This is it. The day has come and you are looking for a responsible and ethical dog breeder. Meaning, a breeder who is putting all the time, effort and money it takes to produce quality dogs with sound health.
Regardless of the dog breed you have in mind, and even for non-purebred dogs, you will commonly find three types of dog breeders:
- Puppy mills that keep on producing unhealthy dogs purely for profit
- Individuals who just got a one-off litter by accident or simple curiosity
- Ethical breeders who plan and prepare in advance, and sometimes show their dogs
In an ideal world, everybody would get their new puppy from the latter — an ethical dog breeder. So let’s give you five places, online and offline, where you can find your amazing and caring responsible dog breeder.
Finding an ethical dog breeder
1. Local, Regional and National Breed Clubs
If you are after a purebred puppy to welcome home, you do want to start any research by emailing your local and national breed clubs.
Contact details are always on their website and just ask them for their list of approved and trusted breeders as well as any information related to the breed that you should know.
Do not ask for the puppy list showing all currently available litters. You don’t want a puppy because it is available “right now” but because it is from the right breeder, even if it requires you to wait for a few more months.
2. Dog Shows and Local Events
Sometimes organised by breed clubs, but often organised by the communities and councils, dog shows regardless of their size are a wonderful way to network and meet the right people.
All in the same place, you will find relevant brands, breeders and judges. Get as many contacts as you can because the day you want to actually find the right dog, asking a judge is a gift. They are well-connected and demanding, they know what a great healthy dog is.
Making a lot of valuable contacts will help you have access to ethical dog breeders you would have never had access to otherwise. Some breeders do not need to advertise and go through these channels to find forever homes for their litters (that’s how good these breeders are!)
3. Message Boards
If you live somewhere a little remote and are willing to travel to find the right puppy for you, join some popular message boards and interact with the most trusted members. These forums are public and gather passionate specialists around one breed.
Of course, you need to make sure the people you are chatting with are trustworthy. Forums allow you to view their older posts so you can be sure they know what they are talking about.
The only problem with online forums is that they usually have their members scattered all over the country so you may have to travel to find the right litter.
4. Facebook Groups
Facebook is that place where you can find the greatest and the worst. Some groups are despicable and sell dogs like they’re milk bottles. However, other groups have extremely knowledgeable dog breeders, fanciers and are more geographically targeted than online forums.
The great thing with Facebook Groups is that you can easily connect with the breeder, add him or her as a friend and take a look at their lives, literally. Photos, videos, previous posts, other friends, and all that good stalky-ish stuff. It allows you to profile whether that breeder is responsibly breeding or not within seconds.
Lastly, perhaps the safest way to find a wonderful dog breeder is to ask friends who own a great dog. Ask them how they dogs are doing health-wise, whether the parents got health screened or not, and then contact the breeder yourself if you like what you are hearing.
Some dog owners like to stay in touch with their breeders while others don’t really enjoy that. While both ways are respectable, if you friend is still in touch with their dog’s breeder you can have a privileged access to the litter and perhaps have the first pick.
A Warning Though…
Once you decide to go with a particular breeder, drop a line to his local breed club to make sure they haven’t heard of bad stories or complaints. Always double check and do your due diligence even if the breeder is recommended by a close friend.
Also, never take a breeder’s word about health testing. Require copies of the parents’ health certificates and a clear list of what the puppies have been given and what vet visits they’ve already been through. If the breeder becomes hesitant, forget about him. Trust me, you don’t want the four-legged love of your life to come from a disgusting dog breeder.