How To Make Sure You’re Getting A Dog From A Reputable Breeder

If you’re ready for a new best friend in your life, congratulations! The next step is to find a respected breeder you can trust.

Why a breeder versus a pet store? Pet stores tend to get their puppies from puppy mills, which are breeding facilities where the staff often mistreats their animals, ignoring their health and mental needs. So unless you plan to go to an animal shelter, which can be a great option if you’re looking to rescue a homeless pup who might otherwise end up there forever, breeders are your best bet.

But not all breeders are created equal and, as with all big decisions, you need to do your research before buying a dog. Here are some red flags to look out for.

Does The Breeder Provide A Safe Space For Their Dogs?

Good breeders are open communicators who are willing to show you where their puppies were born, live and spend their time. These spaces should be clean, spacious and monitored closely. When visiting, ask yourself if they’re taking care of their dogs in a way that a responsible, loving pet owner would. Is it overpopulated? Dirty? Are they locked up in cages? If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” look for another breeder.


How Do The Dogs Spend Their Days?

Good breeders also consider the mental well-being of their puppies and ensure they’re being properly socialized and are getting their exercise. When talking to a breeder, try to get a sense for what a typical day is like for their dogs.


Is The Breeder Knowledgable Of The Breed They’re Selling?

In addition to the well-being of the puppies, breeders should be highly knowledgable of the breed’s needs, and the genetic and developmental issues that may arise as they mature. They should also have proper health documentation of the puppy’s parents to ensure they don’t have undesirable breed issues.


Have They Stayed On Top Of Their Health Care?

While all puppies are adorable, it’s important to pay attention to what you can’t see, with health being of the utmost importance. The breeder should be able to show you documentation from veterinarian visits.


Does The Breeder Have The Puppy’s Best Interests At Heart?

According to the humane society, responsible breeders don’t simply hand over their puppies to people who have the money to buy them. They do their due diligence to ensure their pups are going to a good home.

Caring and attentive breeders will typically interview you to ensure you’re ready for the responsibility of a dog. Questions include why you want a dog, who will be taking care of the dog, where the dog will be staying and the like. You’ll also need to sign a few contracts. These include a contract regarding the spaying or neutering of the dog and one that states you’ll give the dog back should you fail to be able to care for the dog.

A good breeder will always make sure that their dogs are being adopted by those who will give it a safe, loving home and have the means of taking care of it responsibly for its whole life.

Chihuahuas Overwhelm California Animal Shelters
Getty Images | David McNew

Do Your Research

When in doubt, it’s always a good idea to ask for referrals from either veterinarians or friends who’ve had good experiences buying a dog. It’s a major decision, but doing your homework will save you from a lot of hardships down the road!