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How To Find A Responsible Dog Breeder

4 min read

Updated - Jun 2nd, 2022

Are you ready to bring a new puppy into your life? If you’re looking for a purebred puppy, you’re likely looking for a dog breeder as well. Finding a responsible dog breeder is not only important for ethical reasons, but also for ensuring the health of your future pup. This is a search to take very seriously, as dogs that do not come from reputable breeders can have major health problems as well as socialization issues due to neglect or lack of human interaction. In worst case scenarios, a bad breeder can be abusive to animals. Save yourself from potential heartbreak, and make sure that your dog comes from a good dog breeder.

What to look for in a responsible dog breeder

Reputable dog breeders provide health guarantees. They require OFA or PennHip certification, along with eye clearance from CERF.  In addition to health tests it’s also recommended that breeders test dogs for temperament through the American Temperament Test Society. A good breeder will be able to provide thorough information about the puppy’s parents, genetic lineage, and their health. Different breeds are prone to different health problems, so be sure to do your research on the dog breed you have in mind and ask your prospective breeder lots of questions. 

Always ask for referrals

A good breeder will also be able to offer referrals. At the very least, they should have referrals from happy dog parents. They should also have strong relationships with veterinarians. For a purebred dog, the breeder should also have proper certifications from the American Kennel Club. They may have additional affiliations with dog shows that their dogs have participated in, and local breed clubs that they are members of. Good breeders have a long paper trail, not just from happy customers but also from invited health inspections of their facilities. 

Take a tour of the facility

Good breeders should offer you a tour of their breeding facilities, and any breeder should be willing to provide the address of their facilities. If a breeder insists on meeting you in a neutral public location, or doesn’t let you near their facilities, that is a red flag. They may be hiding a poorly maintained facility or behavioral/health issues of the parents. Worst case – they may be picking up free puppies from other individuals, and selling them for profit.

Make sure the puppy has visited a veterinarian

All puppies should be taken to the vet at least once before they are purchased or adopted. Good breeders know how important veterinary care is. At eight weeks old, your puppy should already have been taken in for a check up. If a breeder won’t offer papers and vet certification, this is a red flag. Beware of breeders trying to sell puppies that are less than eight to ten weeks old as they need to spend a good amount of time with their mothers and littermates before they go to a new home. If they don’t, they are more likely to have behavioral problems and health issues as an adult dog. 

The biggest red flag comes in the form of a pet store itself. Pet stores more often than not get their dogs from puppy mills. Puppy mills are breeding facilities that produce high volumes of puppies, ignoring health risks and often abusing puppies and their mothers. Dogs from puppy mills are usually unsocialized and often prone to illness.  If you suspect that you’ve found an abusive breeder or puppy mill, please report them to the Humane Society of the United States. Animal cruelty is illegal must not be tolerated.

Considering adoption

If your search for a breeder doesn’t work out, consider adopting a puppy from a shelter or rescue group! There are thousands of dogs sitting in shelters and foster care looking for loving homes. Many of these lovable puppies are already microchipped, vaccinated, and neutered or spayed. Even if you’re looking for a particular breed, consider reaching out to a rescue group that specializes in the type of dog that you’re looking for. 

Wherever you get your new puppy, you’ll want to ensure they get the best veterinary care possible. Puppies can get into lots of mischief, so to protect them from future accidents or illnesses, it’s a good idea to look into pet insurance

Pumpkin Pet Insurance plans cover 90% of eligible vet bills, so you can worry less about cost and more about care. Don’t wait – fetch your free quote today!

Leslie is a freelance writer, content creator, and mum to a very intimidating cat named Tiger.