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What to Look for in Good Dog Breeders

Reputable dog breeders are hard to find, even though there are thousands of breeders from which to choose. However, if you don't get your dog from a reputable breeder, they might have health or behavior problems that cost you money and cause you heartache.

Means of Advertising

Good dog breeders can be found through local breed clubs or area dog shows. Ask your veterinarian or local dog trainer for a referral.

Viewing the Facility

If a breeder won't let you view the facility where they raise their puppies, walk away immediately. Many backyard breeders, who raise their dogs in cages and poor conditions, try to pose as reputable breeders, but a good breeder will always let you visit the puppy where it is being raised.

The puppies should be raised in the home as a part of the family in a clean area. Since the crucial socialization period begins at five weeks, the breeder needs to be exposing the puppy to lots of different stimuli, such as different people, different children and different surfaces. The breeder should also beginning potty training the puppies.

Meeting the Parents

You want to meet, at the minimum, the mother of the puppy. If possible, you should meet the father and grown siblings. Ask for references from people who own siblings. Many health and behavior problems are genetic, so you want to find out if any siblings have any such problems.

Interact with the parents. Handle them and have your children handle them. Play with them and observe if you can easily take the toy. Ask to see where they eat and notice if they let you near their food bowl. If the dog shys away from you, hides or growls, you do not want one of her puppies.

If you are concerned, take a trainer to temperament test the mother. The breeder should be comfortable with this level of interest.

Other Expectations

Many breeds are predisposed to health conditions. Do research on the breed you plan to purchase and ask to see health certificates of the parents and grandparents, which should be tested for all genetic conditions before being bred.

Ask for references from veterinarians, trainers and previous clients.

Make sure the breeder is feeding a premium dog food. Do research on the food they are feeding. The first three ingredients should be pure protein sources, and there should be no corn or wheat in the food.

Reputable breeders will guarantee the health and behavior of their dogs and will sign a contract stating they will take back the dog for any reason if you are dissatisfied. They should make you sign a contract stating that you will return the puppy to them rather than a shelter or rescue if health or behavior problems appear.

Breeders should not require you to use a certain veterinarian or type of food. Be aware of anyone who puts too many demands on you.

Though good breeders is difficult to find, they are worth the wait for a quality puppy with whom you will share your life for up to 20 years.

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