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Find a responsible Breeder

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I was referred to my breeder by a friend who is the ultimate dog lover. She's a walking dog dictionary. So I trusted her when I told her I wanted two healthy German Shepards that weren't bred through family members. I had watch
and didn't want pups who are the offspring of mother and son, grandfather with granddaughter, or cousins.

So I'm curious for those who are the ultimate dog lover, what are the prerequisistes a breeder should have before you buy a pup? If you were advising a friend, what would you tell them to look for?
 
The biggest thing for me with a breeder is their demeanor. If I can have a respectful conversation with them right off the bat, I know that I'm going to get a respectful dog. I am buying my own bred pup a bit later this year and one of the key things for me is knowing that it was raised by someone with a natural affinity for organic respect.
 
If you're after a pedigree, you could try contacting the breed association. Otherwise, if you are after a mixed breed, you could try a local shelter or breed rescue. Sadly they have litters available all too often, but sometimes rescue dogs aren't practical (e.g. if you are after a working dog with specific qualities).

One important thing is the breeder's reputation, but not so much the show certificates and rosettes. If you've been working in rescue or are active in the dog community it can be easy to get recommendations. If a breeder's happy to let you speak to other people who've had their dogs, it is a good sign. Likewise if they request a home visit, it is a good sign. Another is if they have a clause that if the dog doesn't work out for an owner for any reason, the dog has to be returned to them not placed in a shelter or anything similar. That's a breeder who really cares about the animal.

A good breeder will rarely be found advertised in the back of a newspaper or on Craigslist. They often have people already lined up for the puppies because they are known to be good, and they will have a limit on how often they breed.