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Buying from a breeder

How to Find a Good Dog Breeder

Today, we are looking at How to Find a Good Dog Breeder. It’s vital you know what to ask and what answers to look out for.

How to Find a Good Dog Breeder

As a dog owner and dog lover occasionally you will have someone remark that they are thinking of getting a puppy from a breeder.
We all know that breeders can vary in terms of quality, but what would you tell a friend or a member of your family or indeed a co-worker who told you this?

What would you tell them to look out for?

If you ever decided to get a puppy for yourself then it is so important to do your due diligence and homework first.

You need to be absolutely sure that you are getting your puppy from a reputable breeder who is deeply connected to the breed of dog they are selling.

If you accidentally end up getting a puppy from a breeder who isn’t reputable then you could be supporting a puppy farm or mill that churns out unsound dogs and generally keeps the breeding dogs in horrific conditions.

Add to this the fact that your puppy could also suffer from poor health too (coming from a dog that has been treated so badly) and this could not only be truly upsetting for you and the puppy but also extremely expensive too in terms of any kind of veterinary fees.

With all of this in mind, here is a checklist that you need to arm yourself with to support anyone you know who is thinking of getting a puppy.

Top 8 Tips For Getting A Good Breeder

1. Visit The Kennel Before Buying The Puppy.

All good and responsible breeders will welcome any requests to visit their business. After all, it is THEIR business and they are running like one.
They will want people to visit as that is how they make their living.
It gives you the opportunity to meet the breeder, the dogs, and see for yourself the environment they are living in.
The visits are obviously scheduled around the age of the puppies, but it gives you ample time to get to know the entire process.
You can visit before or after the puppies are born and again, a good breeder welcomes prospective new business.

What You Should Be Looking For On Your Visit:

  • The home or kennel should be clean.
  • The kennel space should be adequate for the dogs to have the room they need and a decent sized spacious area whether it is a home or a unit business, then space and cleanliness is the first thing you need to feel comfortable with.
  • The dogs should appear healthy as we have already noted, but importantly they should also appear happy and not fearful or frightened or exhibiting any forms of aggression at all.
  • You are looking for a breeder who really cares for their dogs and the dog’s response to an owner they feel comfortable is an absolutely brilliant way of knowing you are on the right track with your search.

Many decent breeders will not allow visits when the puppies have just been born. This is normal and the best way to avoid stress and infection to mother and newborn, the little dogs need time for the immune systems to click into action, so in this instance, it would be normal not to be granted access.

After a suitable waiting period, you would expect to be invited in by the breeder to visit the puppy and also see the mum too.
The mum is going to be playing a vital role in rearing the puppies until you, possibly, take over.
It is completely normal for the puppies’ father not to be around. Many reputable and professional breeders use professional stud dogs (like bloodstock in horseracing) and therefore the chance of the make dog being there could be remote. This is not a cause for concern as long as the breeder is open about the details, which again, a decent breeder would be.

Things That Should Sound Alarm Bells.

This handy graphic is a handy quick reference guide.

How to Find a Good Dog Breeder









2. Make Certain That The Puppy’s Mother Is On Site And Available To See.

This is absolutely essential……before we go any further if the puppy’s mother is not there..don’t even bother going to the next step.
Walk away and go to another breeder.

A reputable breeder will also have an official kennel club pedigree and they will of been awarded that by your respective countries governing body. In the US it is AKC, in Canada it is the CKC and in the UK it is the Kennel Club

Information that will be held by the professional breeder will include the name and registration number of the puppy’s parents, grandparents and even, great grandparents as well.

If you are buying a pedigree dog, you need to see the pedigree, right?


X Breeder does not have the puppies mother on the premises

x Breeder cannot provide the pedigree documentation

3. Ask For Health And Genetic Screening Test Results

One of the breeders’ primary goals is to always make sure that they are breeding healthy, sound, and balanced puppies.
One of the ways that are achieved is by carrying out genetic and health screening.
A responsible breeder will make sure that the dogs are regularly tested by veterinary professionals to reduce or eliminate the possibility of passing on any inherited health issues to the next generation.

Most breeds of dog have a national club that has a list of health tests specific to the breed and that would be recommended to breeders to carry out.

Ask to see the results of these tests for both the mum and the puppy litter and also ask to see historical evidence too.

4. Does The Breeder Offer Specific Advice & Guidance?

A responsible breeder will have a vast array of knowledge about their dogs and will offer this kind of insight into the do’s and don’t of looking after the dog after you take them home. They will also be able to give guidance and support in all aspects of health, grooming, food, behavior indicators, temperament and they will be enthusiastic to provide this support.

A really decent breeder loves their dogs and the welfare of their animals should be obvious for you to see. You are looking for that connection and ongoing help and support and a decent breeder will offer that.

Taking on a new dog can be very daunting and you want to get it right so any and all positive support like this is vital.
Don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations of other people and families who have bought a puppy from them and again, a reputable breeder will be happy to offer this without any issues.

5. Does The Puppy Come With Their First Set Of Vaccinations, Vet Records, and A Unique Identifier Such As A Microchip?

Microchipping Your Dog

Reputable breeders will make sure that all of the dogs they are selling are completely up to date with all of their first course of vaccinations and veterinary records.

They will also have a health check done by the vet and this will also be in all of the paperwork pack that they offer with the dog.
They should also be offering you the information that you need to know about when the dog is due it’s next round of vaccinations.

In the US and Canada, it is the law that all new purebred dogs are either microchipped or tattooed before leaving licensed breeders’ homes.
It is the breeder’s responsibility to also provide you with the microchip details as well.

6. Are The Breeders Active Within The Breed Clubs And National Registry?

Most responsible breeders are heavily involved in the breed clubs and take a real role in activities and knowledge sharing in and around their specific breed.
It is their business after all and the fact that a purebred dog is not an inexpensive purchase, you will find that the decent and honest breeders will live and breathe the breed.

This can include them being part of regional and national clubs that are involved in the breeding of the dogs, performance clubs, and being generally heavily involved in their dog’s welfare.

Dedicated breeders are nearly always totally immersed in the role and it will be their main business and you may find that they are also involved in competitions such as national and international dog shows, obedience training, and agility course activities at a local and national level.

These activities are wide-ranging depending on breeds such as herding, scent detection, and tracking.
As I said earlier, a purebred dog from a reputable and well-respected breeder is never going to be cheap and of course, it shouldn’t be if they are running their business properly.

You will be getting a great deal of information and peace of mind if you only ever deal with breeders who can offer this level of service and future support.

7. Be Prepared To Wait

Many responsible breeders will have waiting lists so you may be required to wait several months or even a year or more to get the puppy you want.
This is the right course of action as it is much better to use that time to make absolutely sure you have the right breeder and you can do this by getting together all of the information you need along with visits to the kennels and seeing the mum to be too.

This is all the absolutely best way to go about getting the whole relationship between you and the breeder correct from the start and again, a good and decent breeder will want this relationship too.

I have known of breeders over here in the UK that go out to visit prospective customers’ homes before they agree to let them purchase a dog and it is that sort of dedication and interest in their dogs and puppies’ welfare that you need to be aiming for.

8. Have YOU been Asked Personal Questions By The Breeder?

If the breeder doesn’t ask you much or anything about you or your home circumstances then this is a major red flag and you should be walking away.
Reputable breeders who are passionate about their dog’s welfare will make it their business to full scrutinize you and ask you a whole raft of questions and as I stated before, I know of many that will do home visits before they agree on a relationship and sale.

Reputable breeders will have open lines of communication including email, phone, and Skype and many will do reference checks on you too.
This is entirely normal as reputable breeders care enormously about the welfare of their animals whilst they are in their care and beyond when they are with you.

As a prospective new dog owner, this should be no cause of concern for you, and if anything, it’s exactly the right kind of support and relationship you want to be looking for.

Once you have gotten through these first steps of qualifying for a dog, then a contract will be drawn up. It will include all of the provisions that cover your puppy’s health issues and also what would happen in the event that you are unable to keep your puppy.

A responsible breeder will insist that you return the dog to them at any point in the dog’s life if you are unable to care for it, regardless of age.

This is a very important step and one that must really be taken on board if you are going down this route of getting a new dog from a reputable breeder.

Dog Rescue

As a footnote to this, I would add that I have never gotten a dog from a breeder. It’s not something I would ever do either.
I personally feel that reputable breeders are excellent, dog-loving people who do a huge amount for the welfare of dogs and I thank them for that.

For me, it has always been and always will be about giving unwanted dogs a second chance. I have rehomed 4 rescue Greyhounds and I have loved them all equally.

They hold a special place in my heart and have enriched me as a person and made me a better man for having them in my life.

The dogs have taught me to be more patient and understanding and selfless too. I am thankful to them for that.

There are so many unwanted dogs in the world, fantastic loving dogs, that if you are ever thinking of getting a dog please go to your nearest rescue center or shelter and get to know the great people who work tirelessly in this field.
In fact, a reputable breeder would readily point you in that direction as many of them are active in rescue and rehoming too.

Shelters across the globe are full of dogs of every kind and size and breeds including purebreds and pedigree dogs too.
The 4 Greyhounds that I have rehomed were all pedigree dogs, for instance.
I am biased towards Greyhounds are they are so much fun to own and have amazing personalities and they get given a really raw deal by the dog racing community.

Ultimately it is your choice, but please remember all of the points on here and do your homework before going down the route of buying from a breeder.

Eusoh Cool
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