Guide for Buying a Purebred Puppy

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Learn how to buy a purebred puppy, how to find a reputable breeder, and how to pick the right breed. Learn about mistakes to avoid when buying a pup. What is a purebred puppy? What does registered mean? What are good kennel clubs? What are some bad k

Whether it be the prestige of owning a purebred, or the desire to get involved with showing and breeding, or whether it is love of a certain breed, there are some things a person needs to know when buying a purebred dog, or puppy.

What is a Purebred Dog?

A purebred is an animal with registration papers to state that it is of certain heritage, of known breeding. The registration papers indicate the animals parents, and often grandparents. Registration is only proof of pedigree, not quality.

In most areas animals advertised as purebreds must come with registration papers at no additional charge, in fact under the Pedigree Act in many areas, a puppy cannot be advertised as purebred and offered at one price with papers, and one price with out.  The breeder is to give the buyer the registration papers at the time of the sale.

There are many Kennel Clubs that offer registration, some are reputable while others are not, and will register a dog for the right price.

Reputable Kennel Clubs

AKC – American Kennel Club

CKC – Canadian Kennel Club*

UKC – United Kennel Club

ANKC – Australian National Kennel Club

NZKC – New Zealand Kennel Club

FCI – Federation Cynologique Internationale

JKC – Japan Kennel Club

KC – Kennel Club (England)

IKC – Irish Kennel Club

WKC – Welsh Kennel Club

Questionable Kennel Clubs (buying dogs registered with these clubs is not recommended)

CKC – Continental Kennel Club*

APRI – American Pet Registry Inc

UKCI – Universal Kennel Club Inc

ACR – American Canine Registry

NKC – National Kennel Club

CCR – Canadian Canine Registry

* Note: Two registries use the abbreviation CKC.

purebred puppy

Photo Source  Dachshund Puppy

Breed Research

Every dog breed has pros and cons as fitting to a persons lifestyle. Each breed also has some health problems commonly associated with it. Although good breeders try to avoid these concerns, some are related to the breed standard. For example, dogs with short faces, such as Pugs, have health problems associated with having short faces. while Pit Bull type dogs are well know for having skin problems.

Each dog breed has a typical behavior associated with it. This behavior might be a pro in some homes, and a con in others. For example Australian Shepherds are very smart dogs, well suited to herding sheep. However, in homes with not a lot of time to devote to keeping such a dog mentally stimulated, the dogs intelligence will be a negative factor, as smart dogs can easily become bored and destructive.

It is up to every potential buyer to make notes of what they want in a dog, and what they do not want. Behavior needs to be on top of the list, followed by size, hair length, and appearance.

A person should not only read up about traits common in certain breeds, they should try to see dogs of that breed and speak to the dogs owners. It is easy to only want to hear positive things, but being aware of the negative is very important. Dog shows are excellent places to learn more about different breeds (and places to find breeders).

Some dog breeds are very hard to find in certain areas. It is never recommended to buy a puppy without seeing the parents and talking to the breeder. There are a lot of scams revolving around buying pups through the Internet. As such its a good idea for a person to select a few similar breeds that they like and try to find one in their area. It is not uncommon to have to drive a few hundred miles (or kilometers) to find a breeder.

Finding a Breeder

Reputable dog breeders take their purebred dogs to shows to prove their worth as breeding animals. They also take them to the veterinarian for checks (and certification) on genetic health, having such checks done on their hips, eyes, and ears.

For performance dogs (working dogs) they are tested for ability and aptitude.

Good breeders do not advertise litters of pups for sale, nor do they ever sell pups to a pet store.

Good breeders advertise in Dog Magazines, and at shows. They are known to dog clubs and breed rescues.

Good breeders get waiting lists for puppies before even breeding their dogs, as such a person wanting a purebred puppy needs to start looking early.

Good breeders only breed once a year, and generally only have one breed of dog.  As such there can be a waiting period as pups are not always available. 

If you are not set on a pup, you can also contact a breed rescue that is devoted to saving dogs of certain breeds.  Your local animal shelter or dog club can help you find these.  Some breeders may have animals that were returned to them.

dalmatian dog

Photo Source Dalmatian

Picking the Pup

The first thing to consider is that as they mature males will lift their legs and urinate on things, females will continue to squat to pee. Females cost more to spay, and unneutered males can be aggressive. Males can be slightly larger, but otherwise, if fixed, gender has little impact on behavior.

The breeder will know the personality of each pup, which is more playful, which is more shy. They will also have a good idea of which ones are better representations of the breed. The breeder can help you pick the right puppy.

Never take a pup that is under 6 weeks of age. Smaller breed should be no younger than 8 weeks of age. This is critical not only for health reasons, but because most socialization skills develop when puppies are between 5 and 8 weeks of age.

All reputable breeders will have the puppies vet checked, vaccinated, wormed, and either tattooed or microchipped, and will provided vet certificates showing when booster shots are needed.

yellow lab litter

Photo Source Yellow Lab Pups


Get everything in writing, and make sure you get proof of payment and/or deposit. Ask the breeder what kind of guarantee the pup comes with (all good breeders have some sort of health guarantee and genetics guarantee).


Pet stores do not sell quality purebreds, they get their pups from mass breeders who worry only about profit, not about quality.

Expect a good breeder to ask you a lot of questions too, as they want their dogs to go to good homes, they have every right to screen you.

Never pay a cent for a puppy that has not been seen by a vet or come with health guarantees.

Many “Backyard-Breeders” market themselves as reputable breeders, however good breeders always have show records, and championship titles for their dogs as well as vet certification on their dogs eyes, ears, and hips.

If you just want a pet, there is nothing wrong with adopting a mutt from your local animal rescue, SPCA, or humane society. Avoid paying ridiculous prices for designer dogs (dogs created by breeding lower quality “purebreds” together and given gimmicky sounding names).   Many Purebred rescue groups also exist and are work looking into if a person wants a purebred dog, click here to see an AKC list of purebred dog rescues.

If a home looks like it is not fit for dogs, rather than rewarding them with your money, call and report them so you stop an unethical breeder.

If you have any problems with your pup, you can always call the breeder for advice or to report concerns so they can pass the information on to other buyers of your pups littermates.

Related Links

11 Questions to Ask Yourself Before getting a Dog or Pup

The Difference between Mutts, Purebreds, and Designer Dogs


Robert Truog
Posted on Jun 24, 2014
Posted on Mar 29, 2010
Posted on Mar 29, 2010