What is a Reputable Dog Breeder? A reputable dog breeder is one that breeds the best dog to the best dog, and hopes for the best puppies. They take their dogs to shows to prove they are worth breeding, and have them tested by a veterinarian for genetic health problems and concerns. They never breed their dogs until they have approved buyers interested in their pups.
Reputable dog breeders never breed anything other than registered purebred dogs, often focusing only on one breed, and only having one litter per year.
What Does this Mean?
Since reputable breeders never breed until they have buyers for their pups it means they never advertise puppies for sale in the newspaper or on sites such as craigslist. It means reputable breeders never sell to pet stores, and in general are harder for people to find.
This is not because reputable breeders want to be hard to find, but rather that they require a person to put some thought into getting a puppy, rather than selling to the first person who happens upon a sign in a store window for pups for sale as a whim purchase. Reputable breeders put a lot effort into producing top puppies and they don't want to sell them to somebody who might get “bored” a few months later, or be angry when the formerly cute puppy grows up and destroys their yard.
Why Buy from a Reputable Dog Breeder?
As mentioned earlier the reputable breeder invested time and money into making sure their dogs produce excellent pups. Of course this is not a guarantee that there will not be problems, but be assured that most reputable breeders do offer health and genetic guarantees on their pups, and most will take them back if there are any problems in their lifetime. You will not get this from a pet store, backyard breeder, or other seller of puppies.
The pups will be vaccinated, wormed, and vet checked prior to leaving the breeders home, and as the parents have had genetic checks (hips, eyes, ears) the pups are likely to be genetically healthy as well. Always ask to see the veterinary checks for these factors, as well as ask to see the parent dogs championship titles (proving they were worth breeding). These titles should be relevant to the type of dog you are buying, be it for companionship (conformation may show the dogs are physically correct for that breed), showing/breeding, or performance (hunting, or herding). You should be able to meet the parents and see that indeed they are friendly and otherwise good dogs (puppies tend to learn their mother's personality).
The reputable dog breeder will make sure you are selecting the right breed for your goals, thus they will not sell you a puppy just to get a sale, but they want you to be happy with the puppy you buy.
weimaraner puppies - photo source
How to Find a Reputable Dog Breeder
The best place to find a reputable dog breeder is at a dog show. Most people are unaware of dog shows in their community as they are not always advertised. One can contact the local dog club to learn more about when shows are on.
Another place to find reputable dog breeders is by picking up a Dog Magazine. Reputable breeders often advertise their dogs. You can find breeders advertisements and by contacting a few they can put you in touch with others. Many reputable breeders also have websites but so do many lower quality, or backyard breeders. The best way of distinguishing the quality of a breeder is through the tips mentioned above in “What is a Reputable Dog Breeder”, meaning if (for example) they are advertising pups for sale, they are probably not reputable (remember the reputable breeder gets the waiting list).
Please Note: Registries do not keep track of who is a good breeder, and who is not. Registration only shows parentage of a dog, and not its quality, or the ethics of its breeder.
What to Expect with a Reputable Dog Breeder?
The reputable breeder will screen you to make sure you are ready to own a dog of that breed, and if you are a first time owner they will help you learn more. They will talk you out of making a bad decision, but will work with you if you are making the right choice. The reputable dog breeder will give you contracts and guarantees and make themselves of service to you if you have problems or concerns. They will help you select the right pup for you out of the litter, and will always take the puppy back if you are unable to care for it.
Prices from reputable breeders tend to be high, but these breeders are not making a profit, they feed top foods and spend a lot of money proving the value of their dogs and for veterinarian expenses on the genetic testing.
Don't be Fooled
Buying a pup from a reputable breeder will save you a lot of stress if you want a quality purebred puppy. Remember - registration is not proof of quality, you can buy a purebred from anyone and may end up with a dog that needs $3000 of dental work. You can buy a purebred (or even an overpriced designer dog) only to find the puppy was only bred to make the seller a profit, and was not worth what you paid (Pet stores and backyard breeders often inflate their prices because the public is generally ignorant on why pups from reputable breeders cost so much).
If a breeder has this many different pups, they are a puppy mill. photo source
If you are not partial to what kind of dog you get, save your money, and adopt a dog from an animal shelter. Shelter prices are lower than even the most unethical breeders, and yet the shelters offer basic health guarantees and will provide the new owner with support.