Please don't be tempted to buy from a 'Puppy Farm' or a pet 'Supermarket'.
This link will take you to a short video made by the Kennel Club which explains the Assured Breeder Scheme and what you should expect from your breeder. .
The KC Assured Breeder Video
The Kennel Club Information Guide on Choosing the Right Dog
How to Recognize an unethical breeder:-
When you talk to people about their puppies, there are a few warning signs that you may be dealing with a disreputable, unethical, or irresponsible breeder:
- The "breeder" lacks knowledge about the breed
- The "breeder" shows ignorance or denial of genetic defects in the breed
- The "breeder" has no involvement in dog sports
- The "breeder" doesn't let you observe the puppies or adults, or let you see the kennels
- The "breeder" has no documentation and cannot provide a pedigree
- The puppies are not socialized
Questions to ask a breeder
When you are trying to screen prospective breeders, here are some questions that might be useful.
How long have you been in the breed? What others have you bred?
You probably want to avoid anyone who has "switched" breeds every couple of years, from popular breed to popular breed. Otherwise, look for someone with some experience with the breed you are interested in. If they are new to your breed, do they have experience with a similar breed?
very wary of people who have multiple dog breeds. It is not uncommon to find
people breeding more than one kind of dog (for example, quite a few Akita
breeders are also interested in Shibas), but a breeder producing litters of
many different breeds of dog is not going to be your best source, and probably
should be suspected as a puppy farm or disreputable breeder.
What kind of congenital defects are present in this breed? What steps are you taking to decrease these defects?
Avoid anyone who says "none", or "not in my dogs!". There are genetic problems that are present in almost every breed. Do some research here, and make sure you know what kind of answer you should be getting from the breeder.
A reputable breeder should be able to tell you what kinds of problems might be present in the particular breed (for example, hip dysplasia, entropian, thyroid problems, etc) and what kind of testing is available to find it. It goes without saying that the breeder should be doing those tests on all their breeding stock. Any dogs that are showing signs of any of these problems should not be bred -- avoid anyone who is breeding dogs with genetic problems, or who is not testing their dogs and bitches.
stress enough that you need to have a good idea of what the correct answers are
here. Get any good dog book, call the breed club, find out what to expect
before you fall in love with that cute puppy face! A breeder that can't tell
you what kinds of things affect their dogs isn't going to be breeding to avoid
Do you have the parents on site? Can I see them?
kind of a trick question - most breeders will not own both dogs. They will own
the mother (and you should be able to see her), but the best match for that
bitch probably belongs to someone else. So, if you can see both parents on
site, you should be a little suspicious. It may mean that the breeder has a
large pool of dogs and is carefully matching them - or it can mean that they
had two attractive dogs in their backyard and had either a planned or unplanned
breeding just because they had a male and female at the same time.
You should be able to see the mother and any other dogs on site when you visit. If the breeder hesitates, you should wonder why - are the dogs kept in clean, healthy conditions? Are they too aggressive to let loose?
remember that you should not be interacting with very young puppies, and might
be prevented from seeing puppies that are less than 4/5 weeks old.
are the good and bad points of the parents?
Usually, breeders will start to gush at this point and enumerate all the wonderful qualities of their dogs - and the best also will point out their flaws. What you're looking for here is temperament, possible aggression, how they deal with people, how they're not "perfect". Reputable breeders show their dogs. This is important - while there are many wonderful dogs out there that haven't seen the inside of a show ring, if the breeder is truly trying to improve the breed, they will be comparing their dogs to other breeders and trying to breed dogs that match the standard. The only way to do that is to show their dogs.
Can you explain the puppy's pedigree?
good breeder should be able to tell you something about dogs on your puppy's
pedigree. Have them explain the often cryptic letters and titles awarded, and
get a good feel that they know the lines they are breeding from. At the very
least, they should be able to provide you with a 4 generation pedigree and be
able to tell you about the dogs.
see the same dogs listed a few times on the pedigree - the breeder should be
able to point out any line breeding and inbreeding and explain the benefits and
dangers of both.
Where were the puppies raised? How have you socialized them?
you're looking for here is an indication of what kind of socialization the
puppies have had. Ideally, you want the breeder to have raised the puppies in
the house, around the normal daily activities of a household so they are used
to the noises and activity of humans.
who says "in the garage" or "in the kennels" can also have
well socialized puppies, but you need to be more careful. Have they spent
enough time with the puppies?
is so important to getting a well-adjusted, well-mannered dog. Puppies should
have been exposed to people, other dogs, new situations, normal household
sounds and activities in order to learn. A puppy raised without this important
can be shy, fearful, aggressive, or have other problems as they get older. Dogs
need to know how to play, how to handle new situations, how to relate to
How many litters do you have a year?
producing more than 1 or 2 litters a year are probably not paying enough
attention to the genetics and health of the puppies. If it is a small breeder,
even two a year may be too much to be able to make sure that the breeding is
going to be successful and produce healthy puppies.
Definitely avoid anyone who "always has puppies", or who is breeding their bitch every year. If someone has three litters (especially if they note that it was "unexpected") on the ground at the same time, they are certainly not planning these puppies! All puppies should be "expected" and well planned. If they're not, it's debatable as to whether you're going to get a good puppy or a nightmare.
What guarantees do you have for this puppy?
At the very least, the breeder should guarantee the puppy against any debilitating genetic problems, and ensure that the puppy is in good health. A breeder should be prepared to take any dog back for any reason.
When can I take the puppy home?
usually go home between 8 and 12 weeks. Avoid anyone sending tiny puppies home.
Puppies sent home too early don't have the chance to develop healthy
interactions with other dogs, and can be sickly or have problems eating
Rules of Ethical Breeding
1. The only reason to be breeding pure bred dogs is to preserve the best qualities of the breed. Breeding to supply any market is not a justification.
2. You need to do all of your breeding with the best interests of the breed in mind. Never your wallet.
3. For this you need to be a serious student of the breed and devote years of your life to it. No "in one day, out the other".
4. As a beginner you need to engross yourself in the breed as much as possible and ideally find a suitable mentor.
5. In order to be a serious breeder, you must show and compete.
6. You need to keep track of all puppies you produce, whether pet or show, to know how your breeding program is working.
7. All show puppies need to go on a contract that will not allow breeding unless the dog lives up to the quality intended and passes all health checks and certification necessary for that breed.
8. Every breeder owes to the breed and to themselves to be involved with rescue.
9. Every breeder should be prepared to take any dog back for whatever reason. If they do not have the space, then they need to be prepared to make other arrangements. But take back they must!