Buying a dog might sound easy, but it’s a responsible and challenging task. Your quest doesn’t end with choosing the dog but with learning how to find a reputable dog breeder. That’s the best way to ensure you’re getting a healthy pup. 

Read on to find out what sets a good breeder apart from the rest. We’ll also discuss:

Your Ideal Breed Goes Hand in Hand With a Reputable Breeder

Only a good breeder can guarantee that you’re paying for the breed you want. Plus, professional dog breeders can show you the medical history of the dog, its parents, and even the grandparents, which is essential information any future owner should know.

In these technological times, the search for a dog is easier than ever. Or is it? There are plenty of pet scams you should watch out for. With the growing popularity of some breeds, the number of irresponsible breeders grows, too.

That’s why any future pet owner should know how to find a reputable place that sells puppies.

Responsible vs Irresponsible Breeders

It can be hard to draw a line between responsible and irresponsible breeders. But there are some red flags you should watch out for when you’re searching for a new dog. 

How to Find a Reputable Dog Breeder

The breeder is the person who will introduce you to your new best friend. They should know the dog’s parents, and they should be the ones that take care of the puppy during its first 8–12 weeks

But how to tell if you’ve found a good breeder? Here’s a checklist of the characteristics you should look for:

  • You can visit the puppy premises.
  • Puppies look healthy and well-adjusted.
  • You can meet the parents or at least one of them.
  • The breeder is knowledgeable and answers all your questions.
  • They ask you questions, too.
  • The breeder provides the medical history of the puppy and its parents.
  • You can get documentation of pedigree.

Now that you know what to look for in a dog breeder, it’s equally important to be able to detect a bad one. Read on to see how.

What Makes an Irresponsible Breeder?

When you’re buying a dog for the first time, it’s understandable if the price is a deal-breaker. But be careful. Searching for a cheaper puppy will almost always take you to an irresponsible breeder. The worst part is that you’ll probably end up with an unhealthy dog, which means more money and worries in the long run.

When getting a dog from a breeder, focus less on the price and more on the environment. Also, it’s crucial to find a breeder who knows the specifics of the breed you want. 

Here’s a list of irresponsible breeder traits you should look out for:

  • The puppy premises don’t look healthy.
  • The breeder doesn’t take care of the dogs.
  • They seem more concerned about the profit than the puppy. 
  • The breeder offers a suspiciously low price.
  • You can get a puppy below the appropriate age of eight weeks.
  • The breeder doesn’t answer your questions and doesn’t provide any breed details.
  • They breed more than one breed.
  • They don’t have any references.
  • The breeder isn’t affiliated with national kennel clubs.

Now that you know what you’re looking for, let the quest to find dog breeders begin.

three sleeping puppies - The time a puppy would spend sleeping largely depends on its age.

The Beginning of the Search: How to Find Dog Breeders

After all this information on good and bad breeders, you might not know where to begin. That’s why we’ve prepared some tips that can help you.

Ask for Referral

A referral is a right step towards finding a reputable breeder. Reportedly, it’s among the most reliable information that distinguishes ethical dog breeders. There are a few ways to ask for a referral:

  • Friends and Family. They’re often the first people we turn to when we need advice or recommendations. And it can be an excellent way to start your search, especially if they’re already pet owners and looking after the breed you want. But even if that’s not the case, it’s still helpful to hear how they got their pet. Let them walk you through their path to trusted dog breeders.
  • Veterinarian. If you want a more expert opinion on the matter, don’t hesitate to ask a vet. Good breeders usually build great connections with veterinarians who ensure the health of the mother and the puppies. So the vet advice is among the most reliable ones you can get. Plus, they can provide information on the breed and give you tips on everything from the food to the vitamins for dogs you should get.
  • Dog trainer. That’s another expert opinion worth considering. They can introduce you to reliable breeders, tell you more about the breed’s activity and energy level, and explain how to train it. They might even share some tips on potty and crate training
  • Breed clubs. Many dog clubs across the country will be happy to give you insight. Undoubtedly, they already adore the breed in question and can tell you how to find a good breeder. Also, you’ll get to discuss the dog’s characteristics and hear some personal stories. 

Browsing Online — How to Research a Dog Breeder

If you’re too busy to ask for direct referrals and advice, or if you’re simply a timid person, you can still find a reputable breeder online. But you should be extra careful to avoid scams. The best way to ask for a referral online is the kennel clubs:

  • The American Kennel Club will surely answer all your questions and explain how to find a responsible dog breeder. The club is very resourceful and full of tips and advice on how to take care of your dog.
  • Pupquest is another professional source for your favorite breed. With over 40 years of experience, the organization can take you to the best breeders. 
  • Dog breeder reviews can also be helpful, as they offer first-hand information from people that already bought a puppy.

Meeting the Breeder

So, you successfully found a breeder you like. Now, it’s time to meet them, and you should always insist on that

Certified dog breeders would never have a problem with you visiting the puppies. They’re even more likely to invite you themselves. Good breeders love to meet the people that will take care of their puppy and ensure they’ll provide a healthy home. 

But before you meet the breeder, don’t forget to go through the reputable breeder checklist above. Also, here are a few extra tips:

  • Ask as many questions as possible! That’s how you can assure yourself that the breeder is truly reliable. Plus, you’ll learn more about the breed. Ask about the dogs’ health, energy level, feeding schedule, the best puppy food for the breed, and everything else that comes to your mind.
  • Check the state of the breeding facility. If the breeder doesn’t invite you to see it, feel free to ask them to show you the breeding facility. It should look clean and meet the basic health and hygiene standards.
  • Meet the parents. Insist on meeting at least one of the parents to ensure they’re healthy. That’s another way to tell whether you’ve found reliable dog breeders. 
  • Ask for a complete medical history. Although this might sound like too much work before buying a dog, it’s a crucial one. It’s the only way to ensure that you’ll get a healthy pup. While every breed has potential health issues, the medical history will help you determine what you should pay attention to.
  • Contact other buyers of the same breeder. They can be a great referral and provide even more details. Ask them if they’d choose the same breeder if they hypothetically want to buy another puppy. 
  • Get your puppy’s pedigree. Buying a puppy from a breeder should include all the dog’s documents. If the breeder can’t provide you with a pedigree certificate, they’re probably not reliable. 

Finally, if you buy a dog but still want to make sure that you’ve paid for a healthy puppy of the breed you want, consider doing a DNA test for dogs to set your mind at ease.


Now that you know how to find a reputable dog breeder, we wish you luck on your quest for a furry bestie. 

We just want to offer you a final kind reminder. Millions of dogs enter shelters each year. You can find fantastic and even purebred dogs in shelters all over the country. So consider checking them out before buying.

You never know what you might meet there — perhaps your dream dog is waiting for you.

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