopter on owning a bull terrier; the health, exercise and training needed to keep a bullie happy in their new home. Because FP/BYBs will continue to use the same lineage, the recessive “faults” in their genetics become concentrated and litters will not have the breed standard appearance, fair temperament or good health. We test our rescue dogs because a faulty “look” may also indicate a faulty temperament.
We are fortunate that the majority of our rescue dogs recover with the proper vet care, nutrition and training that our voluntary group provides. The heart-wrenching part of rescue is that sometimes we cannot save some from their poor breeding and previous bad or uneducated owners. We cannot save them all.
We are contacted by owners who want to surrender their bull terrier when they begin to show bad temperaments or health issues ... but we cannot take all of them. There are too many of them and too few of us.
We rescue the dogs we can, but as long as people keep buying from FP/BYBs the problem will continue to worsen.