When choosing a new puppy for your family, it’s imperative to choose a reputable breeder and not get suckered into buying from puppy mills or dishonest breeders.
In this guide, we will cover the steps you need to take that show you first-hand how to find a reputable dog breeder in your area and then the best way to pick one.
Here’s How to Find and Pick the Best Local Dog Breeders:
Step 1. Ask a Local Veterinarian
If you are already a dog or pet owner, this method is very straightforward because you already have a relationship with the vet.
Typically, vets are very helpful. They don’t want people buying from puppy mills. If anyone sees the damage done to dogs, it’s a vet.
Vets also have intimate knowledge of the local area and dog breeders that live in the vicinity because, of course, they will be providing those breeders with a health service for their dogs and puppies.
Even if you don’t currently own a pet, don’t discount this method. We’ve found most vets to be a fountain of knowledge and extremely helpful.
Step 2. Ask Another Local Dog Owner
When we want to bring a puppy into our lives, we always know what breed we want before deciding anything else.
An excellent way to find local breeders is to get out and about in your local area and when you come across a dog owner walking their dog, if it’s the breed you’re most interested in, ask them about the breeder where they got their dog.
We can guarantee you one thing, a typical dog owner will talk all day long, given a chance, about their beloved dog(s). This method is a great source of first-hand knowledge and generally will get you an excellent recommendation.
Of course, many people choose dog breeds owned by other family members, and you might know their dog exceptionally well. This method is as straightforward as you can get to choose the best breeder.
Step 3. Contact Local Dog Clubs
Local dog clubs are an excellent source of valuable information, even if the dog clubs in your local area are not specifically involved with the breed you prefer.
Needless to say, if there are dog clubs that specialize in the breed you’re seeking, even better.
Local dog clubs will also be of great assistance after you’ve bought the puppy because they can advise you of local trainers, puppy classes, obedience, and socialization classes in your area.
Step 4. Visit Local Dog Shows
Most towns and cities have their local dog shows. Typically most dogs exhibited will be purebred dogs of various breeds.
As with all other dog owners, they love to talk about their dog and the breed. They enjoy imparting their wisdom about everything to do with their specific breed.
Because they are showing their pedigree dog, you can bet they chose a reputable breeder before buying.
Step 5. Visit the American Kennel Club (AKC) Website
Why not check out the AKC database? Just about every purebred dog breed registers with the AKC. At least the recognized breeds register.
To do so, the individual breeders must put their details in the database, so the AKC has a vast amount of information on all purebred dog breeders.
Step 6. Visit the PupQuest Website
PupQuest is a website developed by animal professionals with over 40 years of veterinary medicine experience. The information they offer is free, unbiased and they are not trying to sell anything to anyone. Their entire motivation is to educate puppy-seekers.
They are alarmed at the number of unsuitable puppies sold sight unseen, online and want to try and help unsuspecting potential puppy buyers. They offer a ton of helpful information.
Step 7. Online Referrals
There’s so much incorrect and misleading information online that it might seem strange we’re recommending you to go online to find referrals.
However, you can take your time and sift through the rubbish until you find something helpful. There are many dog-related forums for specific breeds, and the information you find on them is golden. There are some beneficial Facebook pages as well.
We’ve discussed how to find a reputable dog breeder in your area; the following steps will show you the best way to pick a reputable breeder in your location from the list you have made.
Step 8. Make a List of Questions
It’s essential you make a list of everything you should ask a prospective dog breeder. Undoubtedly, it’s difficult to remember everything you need to know and what to ask the breeder when you first visit or talk to them on the phone.
You want to know first-hand as much about the breed, and the puppies-no reputable breeder will even want to sell you one of their puppies if they suspect you are the wrong type of owner.
There are no stupid questions about choosing the best dog breed for your family; a puppy is for life or should be.
Gauging the reaction of a breeder will tell you a great deal about the professionalism of the breeder.
Are they patient answering your questions?
Are they happy to answer them?
Do you feel an instant rapport with the breeder, or do you think you could have a clash of personalities?
Does the breeder answer your questions clearly with no sign of hesitancy?
Step 9. Meeting the Breeder
This step is crucial, and you should take it before you commit to purchasing a puppy or leaving a deposit.
Talking to a breeder on the phone or communicating via email is simply not enough. Yes, it will be the first point of contact, but it should only be to schedule a visit.
One point to remember here is breeders take deposits to reserve puppies, but the deposits will not be refundable under any circumstances.
Avoid any breeder that is hesitant about meeting you personally or allowing you to visit their facility.
All reputable breeders will welcome potential buyers with open arms. In their eyes, it’s just as essential for them to meet and assess you as it is for you to meet them.
Step 10. How are the Dogs Treated
We shouldn’t need to say this, but you shouldn’t be so eager for a puppy you ignore how they treat their dogs.
A reputable breeder will be proud to show off the living accommodation of all the dogs in their care, especially the parents and siblings. If they use a stud service, you at the very least want to meet the mother.
We would prefer to buy a puppy from a small family breeder because they tend to raise the dogs in the home alongside the human family.
This way, puppies are better socialized before you bring your puppy home. Most breeders like this don’t employ staff, and they take care of the dogs.
It’s common for this breeder to have waiting lists. This is good because it shows a well-earned reputation.
Step 11. How Many Dog Breeds
Reputable dog breeders do not have numerous dog breeds to sell; they focus on one and sometimes two breeds.
If you come across this situation, it’s probably better to find another breeder. Not always, but most times, this facility will be a puppy mill. Either way, you’re better off going somewhere else.
Step 12. Get a Full Medical History
Genuine breeders will volunteer to show you proof of all health screenings such as OFA and CERF certificates.
They will have in-depth knowledge about any health conditions that may or may not affect the future health of that specific dog breed.
They will be more than happy to discuss their breeding practices, puppy care, and background details.
You might need to complete a questionnaire about yourself, your family’s lifestyle, why you have chosen this particular breed, how you will care for the dog, what training you have planned, etc.
Step 13. Be Prepared to Wait
As we mentioned, reputable breeders typically have waiting lists. However, you might be lucky and contact a breeder whose dog has just given birth. You will still need to wait until the puppy is old enough to go home with you.
It’s inadvisable to trust breeders that allow puppies to leave their facility at six to seven weeks old. Most reputable breeders prefer to keep puppies with their mother and siblings until at least 8 to 10 weeks of age.
The ideal socialization period for puppies is between 6 to 14 weeks. During this period, puppies should be exposed to new people, animals, and different environments as much as possible.
A good breeder will take care of initial socialization from 4 weeks until you collect your puppy.
Step 14. Health Guarantee and Contract
Every reputable breeder will provide health guarantees and a written contract. A puppy contract is a legally binding document between you and the breeder.
It keeps everything legal and above board for you and the breeder. It ensures the puppy is healthy and will be going to a safe home.
The above guide provides fourteen steps explaining how to find a reputable dog breeder in your area. With this information, we’re confident you will find the ideal breeder of your choice.