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 temperamentof the puppies which they breed will ensure that your pet ownership journey is set up for success.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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).