Everything You Need to Know About Finding a Legitimate & Responsible Dog Breeder

Let’s face it, not everyone breeding dogs is in it for the right reasons. Unfortunately, there are many people who would do almost anything for money. The truth is, a responsible and legitimate dog breeder sometimes doesn’t make much money at all, perhaps just breaking even; they are passionate about the puppies for all the right reasons. They care more about the puppies than they do about making money.

Here’s what to look out for when looking for a dog breeder, including those looking for a breeder for Service Dog work.

A good breeder will belong to a national (and/or local) breed club and abide by their breed club’s Code of Ethics. They will be highly knowledgable about their breed.

Why Are They Breeding Dogs, Anyway?

  • A good breeder is in it for the right reasons, with YOU and YOUR needs in mind, as well as what is only the very best for the dogs. The health of the puppies is the top priority
  • Some breeders breed specifically for Service Dog work, agility, or show purposes, but they will each have a goal and will be specifically working towards it with purpose and strategy

What is Their Goal? What is Their Purpose?

  • The breeder should be able to tell you their goal when asked, and they will have very carefully selected the parents of the puppies

Do they have Evidence of Success?

  • A good breeder should be able to show you some evidence that the goal they are working towards has shown signs of success. This could be in the form of proof of their animals winning at shows (if we are talking about show dogs) or if their dogs have been bred for Service Dog work, that their dogs have been successful in that area

They’ll Let You See Their Facilities

  • A good breeder won’t mind if you visit their facilities and meet the parents of the puppies at any time. They have nothing to hide. Their facilities are clean and professional with professional trained and experienced staff

They Care For Their Dogs

  • At a reputable breeder, a female dog will never be used to breed before she is 2 years of age, and each female will only produce two or three litters in her entire lifetime.
  • The breeder cares about ALL of their dogs, parents and puppies, and will provide sufficient companionship, affection & socialization, interaction & attention, nutritious quality dog food & fresh clean water, adequate shelter, immunization, proper vet care, parasite prevention & treatment, grooming, and exercise to all dogs
  • They will immunizes all puppies against Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Parvo, Parainfluenza, Corona & Rabies
  • They will encourages the neutering of all dogs. A spay/neuter contract should be issued with the sale of all puppies

They Will Interview YOU!

  • A legitimate breeder will have many questions for you, and may even require several phone or in-person interviews before agreeing to sell you a puppy. They really take pride in their work and they really care where their puppies are going. They would rather not sell the dog than have the puppy go into a home that is not appropriate for him or for you

They Will Perform Genetic Testing to Ensure Results

  • They perform all genetic testing that is appropriate for the breed and will happily allow you to see the results of such tests as well as the pedigrees
  • They will test for congenital diseases, conditions such as hip dysplasia, Von Willebrand’s Disease, retinal dyslasia, etc.,  and work to eliminate genetic problems by breeding only dogs shown to be free of any serious physical conditions and/or temperament problems

Puppies May Be Expensive

  • The puppies are often expensive because a lot of money goes into making sure they are as healthy as possible

What About Advertising?

  • Good breeders may or may not advertise. They may be hard to find. They may or may not even have a website. A good way to find them is to go to dog shows, asking for recommendations, be sure to check out the AKC website. Don’t be afraid to call up the breeder and ask some questions about their practices.

You May Have to Wait

You may have to wait for your puppy to be born. Good breeders are not rushing, they are taking their time and doing excellent work. They will only breed dogs that have excellent temperaments.

Dog Breeder Red Flags to Watch Out For

  • Red Flag #1: Anyone who offers to ship you a puppy ASAP or being really anxious to sell you the dog. This is just not the way a legit breeder rolls. This is a sign of someone wanting to make some fast cash with little regard for you or the puppy
  • Red Flag #2: Puppies that have not been to the vet (no evidence) nor had any genetic testing done
  • Red Flag #3: Not letting you tour the facilities or not allowing you to meet the parents of the puppies. What are they hiding? Why can’t you tour the facilities?
  • Red Flag #4: Having a website with a huge Paypal ‘pay immediately’ button and/or having an ad in Craigslist. Legit breeders often do not need to advertise as they are well known in the communities as well as at dog shows and professional events and through word of mouth.