Sunday, April 14, 2013

What to Look for in a Dog Breeder

I have spent a while conducting a list of what to look for in a breeder (this goes along for any breed of dog).

Sells to anyone - Any good breeder will not just sell to anyone off the street. A good breeder carefully inspects and interviews said buyer before selling them a puppy.

Doesn't ask questions - A breeder who doesn't ask questions is one you should stay away from. A good breeder should be interested in you and should have lots of questions for you. The buyer should never have to ask "Do you have any questions for me?"

Doesn't health test - I believe every breeder should health test his dogs. A thorough health test is greatly needed. I believe the following tests that are very essential are:

Blood test
PRA test
Brucellosis test
Thyroid test

Registers dogs with non-reputable registries - Registries such as the CKC, ACA, APBR, NKC, APR, APRI are not reputable or legitimate registries. Registries that are legitimate for registering the American Pit Bull Terrier with are the ADBA, AADR, APDR, UKC and BFKC.

Demands money for pedigree/papers of dog - The pedigree/papers should come with your dog with no extra charge whatsoever. I often see, for example, someone say "$1,000 with papers, $500 without". A breeder that tells you this is one that you need to run away from.

Keeps dogs in an environment or condition that is not fit for their needs - The breeder's yard should be kept clean and organized. The dog's area should be free of feces, lots of insects, tall grass, lots of leaves, logs, sticks/limbs laying everywhere, etc. The dog's area shouldn't be "swampy" or filled with lots of muddy space. The dog's area should be clean.

Holiday specials - I look through my local newspaper classifieds every week and when I do, I also look at the "puppy section" and there's always people who are advertising their puppies. Around the holidays, I will see that almost every single ad will state "holiday special" or "puppies just in time for the holidays". Christmas, New Year's Eve, Thanksgiving, Easter, Halloween, St. Patrick's Day, Labor Day, July 4th, they have a sales pitch for everything.

Doesn't provide information about parents of puppies - If you were to go to a breeder and buy a puppy, you should want to know as much information as possible on the parents of the puppy. You should be able to know as much as possible about the sire and the dam, see pictures of the parents, and if possible, see at least the sire or dam or see both the sire and dam in person.

Doesn't show or allow you to see pedigree/papers on puppies - A good breeder will allow you to see your dog's pedigree/papers.

Doesn't seem interested in you or his dogs - This is a sign that you should inspect very closely. If the breeder isn't interested in you or his dogs, it's time to leave and look elsewhere.

Doesn't seem to want to answer your questions - A good breeder will want to answer almost every question you throw at him. A good breeder is willing to answer almost any question that you may have for him. There may be a question or two he may not want to answer for both him and his dog's safety and that being said, is perfectly fine.

Doesn't know their chosen breed of dog or its history and origin - There are way too many people out there who claim to be breeding "purebred American Pit Bull Terriers that are blue nosed gator mouths with 30" heads". This is obviously nonsense. They're breeding fat mutts that have no purpose, they are not breeding pit bulls.

He is constantly reducing the price on his dog's - A breeder who is constantly reducing the price on his dog's is only in it for the money. I see this all the time and it happens way more than it should. The price of the puppy may start out at $3,000 and then make its way down to $200. This means that the breeder is also desperate to sell his puppies for one reason or another.

USDA licensed - One who is USDA licensed means that he is running a puppy mill.

Doesn't properly contain or keep his dogs - I have absolutely no respect for people who can't properly contain and keep their dogs well. I always recommend to really look at how the dogs are contained and kept. Does the person use good quality and well built dog houses? Does the person use a proper chain setup or kennel setup? Does the person keep his yard clean including where he keeps his dogs? Do his dogs look well fed yet well conditioned? Are his dogs healthy? Do the dogs have adequate water and shade?

Dogs seem fearful or aggressive towards people - If the dog's seem to be fearful or aggressive towards people, that's a bad sign and a sign meaning that you should stay away from that breeder. A dog who is fearful and aggressive towards humans is a very bad sign. It's an accident waiting to happen.

He isn't involved in any type of work with his dogs - A good breeder should be involved in some type of work with his dog. Show isn't considered as work.

Dogs aren't proven - When it comes to the bulldog, I often see breeders saying that their dogs are game and have proven gameness but have never fought their dogs. There's only one way to prove a dog's gameness and that's in the [ ].

Breeding is his full time job - Breeding should not be one man's full time job. If you're making money from breeding, there's a problem. A good dogman once said "Never buy a dog from a man that makes his living selling dogs."

He always has puppies for sale - A breeder who always has puppies for sale is a bad sign. Breeding isn't about selling and good breeders will rarely ever have puppies for sale.

No return policy - A good breeder should have a lifetime return policy.

Advertises on Craigslist, Hoobly, Kijiji or another classified ad website - A good breeder doesn't advertise his puppies on any type of classified ad website.

Guarantees the health of his puppies - I personally don't think it's necessarily possible to absolutely 100% guarantee the health of all of your puppies, but do make sure that your dog does come with a health guarantee.

Dogs don't appear to be well socialized or trained - If the breeder's dogs do not appear to be well socialized or trained then it's most likely best to stay away from said breeder. Socialization and training is very important and is essential to your dog.

Makes decisions for you and forces different things on you - Example of this: Some breeders will force you to have your dog vaccinated which I do not agree with. Vaccination is up to the owner, not the breeder. If vaccines really did work, why would I have to vaccinate my dog to be around your dog if he is supposedly "protected"? Obviously, if vaccines worked then you shouldn't have a problem with an un-vaccinated dog around your vaccinated dog. This goes for any vaccine. If parvo vaccines really worked then how come puppies who have had the parvo vaccine get parvo? This isn't a question that I'm asking because I already know the answer! I will have a separate blog post that goes into great depth about vaccines.

Sells puppies under 8 weeks of age - A puppy shouldn't leave the breeder until it turns 8 weeks of age.

Questions to ask a breeder:

How long have you been breeding dogs?
Can I see the parents of the puppies?
How many litters a year do you produce?
What do you breed for and why?
What do you look for when producing a litter and why (traits, characteristics, etc)?
What do you like about this specific breeding?
Do you allow yard visits?
What do you feed and why?
Do you have a contract? If so, what are the requirements stated on the contract?
Will you replace the puppy if a genetic disease pops up?
Do your puppies come with a health guarantee?
Have the parent's of these puppies been health tested? If so, what tests have they had done?
What vaccines have the puppies had?
Have the puppies been dewormed?
Are your dog's registered? If so, with what kennel clubs?
Are you readily available by phone if I were to have a question about about the dog?
Do you have any references?


  1. Thanks for these tips. My wife and I recently purchased a purebred golden retriever from a man we find on the internet. While he knew a lot of information about breeding and kept raising the price, your point "Doesn't properly contain or keep his dogs," was one I wish we'd known. Turns out she had been kept in a tiny, cramped kennel and was starved for attention and social interaction. Hope more people see this article and know how to tell a good breeder from bad.

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