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Reputable Breeder vs. Bad Breeder
Questions to Ask a Breeder
Common Misconceptions about Reputable Breeders
So, you want to be a breeder?
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Here, I will explain what to look for in a good breeder.

A 13 day old German Shepherd puppy.

Reputable breeders:
{Do health testing (OFA, CERF, thyroid, cardiac, and others) on all of their breeding stock and can show you the papers as proof. They never breed a dog that doesn't pass it's tests.
{Breed only to improve the health and quality of the breed that they so dearly love. Not for money or any other reason.
{Will thoroughly screen and interview potential buyers, which includes signing a contract. The contract usually includes having the dog spayed /neutered by a certain age (unless you plan to show it), and returning the dog to them if you--at any time--cannot keep it.
{Raise their puppies and dogs in a home environment where they can be socialized properly.
{Never, without exception, let a puppy go to it's new home before 8 weeks of age, at least. 12 weeks is even better.
{Have waiting list. They don't breed a litter until they have a sizeable waiting list, to ensure that all of the puppies will get a home. Breeders are not only responsible for the puppies while they are in their care, but for their entire life.
{Will help you pick out the puppy that will work best for your lifestyle.
{Willing to answer questions promptly and honestly. Will never hold back any information from you.
{Has a clean home and kennels (if any). Cleans up after their dogs. Doesn't let feces and such accumulate.
{A good breeder's dogs are friendly and healthy. If there is a sick one, the breeder will keep it away from the other dogs and do all that s/he can to treat the dog.
{Don't sell to pet stores. They want to make sure themselves that the puppy gets a good home instead of leaving it to pet-store employees.
{Will tell you if their breed isn't right for you.
{Supports shelter & rescue. They know that the shelter/rescue dog need home and do their part in helping them.
{Don't sell puppies over the internet. Many breeders have their own websites. This is perfectly fine. What I am talking about is breeders who actually let people pay for their puppies via their site. This encourages impulse buys, and is far from the best situation for the buyer, the breeder, or especially the puppy. Good breeders want potential buyers to come see the puppies and them and their homes for themselves. They can know much more about you and if one of their puppies should go to you if they meet you face-to-face.
{Doesn't usually put an ad in the paper. Since a reputable breeder's puppies already have homes waiting for a puppy months before their parents are even mated, there is no need for to advertise. There are exceptions to this rule, however.

The best places to get a dog:


Obviously a reputable breeder. I don't think that I need explain why because I already have. GENERALLY speaking, dogs from a reputable breeder are healthier than dogs from shelters or rescues.


Shelters are great places to get a dog as well. Roughly 25% of the dogs in shelters are purebred, while 75% are mixed breeds. Not only can you get a good pet at a shelter, you save it's life and help the shelter continue to help animals in need of homes. A common misconception about shelter dogs is that they come with training issues. Such is not always the case. The number one reason that people drop off their dogs at a shelter is moving. Plus, the shelter workers get to know the dogs pretty well and can tell you about each dog.


Rescue groups. They're are kind of like shelter, except the dogs up for adoption are in foster homes. And they won't get put to sleep just because they don't find homes. Unless you have a certain reason to buy from a breeder--like wanting a show dog, or wanting to be able to know the dog's background and health history--please check out a shelter and/or rescue before going to a breeder.

It's easy to for a breeder to fake love for the dogs, but bad breeders (puppy mills in particular) do it for money, no for the love and health of the breed. Some BYBs (Back-yard breeders) may truly love their dogs, but they breed for money as well. BYB-bred dogs are generally not as healthy as dogs from a good breeder.

You have to see the love in action. The house should be clean, they should show you where they keep the dogs, you should able to meet at least one of the puppie's parents. Any sick dogs should be kept away from the healthy ones. They shouldn't breed anymore than 2 breeds. The kennels (if any) should be clean and free of feces, and the dog should have plenty of water available. Also note that a good breeder will always treat their dogs, breeding-quality or not, as members of the family. They should be well-educated in their breed, breeding (obviously), canine nutrition, training and behavior, responsible pet ownership, etc. There's a heck of a lot more to what makes a good breeder than just oh, they love their dogs.


The Worst Places to get a dog:


Pet Store. No truly reputable breeder sells to a pet store because they want to be sure themselves that their puppies get good homes.


BYB is short for "Backyard Breeder". Although a BYB is much, much better than a puppy mill, they are still one of the very worst places to get a dog. They may treat the dogs well, but they don't do health testing, and they are usually ignorant of much of what's involved in breeding. BYBs are the breeders who most often advertise in the newspaper. It's not wrong to look for a breeder via the paper, you just need to be careful who you decide to buy from.

Many often say that shelter/rescue dogs make better pets and deserve your love more than a dog from a breeder. This is not true. All dogs deserve love equally, and just because a pet is from shelter or rescue does not automatically make it a better pet. Two of the three dogs that I've had in my lifetime have been from breeders (though I'm sorry to say not reputable ones) and they are no more or less better than my dog from a shelter.

Say "NO" to puppy mills and BYBs

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