How to Find a Good Dog Breeder

Finding a reputable dog breeder to adopt a puppy from involves quite a lot of prep work. Reputable breeders will be passionate about their dogs and dedicated to improving the breed. They will be able to provide you with information about the health and temperament of the parents and grandparents of the litter. A good breeder will also be open and transparent about their breeding practices and be glad to show you around their facilities.

The benefits of buying from a good dog breeder

A good dog breeder breeds dogs for the love of the breed and not for money. They care about their dogs and want to produce the best possible puppies. They are not in it for the money but for the love of the breed. Here are some benefits of buying from a good dog breeder:

  • 1. You will get a healthy puppy.
  • 2. You will get a well-socialized puppy.
  • 3. You will get a puppy with a good temperament.
  • 4. You will get a puppy raised in a clean environment.
  • 5. You will get a puppy that has been fed a nutritious diet.
  • 6. You will get a puppy from a line of healthy dogs.
  • 7. You will get a puppy with a good pedigree.
  • 8. You will get a puppy bred for type and temperament.
  • 9. You will get a puppy from a breeder knowledgeable about the breed.
  • 10. You will get a puppy from a breeder committed to the breed's welfare.

How to avoid bad dog breeders

There are many bad dog breeders out there. Unfortunately, many people think breeding dogs is a good way to make a quick buck and aren't in the business for the betterment of the breed but for profit instead. You'll want to avoid supporting bad breeders by getting puppies from them. These breeders may have sick puppies that are not properly socialized. They may also sell their puppies to anyone willing to pay without regard for whether or not the home is a good fit for the puppy. It's essential to do your research before you start looking for a new dog to avoid ending up with a sick puppy from a bad breeder. A good breeder will have healthy, well-socialized puppies ready to join their forever homes.

Here are some tips on how to avoid a bad dog breeder. 

  1. Do your research

Before you even start looking for a breeder, do your homework. Learn about the different breeds of dogs and what their needs are. This will help you narrow down which breed is right for you.

Once you have a few options, you can contact the breeders and ask questions about their dogs and breeding practices. A reputable breeder will happily answer your questions and have nothing to hide. You can also search online for reviews of dog breeders. 

When you're looking for a breeder, a good place to start is the website of the American Kennel Club or the National Breed Club for the breed you're interested in. You can check with the Better Business Bureau or search online for any complaints against the breeder. You can also check online forums and see what other people say about different breeders.

2. Ask around

Talk to your friends, family, and veterinarian to see if they know of good breeders. They may have personal experience with a breeder or know someone who does. Get recommendations from people you trust. Ask for a referral if you know someone who has a great dog. You'll likely get some good leads this way.

3. Avoid pet stores

Many pet stores get their dogs from puppy mills and mass breeding facilities that are more interested in quantity than quality. The dogs from these mills are often sick and have genetic defects.

4. Search online

Many websites can help you find a good dog breeder. The American Kennel Club (AKC) and the National Breeders Directory are great resources and good places to start the search. 

5. Make a list

Once you've researched and have a list of potential breeders, it's time to start making some calls. A good breeder will happily address any inquiries you have. They should also be able to provide you with references. Ask questions about their breeding program and their puppies. A good breeder will be delighted to answer your questions and inquire about your family and living situation to ensure you're a suitable fit for one of their puppies.

6. Visit the breeder

Once you've narrowed your list, it's time to visit the breeders. This is the best way to get a feel for their operation and to see the dogs in person. A good breeder will have a clean and well-organized facility. The dogs should be well-cared for and socialized.

When you are visiting the breeder, pay attention to the overall cleanliness and appearance of the premises. The dogs should be well-cared for, and the areas the pups are in should be clean and spacious. The breeder should be friendly and knowledgeable and be able to answer any questions you have.

7. Make sure the breeder breeds healthy dogs

Healthy dogs are the foundation of any good breeding program. A reputable breeder can provide you with health clearances for their dogs, which means that the dogs have been checked by a veterinarian and found to be free of any genetic health problems.

Health clearances are essential because they help to ensure that the puppies you are getting are as healthy as possible. You want to make sure that the breeder has healthy dogs. Ask to see the puppies' parents and ensure they are up-to-date on their vaccinations. The breeder should also be able to provide you with a health certificate from a veterinarian.

8. Make sure the breeder has experience

You want to find someone with experience when looking for a breeder. A good breeder will have been breeding dogs for many years and have a wealth of knowledge about their dogs and breeds. They will be able to answer any questions you have about their dogs and their breeding practices. A breeder with experience will be able to tell you about each puppy's temperament and personality and help match you with your perfect puppy. 

9. Make sure the breeder is committed to their dogs

A good breeder will be committed to their dogs and their breeding program. They will be involved in showing their dogs and knowledgeable about the breed. A breeder committed to their dogs can provide you with a wealth of information about their breed and dogs.

10. Make sure the breeder has a good relationship with their vet

A good breeder will have a good relationship with their veterinarian. They will use a veterinarian who is knowledgeable about the breeds they are working with. The breeder should be able to provide you with contact information for their vet for you to follow up with. 

11. Ask about health clearances or guarantees 

Responsible breeders will have their dogs' health clearances from organizations like the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals or the Canine Eye Registry Foundation. These clearances certify that the dog has been checked for common genetic diseases in their breed.

12. A good breeder will have a return policy on all puppies for their entire lives. 

This indicates that they care deeply about their dogs and don't want any to ever end up in a shelter. Additionally, they should also have a policy where a puppy can be returned within the first few days if its health is not completely healthy. 

Questions to ask a potential dog breeder

Finding a responsible breeder with the animal's best interests at heart is essential when looking for a new dog. Here are some questions to ask a potential dog breeder to help you make sure they are reputable and have healthy, well-cared-for dogs.

  • 1. How long have you been breeding dogs?
  • 2. What breeds do you specialize in?
  • 3. Do you have any litters available now? If so, can I see pictures?
  • 4. Do you require a deposit to hold a puppy?
  • 5. How often do you have a litter?
  • 6. Can I see the parents of the puppies?
  • 7. Have the parents been health tested? If so, can I see the results?
  • 8. What do you feed your dogs?
  • 9. Do the puppies come with a health guarantee?
  • 10. Have the puppies been vet checked?
  • 11. Have the puppies been vaccinated?
  • 12. When can I take my puppy home?
  • 13. Do you offer any support after I take my puppy home?
  • 14. Are your dogs registered?

Red Flags When Considering a Dog Breeder

When looking for a new furry friend, it's essential to research and find a reputable breeder. But what exactly should you be looking for? Here are some red flags to watch out for when considering a dog breeder:

  1. They don't ask you any questions

A good breeder will want to know you and your lifestyle to ensure you're a good match for the dog they're selling. They should ask you questions about your home, how long you're willing to exercise the dog, whether you have another pet, etc. If a breeder doesn't ask you any questions, it's a red flag indicating that they're not concerned about finding the right home for their puppies.

  2. They don't require a home visit

A reputable breeder should be willing to do a home visit to ensure your home suits the dog you're interested in. This ensures that the dog has a safe and comfortable environment. If a breeder is unwilling to do a home visit, it's a red flag that they're not concerned about the welfare of their puppies.

3. They don't have a health guarantee

A good breeder will offer a health guarantee for their puppies. This means that if the puppy is found to have any health problems within a specific time frame, the breeder will either refund your money or provide a replacement puppy. If a breeder doesn't offer a health guarantee, it's a red flag that they're not confident in the health of their puppies.

A health guarantee is a written agreement between the buyer and seller when purchasing a puppy that outlines the seller's responsibilities and obligations regarding the puppy's health. It is an important aspect to consider when purchasing a puppy, as it provides certain protections and assurances that the puppy you are buying is healthy and free from congenital or hereditary health issues.

One of the main benefits of a health guarantee is that it ensures the puppy is healthy. Typically, the seller is responsible for providing a healthy puppy free of any known health issues. If the puppy does have any health problems, the seller is responsible for providing a remedy, such as a refund or exchange. This helps protect your investment and provides peace of mind knowing that you're buying a healthy puppy from a reputable breeder.

A health guarantee also provides legal protection for both the buyer and seller. It is a legal document that can be enforced in court if necessary. If the seller fails to fulfill their obligations under the health guarantee, you may have legal recourse to recover damages.

Overall, a health guarantee is an important aspect to consider when purchasing a puppy. It provides protection for both the buyer and the seller and helps ensure that the puppy you're bringing home is healthy and free from any congenital or hereditary health issues.

4. Lack of socialization for puppies 

If a breeder doesn't raise their puppies in a home environment, that is a major red flag. Puppies should be raised in a home environment and exposed to different people, animals, and experiences from a young age. A breeder who keeps puppies isolated or in unsanitary conditions may be neglecting this crucial aspect of socialization.

5. Lack of knowledge 

A reputable breeder should have a deep understanding of the breed and be able to answer any questions you have about the breed's temperament, health, and care. If a breeder seems uninformed or unable to provide you with information, it may be a red flag. 

Also, look for false claims. An example of a false claim might be that a dog is completely non-shedding. In some cases, it can be true. However, if it is a breeder of a designer dog like a Goldendoodle (poodle and golden retriever mix) and they may make a claim like that, it is a red flag. Poodles are non-shedding, but golden retrievers certainly are not. 

Some golden doodles may shed, while others may inherit more of the poodle coat and not shed as much. There is just no way to know or guarantee a non-shedding Goldendoodle puppy. In this scenario, the breeder would either be ignorant or simply trying to make a sale and not considering the needs of the puppy or the potential owner. 

6. Sends puppies home too young

Sending puppies home too young can have negative effects on their physical, emotional, and behavioral development. It is generally recommended that puppies should stay with their mother and littermates until they are at least eight weeks old. During this time, they learn important socialization skills from their mother and littermates, such as how to interact with other dogs, communicate, and play. If they are taken away too early, they may miss out on this crucial aspect of their development, which can lead to socialization issues as they grow up.

In addition, puppies rely on their mother's milk for proper nutrition and immunity, so removing them from their mother too soon can result in health problems. They may not have fully developed their immune system or received all the necessary nutrients, which can leave them vulnerable to illnesses and infections.

Puppies taken away from their mother and littermates too early may also develop separation anxiety. This can cause them to become overly attached to their new owner or exhibit destructive behaviors when left alone.

Additionally, puppies that are removed from their litter too early may have difficulty with house training, bite inhibition, and other basic behaviors, which can be frustrating for both the owner and the puppy and may require additional training and socialization efforts.

4. They don't require a spay/neuter contract

A good breeder will require that you sign a spay/neuter contract. This means you agree to have the dog spayed or neutered when they reach a certain age (usually between one and two years). This is to prevent unwanted puppies and help reduce the overpopulation of dogs in shelters. If a breeder doesn't require a spay/neuter contract, it's a red flag that they're not concerned about responsible pet ownership.

5. Extremely high or low prices 

When talking about prices with your potential breeder, do some market research to see how other breeders are charging. While considering their expertise and knowledge, a good breeder won't try to raise prices on you just because of the popularity of the breed. Extremely high prices that don't match up with market value can indicate that a breeder is solely in the business for profit. Extremely low prices that seem too good to be true can indicate that the breeder is not properly caring for the dogs. 

6. Breeds multiple breeds of dogs

A red flag may be raised if a dog breeder has multiple breeds for sale because it could suggest that the breeder is prioritizing quantity over quality. Breeding multiple breeds can be a sign that the breeder is more interested in making money than in breeding healthy, well-socialized puppies. Breeding dogs requires a lot of time, effort, and resources, and it's difficult to do it well for even one breed. Breeding multiple breeds could indicate that the breeder doesn't have the expertise or resources to properly care for and raise all of the different breeds they are selling.

Additionally, reputable breeders typically focus on one or a few breeds and have a deep knowledge of the breed's characteristics, health concerns, and temperament. They may also be active in breed-specific clubs and organizations and participate in events such as conformation shows or performance competitions.

It's important to do your research and carefully evaluate any breeder you're considering purchasing a dog from, regardless of the number of breeds they sell. Look for breeders who prioritize the health and welfare of their dogs, are knowledgeable about the breed(s) they sell, and are transparent about their breeding practices.

Questions a breeder should ask you

  • 1.  Have you owned a dog before? If so, what breed and what happened to the dog?
  • 2. What is your living situation like? Do you live in a house or an apartment? Do you have a yard?
  • 3. How many hours a day will the dog be left alone?
  • 4. Have you researched the breed, and are you aware of the dog's exercise, grooming, and training needs?
  • 5. Do you have any other pets? If so, how do you think they will react to a new dog in the household?
  • 6. Are you willing to attend obedience classes with your new dog?
  • 7. Have you considered the costs associated with owning a dog, such as food, veterinary care, and grooming?
  • 8. Are you willing to commit to caring for the dog for its entire lifetime?
  • 9. Have you considered the potential health issues associated with the breed?
  • 10. Will the dog be a family pet, or will it be used for breeding or showing?
  • 11. What training methods do you plan to use? 


A good dog breeder can be hard to find, but you can do a few things to help you find the right one. First, you should ask for recommendations from friends or family who recently bought a dog. Once you have a few names, you can then start doing your research on each breeder. Visit the breeder's website and read through their policies and procedures. Make sure they have a good reputation and are transparent about their business. Finally, ask lots of questions and trust your gut instinct.