Finding a breeder that you truly connect with and trust is one of the most important steps in welcoming a new furry family member into your home. Ethical breeders spend an extensive amount of time caring for and socializing their pups prior to placing them in the care of a loving family, and in fact, their hard work begins long before your puppy is even born!
But with many people trying their hand at “backyard breeding” and the ease of connection and discoverability thanks to online marketplaces and social media, how do you really know if a breeder is breeding for profit or quality?
They Care About Their Puppies
Reputable breeders love and care for their puppies like their very own! You’ll get a sense of a breeder’s true passion and commitment when you meet them for the first time.
Be sure to pay attention to the living conditions and the health and happiness of the pups onsite. Things should be clean and odor-free, and puppies should appear well-fed and healthy. It might not be possible to meet onsite with your breeder due to restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic, but many breeders will make other options available, such as video conferencing.
Puppies of ethical breeders should also be well socialized. How do they act around people they know? How do they act around strangers? Puppies should be interactive with their breeder and outgoing when meeting new friendly faces.
They Adhere to Health Clearances and Provide Essential Documentation
A reputable purebred breeder will be happy to show you essential documentation concerning your new furry friend, such as their pedigree or proof of health clearances.
Health clearances are for accountable and responsible breeders who want to produce excellent dogs free from disease, whether inherited or otherwise. Not all regulatory bodies or kennel clubs require health testing to register a purebred litter. A puppy can be registered as a purebred without health clearances, which is why its important to do your research when searching for a breeder.
The American Kennel Club Bred with H.E.AR.T. breeders, for example, have health clearance testing. Individual breed clubs have lists of tests specific to their breeds. They expect members of individual breed clubs to test according to current recommendations for their breeds.
Remember: health clearances are vastly different from a routine veterinary workup, such as a physical exam, shots, or deworming. Health clearances involve checking a puppy’s parents, grandparents, and often the puppies themselves for evidence of inheritable disease.
Veterinary professionals encourage owners to check mandatory and optional health clearance test by breed. Pet owners should consult the websites of specific breed clubs for more extensive information on health clearances.
They’re Knowledgeable About the Breed
Responsible breeders know their dogs inside and out. They should be well-spoken on health conditions that typically affect their breed and open to answering any questions you might have. No question is a dumb question to a passionate breeder! They will be more than happy to share their breed knowledge with you.
Be sure to ask questions about your dog’s potential size, temperament, exercise requirements, special needs, inherited health issues, and more.
They Have Questions for You
Just like you’ll have many questions for your breeder, expect that they’ll have several for you.
Reputable breeders want to ensure their puppies are headed to loving, caring homes where they’ll live long and happy lives. Here are some questions you might be asked if you’re working with a responsible breeder:
- Why do you want a dog?
- Why do you want this particular breed?
- Have you had a dog before?
- In what conditions will the dog live?
- Do you have the time to meet the demands of dog ownership?
- Are you committed to grooming and health maintenance?
- Who will be the dog’s primary caretaker?
- How many hours will they be left alone each day?
If a breeder doesn’t seem concerned about a puppy’s wellbeing after they head to a new home or guarantee the health of their pups, consider continuing your search for the right fit!
What has your experience been like working with purebred breeders in the past? What other advice do you have for new puppy parents as they search for the best breeder possible? Leave your advice in the comments below.