It is important to be aware of the different dog breeders that are out there so you can avoid them. Some dog breeders are more reputable than others, and it is important to do your research before choosing one.
As George Lai says of Ultimate Bulldogs, a breeding club in New Jersey says, ‘not all breeders are the same.’ He goes on to say breeders should ask themselves whether they are leaving the breed better than they found them. As a breeder myself, this question has always kept me rooted in a philosophy that calls for dedication to doing the best to improve breeds.
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Dog Breeders to Avoid
If you are looking to work with a breeder or a breeding club of some sort, below are some key tips on how to identify those breeders you should avoid;
The ones that sell “designer” dogs with little or no health guarantees.
People who make money off of selling designer dogs are NOT reputable dog breeders, period! These people don’t care about improving breeds, and often breed dogs who are prone to genetic issues. The only way they make money is by selling puppies, so they can care less about the genetic conditions their dogs carry.
It’s quite simple actually: if a breeder isn’t willing to provide health guarantees for his or her dog – you shouldn’t buy from them.
Obviously, this is a HUGE sign the breeder is not reputable. If you purchase a puppy from them and end up finding out that your dog has an incurable genetic condition, then they should have to take responsibility for it.
The ones who don’t allow you to see where your puppy was born.
Reputable dog breeders typically require you to visit their kennel before purchasing an animal. This is because they want you to see exactly where your puppy was born and raised. This is a good indicator that the breeder is reputable, as most use this process to screen buyers for suitability.
A reputable breeder will not be doing dogs in a back room of a warehouse with a bunch of other dogs. They also wouldn’t breed in a dirty, poorly lit basement.
The ones who only talk about your dog’s positive qualities and leave out or refuse to disclose any negative information.
Reputable dog breeders acknowledge all the good AND bad qualities of their breeding stock. That is why they make sure you visit their kennel before purchasing an animal, so you can see what you are getting yourself into.
It’s not fair to the dog or to you if they fail to disclose problems with the parents of your puppy. This is another huge sign that the breeder is not reputable.
The ones who don’t show any concern for where their puppies end up.
Good breeders will make an effort to ensure that you are best suited for their puppies. This is why they often require buyers to visit their kennels before any transaction is made, because they want the buyer to be a good fit for the puppy and vice versa.
If a breeder doesn’t care about where their puppies end up; if they only care about making money and don’t even bother screening buyers, then something is probably not right with this breeder.
The ones who “accidentally” breed a female dog for the first time at an older age, or pair two dogs together that are close relatives.
Good breeders want their females to have litters at about a year of age or younger. If the female is older, then it’s possible she may not be able to handle the stress of pregnancy and birth. Also, mixed breed dogs should NEVER be bred together due to genetic inbreeding. Any reputable breeder knows this and would never do so.
The ones who don’t spend much time with their dogs.
All good dog breeders are proud of their dogs and treat them like family members, not just breeding stock. A good breeder would never leave their animals in a kennel for most of the day, only taking them out to go potty before locking them up again. They usually live inside of the home with the rest of the family, and are more than happy to have company at all times.
The ones who seem to have a lot of litters on the go at once.
Good dog breeders typically only have a few breeding dogs. If they own 10 or more, then that’s likely a red flag. They would never be able to afford the medical care and food for that many animals. Also, too many breeding dogs can lead to inbreeding and genetic issues within the breed.
The ones who don’t really talk about anything specific – just good things in general about their dogs.
Good dog breeders typically have a lot of knowledge when it comes to their breed. They know every good and bad trait their breeding stock has, as well as what is considered “ideal” for that breed. If the breeder doesn’t talk about any specific traits of the dog or parents, then something is probably off.
The ones who force you to pay up front before shipping your puppy to you.
Dog breeders who are truly reputable will never ask you to pay for your puppy until he or she is able to be picked up. They want to make sure the puppy is healthy before they send it across the country, and this requires a vet visit prior to shipping. If they ask you to pay right away, then this is a huge red flag!
The ones who don’t allow you to see where the dog is kept.
Good breeders will want you to visit their kennels and meet both of the parents, as well as any other animals they may have on site and see their facilities and living conditions first-hand. They also typically offer a health guarantee on each animal, so it’s important that you see where they are kept so you can reference the guarantee when something goes wrong.
The ones who don’t offer any type of health or breeding guarantee.
All reputable dog breeders will offer some sort of health, behavioural, or hereditary guarantee with their dogs in case anything should go wrong with your puppy. If the breeder isn’t willing to do this, then something is probably off.
The ones who don’t ask you any questions about your home environment or lifestyle.
Good dog breeders will want to make sure that their puppies are going to be well taken care of in the years ahead. They’ll want to know how big your living area is, if you have any other pets, and what your living conditions are like. If the breeder isn’t concerned about where you’ll be keeping their dog for the next few years, then there may be something fishy going on.
The ones who don’t talk about anything but how great their dogs are.
Good dog breeders will want to make sure that their dogs are going to good homes and will likely ask you a lot of questions about your lifestyle, family, and existing pets. They’ll want to make sure that the dog is going to a great environment where they can thrive for years to come. If all they talk about is how amazing their dog’s bloodline is without asking about you, then that’s a huge red flag.
The ones who show you a small amount of pictures of their breeding stock or animals online.
If the breeder only shows you a couple photos of their dogs, something is probably off. Good dog breeders will have entire photo albums available for viewing from birth to adulthood of every animal they own, and they’ll be more than happy to share these with you!
The ones who only breed a couple times per year.
Most reputable dog breeders will breed their dogs 2-5 times per year, and sometimes even more often depending on the needs of their kennels and breeding stock. If it seems like this breeder is only having a few dogs a year, then something’s probably off.
The ones who won’t show you references or offer the names of previous puppy buyers so you can contact them.
Good dog breeders will want to make sure they are sending their puppies to great homes and will likely have no problem giving you the name and number of any current or previous puppy owner so you can contact them for a reference. If the breeder doesn’t want to give you this information, then they’re not looking out for your best interests and may be hiding something.
The ones who only offer weekly or bi-weekly updates instead of daily updates.
Good dog breeders will send their puppy’s new family daily updates from birth to around 8 weeks of age. During this time, the puppy’s habits and routines are being developed and it is important that their caretaker knows what he or she is up to every day! After 8 weeks, good breeders will usually send weekly updates so their puppy families can stay updated on how they are developing through adulthood. If the breeder you meet with is only promising varying levels of updates, then something might be off.
The ones who won’t let you anywhere near the puppy’s parents and other animals on site.
Good dog breeders will want to make sure that their puppies are going to good homes and will likely ask questions about your lifestyle and family before even consenting to show their dogs. They’ll typically want to meet you in person at their kennel or at some other neutral location, not your home! If the breeder doesn’t want you anywhere near where their animals live, then there may be something wrong.
The ones who won’t give you any paperwork on veterinary visits and vaccinations for the puppy you’re buying.
Good dog breeders will want to make sure their puppies are going to homes with good veterinary care, and they’ll typically give the new owners a medical record of sorts that has been filled out by the breeder. This will have all of the information about where the puppy has been since birth, what vaccinations he or she has had, and when he or she will be due for their next round. If the breeder won’t give you anything like that, then something might be up.
The ones who put a lot of emphasis on price and less on their dog’s bloodline or temperament.
Good breeders care more about the health and future of their puppies than they do about the money. If the breeder seems more interested in how much you can afford to pay rather than asking questions about you or what kind of dog would be best for your family, then that should be a red flag.
The ones who make you feel guilty if your puppy doesn’t turn out perfect.
Good breeders understand that no dog is perfect and will encourage you to be realistic about what you’re getting into when you bring a new puppy home. If the breeder wants to sell you a puppy and then makes you feel bad if it doesn’t turn out perfectly, then something might be wrong.
The ones who refuse to give you any information at all about the dog and won’t let you know where the puppy is from.
Good breeders work hard to keep track of their dogs so they can share information about them with potential buyers once they decide to sell a puppy. If the breeder claims not to have any information, or suggests that all of their dogs are bred randomly (or outside of kennels), then there’s probably something wrong.
The ones who don’t seem to have any dogs of their own on site.
Good dog breeders typically spend a lot of time with the dogs they are breeding, planning out future litters and ensuring that the parents are in good health. If the breeder is constantly suggesting that you meet them somewhere else, or that the dogs are “out” and not on site, then something might be up.
The ones who seem too eager to sell a puppy to you.
Good dog breeders typically want what’s best for their puppies and will only let them go home with a new family once they’ve made sure it is going to be perfect for both parties.
Ask Questions….get to know them well.
If the breeder seems too eager to sell, is pressuring you, or won’t let you think it over before buying, then there’s probably something wrong.
1: Ask for references and always go with your gut feeling.
2: Make sure that any dog breeders that you do business with are registered with their local kennel association.
3: If you’re looking for a purebred puppy, make sure to ask what organizations the breeder is part of and research those groups online.
4: Always go with your gut feeling! If something feels “off” about the experience, it probably means that there is something wrong. If you can’t explain what it is that’s making you feel this way, then just avoid these people and find someone else!
4: If the breeder isn’t willing to give you any references or speak with you on the phone before meeting in person, then there might be something fishy going on!
5: If the breeder seems too eager to sell or pressure you into making a purchase, then there might be something wrong.
6: Make sure to ask questions and always do your research! Good dog breeders will provide all of the information that they can and not make you feel guilty for asking. Ask about where the puppies come from, how long the parents have been with the breeder, etc. If they won’t answer any of your questions or seem reluctant to do so, then there might be something up!
7: If you look online and can’t find any information about the kennel or see anything negative about it, it’s best to try to avoid them.
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Hi there! My name is Alex Landy, one of the co-founders here at Our Pets HQ and a parent to a small-breed Yorkie. I am a published author of two books on dog breeding and currently write on various pet-related blogs about caring for dogs. I am a parent of two daughters and live outside Boston where I spend a lot of time with family and serve in different breeding clubs. You can reach me at email@example.com