Finding a good dog breeder can be difficult and you might find that the market is overrun with bad breeders. Besides supporting unhealthy conditions for these dogs, there’s also a higher chance that your puppy will have health issues. Most breeders charge a high fee and the last thing you want is a puppy that gets very sick or worse. To help you figure out if the breeder you’re working with is a good breeder, we’ve put together a list of some of the things you should look for.
1. Frequent Meetings
One of the first things you’ll notice about a good breeder is that they want to set up several meetings with you. These could be anything from a phone call to an in-person meeting. Some breeders will only want one before you meet the puppies, while others will want several. It might seem like it’s a hassle, but it’s important that the breeder knows more about you so they can determine if you’re a good fit for one of the puppies.
2. Thorough Questions
During these meetings, the breeder will probably ask you several questions to get a feel of your personality and environment. You should expect to answer these and some of the questions you might be asked include what kind of home you live in, how many people live with you, if you have other pets in the home, why you’re adopting, and what kind of experience you have with the breed or dogs in general. Make sure you answer these questions honestly and thoroughly.
Not only do you want to see references from the breeder, but some might ask you to provide references that they can contact. You should also do a little digging on social media and see if you can find any past clients. Reach out to them to see if they can answer your questions. You can do the same with the references that the breeder gives you and you’ll want to make sure that you’re asking the question that’ll give you the clearest picture.
4. Full Vet Records
Most breeders will have taken the puppies to the vet at least once for things like shots and general exams. Not only should you receive the complete records, but you should also be given the vet’s contact information in case you want to get in touch with them. If you can get this information at the beginning of the process, you can do research on the veterinary office and see what kind of reputation they have. If they are known to be shady and unprofessional, you might want to go a different route.
5. Official Papers
This isn’t a big deal if the puppy is mixed with many breeds, but you should receive pedigree papers if the breeder is claiming that the puppies are a full-blooded breed. If they make these claims without providing these papers, there’s a good chance that the puppy isn’t the breed they say it is. The pedigree papers should show the puppy’s family tree for three or four generations, as well as who the parents are and who registered the puppy.
6. Required Contract
While this isn’t something that every breeder will do, some will require you to sign a contract. If the breeder has you sign a contract, there are a few things you want to look for. Some of these include immunization records, any conditions the puppy has, what the adoption fee is, and what’s expected of the buyer once they take possession of the puppy. While reading the contract, don’t be afraid to walk away if you see information that sounds fishy or if there are any discrepancies.
7. Humane Breeding Conditions
Once you get to the home of the seller, you’ll want to pay close attention to their animals and how they are living. A good breeder will have plenty of food, water, and space for their animals. In addition, the puppies should have been socialized and regularly handled up until that point. You’ll also want to ask questions about how they care for the puppies and what their process is. Another sign that the breeder is bad news is if the animals seem aggressive or unsocialized, and if the conditions aren’t suitable for inhabitants.
8. Puppy Parents
One of the biggest red flags when adopting from a breeder is not being allowed to meet the parents. Most times, this happens because they are aggressive or they have serious health conditions. If you ask the breeder to see the parents and they say no, it’s probably best to go through someone else. If they do show you the parents, pay attention to their temperament and see how they react around both people and other pets.
9. Few Breeds
If you get to the breeder’s house and notice that there are several different breeds and litters of puppies, there’s a good chance that they aren’t a good breeder or they are running a puppy mill. You’ll want to look for a breeder that has very few breeds and focuses on either one or two litters at a time. Not only can this mean that the puppies are well taken care of, but it’ll show that the breeder cares for the dogs and doesn’t just see them as a paycheck.
10. 8 Weeks or Older
Finally, any good breeder will refuse to let the puppy leave until it’s at least 8 weeks or older. The puppy needs mom’s milk up until this age and it gives plenty of time for socialization and immunizations. While some puppies will do fine before this point, you shouldn’t accept any puppy that’s not AT LEAST 7 weeks old.
A good breeder will have most of the things on this list, but you should always trust your gut. Even if they seem like they are good breeders on the surface, you should find a different breeder if your gut tells you something is wrong. It might take a little time, but you can hopefully find a breeder that can sell you the puppy of your dreams.