You’re ready to become a pet parent, but even after visiting countless shelters and rescues, you haven’t quite connected with the right dog. You’re looking for a responsible, reputable breeder to meet your perfect canine match. It’s truly important to do as much research as possible when finding a good dog breeder. Here are 10 tips on what you should look for during your search.
THEY ARE RECOGNIZED AS AN OFFICIAL BREEDER BY A TRUSTED SOURCE
When looking for a reputable dog breeder, start by checking with trusted sources like your veterinarian or national breed clubs. For example, if you are looking for a French Bulldog, the official French Bulldog Club of America keeps a directory of breeder members who have signed a code of ethics and have met a number of requirements, such as a health guarantee and a return policy. Additionally, the AKC’s website provides a search engine for AKC breeders of merit.
BREEDER SPECIALIZES IN ONE TYPE OF DOG
The most responsible breeders specialize in one or two kinds of dogs. This allows them to become experts in the breed, so they know exactly what they are doing and can educate you on how to properly raise your pup. Breeders who offer a range of dog breeds should be seen as a red flag; this could indicate that they are actually a puppy mill.
THE DOGS HAVE A LARGE, COMFORTABLE AND CLEAN SPACE
If possible, try and visit the breeder’s home before agreeing to buy one of their puppies. The best kinds of breeders offer ample, comfortable living spaces for their dogs. It’s also important to note that their puppies are not being confined in cages or small spaces constantly, and that they get proper exercise and care. Dirty and overcrowded breeding spaces should be a red flag.
THE BREEDER MAKES SURE YOU'RE READY FOR A PUPPY
It may not seem necessary, but it’s a good sign when breeders question potential dog parents about their intentions for welcoming a puppy into the family. It’s almost like a human adoption process. They want to be very sure that you are ready for this big life change, and are qualified to raise and care for the dog. If you are purchasing a larger, active dog from an expert breeder, they will ask questions about how big your living space is and if you have a yard or are near a park. Questions that prove they care about their puppies show that they are responsible and trustworthy.
PUPPIES ARE NOT ALWAYS AVAILABLE
Responsible breeders do not always have litters of puppies available for purchase. Typically, breeders only have one or two litters per year. If you are speaking with a breeder that has multiple puppies available, this might indicate that you are dealing with a puppy mill.
LINEAGE AND HISTORY OF DOGS SHOULD BE AVAILABLE
All breeders should know exactly where their puppies are from. Even new breeders should be able to tell you the history of their studs and dames. In addition to their lineage, responsible breeders should have extensive knowledge about the breed’s history, as well as their traits, temperament and health concerns.
BREEDER HAS EXCELLENT REFERENCES
Responsible breeders should be able to direct you to a number of references of people who have brought home puppies from one of their previous litters. Breeders who do not have any references or refuse to share contact information for former customers should lead you to believe they have something to hide.
BREEDER HAS GOOD REPUTATION WITH VETERINARIAN
A great breeder should have a good relationship with a veterinarian. Healthy puppies need to have visited the vet to receive a number of shots weeks and even months before they go home with you. Most breeders work with one veterinarian specifically and should be open to sharing their contact information with you.
THEY'LL ANSWER ALL YOUR QUESTIONS
Welcoming a new puppy into your life is a huge deal, so it’s totally normal to have an unending amount of questions. A good breeder should be excited and open to talking to you about every concern and question you may have about your new puppy. They should be patient and not rush you in making a decision.
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BREEDER PROVIDES A HEALTH GUARANTEE, A CONTRACT AND OFFICIAL PAPERS
A trustworthy, legitimate breeder should always provide you with a written contract and health guarantee before you purchase the dog. Lastly, they should provide you with your new puppy’s official papers and health records.
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