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How to Know If You’re Getting Your Puppy From a Good Breeder

After doing your research and selecting your puppy’s breed, it’s time to research the questions you should ask dog breeders and watch out for red flags when you come across an unethical breeder. Puppies easily win over our hearts, but it’s important to understand what to expect from your dog breeder as well. But what are the questions you need to ask and how would you know if the breeder you selected is actually good?

There are a number of things you need to look into when deciding on which breeder to buy your dog from. It all starts with how they care for their breeding pairs and the puppies. Good breeders invest in genetic testing to make sure that their puppies are absolutely healthy.

What is a Responsible Breeder?

A responsible breeder exhibits in-depth knowledge of the breed of dog they represent and has years of experience with it. A responsible breeder ensures that their animals exhibit the desired physical and behavioral traits by paying close attention to the breed’s conformation, temperament, and history. 

They aim to have litters that will do well in their chosen careers, whether showing, hunting, working, or being a pet. Breeders who care about their reputation are proud to be recognized as knowledgeable and valuable resources for pet owners. Breeders are responsible for organizing their litters and giving both the parents and the puppies medical attention. To ensure that puppies are prepared for success in the show ring, in the workplace, or as a family pet, they offer the proper socialization. They take care to provide their breeding dogs and puppies with sanitary, cozy, and secure housing as part of this.

How Can You Spot an Unethical Breeder?

Animal welfare is barely or never a concern for unethical breeders. They breed dogs without taking into account the genetic characteristics they pass on to their progeny. They don’t offer adequate, hygienic, or secure housing or proper medical care. There is no comparison between a dog breeding facility run by a responsible breeder and an unethical breeder.

10 Signs of a Bad Dog Breeder

You’ve chosen your ideal breed, and you’re now looking for your ideal dog. You can find a list of authorized breeders by checking the AKC or CKC, and once you visit their websites, they appear to be reliable. But how can you be sure that you’re doing business with the best? The top ten red flags that a breeder is bad are listed below.

The Dogs Are Being Sold for Less Than They Are Worth

Like everyone else, we enjoy finding a good deal, but when it comes to savings on a future family member, we caution you to proceed cautiously. It costs a lot to buy a well-bred dog. You should question your breeder’s motivations if she sells her puppies for less than the breed’s average selling price. There is definitely a lot of cost-cutting going on. Additionally, you want nothing short of the best care possible for them, especially in those crucial early months.

You Are Not Required to Sign a Contract

A home must undergo a rigorous inspection, and a contract must be signed these days to adopt a dog says a lot.

A knowledgeable breeder will want to make sure they have the legal right to reclaim their pups if the owner cannot care for them for some reason and the dog ends up in a shelter or, worse yet, is put down. This way, they can guarantee that the dog won’t be put down or worse, put down to death. Dealing with a careless breeder if no contract is given to you.

They Don’t Give You Any Health or Pedigree Records

Knowing exactly what you’re getting when you buy from a breeder is the whole point. A puppy information package with care instructions, registration papers, vaccination records, and a contract with a replacement guarantee should be included in the standard paperwork you receive when you buy your furry friend.

They Either Breed Dogs That Are Too Young, Too Old, or Too Many Times Breed a Female

Around six months old, females typically experience their first estrus (season or heat). Males usually mature between 12 and 15 months. To ensure a bitch is mature, responsible breeders wait until she is 12 months old before breeding her. It’s also crucial to avoid breeding the female during consecutive heat cycles. Breeders who are good prioritize quality over quantity. Most of the top breeders have waiting lists for their puppies. And they give their girls early retirement. The mama dog should also live a life filled with love.

They Appear to be Unaware of or in Denial of Breed-Specific Genetic Issues

In addition to giving people lifelong family members, reputable breeders are typically also showing their puppies at competitions because they are proud of their pups and breeding methods. The best breeders began their careers out of a love for a particular breed to raise the standard of that breed.

However, health issues can occur in purebred dogs. A good breeder will address any queries or worries regarding potential breed-specific genetic problems without hesitation. An excellent breeder thoroughly understands the breed and will address common problems before you even ask.

They Don’t Provide Any References

Nowadays, most breeders have Facebook or Instagram pages where their adorable furry friends can be featured in photos and stories. Find thousands of dog owners’ pictures and stories by searching for the breed you want. Be bold and ask other owners if they are familiar with the breeders you are speaking to and if they have any comments. Most dog owners will be glad to point you in the right direction.

A good breeder will gladly share references from previous litters in addition to you doing some of your research. She is incredibly proud of her puppies.

They Don’t Offer to Take You to Meet the Parents or Allow You to Visit the Facility Where the Puppies Were Raised Full-Time

When you arrive at the breeder’s house, you’re welcomed inside and shown to the living room, where you find an X-pen full of content puppies! Joy! Puppies can be distracting due to how adorable they are, but make sure you meet their parents so you can properly assess their temperament and general health. Find another breeder if the mother doesn’t appear to have received proper care.

Breeders are posting more videos of their facilities inside on their websites as of late. When prospective buyers are away, ask for a tour to see where everyone hangs out. A problem exists if your breeder doesn’t show you.

The Puppies Haven’t Received the Necessary Socialization

Your dog should be socialized as well as appear well-fed and clean. Puppies should have the chance to start exploring at around 4–5 weeks old. They develop self-assurance, playfulness, and interpersonal skills as a pack. Puppies that have received good socialization have spent time outside and have been exposed to various sounds, smells, and people, enhancing their intelligence and adaptability. This is a critical phase in the training and temperament development of your pet in the future.

They Don’t Ask You Any Questions About Yourself

If your breeder doesn’t inquire about your way of life and lodgings, something needs to be fixed. She ought to conduct the same due diligence on potential customers as they do on her. Breeds differ in their requirements. Everyone involved should ensure that this is the best situation for your family’s needs as well as the health and happiness of the dog.

Something Feels Off to You

Everybody has a gut feeling when something is off. Even if you don’t know why you have that feeling, trust it and get out of there.

Families frequently purchase from unreliable breeders because they feel bad for the puppies. Even though it may be difficult, by preventing the breeder from having more litters, you can prevent many more people from suffering the same fate.

Since we view our dogs as members of the family, we want to commemorate each anniversary together. In sickness and health, remember that you are committing to a lifetime commitment. Do not disregard any of these red flags if you happen to notice them.

11 Signs of an Responsible and Ethical Breeder

Some would-be pet parents fall head over heels in love with a particular dog they’ve met, like a French bulldog, one of the two varieties of corgis, or a Cavapoo, to the point where they look for someone who breeds those particular dogs. But what exactly qualifies as a good breeder? Why does it matter, too?

Responsible breeding practices, appropriate medical attention and socialization, and thoughtful puppy home placement are all characteristics of someone who is committed to giving the mother and her puppies the best lifetime care possible. The opposite of this is a backyard breeding operation or a puppy mill, where the dogs’ health and welfare are put last in favor of business success.

A trustworthy breeder won’t just sell you a puppy via an online store. They spend time and money on training to ensure that your new pet is fit for any environment and healthy for life.

When selecting the best breeder for your future family member, consider these 11 factors.

Breed Club Membership

The majority of registered breeders aim to preserve specific breed traits. Many people participate in dog shows, performance competitions, and breed clubs. It’s a good sign if a breeder has this level of dedication to the dogs they love, even if you don’t want a show dog.

However, for a variety of reasons, some breeders might decide not to join a breed club. Ask a breeder why they are not a breed club member if they meet the other requirements and you find that they do.


In order to produce puppies that are genetically sound and healthy, responsible breeders must invest years in research and study. Furthermore, because their mothers typically have one litter per year, successful programs don’t start after just one. It’s about online surveillance if you’re interested in learning about a breeder’s experience. Google their name, check their Facebook page, and see if there’s any unwanted media attention.

Number of Breeds Available

The number of breeds available is a concerning distinction between puppy mills and ethical breeders. It would be very challenging to breed more than two puppies and do it well because it takes so much time and commitment to a breed. There might be exceptions, but it should undoubtedly raise red flags.

Health and Temperament Screening

Canines have inheritable diseases and conditions, just like humans, and every responsible breeder follows quality testing of the father and the mother to lessen the likelihood that those medical conditions will manifest in offspring.

Owners ought to request parental health exams. Have OFA elbows and hips been passed? Has anyone screened them for eyes and hearts? Tests are also necessary for other breed-specific diseases; corgis, for instance, require screenings for degenerative myelopathy to identify spinal problems.

Breeders ought to assess the temperament of their breeding dogs and offspring. According to the American Kennel Club, these tests determine whether a dog will be sociable, friendly, curious, and able to bounce back from unexpected events quickly.

You should get this information for free, along with the results of the health tests and a parent’s genealogy. Breeders ought to be delighted to offer it.

Socialization Strategy

The majority of people want a family dog, not a show dog, so it’s important to select a responsible breeder who puts health and socialization before appearance. Find a breeder who is dedicated to producing successful companion animals.

Reputable breeders emphasize early socialization and training with positive reinforcement for their puppies to:

  • Introduce them to new sights and sounds both inside and outside a typical home.
  • Aid them in becoming accustomed to interacting with various people, including infants, children, and other animals.
  • Prevent anxiety, tension, and the possibility of reactivity

Every responsible breeder ought to have a socialization plan. Setting up puppies for success is essential. Some breeders adhere to trainer-established programs, while others create their own. They ought to offer additional advice on socialization that pet owners can use at home with their young puppies as they mature.

Can They Address Every Question You Have?

Ask discerning breeders probing questions regarding practices intended to promote puppy growth. Here are some examples of questions you need to ask in addition to health and temperament exams and socialization activities:

  • Why are you breeding these dogs?
  • How often are female dogs bred? 
  • How many litters have they had?
  • What kind of vet care do parents and offspring get?
  • Are they vaccinated?
  • When are they weaned?

Getting Puppies Ready for Their Forever Homes

Responsible breeders ought to give you a wealth of knowledge to assist you in acclimating to life with your new puppy, such as suggestions for veterinarians, training plans, and socialization advice. A good breeder will offer assistance for the dog’s entire life!

If a puppy isn’t the right fit for your family, trustworthy breeders should always take it back for rehoming. All rules apply.

Proper Facilities for Visitors

Dog experts advise avoiding a breeder completely if they won’t let you visit, interact with the puppies, and meet at least the mother. In fact, ethical breeders encourage multiple visits before pick-up day so you can learn more about each puppy’s temperament and choose the one that best suits your needs.

Observe the breeding facilities while you’re there visiting your prospective puppy. You must observe whether the litter has access to wholesome food, clean water, shelter, space to roam, and human contact. Watch the mother’s response to you as well.

Screening Buyers

It’s common for pet owners to have preconceived notions about the breed of dog they want.

Reputable breeders who want to place puppies with suitable families should expect you to ask them enlightening questions.


Responsible breeders don’t create litter to replenish their supply. They maintain lists of pre-approved potential owners who could provide good homes for their puppies in the future.

While some breeders may request a deposit, others won’t. Here’s how to stay clear of fraud.

  • Before contacting owners if you have a preferred breed, do some price research to determine the typical cost. Purebred dogs sold at steep discounts are probably scams or a continuation of puppy mills.
  • Conduct a reverse image search using the photo’s description and the animal to ensure the image is authentic.

Hybrid Dog Approach

There are unquestionably many well-liked mixed breeds, such as the Cavapoo, Labradoodle, Puggle, and Goldendoodle. They are also known as hybrid or designer dogs. Since backyard breeders and puppy mills regrettably frequently produce them, Dog Experts advise asking a breeder why they chose to breed these specific dogs together.

How to Report a Bad Breeder

Regarding kennel management, a dog breeding program, and how they handle their puppies, dog breeders can differ. Some people view it as a business, while others see it as a hobby. Some dishonest breeders aren’t even known for being good breeders. In either case, breeders are required to abide by general, sensible rules. If they don’t, you have the right to your opinion and the right to voice it. In some circumstances, you also have the right to report and complain about unreliable dog breeders.

What might be considered animal abuse by one person might only be considered animal neglect by another. Concerns about unethical dog breeders come in a variety of forms, for instance:

  • If you see an instance of animal abuse, you shouldn’t report it to the AKC, instead, inform law enforcement and humane organizations.
  • If you are aware that the breeder doesn’t perform health checks on his dogs, you shouldn’t call the police, instead, inform the Kennel Club or local shelters.

For instance, you can call the police after you see dirty kennels. Make sure you know the organization you should contact or call to report what you observed or encountered. If you’re right about that, everyone will likely look into it and get back to you.

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