Choose the Best Dog Breeder for Your Family

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Deciding on a Purebred Dog

Many families come to a point when they decide they’d like a family dog. Or maybe they’d like to adopt a purebred dog to breed with a chosen mate. Deciding to purchase a purebred dog instead of adopting from a shelter is an important decision to make. You might want a particular breed for the characteristics or for the temperament of that breed. You might have children and would like a family dog with the traits of a purebred dog. No matter your reason, once you decide on your breed, you’ll need to find a breeder. Here are some tips on how to find the best breeder for your next family dog.

What to Look For in a Breeder

Your breeder should be a responsible dog owner first. They should allow you on their premises, where the dogs live and spend most of their time, so you can review the dogs’ lifestyle, living space, temperament, and companions.

You will want to observe the breeder’s premises for the following:

  • Are the dogs kenneled or allowed to roam free?

  • Is the area kept clean?

  • Is the area and are the dogs free of odor?

  • Do the dogs have a place to eliminate away from eating and sleeping spaces?

  • Puppies and dogs should be free of runny noses and eye infections.

  • Puppies and dogs should be friendly and lively.

  • All dogs on premises should be well-fed and healthy in appearance.

  • Are puppies socialized with other dogs and with people?

  • Are the puppies handled by people or are they only used to the dogs within their space?


You will want to observe the breeder’s responses to your questions, including:


  • How well does the breeder know the mating pair?

  • Have there been any health problems with the mating pair or the puppies?

  • Have the puppies been vaccinated or does the breeder plan to vaccinate before release?

  • Are there other veterinary procedures the breeder plans to do before the puppies are released to new homes, such a dew claw removal?

  • Can the breeder answer common questions about the breed?

  • Do they know enough about the breed and the puppies to educate you?

Picking Your Puppy

If you are looking for a purebred puppy, get to know your breeder well. If you can, choose your breeder and meet the parents before the litter is born. Many breeders will give first pick to families searching for puppies to adopt early in the process. If you are lucky enough to be on the breeder’s list while the dog is pregnant, ask the breeder for updates and photos of the mother and of the litter once they are born. This is a perfect time to build a relationship with the breeder and ask as many questions as you can.

All of the dogs from your purebred mating pair should have a documented history with the AKC. Ask to see all the papers from both parents. Once you have your puppy picked out, your breeder should be able to give you AKC paperwork for the puppy as well.

If you are able to pick from the litter, look for a puppy that meets the needs of your family. You’ll want to look for a puppy who is active and happy to see you. A puppy who looks well fed and cared for. Even the runt of the litter may be the best choice for your family, but you’ll want to ensure it is healthy and without problems you don’t want to address later once the puppy is home.

Expect to wait until your puppy is about twelve weeks old for the chance to take them home. Talk with the breeder during this time to ensure you are both in agreement with expectations as far as early veterinary care is concerned.

Things to Remember When Choosing a Breeder

Deciding to bring a puppy into your family is a big decision. Don’t add stress by dealing with poor breeders. Never deal with puppy mills or breeders who are constantly breeding the same mating pair. Be sure you know what happens to your breeder’s mating pairs once they are done breeding. You will want a breeder who is up front about their dogs, the litter, the level of care they can give the puppies until they are sent home with you, and what happens to any puppies who are not purchased.

Once you have chosen the perfect breed for your family and the best breeder you can find, you and your family get to sit back and wait to bring home your new bundle of joy.