Choosing the Right Dog Breeder

How To Choose a Reputable and
Responsible Puppy Breeder

Selecting the best puppy for your family means first choosing the right dog breeder.

Since some breeders raise puppies only for the money, you want to avoid their pups whenever possible.


These types of breeders are known for running what are called puppy mills. These mills are strictly for the purpose of breeding as many dogs as possible for as little overhead cost as possible. This ensures them a larger profit on every puppy they sell.

The dogs and the puppies are usually kept in small and cramped cages and are not given the exercise, nutrition, and love and affection that dogs need to thrive.

Puppies that come from puppy mill breeders may turn out all right, but most don't. Many die, and those that are sold have a very high chance of being ill or scared of people, which could be dangerous, especially for small children.

The Importance of a Well Rounded Puppy

You want the puppy you end up with to be both physically and emotionally healthy. The only way to ensure that is by choosing the right dog breeder—one who breeds his/her dogs responsibly.

By purchasing a puppy from a puppy mill, you help to create a reason for these people to continue doing what they do, even though you had the intention to simply provide a loving home to a pup.

How Do I Tell a Responsible Breeder
From a Puppy Mill?

If you're buying directly from the breeder, go there and inspect the operation. If the breeder won't allow you to visit, that's a good sign that he or she doesn't want you to know what goes on there. Call the authorities and ask them to investigate.

Here's what to look at:

  • Does the environment look like a suitable home for the dogs? Can the adults move around and do they have an exercise yard or run? Are they fed and watered regularly? Is the kennel clean, or is their excrement everywhere?

  • Are the dogs and the puppies overcrowded?

  • Do the dogs seem scared of you when you try to interact with them? Or do they run up to you and investigate?

These are questions that you need to ask yourself when you visit the breeder. Never allow a breeder to meet you somewhere, as it is important to make sure that you are looking over the environment where the puppy was raised.

If you're buying from a pet store, where many puppy mill pups are sold, ask them lots of questions about where they buy their puppies. If they can't answer your questions, or seem unwilling to do so, don't buy from them.

What Should I Ask the Breeder?

There's a list of questions that you'll want to ask the breeder. If he/she seems irritated by your questions, go elsewhere for your puppy. And ask authorities to investigate.

These questions will help guide you about whether the breeder truly cares for the dogs he or she is raising.

  • How long have you been breeding dogs and puppies?

  • Do you have a license for breeding?

  • Do your puppies come with papers?

  • Do your puppies come with the required shots for their age?

  • Are you available for questions after the purchase?

There are also some key questions that the breeder should ask you if he/she really cares about dogs and puppies. The questions you may be asked include:

  • Is this your first dog?

  • Are there any other pets in your home?

  • Do you have children and what are their ages?

  • Will this be an inside or an outside dog?

  • Are you familiar with the shots, licensing, and vet checkups that will be needed?

If the breeder does not seem interested in you or the home the puppy will be going to, there is a good chance that the he or she simply does not care about the best interest of the puppy. Go elsewhere for your pup.

Also make sure that you keep all of the breeder's contact information and purchase documentation should the puppy you purchase become ill. Most states have a law protecting you if a puppy you purchase gets ill within a certain time from the date of purchase. Contact info and documentation will go a long way to getting your money back.

In the end, you will need to use your best judgment. You can ask all of the questions that you want and look around all you want, but you never know exactly what you're getting into sometimes until after the purchase.

Why Not Adopt a Dog Instead?

A new puppy can be fun to watch and play with, but it is also a lot more work than an older dog, even an older pup. Why not save the life of one of these dogs by adopting it from a foster home, adoption home, or animal rescue shelter. Some people run rescue shelters for specific dog breeds, so you could find just the type of dog you're looking for and give it a good home.

Besides doing a good thing for an abandoned dog, you have the benefit of being able to ask the shelter workers about the dog's personality and behavior.

If you have your heart set on a new puppy, however, be absolutely sure that you know how to choose the right dog breeder.

NOTE:The information here is not legal advice and is only presented to you so you can know your options if you purchased a lemon. As with any legal issue, you should seek the advice of a qualified attorney.


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