If you have decided it is time to add a four-legged family member and you are looking for a reputable breeder, there are several things that you can do to ensure the breeder you choose is on the up and up.
Get to Know Potential Breeders
Preliminary Research – Once you have found a potential breeder do a little preliminary research online. Visit their website, social media sites, and search for online reviews and customer feedback. If they have little or no online presence, that may be a red flag.
Learn everything you can about potential breeders before contacting them. Some of the questions you want to answer are:
- How long have they been breeding?
- Do they screen potential buyers?
- Do they allow potential buyers to visit their facility?
- Do they provide information about their sires and dams?
- Who is their primary veterinarian?
- Do they provide proof of pedigree?
- Are past and present customers happy with their puppy buying experience?
- Do they have policies and processes in place to ensure the health of their puppies?
First Contact – Once you have done your preliminary research and answered as many questions as possible, it’s time to contact the breeder. This will give you an opportunity to get answers to any remaining questions and to determine how much effort they put in to ensuring that you will be a responsible pet owner. Any responsible breeder will have as many questions for you as you have for them.
Do not be offended if a breeder asks a lot of questions. The goal of any responsible breeder is to ensure that their puppies are placed in loving, responsible, and safe environments. They also want to ensure that potential buyers are capable of, and prepared to meet the needs of their pets. Some of the questions they might ask are:
- Have you ever owned this particular breed?
- Do you rent or own your home?
- Are you looking for a pet, or an animal to breed?
- Do you have a fenced yard?
- How many hours per day will the animal be alone?
- Do you have children?
- Do you have any other pets?
Facility Visit – Once you have gotten all the preliminary questions out of the way and you feel comfortable with the breeder, it is time to take the most important step in the process – ask to visit their breeding facility to meet them and their animals.
Reputable breeders are proud of their facilities, their animals, and their breeding practices; they should be happy to arrange a visit. If you have children, or other pets you should ask if you can bring them along. Bear in mind, if the breeder has young puppies at the time of your visit, they may not allow you to bring your pets.
There are several things that you should look for when visiting a prospective breeder’s facility:
- Are the grounds well-maintained with clean kennels and exercise areas?
- Are the sires and dams friendly and well socialized? They should be comfortable with both people and other dogs.
- Are the puppies (if available) clean, well fed and energetic?
- Are the breeders knowledgeable about the breed and willing to take the time to answer your questions?
- Do the breeders ask questions of you regarding your knowledge about the breed, your ability to care for the animal, the environment they will be placed in, and where they will fit into your family?
- Are the animals treated with love and respect?
Purchase Process and Contractual Obligations – During your visit you should also inquire about the purchase process and contractual obligations. Most reputable breeders offer health guarantees and require that you sign a contract which defines your obligations with regard to the care of the animal.
Reputable and caring breeders will require that you sign a contract indicating that if specified conditions of care are not met or you become unable to keep the puppy, the animal will be returned to the breeder. Do not be offended if your breeder requires such an agreement. It shows that the breeder truly cares for the animals they raise and are concerned for their well being.
After visiting the facility you should have a pretty good idea whether or not the breeder is trustworthy, reputable, and worthy of your business. If you feel uncomfortable for any reason, you should continue your search.