Top tips for finding a good dog breeder

Affiliate Disclaimer

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. I may receive commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

If you are looking for a dog or puppy from any breed then it is important for you to find a responsible and caring breeder that will have raised the puppies properly.

Most people in the dog world tell you to look for a good breeder, but how do you do that?

This article will help you to locate a good, responsible breeder who cares about the welfare of their dogs and the homes that they are going to.

Finding a good dog breeder can be tricky. There are many things to look for, and not all breeders are created equal. The best way to find a good breeder is by word of mouth – talking to friends, family, and other pet owners about who they use and whether they would recommend them. You can also check with the breed club or Kennel Club in your country to find reputable breeders in your area.

Visit the Kennel Club and breed websites for your country

Look for details of breeders that are mentioned in these resources and don’t be afraid to reach out to the organisations to get their advice.

They may be able to put you in touch with breeders in your area.

Word of mouth and recommendation is normally the best and most reliable source and these organisations are well placed to help.

Choose a breeder that has health checked their dogs and has certification to prove this

When you have located some breeders that look reputable, the next step is to find out if they health check their dogs.

All responsible and ethical breeders should have their dogs checked by a veterinarian before they are bred from, and they will be able to show you the certification to prove this.

Be sure to ask about any health issues that are common in the breed

Some breeds are prone to certain health problems, so it’s important to ask the breeder about any issues that are known to affect the breed.

A responsible and ethical breeder will always be honest with you about any health problems that may affect the puppies or dogs they have for sale.

Top tips for finding a good dog breeder
Bundles of fun but be sure to find a responsible breeder

Check the puppies and other dogs’ surroundings

When you visit the puppies, take a look around their living area.

It should be clean and well-maintained, with plenty of space for the dogs to exercise and play.

If there are other dogs then take a look at them too to see what condition they are in and what their living area looks like.

If the area is messy, and the breeder knew that you were visiting then, if they couldn’t be bothered to clean up, what does that tell you about them?

Do the dogs and puppies look happy and healthy?

The dogs and puppies should look happy and well-cared for.

They should be clean and their coats should be in good condition.

Are the puppies alert and do they seem pleased to see a new face?

If they have just been fed then they may be asleep so try to time your visit before feeding time.

If you have any concerns about the health or welfare of any of the animals then trust your instincts and walk away.

A good and responsible breeder will want you to meet the puppies’ parents

Most breeder will have the mother at home, it’s often the case that the father will be from elsewhere so don’t be too concerned if he isn’t around.

The breeder will be keen for you to meet the mother and should be keen too about the puppies’ father.

They should be able to tell you about him and show you pictures.

A good breeder will want to know about your experience with dogs, your lifestyle, whether you have a garden and whether other members of your family are dog-friendly.

They should also be interested in getting to know you as they want to ensure that their puppies are going to good homes.

The breeder should understand the breed

When you visit the breeder, they should be able to tell you about the breed and what to expect in terms of temperament, exercise needs, and grooming requirements.

You’ll find that a good breeder is enthusiastic about the breed, and possibly dogs, and other animals in general.

You can also find out about the breed at the Kennel Club website before you visit and then ask the breeder any questions that you haven’t been able to get answers for.

They should also be able to answer any questions or concerns that you have about the puppies.

Top tips for finding a good dog breeder
A good breeder will understand the breed

They will feed their dogs and puppies good quality food

Most responsible dog owners including breeders put the diet of their dogs before that of their own.

A good breeder will be providing their dogs and puppies with the best food that they can afford.

They will be able to tell you what food they are feeding and why they feel that it is the best choice for the dogs.

The breeder will give you a supply of the food when you take the puppy home and should be able to help you to find a supplier for the food in your area.

Many good breeders provide new owners with vouchers from the dog food company that can be used to get reduced rates on the food – to help you to settle in with your puppy.

Good breeders will provide a written contract and health cards

When you buy a puppy from a good breeder, they will provide you with a contract.

The contract should stipulate that if for any reason you are not able to keep the dog then they must be returned to the breeder.

A good breeder will also provide health cards for the puppies which detail any vaccinations or other treatment that they have received.

The breeder should also provide you with a list of things that need to be done in terms of vaccinations, worming, and flea treatment.

You’ll also often find that they will provide you with a short term insurance cover note from one of the many pet insurance companies that seek to secure your business longer term.

Responsible breeders are not puppy farms

Responsible and good breeders do not always have puppies available and may have a waiting list.

This is because they only breed when they want to improve the line or when they have a specific pup in mind for showing or working.

Puppy farms, on the other hand, will often have puppies available immediately and will not usually be too concerned about who buys them or what happens to them afterwards.

Good breeders will provide references if asked

If you are considering buying a puppy from a breeder, it is always worth asking for references from other people who have bought dogs from them.

A good breeder will be more than happy to provide these and will often have a list of references that they can give you.

These references can be invaluable in helping you to make a decision about whether or not to buy a puppy from a particular breeder.

They want their puppies to go to good homes

Good breeders always want to ensure that their puppies are going to good homes, so be prepared for a breeder to ask you questions.

If the breeder is not interested in getting to know you, then it is probably best to look elsewhere.

A good breeder will be open and honest with you about the pros and cons of owning one of their puppies.

They will be willing to answer any questions that you have honestly.

They will want to keep in touch with you after you have bought one of their puppies and will be interested in how the puppy is getting on and should be available to offer advice and support if needed.

If the breeder does not want to keep in touch with you after you have bought a puppy from them, then it is probably best to look elsewhere.

What to do if you suspect a puppy has come from a bad breeder

If you have any concerns that a puppy may have come from a bad breeder, or if you visit puppies and are concerned about their welfare or the conditions that they are being kept in then you should report them to the relevant authorities.

In the UK, this is the RSPCA.

To recap

When you visit a good breeder, you should expect to see:

A clean and well-kept environment

Healthy and well-groomed dogs

A quiet and relaxed atmosphere

A breeder who is keen to answer your questions

A contract and health cards for the puppies

A list of things that need to be done in terms of vaccinations, worming, and flea treatment

A short term insurance cover note from one of the many pet insurance companies

A willingness to provide references if asked

An interest in keeping in touch after you have bought a puppy

Final Words

Getting a puppy should be an exciting and pleasurable experience.

But, puppy ownership comes with lots of challenges and responsibilities which, for a new dog owner can, at times, seem overwhelming.

By choosing a good dog breeder you can minimize the chances of encountering any problems and ensure that you are getting a healthy, well-socialized puppy that will fit into your lifestyle and personality.

Read Next

How to tire out a puppy before vaccinations

What is the first thing that you should teach your puppy?

Is it okay to play tug of war with a puppy?