Puppies! Puppies are fuzzy, adorable balls of fur with sharp teeth. Once the decision to get another dog is made, the question becomes: how to know if a breeder is reputable.
And where to buy a dog near me? Dog breeding websites can be helpful, but it’s also easy to get scammed.
For novice dog owners, it can be difficult knowing how to find a reputable dog breeder. Adopting from a shelter is a great option. But sometimes people want a very specific breed that’s rarely found in shelters.
However, with the upregulation of puppy mills, it’s easy to be scammed. Puppy mills are notorious for selling off dogs with medical problems due to inbreeding and overbreeding.
How does one go about finding a reputable dog breeder?
Reputable Dog Breeder Versus Puppy Mills: How to Spot the Difference
The first thing to do when looking for a dog breeder is to make sure you’re not purchasing from a puppy mill. Many, if not most, of the dogs sold in storefront pet stores are from puppy mills.
So, how to spot a puppy mill? First of all, online advertisements are another frequent method puppy mills use to sell their puppies.
Aside from the horrendous conditions of most puppy mills, the puppies often have innumerable health problems. The puppies are bred for no other reason than profit.
A reputable dog breeder, on the other hand, genuinely cares for the puppies. The parents are often family dogs with a pedigree lineage. One of the quickest ways to spot a puppy mill is the conditions in which the puppies are kept.
Good dog breeders generally don’t advertise, especially on the internet. They are found through word-of-mouth and referrals.
One reason why puppy mills are so rampant is that they sell a wide range of dog breeds for lower cost than a breeder would charge. However, reputable breeders cost more because they do their due diligence regarding the health of all of the puppies.
If you’re not sure what kind of dog breed you want, check out our list of dog breed categories.
What to Ask a Dog Breeder
Another clear sign of a puppy mill versus a professional dog breeder is their willingness to answer your questions. A reputable dog breeder will also likely require a background check and ask questions about your home, family, and lifestyle.
Responsible dog breeders want their puppies to go to the best possible home. Because they care about their pups, you can feel comfortable that the breeder took care of your soon-to-be new family member, but it’s still a good idea to ask your own questions, too.
Here are some important questions to ask when purchasing a dog from a breeder:
- How long have you been a dog breeder?
- Do you have references?
- Do you have a dog breeding license?
- How old are the puppies?
- Can I meet all of the puppies, as well as their parents?
- Are the puppies up-to-date on vaccinations?
- What are your rehoming policies?
- When can I take the puppy home?
- Can I contact you with any further questions after I take the puppy home?
With these questions in hand, you’re ready to start your quest to find the best place to buy a dog.
Step-by-Step Guide For Finding A Reputable Dog Breeder
Step 1: Ask your veterinarian for a referral
If anyone will know reputable local dog breeders, it’s a veterinarian. Ask your vet for a referral to a breeder for the type of dog you’re looking for, or bring the breeder’s information that you are considering using to the vet and ask them their opinion.
The professional dog caretakers can also advise you on the dog breed best for your requirements. They will know the smartest dog breeds that will fit in your family based on who lives in your home, how big your house and yard are, and how active of a lifestyle you, and your pup, will have.
Just because the puppy of your dreams is adorable doesn’t mean they’d be a good fit for your season of life just yet. You may have to go with a dog that fits your current situation a little better than the one you wanted, but you’ll still fall in love with those puppy dog eyes immediately.
Step 2: Set up a meet and greet with the breeder and puppies.
Not only will a reputable dog breeder ask to meet you, but they will also likely require it. It is during this chat that you can ask your questions and get a feel for what type of environment the puppies are being reared.
If the puppies are dirty or matted, they are likely a product of puppy mills.
Step 3: Meet the pup’s parents.
A reputable breeder will always allow you to meet the litter parents if they are on the premises. At least one of the two puppy parents should be living with the breeder. It’s a huge red flag if you’re not allowed to meet the litter parents.
Step 4: Get the puppy’s medical records, including vaccinations.
A puppy mill breeder won’t have records of vet visits because the puppies likely won’t be treated by a vet. A reputable breeder, on the other hand, will have detailed medical records for each of the puppies, including vaccinations.
Step 5: Get your puppy’s pedigree.
If the puppy you’re purchasing is a purebred, the breeder should have the paperwork that traces the puppies ancestry. The puppy may also be registered with the AKC (American Kennel Club,) which only accepts purebreds.
Step 6: Don’t bring the puppy home too early.
Another red flag for puppy mills is they let the puppies go before the recommended eight-weeks. All puppies should stay with the littermates and mother until they are least eight-weeks-old.
While puppies generally stop nursing around the four-week mark, they still need the nurture and care of their mother. Additionally, a puppy craves the companionship of its littermates.
In your rush to get a puppy, you may be tempted to settle for the easy route. However, a puppy from a reputable breeder is worth the wait.
Finding a reputable dog breeder takes time and patience. But with our tips, you’ll have your new puppy in your home in no time.