If you’re considering going to a breeder for your next puppy, you’ve likely heard plenty of horror stories and potentially endured outright shaming from friends or family. While it’s true there are countless loving puppies and dogs in shelters throughout the country, there is no shame in picking a responsible breeder to get the puppy of your dreams. To avoid heartbreak with a sick puppy and avoid supporting animal abusers, it’s important to know exactly how to pick a caring and responsible dog breeder.
Tip #1: Make Sure You Can Meet The Parents
Caring breeders keep the parents (and sometimes the grandparents!) at their homes as beloved family pets. This is the breeder you want. If you cannot meet the parents of your future puppy, steer clear. The mom could very well be somewhere in a cage and solely used for breeding — which is not only inhumane, but also supports the infamous “puppy mill” industry.
Tip #2: Make Sure You Can Meet The Breeder, Too!
Don’t interact with a breeder solely via emails or the telephone. The purpose of this is twofold. One, you’ll get a clear impression of who this person is. Two, any responsible breeder should want to check you out. If they just want your money and seem to have no concern for what type of person you are, run!
Special COVID-19 Note
If COVID-19 is still a problem when you’re reading this article, PLEASE take all the appropriate precautions when entering someone’s home. You may need to rely more on video conferencing. Use your best judgment, don’t take a breeder’s reluctance to let you into their home as an indictment of their character (unless your “gut” says something is off), and always take the appropriate social distancing and masking precautions.
Tip #3: Get A Complete Medical History
Caring breeders have medical certificates (i.e., OFA and CERF) to back the good health of the parents and their litters. This is especially important for breeds prone to heart problems, such as Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. Responsible breeders get their puppies examined and vaccinated. Also, they should be open about any health problems to which their breed is predisposed.
While you should of course always do your own research into a breed, a caring breeder will personally ensure you’re educated before taking one of their puppies home.