Choosing a reputable dog breeder

If you’re ready to adopt a dog and you know the particular breed you’re interested in, then most of the hard work is done. You should have the information you need to find a dog breeder that’s responsible and trustworthy and that has the right dog for you.

The following is a list of traits that a responsible breeder will possess. Of course, you should always follow your instincts. If you find someone that meets all of your criteria but you’re not comfortable with them, then look elsewhere.

A responsible dog breeder:

Is very knowledgeable about their dogs and the breed

They should know every dog and puppy by name, including the individual characteristics of each puppy and the bloodlines/pedigree of the sire (father) and dam (mother). They should be active in one or more clubs for their particular breed or breeds and regularly participate in dog shows and competitions.

Has a purpose in breeding their dogs

Whether for competition in the show ring, for obedience or agility trials, or to raise quality working dogs, the breeder should have a reason for breeding the dogs. If they don’t have a purpose or are just looking to supplement their income, you should look elsewhere.

Is honest about the breed and any health issues

They should be upfront about any hereditary ailments or behavioral issues a particular breed is known for. They should test their dogs for these problems and have the necessary paperwork from the tests.

Properly socializes their puppies

They should handle and socialize each puppy and they should never be willing to sell a puppy that’s younger than seven weeks old.

Is willing to have you visit and show you the facilities

All of the breeder’s animals should be healthy and happy. There should be fresh water available and plenty of space for them to be active. Also, every dog should be well groomed.

Will answer your questions and refer you to previous buyers

Always talk to previous buyers to see how well the breeder was able to match them with their puppy or dog. This is particularly true if you’re buying the dog sight-unseen.

Asks questions of their own

You want to find a dog breeder that’s concerned that their puppy will go to a quality home. The breeder should use the puppy aptitude test or some other form of temperament testing to know the type of person best suited to adopt each puppy. Expect to be asked for references to show you’re capable of providing a loving home for your new puppy.

Doesn’t use sales tactics

You shouldn’t feel pressured to buy a puppy and you shouldn’t be asked to pay extra for a dog’s registration certificate or other information.

Is willing to provide lifelong support

The breeder should be someone you can look to for answers about your dog long after you’ve taken him home.

The length of time a person has been breeding dogs shouldn’t necessarily be a factor when trying to choose a dog breeder. Some first-time breeders are very knowledgeable and more than fit to breed dogs while others that have been in the game a long time may not know the first thing about being a responsible breeder.

Above all else, a good breeder has the best interests of you and your potential puppy in mind. You can visit the American Kennel Club website for a list of breeder referral contacts arranged by dog breed.