Does it ever seem like finding an ethical dog breeder is an insane challenge? While we’re proponents of the “adopt, don’t shop” philosophy when it comes to adding a dog to your family, there are times when you might need (or really want) to go with a breeder. Maybe you have your heart set on a German Shepherd just like the one you grew up with. Perhaps your child has severe allergies and you need to be extra certain that you’re getting a purebred hypoallergenic dog.
Whatever the reason, there are times when using a breeder just feels like the right way to go. When those times come up, it’s so important to make sure you’re adopting from an ethical breeder. We have a special guest here today, Lazhar from BreedingBusiness, to tell you what to look for in an ethical breeder. Let’s check it out!
5 Things to Look for in an Ethical Breeder
Breeding dogs is a difficult activity that requires money, time and effort, as well as a lot of knowledge about the breed, the canine species, and genetics. Where an unethical breeder simply puts two random dogs together and waits for the magic to happen, a reputable dog breeder spends months trying to find the pair. Great dog breeders study pedigrees, lineage and meet other breeders time and time again before agreeing for a mating. Breeding dogs involve a lot of mechanisms in order to produce quality puppies.
Now, when you visit a breeder to meet a puppy for the first time, you can’t easily see if that work has been done or not. Unethical breeders and puppy farmers tend to be great at lying because they do it continuously. It’s almost a second nature to them.
With a few key questions, you may be able to uncover an unethical dog breeder if their answers don’t match what should be replied by a reputable breeder.
Let’s see a few of these questions to ask any breeder you meet for a future puppy to adopt.
Can I see both parents and where they are living?
If you cannot see both parents, don’t even bother going to see the breeder at all. Sometimes, the father used for the breeding comes from another breeder and can’t be physically present. Just verify the information by asking for the Stud owner’s contact details and getting in touch.
When you go to visit a breeder and see the mother (and the father, if possible) — don’t just sit down on the sofa and play with the puppies. Ask for a tour of the house, the garden, the kennels, and so on.
Ask yourself if these are excellent conditions for dogs to live in. Don’t just accept “decent” living conditions — require excellent hygiene, space and conditions. Each dog breed has different requirements; a boxer breeder should have more exercising space than a Pomeranian breeder…
Have you got the contact of a couple of previous families?
Most puppy mills never stay in touch with previous families, they just sell to them and barely reply to emails after that. Therefore, asking for the contact details of a former customer can be lethal with a puppy mill breeder.
A bit of a warning here: some breeders won’t disclose any personal information from previous sales, and it can make sense but it’s rather infrequent. If that’s the case, ask for pictures of some puppies before and after (to see their evolution).
If your breeder is present on Facebook, turn your stalker mode on and look at their photos and friends. If you can see clients still in touch with them, it’s a great sign.
Why have you picked this particular dog food for your dogs?
A bad breeder can keep his kennel decently clean to avoid complaints from the neighbors, but bad breeders never invest in quality food. Expect to see cheap bargain basement brands.
However, not every breeder feeding cheaper foods is a puppy farmer. Some do it thinking that these cheaper foods are great brands. They are simply victims of the marketing machine. This is why you need to not just ask what brand, but why they chose it.
If they are rambling just to barely answer the question, they probably picked the brand to reduce their expenses. If they are instead explaining that their choice is a high-quality kibble then you may have a winner.
How often do you attend local or national dog shows?
The pet community is huge worldwide and chances are, there are several events a dog breeder can attend each year. They may not even compete with their own dogs, but they can go just as passionate who want to connect with breed specialists in order to grow and learn continuously.
Asking a breeder what dog show or pet exhibition they attended this current year is totally fair. A puppy farmer or a one-off litter breeder would generally not bother going and would reply that they didn’t have much time this year. Of course, not attending an event isn’t a red flag on its own. Some breeders legitimately do not have the time.
Are we going to use a puppy sale agreement or contract?
Puppy farmers don’t like complications and responsibilities — they want to make the transaction happen and then want you to forget about them. A very easy way for bad breeders to get that is to avoid signing any agreement or contract that would tie them to you.
A puppy sale agreement stipulates the price and also includes every single health check the parents went through, confirms the pedigree of the dog, the health visits your puppy went through since birth, and so on.
The clause that many top quality dog breeders add is one that requires you, the customer, to return the puppy to them first if you decide to abandon him or her.
Obviously, a contract is required and it should list all the medical checks the parents went through. These should match all common screenings for that breed in order to put the puppies in the best situation for a healthy future.
Last Few Words
There are obviously a lot more questions but they all have the same objective — they can be answered very responsibly, or disgustingly. Don’t pick useless questions that will just kill some time, prepare a list of topics and answers you need so you can arrive prepared.
Make great use of your eyes and see if the breeder is caring for his furry family; are there any apparent dog grooming supplies around?
Few people realize that dog owners often prefer to ignore how bad the breeder they are dealing with is. Let me explain…
They come for a visit, see a specific puppy they are falling in love with, play a little with him, and that’s that — they made up their mind! That, regardless of how bad the breeder is. If he is good.. “Great!” and if he is bad… “Great! I’m saving this puppy from a disgusting breeder!” And this is how unethical breeders prosper…
Hopefully, you liked this article by Lazhar, founder of an online platform educating dog breeders around the world.