For new dog owners, either those who’ve already had a pooch in the past or first-timers, picking out a new canine companion is an exhilarating experience. Still, you need to make sure you source the right dog so that you can give it the best life possible. Yes, choosing a proper dog breeder is quite important.
While rescuing a dog has its pros and cons, many dog owners choose to get a puppy. Buying a puppy isn’t a bad thing as long as you make sure you support an ethical breeder.
But what is an ethical breeder, and how do you find one? Keep reading for our step-by-step guide to choosing a reliable dog breeder.
Narrow Down Your Breed Choice
Before you start looking for a breeder, you need to find a breed. Most dog breeders specialize in one or two breeds, and any breeders that have multiple breeds are typically known as “puppy mills”, and aren’t ethical dog breeders. So, you need to pick the right dog breed for you before you start your search. If you’ve figured out a show group, but don’t know which breed to select, check out a group-specific guide. Sites like The Terrier Guide offer in-depth insight into living with various breeds of terrier, so you can save time on your research and find the right option for you.
Know What An Ethical Breeder Is
Once you know what dog breed you want, you need to understand what an ethical dog breeder does and how you can recognize one. Ethical dog breeders are defined as individuals who breed their dogs to better the breed rather than just for money. As such, they go above and beyond to make sure that their dogs are healthy and go to loving, caring homes. A responsible breeder will not let puppies go home before 8 weeks old and will have given them their first vaccinations and deworming before they leave, so check this information on their website or social media profiles.
Look In The Right Places
When you’ve decided on the right breed for you and know what you’re looking for,, you need to explore the different breeders available. You must find a breeder through a breed club or a breed-specific rescue organization. These groups only promote breeders who follow responsible practices and will be able to point you in the right direction. Avoid pet stores or online sellers, as they may get dogs from puppy mills and aren’t considered reputable sources for dogs.
Check Health Testing And Titles
Reputable breeders will title their dogs in multiple dog shows and conduct thorough health testing before breeding their dogs. Before you consider putting down money for a puppy, make sure you ask for any titles from the whole kennel to see the standard of the dogs they produce. Also, you can check the health testing on the OFA website, which is public. These tests can be difficult to understand, so learn how to interpret OFA results to ensure that you make an informed choice.
Spend Time With The Mother
The mother dog’s behavior, particularly her stress levels, can affect the future temperament of her puppies. Stressed mothers produce stress hormones that affect their puppies in utero, so it’s important to check the mother and the environment she’s being kept in. If the mother dog seems stressed or is exhibiting behavioral problems, such as excessive barking, chewing, or compulsive licking, then you should stay away from that litter and breeder.
Try To Meet The Father
If possible, try to meet the father dog to see his temperament and features. Some breeders might not own the father, but they will always be happy to put you in touch with the person who does, and they should let you see it. If you’re unable to meet the father, this is a red flag that the breeder isn’t ethical. In rare cases, the father might have died after impregnating the female, but there should still be health testing results and images for you to use as a point of reference.
At the end of the day, finding the right dog breeder takes time and effort, but it is well worth it. Choosing an ethical, responsible breeder who focuses on the health and well-being of their puppies will give you the best chance at bringing home a happy, healthy new member of your family. Do your research, ask lots of questions, and trust your instincts during the process to ensure you find a puppy that will grow into a great dog. If you connect with a breeder who meets the criteria above, you can feel confident you are making a wise investment that will lead to many years of companionship with your new pup. The extra care you take in choosing a breeder will pay off with a lifetime of rewards, as your dog will be less likely to develop genetic abnormalities or behavioral problems inherited from its parents.