breeders do not breed to make money or because they think
their dog is cute. Too often, unsuspecting people purchase
puppies from backyard breeders or neighbors. More often
than not, these dogs are not suitable for breeding and
do not have optimal health, optimal temperaments, or optimal
structure for the breed.
A good breeder breeds dogs for only one reason –
to improve the breed, including health, temperament,
and structure. They are driven to contribute something
to the breed and work closely within the breed community
to accomplish this.
Look for one who:
-Only breeds one or two types of dogs and is deeply
knowledgeable about the “breed standard”
(the desired structure, size, proportion, coat, color,
and temperament) and is breeding in adherence to this
-Explains in detail the health issues common in the
breed and specifically in the breeder’s dogs.
She explains the potential genetic problems based on
-Provides information on at least 4 generations behind
both parents of the puppy – the more the better.
Included is cause of death and age at death if known.
-Provides documentation for each parent of health certification
appropriate for the breed, including OFA (Orthopedic
Foundation for Animals) for hips and elbows, CERF for
eye certification, heart, thyroid, DNA and blood disorder
-Demonstrates appropriate knowledge of how best to
care for the breed based on genetic health predispositions
and needs, including vaccination, chemical exposure,
drug contraindications, and diet.
-Is actively involved with the National Breed Club
and adheres to its Code of Ethics for Breeders. Good
breeders may also actively compete in conformation,
obedience, or sport trials.
-Always provides a written contract designed to protect
the puppy (not you OR breeder). The contract specifies
your obligation for care and health certifications and
the breeder’s commitment to support for the lifetime
of the puppy, including taking the puppy back should
anything interfere with your ability to care for it.
-Requires you to spay or neuter the dog at the appropriate
age in the written contract, unless the breeder specifically
makes breeding arrangements with you or sells you a
puppy for “show”. This ensures protection
of the breeder’s responsibilities as a reputable
breeder and prevents irresponsible breeding.
-Feeds high quality nutrition and understands what
this means. If the breeder does not feed whole foods
(optimal), then at a minimum feeds a high quality kibble
without chemical preservatives, low quality ingredients
and excessive grains.
-Expects to meet you, and the family, prior to placing
a puppy with you and encourages visits. Wants to ensure
an appropriate match between your needs and the puppy’s
needs and temperament and as a result, interviews you
at length about what you are looking for.
-Requires you to explain how this puppy will live,
where it will sleep, what rules will be implemented,
training provided, and whether someone will be home
to attend to its needs.
-Raises its dogs in the home, not in an outdoor kennel,
and can show you where the dogs are kept and spend most
of their time.
-Encourages you to spend time with the parents, or
at least mother, when you visit and has dogs that appear
happy, healthy, and excited to meet new people without
shying away from visitors or things.
-Does not have puppies regularly available, rather
only has a litter when an excellent match between two
healthy dogs is found that is believed to positively
contribute to the breed. As a result, you will likely
wait for your puppy.
In return, a good breeder will require you to commit
to her care protocol in order to receive her “health
guarantees”, to spay and neuter appropriately
to avoid irresponsible breeding outside of her breeding
program and to promise to return the dog if you are
ever unable to care for it.
If a breeder does not meet these criteria, you are
strongly encouraged to walk away. Reputable breeders
are not difficult to find, but do require diligence
on your part and a willingness to do your homework.
Remember, it is well worth this investment to have a
healthy and balanced dog who will likely be with you
for years to come.
You can find reputable breeders by contacting the national
and local breed club for referrals and attending breed
specific shows/events to learn more. Remember, a reputable
breeder will never sell dogs through a pet store or
any other way that allows for a blind purchase of their
animal and no way of knowing that the buyer will provide
a responsible, lifelong home.