How to Find a Good Dog Breeder
Not all dog breeders are the same. It’s important to understand the differences between responsible breeders who invest in your puppy’s mental and physical health, breeders chasing the almighty dollar (looking for financial gain) and uneducated breeders.
Don’t Let Price Fool You
Many potential pet parents assume reputable breeders charge more for their puppies. This is not true. In 25 years of experience, I’ve noticed non-reputable breeders charging the same amount or more, and they have a lower overhead because they don’t health test or take puppies back.
Responsible breeders lose money because they’ve invested so much in the beginning. Health testing one adult dog costs between $350-$600, depending on the amount of inheritable diseases plaguing a breed. As you read the requirements for a reputable breeder, keep a mental note of cost. You’ll quickly realize they’re not breeding dogs for profit, but they breed dogs to improve the breed–that’s their motive (currency).
You May Have to Wait
Yes, I know you want a puppy now so read on impatient reader. 🙂
Reputable breeders only breed dogs when they want a puppy so they may breed a few times a year. Unethical and uneducated breeders churn out unlimited amounts of puppies, which attracts impatient pet owners.
Oi, I can’t tell you how many people have asked my advice when searching for a breeder. They listen, take notes and ask lots of questions, then they stubble upon a kind lady (who doesn’t health test or so forth) with puppies on the ground and impatience wins.
Understand that’s a smart business plan for unethical and uneducated people looking to make money. They have a ready supply of puppies, as most consumers crave instant gratification. Puppies are not a commodity. They live, breathe and love. Please wait for the right puppy from a reputable breeder. It will be well worth the wait. 🙂
Responsible breeders are educated and follow specific guidelines, as they’re looking to better the breed instead of making money.
If someone doesn’t meet the below requirements, keep looking.
Good Dog Breeder Qualifications
Health Test – No Exceptions Ever
All dog breeds (even mixed) have health issues, and health testing adult dogs (over two years old) is the only way to identify and prevent chances of passing these onto puppies. Check out this article on understanding the importance of health testing and acceptable documentation verifying dogs have been tested and passed.
Never accept verbal promises. Always ask for documentation. If someone says, “I don’t have diseases in my lines,” they are lying.
Keep Puppies Until 8-10 Weeks Old
Puppies must stay with their mother and littermates until 8-10 weeks to develop mentally and socially. If someone allows puppies to leave earlier, don’t get a puppy from him. As a dog trainer, I can’t stress this enough. Most unethical breeders send puppies home earlier because they don’t want to feed or clean up after them–that’s the real reason.
Provide a Lifetime Contract
Yes, lifetime contracts. Contracts protect you and your puppy. If someone doesn’t offer a contract or limits inheritable heath issues within a 2-4 year period, walk away.
Take Puppy or Dog Back
Reputable breeders state in your puppy’s contract they will take your puppy or adult dog (at any age) back for any reason. They want to make sure their puppies have the best home, and if you don’t want that precious puppy any longer, they will take her back and find a forever home.
With that said, take a long deep look inside and make sure you’re ready to provide a forever wonderful life for a dog. If not, it’s okay and be glad you made the decision now instead of disrupting the life of a puppy or adult dog.
All puppies must be permanently identified. This ensures your puppy is returned home if she becomes lost. If a breeder refuses to permanently identify a puppy, walk away. Perennially, I don’t trust breeders that refuse to microchip or tattoo. There’s this ugly game that some unethical breeders play. They provide puppy buyers with heath testing for dogs, which are not even the parents. Yup, and the only way to disprove is by identifying parents by scanning their microchips.
Provide Support Throughout Lifetime of Puppy
They will answer all your questions and provide tips on feeding, socializing and training your puppy. They’re right there with you, celebrating milestones and supporting you through tough times like when your puppy needs surgery to remove a swallowed toy. 🙂 These folks are educated and continue learning. You can’t put a price on having an expert a phone call away.
Member of National Breed Club
National breed club members create breed standards (describes temperament and conformation of a specific breed of dog). These folks show in conformation (dog shows) and are extremely educated about your chosen breed.
This is the perfect place to locate a reputable breeder, but make sure to interview them just like they will surely interview you too. When adding a purebred dog to my home, I’ve found my breeders through national breed clubs. The only time I didn’t, I lived to regret it–one day I’ll write about it, but it’s so painful. I’d rather keep it boxed inside my heart for now.
Don’t forget to print out these guidelines and ask lots of questions.
Find national breed clubs through AKC or UKC. Select a breed and scroll down for breed club information. To learn more about AKC, UKC or Continental Kennel Club (CKC), check out this article explaining the differences. I don’t recommend Continental Kennel Club because it’s a tough place to locate a reputable breeder. This article will explain further.