How To Choose A Good Breeder for Your Puppy?
Our 10-Point Breeder Selection Process.
Selecting an ethical, responsible breeder is THE most important step which you will have to take before deciding on the best puppy to purchase for your family. As a dog is for life, ensuring that your puppy comes from a breeder who pays lots of attention to the health and temperament of the puppies which they breed will ensure that your pet ownership journey is set up for success.
10 Signs Of Good Dog Breeder
Many pet shops claim to source their puppies from “ethical” or “reputable” breeders, but very little transparency is provided as to what a truly ethical and responsible breeder really means. With a lack of guidance and resources in the market on how to select a puppy from a reputable source, we have noticed that unsuspecting buyers too often end up purchasing puppies in poor health / with behavioural issues from pet stores or puppy mills.
A core tenet of our business is our commitment to providing our buyers with top quality puppies from the healthiest and most responsibly bred parents, who are kept in pristine and loving home environments. As such, all our potential breeders go through an extremely stringent 10-step screening process before we decide whether or not to collaborate with them on a long-term basis.
In the next few paragraphs, we will share our internal 10-step breeder selection process with you. We sincerely hope to educate all future buyers to carefully select and do proper due diligence before purchasing any puppy from any source, as dogs with genetic health conditions due to poor breeding practices, or who develop difficult behavioral issues due to a lack of early socialization can not only cost thousands of dollars to treat, but also cause unbearable grief and heartache in the owners as well. Good breeders, on the other hand, will provide you with a well-socialized, well-adjusted and easy to handle healthy puppy, which will be sure to bring you years of happy companionship! 🙂
#1: Allows For Puppies To Be Viewed Together With Their Parents
It is very important to physically see / see videos of the puppies together with their parents, or at the very least, together with their mother (in cases where stud dogs are used). Mere photos of the parents will not suffice, as many profit-driven breeders will simply take a photo of the some of their better looking sires and dames, or even download some photos off the internet, and claim that the puppies’ parents are reflected in these photos.
If a breeder is evasive about showing videos of the puppies together with their mothers, it could be a red flag that the puppies are sourced from puppy mills, as breeding dogs from puppy mills are usually in extremely poor and unpresentable physical conditions (i.e. frequently shaved, or have skin diseases). Responsible breeders encourage you to visit and spend time with the puppy’s parents, and willingly show you all areas where puppies and breeding dogs spend their time.
#2: Provides Comprehensive Health Screening For Puppies’ Parents
From our experience, responsible and ethical breeders are well-versed in the potential genetic and developmental problems specific to every dog breed. Responsible breeders often provide official health reports to prove that the puppy’s parents have been professionally evaluated in an effort to breed these genetic issues out of the puppies. For example, some of our breeders conduct elaborate DNA laboratory testing for all puppy parents before they are deemed to be suitable for breeding.
However, do be wary of the source of these testing protocols, and diligently verify whether the “health check” provided by the pet store/breeder is simply a generic puppy health check briefly done by a vet (which is anyway compulsory at the point of export for imported dogs), or if the health reports actually provide comprehensive, genuine information of the genetic issues specific of the particular dog breed you are looking at (e.g. luxating patella for Pomeranians, intervertebral disk disease for Dachshunds, genetic hip dysplasia for Golden Retriever/Labrador crosses).
#3: Keeps Numbers Small Puppies Are Not Mass Produced
Responsible breeders may not always have a litter of pups readily available. Since optimum mating times occur according to natural schedules, conscientious breeders always give their dams a long rest in between litters and never over-breed them. In fact, from our experience, the most responsible breeders retire their dams after 3-4 litters, as not only will the quality of the puppies deteriorate when a dam is over-bred, the breeding dog’s health might also be affected in the long-term.
Therefore, if you spot a breeder or a pet store with a single source which consistently churns out a large number of puppies despite only having a small fixed number of breeding dams, this is a major red flag that the breeder is very likely to be a puppy mill.
#4: Selects Potential Owners Carefully
Responsible breeders only sell puppies to owners which they believe are able to provide their puppies with a good home, and will usually request to meet the buyers in person before committing to the sale of their puppies.
Responsible breeders very rarely agree to sell their dogs to pet stores, or over the internet. This is why our employees are stationed in the respective countries in which our breeders live, so that not only can we physically screen the puppies and their parents, the breeders can likewise be reassured in person that we can be trusted to select the best homes for their puppies.
Furthermore, we make it a point to stringently screen all our potential purchasers by physically meeting with every member of the family to better understand their motivations behind the purchase, and assess whether they will provide responsible and good homes for the puppies.
#5: Keeps Puppies In Clean, Hygienic And Well-Maintained Environments
Responsible breeders are always willing to open their homes for potential buyers to visit and spend time with the puppies and their parents. When visiting, do keep a lookout for the areas where the puppies and the breeding dogs spend their time – these areas should be clean, spacious and well-maintained. The dogs should also all appear lively, happy, clean and healthy, and do not shy away from human touch. On the other hand, puppies from puppy mills are usually consistently confined in cramped cages which are often crowded and dirty. Puppies originating from puppy mills also often display very fearful and anxious behaviour when greeting strangers for the first time.
#6: Socializes Puppies At A Young Age
Responsible breeders who genuinely love their puppies know that socialization is a very important part of the puppies’ development. Puppies should begin learning about the world around them at a very young age, and this happens organically for puppies that have been raised in a home environment.
Instead of keeping the puppies locked up alone in cages round the clock, responsible breeders spend one-on-one time with their puppies, and also slowly introduce the puppies to other dogs and humans once they are adequately vaccinated. They also provide toys, fun exercise and lots of love for every puppy.
#7: Educates You On How To Care For The Puppy
Responsible breeders who care for and love their puppies will give you an A-Z on how to take care of the puppy before it goes home. You should be provided with information on the puppy’s diet, how to groom and shower the puppy, as well as how to ease the puppy into your home from its current daily routine.
#8: Provides Genuine Pedigree Papers From Reputable Kennel Clubs
Not all breeders opt to register their puppies with kennel clubs or provide ancestry lines for their puppies. However, for those who do sell their puppies as “pedigree”, it is very important to make sure that the pedigree papers you are receiving are from an officially recognized and legitimate kennel club, such as the AKC (America), FCI (Europe), VDH, IDF and VRZ (Germany), ANKC (Australia) and the UK Kennel Club (United Kingdom).
An increasing number of breeders are making false claims to unsuspecting buyers that the puppies they sell are “pedigree” in order to mark up the dogs at exorbitant prices. However, there are many private “pedigree” organizations that either offers you pedigree certificates for free without any safeguard or screening of the puppies’ parents, or charge extra money in order for the dogs to be registered as pedigrees. Examples of such organizations are “The Pedigree Club” and “Kennel Registration” in the United Kingdom, which were set up as unofficial databases with no approved accreditation, and requires no validation from customers in other to supply pedigree certifications (e.g. proof of purchase, proof of ownership and proof of ancestry are NOT required).
#9: Offers Ongoing Assistance With The Puppies' Growth And Development
A genuinely responsible breeder CARES for her dogs, and will offer you ongoing advice and answers to any questions you may have after bringing the puppy home. They may often request for updates just to check on how their little puppies are settling down in their new homes. Puppy farmers, on the other hand, are mostly indifferent to the welfare of the puppies they sell once they have been taken off their hands.
#10: Sits Well With Your Instincts
At the end of the day, even if the breeders and pet stores you come across fulfill most or all of the evaluation criteria listed above, you should still pay some attention to your gut feelings. If the breeders or pet stores are ultimately do not sit well with your instincts for reasons that you cannot immediately identify, then it might be worth to take a step back and re-evaluate your options, no matter how cute the puppy in the shop window might be.