So you’ve decided that you want to buy a dog and you’ve chosen which breed is right for you , congratulations! But your work is not yet done. Where you go to get your dog is just as important as what kind of dog you get. But where do you start and how do you know if they are a good breeder? What does “a good breeder” even mean?
Good/Reputable breeders breed dogs for the love of the breed, not for the money. They are knowledgeable about the breed they represent and can help with behavioural and physical issues that might come up later. These breeders take care of their dogs and the pups and ensure they are not stressed, they socialize their puppies early on using positive methods, they breed in the good traits and breed out the bad ones and they can show you your puppies’ parents and give you their full history. So all in all, they are in it for the love of this breed, and are trying to only breed the best of the best.
Where do I start when it comes to finding a reputable breeder?
If adoption isn’t for you, it’s important to find an ethical breeder. Social media and flashy websites have made it very easy for puppy factories to look ethical, so it’s important to be vigilant.
Oscar’s law have an Ethical Dog Buyer’s Guide on their website, make sure to click here and have a read.
The RSPCA have also put out a Smart Puppy and Dog Buyers Guide- this runs through all the questions you should ask in detail and why – make sure to print this out and follow it!
What questions should I ask the breeders to know if they are a good breeder?
These are just some examples of things to ask, the links above go into more details.
- Are you a registered breeder? In Australia all purebred breeders must be registered with the The Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC). Each state has its own Member body. For example, a registered breeder in Victoria, Australia, must be a member of DOGS Victoria, the controlling body for pure breed dogs in Victoria. When purchasing a puppy from a Dogs Victoria breeder, you should always check that their membership with Dogs Victoria is current. Member of this organisation and bound by its Code of Practice for the breeding and welfare of puppies, and also confirm that they are able to provide you with registration papers for your new purebred puppy. Dog’s Victoria also have some fantastic information on their website about breed selection and finding ethical breeders so make sure to click here to have a look.
- Has a vet has been involved? Mother and pups must be fully health checked, vaccinated and wormed. Puppies must be microchipped before coming home.
- Have the parents been checked for inherited disorders? Some medical conditions have a genetic component so the best breeders will not use dogs to breed with if they have any of these conditions. Some of the best breeders will actually provide the results from screening tests done on the parents in the pups registrations documents.
- What do you do with the pups in the first 8 weeks? Make sure that the pup has been raised in the best possible environment during the first 8 weeks of its life (which is the amount of time it is with the breeder). In this time make sure the pup is socialised with other dogs, puppies, people and children. This is a critical period in their lives. Puppies locked in cages at puppies, will have a much harder start to life and it may even have an affect on them for life.
- Can I come to your property and visit the mother and pups? You will be able to see first hand the temperament of the mother and the conditions in which the puppies are being raised and socialised. Also be wary if they offer to bring the dog to you – you want to be able to see where your pup is coming from.
- Have you seen any behavioural or temperament issues in any of your dogs? Temperament problems such as dominance aggression (i.e. in the cocker spaniel), also runs in families, and good breeders will avoid using dogs with known inherited behavioural problems.
- How do you advertise? Generally the best breeders don’t have to advertise their business, they usually have a waiting list and rely on word of mouth.
The ANKC also have a fabulous spreadsheet on their website which shows what puppy farmers do versus what reputable breeders do. So click here to have a look at that too. It’s a great resource.
And this great handout made specially when looking for Golden Retrievers but is still great info to consider for all breeds.
Be prepared for the breeder to interview you too. A responsible breeder will want assurance that you can provide a good home for their babies. If they don’t ask you any questions, I would be a little concerned about their intentions.
If you are looking at getting a pure breed the most common place to look is on the Breed Club websites. This is where Jase and I went to when looking to get our Goldie – the Golden Retriever Club of Victoria website. They give you all the information you need; they list all reputable breeders and give you lots of information on the breed, choosing a dog and on breeders with upcoming litters. You can find this through a google search – for example, if you live in Victoria and you are looking for a german shepherd – you would google “German Shepherd Club of Victoria” – and you would find this website – https://gsdcv.org.au/. These website are a great place to start for lots of reliable information and more often than not, the people you contact through these sites, should be able to point you in the right direction too.
Mix breeds are a little harder and can often lead to puppy farms, so please make sure to do the research, go visit the breeders, meet the parents, see the conditions they are breeding in, make sure the mum is by no means stressed out, ask them all the questions below, and make sure they are breeding for the right reasons.
Lastly, be prepared to wait!! It took 12 months before we got Cooper but he was well worth the wait. Good breeders have long wait lists, so be patient!! I promise it will be worth it.
Good luck! And as always, if you have any questions or need any advice on this, please get in touch. I love helping people to find the right dogs for them.
PS. Make sure to head to our SHOP if you haven’t already! Spoil yourself and your dog!!
** Please note, this article was written in 2012 so please make sure to check the current rules and regulations of reputable breeders in your state before buying a puppy.