What I Look for in a Dog Breeder

I don’t personally like to recommend breeders because of the long term implications, and it’s very rare that I will recommend someone.  

Getting a dog is a huge commitment, and not one that should be taken lightly.  This will be anywhere from 10-15 years of your life (hopefully).  So making a bad decision can be very painful whether you keep the dog and endure it, if the dog passes prematurely, or if you give up the dog.  

So, here I will give you some simple things I look for in a breeder and how I would go about finding a reputable one.

My (not so) simple tips for finding a good breeder:

  1.  Stay away from the pet stores, craigslist and people selling dogs via ads.  These are usually people in the business of quick sales and low expectations.
  2. Ask for recommendations from people who have a dog that you like?  If someone has a dog of a specific breed you like, ask them how long they’ve had it, if they’ve had issues and who the breeder is.
  3. Look into breed clubs.  Online you can find a host of information about breed specific clubs.  For example, if you were looking for a labrador retriever, you could search for Labrador Club (and your city).  If your dog is a sporting or working dog, look for clubs that engage in that activity and ask them who they recommend.
  4. When you talk to the breeder, be honest in what you are looking for, answer their questions and ask yours.  
  5. Ask if they health test both the male and the female, referred to as the Sire and Dam.  They should be testing for things like: hips, elbows, heart, eyes, dna, etc.  They should also know things about a few generations back…  what were the parent’s parents like.  
  6. Ask about the temperament of their dogs.  For example German Shepherds can come from show lines or working lines and they will be different behaviorally and energy wise.
  7. Ask if they have a health guarantee. That doesn’t mean you can take the puppy to the vet when you first get him or her.  It means you have a guarantee for your first year if the dog has bad hips, elbows or other issues early on.
  8. Ask if their dogs are registered / papered dogs.  I like to know this so that they are at least somewhat held to a standard, although just an akc pedigree alone is not enough for me to choose that breeder.
  9. Ask if they do any testing on the puppies for  drive, behavior, etc.  How do they pick the particular puppies for the particular home?  Does the breeder do puppy enrichment?  What will the puppies be exposed to before they leave to go to their new homes?  Socialization, environmental experience, etc.
  10. Can you visit the breeders facility / home?  Can you meet the parents of the puppy or some of their other dogs?  Even though many breeders breed out of their homes, you become like family, so I would assume they’d be ok with you meeting some of their other dogs.
  11. What happens if  something catastrophic happens to you?  Will they take the dog back?  Many won’t, but the very best will.

If you are looking to do a specific activity or sport with your dog, see if the breeder is active in that sport or if they have produced dogs that do well in that sport.  Not all dogs are going to be titled, but there should at least be a few that are.  This can be anything from protection sports such as IGP, Ring Sports or agility, herding, barn hunts, nose work, obedience, hunting and more.

Real Members – Real Success


0 +
happy dogs and owners