If you're looking for a new furry friend to add to the family, adoption is always a wonderful way to go. However, if you have allergies or would like a purebred dog for other reasons, you will probably turn to breeders.
Unfortunately, not all breeders are ethical in their practices. To make sure that you're choosing a breeder that takes care of their dogs, here are some tips for finding a responsible breeder.
Get Info from AKC Parent Club
The AKC Parent Club is part of the American Kennel Club. From AKC.org, you'll be able to find different parent clubs for the breed that you're interested in. These clubs work with AKC support the breeds, as well as provide breeder referral listings of ethical breeders.
Every breeder should have health clearances for the dogs that they're breeding. These include checking for breed-specific issues as well as screening for any other illness. All breeds should have hip and elbow clearances (meaning that their joints will be in top shape). This information should be displayed on the breeder's website, and if it's there, it assures you that the dogs are getting routine health screenings.
Breeder Merit Program
This program was created by the American Kennel Club to help honor ethical breeders and help shut down dangerous breeders. If you find a breeder off this list, you can have the satisfaction of knowing that they're AKC-approved. To earn the "Breeders of Merit" title, a breeder must participate in all AKC events for at least five years, must perform required health tests, and agree to achieve 100% AKC registrations for litters.
Taking on a new pup is a huge responsibility. Ethical breeders will have strict contracts that reflect this. If a contract is too lax, this might be a sign that the breeder simply wants to get rid of the puppy. In a legitimate contract, you should see agreements about spaying and neutering (aside from showing or breeding contracts) and agreements about keeping the puppy and never rehoming it. There should also be an agreement to take the puppy to the vet int he first 72 hours of ownership.
Open and Honest Communication
A breeder should not be afraid to answer any questions or to show you other puppies, mamas, and where they all live. If a breeder claims that they can't show you where the dogs live, this is a red flag. If a breeder shuts off communication or discourages contact after you buy the puppy, this is another sign that the breeder might be hiding something. There should always be an open communication line between breeders and future pet parents.
And of course, go with your gut. If you get a bad feeling, take some time to think about it or do more research.