Tips on recongnizing a good breeder
- Don't be put off if a breeder isn't immediately responsive. Hobby breeders often have full-time jobs and they don't always have available puppies. Be selective. Find a breeder who is knowledgeable and make sure you're comfortable with them.
- Be willing to wait, most reputable breeders do not have a steady stream of puppies because they are selectively breeding for healthy quality puppies. Unfortunately getting a good quality healthy puppy sometimes takes time.
- Visit the breeder's home or kennel and ask to see at least one of the puppy's parents.
- Observe the premises. Is the house/kennel clean? Odor-free? Dogs and puppies should be clean, well fed, lively and friendly. Look for signs of malnutrition such as protruding rib cages or illness such as runny nose/eyes, coughing, lethargy and skin sores.
- Pay attention to how the dogs and puppies interact with their breeder. Does the breeder appear to genuinely care for the puppies and their adult dogs? Both dogs and puppies should not shy away from the breeder and should be outgoing with strangers.
- Find out about the health of your puppy and its parents. Breeders should be honest about the breed's strengths and weaknesses and knowledgeable about the genetic diseases that can affect their breed - including what's being done to avoid them.
- Establish a good rapport with the breeder. He/she will be an excellent resource and breed mentor for you throughout the life of your puppy. You should be encouraged to call the breeder if your dog has a crisis at any stage of its life.
- A responsible breeder may ask you to sign a contract indicating that if specified conditions of care are not met or you become unable to keep the puppy, he/she will reclaim it.
- Don't expect to bring home the puppy until its eight to 12 weeks of age. Puppies need ample time to mature and socialize with its mother and littermates.
- Breeders should be willing to answer any questions you have and should ask many of you as well. Breeders will want to make sure their puppies are going to good homes, with people who know what to expect and have made all the necessary preparations.
- Don't leave the premises without the appropriate documentation of the dog's pedigree, a.k.a. "papers." The words "American Kennel Club" as well as the AKC logo should be clearly visible. You'll need to send in this application form to register your dog with the AKC. Be wary of a breeder who refuses/hesitates to give you papers, wants to charge you more for AKC papers, offers papers from a registry other than the AKC, or tells you he/she will mail them to you at a later date.
- Secretive Breeders- Breeders that will not let you see other dogs in the house. It is not uncommon for breeders only to have the puppies and the mother or a select few dogs out when you come over. This is so you can see the puppies and the puppies are not distracted. However you can ask to see some other dogs and the breeder should be happy to show you.
- Sick dogs- Look for warning signs of unhealthy dogs. If you see unhealthy dogs this means that they are likley not well taken care of loved pets and your future puppy is probably sick too!
- Number of dogs- Simply having a lot of dogs does not make one a bad breeder. However use common sense in this matter, are there so many dogs that they are not being cared for propery? Does the house/kennel look more like a business than a home/hobby? Are there dozens of dogs for sale? As stated above most reputable breeders do not have tons of puppies availble at any one time. This is because they are generally breeding for themselves and to better the breed. Many have a waiting list for their puppies and then will offer availble puppies to others.
- Unactive breeders- Why is this person breeding? Not all breeders have to show their dogs many do obedience, agility or rally with their dogs. Although a breeder should be breeding with a purpose in mind not just to sell puppies. If they do not show or compete with their dogs in some way then find our what their goals are and why they are breeding. Any good breeder should be able to answer this question.