How to Distinguish a Good Breeder From a Bad One: 14 Tips

Over thirty percent of dogs at shelters are actually purebred. So it is not necessary to work with a breeder to find a purebred dog. Nevertheless, many people do want purebreds and need to find a responsible breeder. Although many people hold themselves out as breeders, it helps to know what to look for in a reputable breeder.

1. Good breeders do not sell puppies to pet stores. The best breeders personally vet potential dog owners and select good homes for each puppy, ensuring that the new family has the right commitment and lifestyle to take care of the dog.

2. Good breeders have a wealth of information about their dogs. You should look for breeders who have detailed documentation about their puppies, including their health, lineage, temperament and development.

3. Good breeders don’t sell more than one kind of breed, since they by default must specialize in just one (or maybe two).

4. Good breeders know about a breed’s traits, history, temperament and training tips. They should demonstrate years of experience with the breed.

5. Good breeders do show purebred dogs. It doesn’t matter if they work at local dog shows or compete nationally, the key is that they do show in competitions where dogs are judged on their pedigrees and behaviors. This is a key way for breeders to show that their dogs display the physical and behavioral traits required for the particular breed.

6. Good breeders always emphasize that you do not need to select a puppy or dog that is ranked or even shows. There are puppies in every litter than are not appropriate to show, but they should be treated with as much care, attention and love as competitive dogs.

7. Good breeders also keep their dogs as pets, so they can certify that the offspring of these dogs are also good family pets.

8. Good breeders are not all about the money. In fact, the best ones do not sell puppies for profit. Instead, they are all about improving the breed and producing healthy dogs, regardless of how much it costs.

9. Good breeders use the testing recommended for their breeds, including standardized genetic and other testing recommended for the individual breed. Tests you should ask about include OFA (hip x-ray certification), CERF (Canine Eye Registry Foundation), Penn-Hip (hip joint laxity), SAS (subaortic stenosis), and other health measures.

10. Good breeders provide lifetime written guarantees about genetic disease and other problems, and will take back a dog at any point in the dog’s life if the purchaser no longer wants the dog.

11. Good breeders ensure that their purchase contract requires the purchaser to spay or neuter the pup.

12. Good breeders continue to provide advice to purchaser long after the sale. Ideally breeders visit the homes of prospective dog owners both before and after purchase, always focusing on the ways a potential owner can provide safe, responsible and loving homes.

13. Good breeders only breed only dogs over 2 years old and only a limited number of times. Breeders should not breed the dogs every year.

14. Good breeders have references that prospective owners should always check. They should never place a dog with a new family before it is at least 8 weeks old.


  1. so many good thoughts here. definite read.

  2. I was just saying the other day you don’t need a puppy mill for a dog!

  3. Great tips, good article. Also always ask others who they recommend.

  4. If you don’t opt for a shelter dog, then by all means connect with a good breeder rather than a pet shop.

  5. A good source of info is also the AKC pages they can recommend reputable breeders

  6. Super happy to read this informative story.

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