Choosing a reputable breeder can be the most difficult part of finding a new puppy. Anyone can put Fluffy and Fido together and wait for the miracle of puppies to happen, but that does not make them a good breeder. A reputable, authentic breeder only produces healthy puppies from carefully matched parents, and does not mill puppies to produce a quick buck. Verify your puppy's breeder to ensure the health and happiness of your new puppy.
Visit the breeder in person to inspect his or her breeding operation. The property should be safely fenced, well maintained and free of excessive dog urine and fecal matter. Ask to meet the parents of your potential puppy and see where they are kept. Good breeders house their dogs in sturdy shelters with appropriate bedding, and leave water out at all times for thirsty pooches.
Ask the breeder any questions you have. Ask for a list of references. Get the name and telephone number of the breeder's veterinarian, and contact information of former buyers. If the breeder is unwilling to hand over contact information, ask if they have any reviews or testimonials available. Reputable breeders will be happy to answer any questions about their dogs, their breeding practices and their selling policies.
Review the dogs' registration papers and vet records. Responsible breeders test their dogs for genetic diseases (such as hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy and panosteitis) and refrain from breeding dogs that test positive for hereditary conditions. Avoid breeders that refuse to share health records or breed unhealthy dogs.
Contact your county animal control and see if the breeder is current on registration and inspection. An animal control agent will visit the breeder and check their facility for unsafe conditions or sick animals. If your county does not have a formal registration and inspection process, ask if there have ever been any violations recorded or tickets issued to the breeder.
Speak with your local breed club and inquire if the breeder is a recognized member of the club. Reputable breeders join breed clubs to promote their dogs, and are required to abide by a strict code of breeding ethics. Most dog communities are fairly tight-knit and gladly promote reputable breeders.
- If you're not comfortable with any of your potential breeder's practices, investigate others. Knowing multiple breeders gives you a wider selection of puppies.
- Don't buy a puppy on a whim. A puppy is a long-term commitment and requires years of care, attention and training.
- Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images