How to Find a Responsible Dog Breeder

Anyone that knows me knows that I’m an advocate for animal adoption over buying from breeders. I posting this not to judge, but to do my part to end puppy mills and backyard breeding. I have many friends that have purchased through breeders, all of whom I know have made sure to do their due diligence in finding the perfect breeder.

The reasons that I’m pro-adoption is mainly for these 2 reasons:

  1. More than 1.2 million dogs and 1.4 million cats are euthanized each year because of overcrowding at shelters. (That’s just the dog numbers) It’s particularly worse in populated metropolitan areas like LA, NYC, Miami, Houston and St. Louis. Approximately 31% of dogs that enter shelters are euthanized.

2. There is zero regulation of animal breeders so the majority of “purebred” animals live in the worst conditions imaginable and are often overbred, inbred and then discarded like trash once they’ve had too many litters. Yes, I said discarded in the trash, this actually happens A LOT. These are the animals that shelters across the country work hard to save.

Now, let me be clear, I’m not judging those that do buy from breeders, but I do ask that you do your research on any breeder that you choose. There are responsible breeders out there and I just want to help you make a more informed decision.

1. Visit the breeder’s facility and home and make sure you see the condition of ALL of the animals that live on the property, not just the cute puppies they’re trying to sell you.

2. Ask what happens to the mothers after they’re no longer used for breeding. And ask how many litters the mothers usually have.

3. Ask about the full lineage of the puppy your buying. Try to make sure that there’s no inbreeding happening, which can lead to shorter lifespans and expensive genetic problems (hip & elbow dysplasia, heart & lung conditions, cancers, etc.)

4. Do your research on the breed itself including temperament, energy level, common health problems, average lifespan first to make sure it’s the right fit for you now and in the future.

5. Ask the breeders what happens to the puppies born with birth defects such as cleft pallets, spinal problems, swimmers syndrome, etc.? Are they euthanized, dropped off at animal shelters to be someone else’s problem, left abandoned by the side of road or in a trash can (Yes, this happens A LOT), etc.

Here’s an additional checklist to help you navigate the process and find a breeder that you’re confident knows what they’re doing.

Additionally, here’s The Humane Society’s list of puppy mills in the US that I ask you NOT to buy dogs from.