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How To Find A Reputable Breeder

Updated on December 10, 2009

When buying a puppy, many times the first concern is money issues, especially in our economy today. Because of this families tend to browse the paper, looking for the cheapest puppy they can find. But what are you really getting?

First, a reputable breeder will have much higher prices than a back yard breeder. There are many reasons for this. One is that the breeder is trying to weed out those who may not be the most suitable. They want people to look at their new puppy as a child, and someone not willing to pay a higher price may also be a person who would drop the puppy off in a shelter if they decide they don't want it anymore. Also, when you pay more for something, one tends to research more bout it, and take better care of it. Another reason is to help cover the cost of maintaining their breeding stock and raising a healthy puppy.

Another thing to consider is the health of your puppy. Sure, you may have gotten a "cheap" dog, but it may also have genetic defects which could cost hundreds or thousands of dollars later in vet bills.

There are many costs that go into raising a quality puppy. There is the expense for a higher quality food, vitamins, many different types of worm medicine,(such as safeguard, panacur, ivermec, etc) plus the cost of the parents themselves. A reputable breeder will have no problem paying higher prices (sometimes $2,000 - $3,000) to get breed quality puppy from another reputable breeder to add to their breeding program. Further costs can include shows. The average show includes entrance fees, handler fees, plus travel time and expense, hotels, meals, also all the things needed, such as grooming tools, a grooming table, crates, leads, and more. A typical show lasting Friday, Saturday, and Sunday can get quite pricey, going from $700 up, and that's only for one person. This money is spent in an effort to improve the breed.

A reputable breeder does not breed for money. They breed for quality puppies with sound conformation and temperment.

To find a reputable breeder, a good place to start is the Internet. First, you'll want to research the breed you are interested in, especially the conformation of the breed. A reputable breeder will breed show quality dogs, and their breeding stock will not be pet quality. After this, you can start looking for breeders. Try sites that list breeders and their available puppies. E-mail or call the breeder. Ask questions about the parents, puppies, and their breeding program. A reputable breeder will not breed their females before 2 years of age, nor will they breed their females more than once a year. Their dogs are all of a good age. A reputable breeder will not overbreed, meaning the dog (male or female) will be retired from breeding between 5 - 7 years of age, depending on the health of the dog and how the female carried her previous litters. Ask to see pictures of the parents, their pedigrees, and what conditions they are kept in. Remember that just because a breeder does not keep their dogs in their house, that doesn't mean they are not a good breeder. Some states (such as Pennsylvania) have kennel laws which state the breeder CANNOT keep any breeding stock in their homes. However, a reputable breeder does not keep their dogs in small cages. They should have long runs both inside and outside of a kennel area building. Ask to see reference. A good breeder will have a list of e-mails from previous puppy buyers, and should have them posted on their website.

A reputable breeder will mate dogs not on whim. They study their dogs pedigrees in depth, and mate a male and female based on which pair will give them the puppies with the best quality.

Ask if the breeder has a website that you can view, or if not, to see pictures of the available puppies. Ask if the dogs are registered with a reputable registry, such as AKC or UKC. Please note that just because the dog is registered, that does not make the registry a good one. Registries such as APRI, and CKC do allow mixed breeds to be registered, and this does not guarantee your puppy is purebred.

 Don't be alarmed if the breeder will not let you see the puppies until 8 weeks of age. Many breeders are doing this to protect their puppies, as outbreaks of parvo and a new Canine Virus (which there is no vaccine for as of yet) as sweeping across areas of the country, and are fatal to young puppies. At 8 weeks, a breeder may let you see their puppies, but not hold them until you have picked yours. This is to make sure that if you are carrying parvo, you are not spreading it to the rest of the litter.

A reputable breeder will give a health guarantee with their dogs, which should cover anything genetic. The amount of time varies from breeder to breeder.
A reputable breeder will have no problem answernig your questions, so don't be afraid to ask.

Don't support backyard breeders and puppymills.

A puppymill...
A puppymill...


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    • renee21 profile image

      renee21 5 years ago

      Well written hub! I hate puppy mills! A reputable breeder or an animal shelter are the only places I will get my dogs.