Puppies: Finding a Reputable Breeder
Updated: Oct 25, 2021
When looking for a new puppy or dog, it is important to take a close look at your lifestyle and what you’re looking for in a dog so that you can choose the best puppy for you! [Need help doing that? Check out the first post in this series on Picking the Perfect Puppy!]
Once you’ve decided what type of puppy you’d like to bring home, it’s time to look for your puppy!
How should you choose where to get your puppy?
Depending on your goals for your puppy, getting your puppy from a reputable shelter/rescue may be the best choice for you or it may make the most sense for you to get your puppy from a reputable breeder. No matter where you get your puppy, the most important thing is to find a reputable source that cares about the dog’s long-term well-being.
If you have a very specific goal in mind for your puppy (such as a service dog or dog competitions), a reputable breeder may be the right choice for you! With an extensive knowledge of the puppy’s genetics and relatives, your breeder will be able to make an educated prediction about their size and ability to meet your goals when they are an adult dog.
In a world full of the #adoptdontshop mantra, this may sound a little surprising to you! But did you know that if you get a dog from a reputable breeder, it will never end up in a shelter? No, not because breeders are able to perfectly place every puppy (even the best shelters and breeders sometimes don’t nail a puppy placement), but because a reputable breeder will make you promise to return the puppy to them if things don’t work out. Who better to find a second home for the puppy than the breeder that loves them and is extremely knowledgeable about their breed? Unfortunately, the number of irresponsible breeders far outnumbers the number of reputable breeders, so it is extremely important to ensure that the breeder you choose is reputable. Check out these tips to make sure you're choosing a reputable breeder.
10 Signs You've Found a Reputable Breeder
1. They health test the parents.
Health testing to ensure that the parents aren’t passing on genetic diseases that are known to be prevalent in the breed to their offspring are very important. Not sure what health tests to look for? Check the recommended tests listed on the American Kennel Club  or Orthopedic Foundation for Animals  websites for starters!
Red Flag: They equate health testing to a vet visit and/or breed dogs that have previously produced puppies with health issues.
While the parents and puppies absolutely should all have been examined by a veterinarian, health testing is much more thorough than a simple vet visit. If a breeder doesn’t understand what you mean by health testing, walk away. Additionally, a breeder should not breed dogs that test positive for genetic markers for health issues or that have produced litters with health issues. They are intentionally breeding unhealthy dogs and should not be trusted.
2. They make you wait.
Getting a puppy from a reputable breeder may take a year or more, since they carefully vet all potential adopters, often only have a litter or two each year, and frequently have wait lists. Don’t worry! It will be worth the wait.
Red Flag: They have puppies available for you to take home NOW!
A reputable breeder only breeds a litter if they know they will be able to find a home for each puppy. While they may occasionally have a puppy or two get returned or an older dog that is retiring or returned, a reputable breeder will not regularly have multiple puppies or entire litters immediately available.