Tips for Choosing a Dog Breeder

Posted on by Jayme Dukart

After a lot of time and research, you have finally decided on what type of purebred puppy you want. But deciding on the breed was the easy part – now you’re faced with finding a good, honest and reputable breeder that will not be selling you a puppy mill dog. There are some key signs to look for that will help to ensure you’re buying from and supporting a breeder who is more concerned with the health and well-being of their puppies than the amount of money you’re giving them.

Good breeders will:

  1. Interview you and ask questions, such as why you want one of their puppies, what kind of lifestyle you have, what your family is like, and where the puppy will spend most of its day.
  2. Welcome all of your questions and answer them to their fullest ability so you can make an informed decision about buying one of their puppies.
  3. Know the ancestry of the puppies, starting with the parents, then grandparents and even beyond.
  4. Happily and readily show proof of genetic screening for both parents.
  5. Allow you to see both parents (assuming the father is also on sight), and both parents will be happy, friendly and outgoing.
  6. Give you references from families who have already bought a puppy from them, as well as from the veterinarian that cares for their pets.
  7. Provide health documentation for both the parents and the puppies prior to purchase; all puppies will be dewormed and have received their first round of vaccines.
  8. Wean their puppies at 7-8 weeks of age (and no sooner).
  9. Socialize the puppies with other people and animals.
  10. Allow both the adults and puppies to spend time in the house and consider them part of the family. They don’t keep the dogs out in kenneled runs for most of their lives.
  11. Require you to sign a written contract that includes a health guarantee, and require you to spay/neuter your puppy (assuming it is going to be a companion pet and not a show dog). They will also require you to contact them if you should ever be in a situation where you can no longer keep the dog.
  12. Have an open door throughout the life of your dog and provide all the guidance and support that they can.
  13. Have several years of experience breeding the specific breed, and have a waiting list to buy a puppy because they preferably only breed each dog one time per year.
  14. Be actively involved in local, state and national clubs for that particular breed; they may also show their dogs.
  15. Breed only one specific breed, maybe two – anymore than that should raise concern.

Above all else, constantly ask yourself this question through every stage of the selection and buying process: is the breeder behaving the way you would if you really cared about the puppies and wanted to ensure that they have happy and healthy lives in their new homes? If any red flags are raised for any reason, trust your instincts and continue your search to find and support a reputable breeder.

About Jayme Dukart

Jayme Dukart is on Banfield's Medical Quality Advancement Team at Central Team Support in Portland, OR. View all posts by Jayme Dukart →

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