I'd rather buy a new car than find another breeder
It's difficult to find someone you can trust. It can help to contact the breeder referral person for the national breed club or others with the same breed for recommendations.
When I was looking I received great information from a number of people including a local breeder, a breeder on the other side of the country, and a poodle owner also on the opposite coast. Breeders have reputations and people active in the dog world and/or breed clubs should be able to advise you.
When I evaluate breeders, I look for a few things:
- Do they do the health testing recommended by the breed parent club? Do / will they provide proof?
- Do they breed for the "total dog" meaning health, structure (or conformation to breed standard), temperament, and working ability/drive? This often means they breed their dogs with dogs from other kennels (i.e., they don't routinely breed their dogs and bitches to each other).*
- Are they active in the dog world as members of local or nation breed and/or kennel clubs?
- Do they do something with their dogs other than breeding? Do they show in conformation? Compete in performance sports? Participate in real world work? (This is more a personal issue for me. I like to know that breeders consider their dogs more than just "puppy machines" and that they believe in their dog enough to allow outside evaluation.)
- I try not to judge web pages (some great breeders have horrible web site - or no site at all). I will judge if there is misinformation, repeated "typos" related to basic dog terms (e.g., confirmation vs conformation), or marketing terms (e.g., teacup or tiny toys).
- You should be able to meet the puppies and dam - when it's safe for them. The sire may not be available if he is from a distant breeder.
I don't think there is a perfect
breeder. There are some breeders whose ethics align better with mine than others. Some breeders make choices I'd like to support and other breeders make choices I can't, in good conscience, support. But, they're not perfect.
This Breeder Comparison Matrix
is nice summary of things to consider when evaluating a breeder.
* Breeders who have been around for a number of years or who have brought outside dogs into their program will breed their dogs and bitches in addition to
breeding to outside lines.