How to Find a Trustworthy Dog Breeder: 11 Essential Tips

Updated on: Mar 22, 2023
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How to Find a Trustworthy Dog Breeder: 11 Essential Tips

Are you looking for a new dog?

Finding a reputable breeder is vital in ensuring your new dog is healthy and happy before  bringing them home. This decision can be difficult, with so many breeders and shelters to choose from.

Don't worry, though! 

I've got your back. 

Here are the 11 crucial steps in finding a reputable breeder! 

So let's get started!

Research about the breed you're interested in getting.

Researching the breed, you're interested in can give you a better idea of what to expect from your furry friend. You'll learn about their: 

Ensure that you are getting a dog that fits your lifestyle and home environment well. When looking for a breeder, make a list of questions to ask them to ensure the dog is the right fit for you.

Check for breed-specific clubs and organizations that can help you locate reputable breeders.

Many different breeds have clubs and organizations focusing on responsible breeding and animal care. These groups usually have lists of breeders who follow their guidelines and standards for breeding and caring for their animals.

They maintain breed standards and promote responsible breeding practices. These clubs have a breeder referral program to help you find breeders who follow their guidelines.

Breed-specific clubs and organizations can also provide you with breed-specific information on the following: 

The knowledge and resources you can get from this club can help you make an informed decision when choosing a breeder. And in the end, you can get a pet that will be the perfect fit for you and your family.

Ask friends, family members, or your veterinarian for recommendations on reputable breeders.

Referrals can be super helpful since they come from people who have had personal experience with a particular breeder and can provide valuable insights into their experience.

When asking for referrals: 

  • mention the breed you're interested in 
  • and ask about the person's experience with the breeder.

It's a good idea to ask specific questions like:

  • Is the pet healthy?
  • Does it have a good temperament?
  • Was the breeder easy to communicate with?
  • Would you recommend the breeder to others?

You can also check online forums or social media groups dedicated to the breed you're interested in. These communities can provide recommendations and advice on finding a reputable breeder.

A reputable breeder should have the necessary licenses and permits to breed and sell pets.

A reputable breeder should have the proper licenses and permits to breed and sell pets. The specific licenses and permits required can vary depending on where the breeder operates. 

For instance, in the US, breeders might need a license from the USDA if they have more than four breeding females and sell puppies to pet stores or online. Depending on the state's regulations, they might also need a form or local license.

Why is it essential for breeders to have the proper licenses and permits? 

Well, it shows that: 

  • they're operating legally
  • they're following the rules and regulations set by governing bodies
  • they are credible

It also provides some accountability because breeders who don't have the necessary licenses and permits may be more likely to prioritize profit over animal welfare or breed unhealthy animals. 

Asking about a breeder's licenses and permits is necessary if you want to find a reputable breeder who cares about animal welfare and follows the law.

Schedule a visit to the breeder's facilities.

When visiting the breeder's facility, look for things like: 

  • whether the place is clean
  • whether the animals live in comfortable quarters
  • and whether they are in good health and spirits.

Look at the animals and their behavior to see if they're friendly and pleasant. They should be: 

  • happy
  • curious
  • and energetic.

 Also, they should have access to the following:

  •  food
  • clean water
  • space to move around and exercise.

Signs that something isn’t right about the breeder include:

  • if the breeder seems hesitant to let you visit
  • the dog doesn't seem healthy or happy
  • and the facility is not clean or sanitized properly.

A reputable breeder won't mind showing you around and will be proud to show you how well they care for their dogs. 

Take the time to visit the breeder's place to make an informed decision before bringing your new pet home. 

Ask about health screenings to ensure the dogs are free from genetic or hereditary diseases.

Responsible breeders make sure to prioritize the health and well-being of their dogs. They conduct health screenings to ensure their puppies are free from genetic or hereditary diseases.

These screenings include: 

  • genetic testing
  • hip dysplasia evaluations,
  • eye exams
  • and other tests that can help detect potential health problems in animals.

A good breeder will happily provide you with all the information about their health screenings and any certifications or documentation to confirm the puppies' health.

Asking about health screenings, ensure the pup you bring home is healthy and has a lower risk of developing health problems.

Not all breeds are prone to the same health issues, so it's always best to research the potential health concerns for the dog breed you're interested in before talking to the breeder.

Ask about temperament testing.

Temperament testing is a way for breeders to evaluate a puppy's personality and behavior. The breeder should be able to give you much information about it.

They might tell you about their specific methods and how they conduct the testing. This helps them determine which homes best match their dogs based on activity level and temperament. 

But that's not all! 

A good breeder will provide you with info about the socialization and training that the dog received. This is important so that you can identify if the dog is well-adjusted and if it can thrive in its new home.

Check for contracts outlining the terms and conditions of the sale, including a health guarantee.

When looking for a breeder, ensuring they have a contract covering everything related to the sale, including a health guarantee, is essential. This contract should provide information on the following: 

  • the animal's background
  • health screenings
  • genetic testing
  • vaccination history

A health guarantee is critical because it ensures the animal is healthy. The breeder is liable to cover any veterinary bills that may arise within a specific timeframe after the purchase. 

Carefully review your contract with the breeder and ask any questions you may have before making a purchase. Reputable breeders will happily provide you with a detailed contract covering all aspects of the purchase.

If a breeder hesitates to provide a detailed contract, it may be a sign that they're not reputable. So, it's better to consider looking for a different one. 

Ask about their breeding practices.

Knowing how often the breeder breeds their dogs and how they socialize them is vital to ensure you get a healthy and happy pet.

A good breeder will gladly answer all your questions and give detailed information on their breeding practices. For instance, a responsible breeder will breed their dogs only once yearly or less frequently so the mother has enough time to recover.

They'll also ensure their puppies are well-socialized and exposed to different stimuli to promote positive behavior and reduce anxiety and fear.

A breeder who is solely focused on profit might breed their animals too often. This leads to health problems and a higher risk of genetic disorders. They may also keep their animals in poor living conditions, which can cause health and behavioral issues.

Ask the breeder for references from previous clients to ensure they are satisfied with their pets.

This means asking the breeder to give you contact info for people who've bought pets before and then reaching out to those folks to ask about their experience.

Talking to previous clients is a great way to get an unbiased opinion on the breeder and their pets' quality. They can give you the scoop on the following: 

  • the puppies' personality
  • behavior
  • health
  • overall experience with the breeder.

Plus, chatting with past customers can help you better understand what working with that particular breeder will be like.

If you decide to reach out to references, ask them specific questions about the breeder and their animals. All this information can help you make a wise decisions and avoid potential problems.

Avoid breeders who operate puppy mills.

Puppy mills are factories where dogs are bred in mass quantities, often in terrible conditions. They care more about making money than caring for animals. This means the dogs can have a higher risk for health and behavioral problems. 

You could end up with a lot of financial and emotional stress trying to deal with those problems.

To avoid supporting puppy mills, it's super important to research and find a breeder who puts the welfare of their animals first to ensure you bring a happy and healthy pet into your home!


Choosing the right breeder is essential if you're looking for a new dog. Ensuring your pet is healthy and happy can make all the difference in your life. You can bring a healthy and happy pup home by following the tips above. So give your new furry friend the best possible start in life!

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