So you’ve decided to get a dog and to introduce a new member to the family. Congratulations! This is sure to be one of the most memorable and rewarding experiences of your life. You’ll look back years from now and remember the days you invested researching, learning and working hard to finally fund the new pup of your dreams.
When it comes to finding a responsible dog breeder, there is a lot that you should look out for and consider. While you always have a variety of other options including adopting a puppy from a local shelter or rescuing one from the pound, going straight to a dog breeder can have many advantages.
In this ultimate guide to finding a responsible dog breeder we’re going to discuss everything from the history of dog breeding to the benefits of going through a dog breeder and some key things you should look for when doing so. We’ll also touch on some different institutions and accreditation that are out there to help you narrow down your search. Next we’ll discuss some of the different breeds of dogs to help you get an idea of which one might be best for you. After that, we’ll discuss some of the other options you have should you not decide to go through a breeder such as adoption and rescue.
So without further adieu, let’s jump right in!
A Brief History of Dog Breeding
We’ve all become familiar with the term “dogs are a man’s best friend,” and it’s true! For as long as we can remember (about 15,000 years) dogs have been side by side with men and providing them assistance in ways which have proven beneficial over the decades. They’ve helped us with everything from hunting to travel to protection and a best friend we can rely on to love us and be there for us unconditionally.
So why dogs? Why not other animals?
Well, the answer lies in their “plasticity.” What we mean by that is; their wide ranges of sizes, shapes, intellect and ultimately our human creativity. They’ve been an integral part of our society because of our ability to train and breed them to our standards and needs and it’s proven to be one of the most mutually beneficial relationships of our species.
Early on, they served as our protectors and gave warning signs as they would bark when wild animals or strangers would approach the edges of our early settlements. In addition they helped keep our local varment and rodent population down by eating our rotten food. This proved beneficial enough for our ancestors to keep them around.
In the past, it was likely that we would just keep the ones that were the loudest and friendliest as they seemed to be the best protectors while at the same time proving to be loyal. Before breeding, we classified our dogs in categories and types such as hunting dogs, herding dogs, hound and lap dogs. It wasn’t until the 19th century where we actually started modifying our furry friends genetically through selective breeding.
Our breeding methods seemed to have paid off because today we live with more than 400 different dog breeds!
It’s amazing to see how far we’ve come as a human dog pal species over the last 15 thousand years as roughly 68% of families the United States now own a dog according to a study done in 2017 bt the American Pet Products Association.
So, now that we have a bit of history background on how this all started, let’s dive in.
The Top 7 Benefits of Going Through a Dog Breeder
So you’re looking to buy a puppy straight from a breeder…but you’re not quite sure what to look for or where to look. Well, you’ve come to the right place!
There are a few advantages that come with buying a puppy straight from a breeder as opposed to adopting a rescue dog. But before we get into those, we should state that choosing to go through a breeder over adopting from a rescue or pet shelter is not make you evil or against rescue. It just means that you’re an individual with certain preferences. While there are many worthwhile choices and options at a local rescue shelter, going with a responsible, verified and authentic dog breeder has it’s own benefits which we’ll discuss.
First we’ll cover the top benefits of going through a dog breeder, then we’ll outline a checklist and guide about what you should look for when selecting a dog breeder.
Here are the top benefits of buying a dog through a dog breeder:
#1 – You Will Have a Purebred Dog
A responsible, verified purebred dog breeder will have a variety of information and credentials to prove the purity of the dog’s breed. This has certain benefits for both you and the dog in the short and long term. A good breeder has done the work to ensure that their dogs are healthy, free from diseases or ailments and also undesirable temperaments.
Authentic dog breeders are usually experts in their breed and know how to handle, train, conditions and socialize their dogs from a young age so you’re increasing your odds of getting all of the “right” stuff with your new pup, mainly health and temperament.
#2 – You’ll Likely Have the Support of The Breeder Throughout the Puppy’s Life
Because the breeder is an expert in their particular breed, you’ll likely have their life-long support of advice if you have any questions.
#3 – You’ll Be Able To Predict Your Dog’s Size, Temperament and Care Requirements From Their Pedigree
A true, authentic and responsible breeder will likely many of the answers you’re looking for when it comes to choosing the right dog. Are you looking for a pup that’ll be larger and more relaxed temperament or a smaller pup with lots of energy and charisma? With a breeder you’ll have a higher chance of finding a pup that fits your lifestyle and needs. You’ll also gain valuable information like nutritional insights, grooming methods and how to keep it healthy.
#4 – Your Pup Will Have Gotten Personalized Care, Attention and Love From Day 1
An authentic dog breeder will have given your pup top-notch medical care, great nutrition and ample supervised playtime that allows them to grow, develop and socialize, whic helps them become more adjusted as an adult. These combined together naturally lead to a happier, healthier and more loving pup.
#5 – You’ll Always Have a Backup Plan For Your Pup
Often times, the breeder will be willing to take the pup back if for some reason you’re unable to take care of the puppy in the event of a life emergency or accident.
#6 – Reduce The Chance of Genetic Defects And Improve Long Term Health
Most breeders take the health of their dogs very seriously so by going to a dog breeder you’ll likely have a healthier dog free from genetic disorders or diseases. All breeders want to improve the genetics of their dogs to improve their animals in conformational, behavior and ability so you can bet that these advantages can be passed along to you as the owner.
Many breeders will even offer a health guarantee and be willing to pay any medical bills should they arise. Authentic breeders are truly attempting to do the right thing and take responsibility for the puppies that they sell.
#7 – You’ll Obtain a Pedigree
A pedigree is a certification that your dog is the offspring of a dam or size of the same breed several generations back, making it eligible for registration with recognized clubs and societies that maintain a register for dogs with that description.
Dog’s with pedigrees have certain advantages:
- They’re usually easier to train
- Bring more money if you breed it
- Be better suited for certain styles of work
If you’re an individual looking for your dog to have some sort of utility as mentioned above then you should definitely consider finding an authentic dog breeder.
As you can see, there quite a few advantages of going through a breeder. The biggest advantages come in long term health, trainability, temperament and utility.
Now that we have an idea of some of the benefits of choosing a purebred dog through a breeder, let’s explore the criteria you’ll need to be aware of when choosing the right one for you.
What To Look For In a Responsible and Verified Dog Breeder
There’s quite a bit of information we’ll discuss on here so grab a cup of joe or a glass of OJ and let’s begin. We’ll likely turn this into it’s own separate downloadable PDF for you down the line so hang tight.
Finding a Breeder 101, here’s what you should be aware of:
- Full Transparency. A responsible dog breeder will let you visit and will willingly show you all of their areas their puppies and breeding dogs spend their time. The areas should be well-maintained, clean and spacious.
- Has dogs around that look healthy, clean and lively. They’re comfortable and friendly around visitors, not shy, aggressive or untrained.
- Observe how the breeder interacts with the dogs. Observe how the dogs react and behave around the breeder. Observe their body language and movements. Ears, head and tail. Is it open, loving and excited when it sees the breeder or does it flinch, pull away or retract?
- They take care of their dogs as they would take care of a human. They treat with them respect, give them adequate space and supplies based on their breed. Larger dogs require more space while smaller dogs don’t. You can do your research and find out how much adequate space the breed you’re going after requires to get an accurate idea of what to look for.
- Usually specialized in 1-2 breeds and is extremely knowledgeable about them in all the ways they should be.
- Usually has a waiting list, doesn’t always have puppies and has a list or next-option resources for other responsible breeders or clubs.
- Encourages you to spend some time with the dogs, especially their mother when you visit.
- A responsible breeder usually has a strong relationship with a local vet and has individual records of vet visit for the puppy that you’re looking to buy.
- Provides documentation about the puppy’s parents and grandparents and can thoroughly explain the puppies health and potential genetic and developmental problems that are inherent to the breed.
- Offers an open-line of guidance and support to the life of the puppy. They should also offer guidance for maintenance, care and training of your pup.
- A responsible breeder will be willing to offer references of other families who have purchased on of their puppies for you to be able to call.
- Responsible breeders are usually involved with various types of local, state or national clubs and events related to the breed. This can be in form of obedience trials, tracking and agility trials and other performance based events.
- Responsible breeders will never sell to unknown buyers over the internet or pet stores and will only sell to people they have met in person
- Authentic breeders will encourage multiple visits from you and your family for you to really get to know the breed, the family and the pup before you make your final decision.
- Provides you with a written agreement and contract regarding everything we’ve mentioned above and is willing to give you time to go through it all before agreeing.
As you can see, true, authentic and responsible dog breeders are a cut above the rest. They take extreme care of their dogs and treat them as if they are their own children. This high level of investment ensures a trustworthy exchange of information and ownership from them to you as you get ready to buy your new pup.
In addition to what we’ve gone over thus far, there are a few other points you should know about responsible breeders.
They will require you to:
- Give them an explanation of why you want your dog
- They’ll likely want to know more granular details like who in your family will be taking care of the dog on a daily basis. Who will be training the dog, where the dog will be spending most of their time and what “rules” your family has set for the puppy such as “whether the dog can go in the backyard” or “on the furniture.”
- They’ll want proof that you’re allowed to have a dog from your landlord or association if you live in a condominium complex.
- If you have other pets, they may ask for veterinary references
- Unless you plan on actively showing him or her, they’ll likely ask you to sign a contract to spay or neuter the dog
- A true breeder will also make you sign a contract stating that you’ll return the dog if at any point you are unable to keep or take care of the dog for any reason.
So as you can see, finding a responsible and verified dog breeder comes with it’s challenges. There are many so called “dog breeders” out there who don’t meet these conditions. If you happen to come across one, don’t fret, there are many others who meet these requirements so you’ll just have to continue your research and keep searching. It’s worth it. If you’re going to be spending top dollar and effort, it’s wise to keep going until you find the perfect one.
You’ll know it when you find it!
Alright! Now you’ve discovered some of the benefits of buying a dog from a responsible and verified breeder and we’ve covered what you should be looking for in an authentic dog breeder let’s get into where you can look to find some of these responsible dog breeders.
Where To Find a Responsible Dog Breeder
We recommend looking for a breeder on the American Kennel Club or AKC. The AKC has an extensive website that is well organized and structured to help you find both responsible breeders as well as other important resources you’ll need during your quest and journey to getting a new pup.
At this point, you might be wondering, “What breed is right for me?” – You might have a couple ideas, but you’re still on the fence.
The AKC has some pretty great information where you can find out the specific key information that you’ll want to know about each breed like:
- Energy Levels
- Good with Children
- Good with Other Dogs
- Life Expectancy
- Barking Level
These also serve as criteria for you to be able to determine what kind of dog fits you best! You’ll want to choose a breed that fits with your energy, lifestyle and space.
Are you looking for a larger dog breed or a small tiny cute one you can fit in a purse? Do you have kids or are you planning on having kids? How big is your home? Do you live in an apartment or do you have a good sized yard? Are you working 9-5 everyday or do you have other people in the home who can walk the dog and take them out for runs in the afternoon?
All of these different factors should be considered when choosing a breed.
Now to make this guide complete, let’s list out some of the different categories and their breeds.
Large Dog Breeds:
Great Danes, Mastiff, Neapolitan Mastiff, Bull Mastiff, Newfoundland, Dogue De Bordeaux,
Cane Corso, Great Pyrenees, Bernese Mountain Dog, Tibetan Mastiff, Black Russian Terrier, Leonberger, Irish Wolfhound, Scottish Deerhound.
Medium Sized Dog Breeds:
Brittany, Bulldog, Cocker Spaniel, English Springer Spaniel, Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Shetland Sheepdog, Whippet.
Smallest Dog Breeds:
Brussels Griffon, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Chihuahua, Chinese Crested Dachshund, English Toy Spaniel, Havanese, Italian Greyhound, Japanese Chin, Maltese, Miniature Pinscher, Norfolk Terrier, Norwich Terrier, Papillon, Pekingese, Pomeranian, Pug, Schipperke, Shih Tzu, Silky Terrier, Toy Fox Terrier, Manchester Terrier, Poodle, Yorkshire Terrier.
Smartest Dog Breeds:
Border Collie, Poodle, German Shepherd Dog, Golden Retriever, Doberman Pinscher, Shetland Sheepdog, Labrador Retriever, Papillon, Bloodhound, Rottweiler.
Best Family Dog Breeds:
Labrador Retriever, Bulldog, Golden Retriever, Beagle, Pug, Irish Setter, Brussels Griffon, Newfoundland, French Bulldog, Collie.
Best Guard Dogs:
Bullmastiff, Doberman Pinscher, Giant Schnauzer, Akita, German Shepherd dog, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Rottweiler, Puli, Rhodesian Ridgeback.
Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds:
Bedlington Terrier, Bichon Frise, Chinese Crested, Coton De Tulear, Irish Water Spaniel, Kerry Blue Terrier, Maltese, Poodle, Portuguese Water Dog, Standard Schnauzer, Giant Schnauzer, Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, Xoloitzcuintli, American Hairless Terrier, Lagotto Romagnolo, Afghan Hound, Peruvian Inca Orchid.
Hopefully those helps narrow do your search! Now, it’s a good idea to due your due-diligence the breed you’re thinking of to get a full spectrum of ideas and opinions, just so you’re sure on your commitment. Read articles, blogs, Reddit and watching Youtube videos.
Hopefully you should be ready to find a responsible and verified dog breed owner now that we’ve layed out the benefits of going with a purebred dog, what to look for in a responsible dog breeder and what kind of expectations you should have before hand!
Now, if at this point you’ve read everything and it all sounds great, but you think you may want to consider adoption as well, here are a couple resources!
Other Options – Adopting a Rescue & Retired Police K9 Dogs
Adopting a dog from your shelter can be an incredibly rewarding experience as you’re literally saving the life of a dog who’s had a not so smoothe past. It’s not to say that the dog was abused or came from a bad home though however! Many dogs that end up in rescue shelters are there because they got lost or separated from their owners or were taken there because their family could no longer take care of them.
Many rescue dogs are also more affordable than going to a breeder and you’ll likely save quite a bit of money up front. You should get access to the dog’s medical history as well to ensure it’s healthy. We go into all this in more detail on another article we wrote about adopting a dog from a rescue HERE. (link to other article once live)
Another, more unique option you can look into it is adopting a retired working dog. These are k9 dogs that served either in the military or with the police. These are typically well-trained and healthy dogs that simply don’t have a home. You can find out more and fill out a form to wait in line to be contacted.
So there you have it, our ultimate guide to finding a responsible and verified dog breeder. Hopefully you’ve gained the insight, knowledge and tools to be on your way to finding the perfect furry pal for you and your family.
Let us know in the comments below about your experience regarding finding a responsible dog breeder. Tells us how it went and what breed you chose. Also, if you have any other tips, strategies or insights that we missed, let us know in the comments below!