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Okay so this thread is aimed to help people find a good dog breeder.

So first of -be honest with yourself- do you really want a dog, are you fully prepared to pay for all the needs of this dog/puppy (food, vet bills, grooming if needed, training). Are you fully prepared to train and socialize this dog/puppy and take responsibility for anything it does. You HAVE to be 100% ready for anything because you CANNOT simply bring this dog/puppy to the shelter if he/she is being difficult -that's not how it works. This is a living thing NOT a robot, so you must be aware that this dog/puppy is NOT something you can ignore, it NEEDS you and it is YOUR responsibility as his/her owner to take care of him/her.

Okay now that that is cleared up, I highly recommend that you look at shelters before you set your eye on a certain breed/deside you want to buy from a breeder since there are a lot of wonderful dogs out there who need a loving home. Who knows, a shelter might just have your perfect match :)

Anyway, if you have considered this but still want to buy from a breeder here are things you'll need do/know:

1. Know what breed you want, and if you are capable of giving this breed it's needs (example: Australian Shepherds are high energy dogs and need a lot of exercise, Irish Wolfhound needs a lot of space not a small apartment) So study/search until you find a breed your happy with.

2. Look up potential health problems that the breed may be prone to, you'll need to know if the dog/puppy's parents were checked for some of these.

3. Don't pick the rarest breed in the world unless you can afford to go visit the breeder even if they are _____ miles/kilometres away, or there happens to be a breeder not that far from where you live.

Now that you have your mind on a breed, look at breed specific rescues for hat breed you've chosen, you might find a dog/puppy you like. If you still want to buy from a breeder, look around for some breeders and contact them. Here are some things a good breeder should do:

1. Breeders might require you to "book an appointment" since they have a life too, but it might be a red flag if they keep calling to change your appointment time -they might be trying to clean their kennels before you come visit.

2. The mom of the pups should be at the property and not off at a "dog show, vet appointment...etc...."

3. The breeder will often offer you references to check out about her dogs, from previous buyers or other breeders.

4. They will breed a bitch no more than 4 times. Most set their bitch's limit at 3.

5. The breeder will give you information on dog/puppy's parents upon request, even if they do not own the sire. Those who refuse to give any info on either parents are hiding something and should be avoided.

6. The breeder will not breed a dog less than 24 months old and no older than 7 yrs old - depending on the breed.

7. A good breeder might focus 1 or 2 specific breeds. Some might own more, but only breed one breed.

8. They discuss the various health issues specific to the breed. They will also give you an update on the health line of the pup that you are interested in (always ask if the breeder has tested the line for genetically transferable diseases, example: vWD - von Wilebrand disease)

9. They will require that you sign a contract 'stating that you will not breed without their knowledge and or consent, but most have a "spay/neuter" contract in which you have to get the dog/puppy spayed/neutered. If given full breeding rights then you do not have to get their permission to breed the dog, unless I suppose, you co-own the dog with the breeder. So either you purchase the pet with full registration (showing and breeding rights included) or on a Limited registration (no breeding rights given) the later means, even if you do breed, the offspring will not be able to be registered with the AKC, CKC or what ever registry they are with. I've heard of breeders making people sign a contact stating that if they breed the dog under the limited registration, the breeder will take legal action to confiscate the dog and file breach of contract charges The contract should also have a clause in it stating that they will guarantee the health of the pup for a specific time (things like hip dysplasia, bleeding disorders, elbow disorders etc). They will also request in the contract that you bring the pup back to them if you can no longer keep it.

10. The pups will not be released until they are a minimum of 8-12 wks, though good breeder wills not be in a hurry to sell their dog/puppy and will make sure that they've done all they can to make sure their dog/puppy is going to a good home. That being said, breeders that push to sell their dog/puppy are holding a red flag.

11. A good breeder has all of their dogs tattooed and/or microchipped. and registered with the AKC (american kennel club) or CKC (canadian kennel club) or the national registry from where you are.

12. Some breeders will give you a gift certificate to help off set the first puppy check up.

13. Good breeders will pay for the dog/puppy's first shots and deworming before the dog/puppy leaves them, and excellent breeders will keep the pup until they have received ALL their shots and have been successfully dewormed, included in their cost.

14. The breeder will show you other dogs on the premises and all should appear healthy, well groomed and well socialized.

15. Good breeders will NEVER sell their dog/puppy's through a pet store.

16. Never purchase a dog/puppy from a breeder who request more money to register the pup under your name.

17. A good breeder has photo albums full of all of the litters that they have had.

18. A good breeder has a set goal in improving their breed, and will often focus on one trait (example: less drooling in Newfoundlanders) but will not let this focus affect any other traits/health. They should be able to explain the dog breeds standard to you very easily, and will (upon request) explain how what they are doing is going to help improve this breed.

19. A good breeder will take part in Dog show's to which the Dam/Sire will have earned a title, OR for working stock breeders - specific working competitions (scent tracking- bloodhound, Schutzhund- German Shepherd Dog...ect...) and earned a title in one of those. There is a big difference between show lines and working lines. it is recommended to look more into the difference before you decide to buy from show lines or working lines.

19. Your breeder will answer as many questions as you have and will often send you home with food and a treat and blanket when you leave, basically a puppy kit.

20. A good breeder will encourage you to visit more then once before you bring a dog/puppy home.

21. Feeds high quality dog food.

22. A good breeder will inform you on any special requirements this dog/puppy's breed will need. Example: Will be able to help show/explain any special grooming requirements a breed may need.

23. Often times a good breeder will have potential buyers / interested parties on a waiting list, months or even years before a planned breeding takes place. They will have answers as to why they have breed these 2 particular dogs and will be happy to explain their choice to you.

24. Some good breeders have a website - mostly used as a referrence, to keep a compiled list of proper health testing, dates, important information on each of the parents, proof of tittles, various pictures of points /championships being earned etc...the website is not used as a marketing tool so much as an easily accessible format to keep all pertinent documents together. Having a website or not having one, shouldn't be cause for concern. Look more at the substance of the site and it's true purpose to deturmine if the breeder is providing important info or using it as a clever marketing tool.

25. If you inquire, you might be surprised to find out that several good breeders are also involved in one extent or another in rescue of their specific breed. Whether through their local agencies or with the national breed club. If you are looking for a purebred, but have no interest in breeding or showing and if age is of little concern to you, why not ask the breeder if they are involved with or can refer you to a breed specific rescue. An exceptional breeder feels responsible not only for what they themselves create, but also for others in need. After all, this is usually their heart breed and the very established breeders, will have devoted a better part of their lives to the betterment of the breed and the protection of it, as well. They are often the best to evaluate the breeds' health issues/concerns/special needs and can usually match up a dog with the right owner, based on years of experience and fine tuned intuition.

4,936 Posts
If a breeder does any of the following, they are defiantly not good and you should AVOID them:

1. They wont allow you to see the puppy's parents or other siblings. Though this is not always possible, especially in the case of the Sire, he may have been flown in for the breeding and has since returned home. In some rare cases, the bitch may have been artificially inseminated and the Sire isn't even in the Country or even alive. Seeing photos, titles, health test results, accomplishments, even videos of the Sire is certainly something the breeder should have no problem providing you with. You should see the Mother and the other pups without a doubt but keep in mind that they Mother will not be looking her best because of the toll the pups have taken on her body/coat etc. Often they are clipped down and wont be looking as they normally would. Photos/titles/healthy test results should also be readily available for both parents and presented to you.

2. They wont allow you to see the breeding facility and will offer to bring the pups to your home for you to see.

3. The dog/puppy's parents do not have registration papers, and/or the breeder will not be registering the pup.

4. They do not have or they will they let you see the pedigree on the parents.

5. None of the dog/puppy's are guaranteed

6. None have been dogs checked for genetic diseases.

7. None of the dogs have been OFA'd

8. They do not want you returning the pup if something goes wrong and will usually state "once you leave its your problem"

9. They breed more then 2 breeds of dogs, some of which might be "designer dogs"

10. They have not had the puppies health checked once since birth

11. They will refuse to give you their vets name and address

12. They do not demand spaying or neutering of companion dogs (dogs that will not show, are not show quality).

13. There have been no mandatory vaccinations performed or no mandatory deworming

14. Breeding solely for 'pet or breed' quality is NEVER what is best for the breed. Some will breed a specific breed, example: Alaskan Malamute for size and try to breed a larger dog. This raises the chances of hip and other problems.

15. Does not have any veterinary records on any of the dogs at their facility (adult or otherwise)

16. Does not show records of pervious titles with dogs.

17. Does not question you about the environment the dog/puppy will be going too.

18. Advertises "rare colors, sizes...etc..." especially in breeds like German Shepherd Dogs, Dobies, Rotties or advertises 'King size' German Shepherd Dog, Great Dane...etc...

19. Advertises the pups for greatly reduced prices (example: 200$ instead of 2000$)

20. Breeds dogs before age the age of 2 years old

21. Sells to pet shops, in flea markets...etc...

22. If paying by check, the purchaser should expect to wait until the check "clears" before taking full ownership of the pup/dog. Cash or Money order is usually not a big red flag but I suppose for those who are not wanting to "wait" for the check to clear, it would mean they are impatient and that in itself should be questioned. Plus some people do not want a paper trail of your transaction, either for future legal dealings (should something go wrong with the pup) or if they are trying to hide their extra income from the government.

23. Beware of breeders that require payments through paypal or have ATMS or Interact machines on premises.

24. Does not offer references from anyone who has purchased before you

25. Stay away from breeders who guarantee that their pups are "Show Quality" at a young age, when it is near impossible to predict, such as any pup under 12 weeks old. They may, with repeat breedings and years of experience, be able to suggest that any particular pup may have "show potential" but a good breeder will never put their reputation on the line and try to guarantee that a pup is show quality at such a young age. Too many factors need to be considered /evaluated at a later date. Also no pup is perfect or without faults, the breeder should be able to tell you what those faults are. Being upfront about their strengths and weaknesses, is something that should be expected. If a breeder says a pup is perfect - they are most likely not being impartial and are either inexperienced or being misleading.

I hope this helps as a lot of people don't take these kinds of things into consideration before buying from a breeder.
Additional resources

This is a good place to start narrowing down potential breeds.

This link has the health tests recommended by the national breed clubs within the US. Most breeds recognized by the AKC are part of this program, however not all are. If the health tests are not listed on this site people can check with their chosen breed’s national breed club to get this info. Also, this site links to the testing organizations like the OFA and CERF where people can read more about the importance of the tests and even double check the scores of a potential pup’s dam and sire.

The AKC website provides access to breed standards and additional info on each breed.

And people can use the event search page on the AKC website to find events in their area where they will be able to meet dogs and breeders of the breed they are interested in.

Making the right choice - 3 Steps to purchasing a purebred puppy

How to find a CKC accredited Breed Club
CKC Accredited Clubs

Choosing A Breeder - Canada's Guide to Dogs
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