If your reading this then you may be interested in purchasing a puppy from a breeder. Going to a breeder is a great way to find a new puppy. Puppies who are professionally bred are often healthier, of better temperament and although a little more expensive come with a list of all veterinary care that has been issued and is also up to date on all shots.
However if you are not careful then you can be fooled by con-artists that like to present themselves as reputable breeders. Buying a puppy from one of these places can be dangerous because the puppies are often sick and diseased. The germs that the puppy has can be transfered to other pets, lie dormant in your yard and even infect you and (God forbid) your children. This is especially true if you have babies or small children as their immune systems are not very strong yet.
It does not have to be that way though, while it may be hard to distinguish between a reputable breeder and a not-so-reputable one, it can be done. It only requires a little common sense and some detective skills. So, put on your detective cap and make sure that a prospective breeder can live up to the following criteria.
1. The Kennels: The state of a breeder’s kennels will tell you a lot about them. For example, reputable breeders will have state of the art kennels that are often climate controlled, clean, and safe. They often have concrete or wooden flooring and have special fencing materials made especially for animals cages and kennels. Beware of breeders who use barbed wire, choke collars, rough chain link fence, big chain leashes and whose kennels are old, run down, musty, dirty or anything that even looks unsanitary or unhealthy.
That may seem like I am going over board, however while it may be natural (and expected) for their to be a little dirt, poo or hair in the kennel, a reputable kennel will keep the cages clean. They often hire staff to do that to avoid any unhealthy germs infecting the dogs. This is why many breeders prices are so high. They put a lot of money into the cleanliness and health of the animals.
2. Licensing: Not anyone who has a litter of puppies can be a true breeder. A reputable breeder will have a business license and a breeding license. Its important that you ask to see both. If they cannot produce them or want to convince you its not necessary just walk away. Any professional breeder will be glad that you asked and will gladly be able to furnish you with an up to date copy of both. Many professional breeders have them framed and posted inside their offices for prospective customers to see. If you don’t see one then ask, if they can’t or won’t show you up to date copies of both walk away.
By the way, operating a kennel without a license and breeding dogs without a license can be dangerous and unhealthy. Its is against most city ordinances and if you encounter such a breeder please report them to the local authorities. The animals in their care must be properly checked out and attended too.
3. The State Of The Grounds: This is a big part of deciding whether or not someone is a true breeder. The grounds on which the animals are kept will be clean and open. A true breeder will have plenty of room for the dogs to run and play. This is why many kennels are often on parcels of land that are 5 acres or more. They need plenty of room for the kennels and plenty of room for the animals to exercise. If you go to a prospective breeder’s place of business and there are bunch of kennels and dogs all shoved up together then you are not encountering a reputable breeder. Please alert the authorities here as well. Animals that are shoved up together are usually not healthy animals. They can spread disease and germs and they should be taken care of immediately.
Also, always select a breeder to which you can personally visit. Do not under any circumstances order a dog from a breeder to which you have never personally met and from a kennel to which you have never seen. They may sound nice and professional over the telephone, but you could be getting scammed. This goes for web sites as well. The pictures on the breeders website may not actually be theirs and you could be making a costly mistake by ordering a puppy from them.
4. The State of The Animals: This is the most important part of determining whether or not you have a reputable breeder. You must pay very close attention to the state of animals in the “breeders” care. If you are dealing with a true breeder then the dogs will be clean, groomed, and be up to date on all vaccinations and heartworm medications. You will want to pay close attention to the state of the animal’s coat (is it clean and trimmed), the toe nails (are they trimmed and neat) and also the breeder must be able to provide you with a detailed accounting (on paper from a veterinary office) of all the veterinary care the pet has received. Reputable breeders take special pains to make sure that all shot, medication and breeding records (your breeder should be able to tell you and show you on paper from which to parents a puppy has come from). Having all of these records does two things: First lets you know that they are reputable breeders that know what they are doing. Second, it also clarifies any legal responsibility on behalf of the breeder.
If the “breeder” cannot furnish you with official veterinary, breeding, and medication records. If your breeder cannot furnish you with these you need to leave and seek another breeder. Also again you should report them to the authorities as records are required for any breeder.
With the four steps above you should be able to get a decent idea as to what kind of breeder you are dealing with. It may require you to voice your opinion and ask for records, proof of their licenses and other things of that nature but its very important that you do. Its better that you take the time to find a good breeder and then buy a puppy rather then not bother and get one that is sick. With this in mind you may still want to pay for the puppy to get a thorough check up from a third party veterinarian before you buy it. A reputable breeder will have no problem with this and its a good idea that they go with you to have it done. That way if there is a health issue with the puppy then your breeder has first hand knowledge of it and you are in the clear.
Congratulations on your decision to purchase a puppy. Now put on your detective hat and get going. Your future puppy awaits.