We get many questions and messages about puppies and if we have recommendations about local breeders. These are the things to look for in reputable breeders:
– Both, Sire and Dam are health tested and OFA’ed or have a PennHip certification, SV A Stamp etc.
– Depending on the breeds requirement, both Sire and Dam are working in the field, participating in some sort of sport and are possibly titled.
– Breeder has his dogs either AKC or UKC registered
– Breeder does not sell puppies before the age of 8 weeks
– Breeder may not have sire on premises because a lot of breeders may go to a sire out of state or has semen shipped
Breeders premises are clean, dogs are clean and in good health
– Breeder vaccinates puppies and has them vet checked before the puppies go into their new home
– Breeder is knowledgeable about his breed of choice
– Breeder has a solid contract, health guarantee, and will always take his dogs back or help you get the dog placed in case you can no longer keep your dog.
– Breeder is always available for questions and support throughout the lifetime of the dog
This is not a pick and choose. It’s the combination of all of these points that make a breeder reputable and compassionate for their dogs. If a breeder does not take the dogs back that he put into this world, that is a red flag. If a breeder does not register, vaccinate, or offer any type of support for the dogs he produced, that is a red flag. If a breeder charges too little or too much, that is a red flag (well bred dogs cost money. A well bred GSD pup from working lines usually costs between 1000-2000 Dollars).
If a breeder only sells you the puppy because you slapped some money on the table, it’s a red flag. If a breeder breeds 4 different breeds, just don’t do it.
Reputable breeders usually require you to fill in some form of puppy questionnaire and will hold a lengthy phone conversation about expectations and responsibilities before they invite you to meet the puppies, they don’t just hand over their dogs. If a breeder uses the same female and male every cycle, it is a red flag. If they breed for “specialty colors”, that’s a red flag. If the premises are dirty, the dogs not well groomed, the puppies have not been properly exposed and have been locked up and never seen the outside world or lack confidence and you have a feeling that something just isn’t right… don’t buy the puppy out of guilt, just turn around and walk away.
Now here is the hard part, there are breeders that appear to be reputable but they are not. They do it all, they title their dogs, their dogs are health tested, they appear to be know their stuff, yet they are not reputable because what you don’t know is that they won’t take their dogs back for whatever reason. They are not accountable for what they produced.
Finding a good breeder is not easy, and there are honestly not many in this area. Most of the time you will have to drive to get a good puppy, and sometimes even go out of State before you find what you are looking for. Most importantly, have patience. Don’t jump on the first litter you see. Keep your options open until you find the perfect match.