Helping You Help Animals!

Guide to Buying a Puppy from a Breeder

Today, puppy farms and mills are slandered locations. A good breeder cares about his animals and breeds simply for the sake of improving that breed. By screening out diseases and undesired behavior traits, good breeders work to create healthier, friendlier dogs. Below is helpful guide to shifting through the riff-Raff and saints of breeders.

Where to Find a Breeder

Finding a registered and reputable dog breeder can be a daunting task. Veterinarians and other dog owners may have some names that interest you and are a good place to start. Magazines are, also, a good source of information. Publications such as the “AKC Gazette” and “Dogs USA” contain both breeder’s advertisements and the schedules of different dog shows. Frequenting dog shows is good way to meet a breeder and ask them questions about a specific breed.

On the Phone

Usually a phone conversation is the first point of contact between you and a promising breeder. Knowing the right questions to ask will help save you time, appear knowledgeable and be prepared in the future. If arranging a meeting, it should be scheduled where the puppies were bred and at a time that’s convenient to see as much of the litter as possible. Ask about the health of the puppies and their parents. A good breeder will have treated their puppies for worms by two weeks of age and be aware of any future vaccinations they may need. Some breeds are more prone to certain types of disease than others. Good breeders care about the health of their litters and are careful to screen the parents for such diseases, which include certain cancers, blindness and diabetes.

The Meeting

If the breeder agrees with the arrangement requests and appears knowledgeable about their breed, the second point of contact should be where the puppies were bred and not a separate home or shop. You should be meeting the breeder, most if not all of the puppies and their mom and, if possible, their dad. Some fathers are not kept on site and only “rented” when needed. Meeting at the place of breeding allows you to pay attention to the location and possibly identify a puppy mill that may not be so animal friendly. The facility should be clean with plenty of space for all the dogs to have proper exercise. The dogs should also be clean and friendly. If the mother appears dirty or if the pups have gunk in their eyes, the health and hygiene needs of the animals are not being met. The puppies and dogs should, also, be energetic and friendly. If the puppies are isolated and away from people, they will not adapt well to loud noises and be anxious around new faces. Ensuring emotionally healthy puppies, a good breeder will see to it that puppies are played with often and by a variety of people of all ages.


Good breeders will match a potential buyer in questions, concerns and information. They love their dogs and want to be certain a puppy will receive proper shelter, attention and medical assistance. These concerns led to questions about how much a potential buyer makes or where they work. A good breeder will, also, want to know how the dog will be sheltered and how much exercise they will receive. The potential buyer will asked questions about their children and family. In response, the breeder will lay down all the negative facts about their breed’s health and temperament. This is all done to make sure a puppy is a good fit for a specific family and will have a good home.

A potential buyer should ask about how many litters the mother has had and whether or not the recent litter was planned. Female dogs should not have more than six litters in their lifetime and if the current litter was an accident, the breeder is irresponsible. Good breeders know their market and usually have potential homes lined up before ever breeding. A potential buyer should, also, find out what the breeder does with unsold puppies or retired animals. They should be kept until the right home comes along. The last two and potentially most influential pieces of information to get from a breeder is references and registration information.  Registered breeders are held accountable by a specific club or organization for their breeding practices and legitimacy. Offering information about a previous puppy’s current health and about the breeder’s support, references could potentially make or break an agreement.

The Contract

Having it written on paper is the only way to ensure what a person says is what a person does. When involving a puppy, contracts not only protect monetary compensation, but also the health and future of the pet.  Good breeders will provide a contract that outlines their breed’s temperament and health requirements. If something should go wrong in the future, the contract should assign action, responsibility and the consequences of neglecting that responsibility. Some contracts include a spay or neuter clause that demands sterilization by a certain age. Others include an agreement to take back a puppy within a certain amount of time. It may not be included on the sheet of paper, but all good breeders will encourage new pet owners to stay in touch and will freely offer any advice they can.

To learn about some at-home ways to keep your pet healthy, start here!