EDIT: Note this is a GENERAL guideline, not a definitive list of what constitutes an irresponsible breeder. Many amazing breeders will not adhere to these statements, but they are things to consider. Always use your best judgement.
I believe that purchasing a puppy from a breeder or adopting a rescue dog is a very personal choice. I have a hard time listening to the constant “adopt, don’t shop” slogan. I work with several rescues and definitely believe there is a perfect shelter dog for most people
That being said, if every breeder was a RESPONSIBLE breeder, shelters wouldn’t be overflowing. A responsible breeder will demand to have the dog returned to them if you are no longer able to care for your dog
If you decide to go the breeder route, here is a list of things that will help you determine if you are dealing with a responsible breeder or a backyard breeder.
The puppies leave mom before 8 weeks of age
You are told, “the puppies are weaned so they can leave mom”. Not true. It is absolutely critical that puppies stay with mom and their littermates for at LEAST 8 weeks. Many responsible breeders won’t allow them to leave until at least 10 weeks.
Puppies learn vital social skills from their mom and littermates at this key age. Without learning these lessons, puppies can develop social and behavior issues later in life.
You’re not allowed to see the parents
You’re not allowed to visit
It is vital to see where the puppies are being raised. Puppies should be kept together with mom and raised with family members. The breeder does a great deal of socialization before you get to take home your furry baby
Visiting before selecting the breeder and once the puppies are old enough should be highly encouraged. If the puppies are in an area with limited human contact, run. Run fast.
The breeder doesn’t ask you questions
For a responsible breeder, these puppies are like their children. They want to make sure they are going to the best home possible. The breeder should ask you about your knowledge of the breed, raising puppies, and what your home life is like.
Don’t feel uncomfortable with the vast amount of questions. They are just trying to keep everyone’s best interest in mind. The breeder will most likely give you a packet of information about the breed so you can be sure it is the right breed for you.
The breeder breeds several types of dogs
The purpose of a responsible breeder is to better the breed. How are they able to do that if they are focusing on four or five different breeds? Bettering the breed is a very complicated process. This is the breed standard for the Great Pyrenees.
As you can see, it is much more complex than just being big and fluffy. When pairing dogs to breed, the breeder should take into account what traits the parents have and how that will affect their offspring.
The breeder breeds several types of dogs
Very few people are qualified to breed. A responsible breeder will issue a limited registration contract and require that you fix your dog by a certain age. The breeder will be extremely picky when allowing someone to purchase a full registration puppy. Most likely, the full registration puppy will only go to another known responsible breeder.
The breeder always has puppies available
Most responsible breeders will create a wait list of people who are interested in their puppies and will only breed when they have enough people to adopt the majority of the litter. They want to be sure they have fantastic homes ready for their puppies before they are even born.
There’s no contract
A contract should state a health guarantee, what the breeder expects from the purchaser, and what the purchaser should expect from the breeder. Every breed has different health tests that NEED to be done before a dog is bred. For example, large breeds will have their hips checked to limit the
Ask for the results of their health tests. The contract should also state that if you are unable to care for your puppy, the puppy must come back to the breeder. A responsible breeder will never allow one of their dogs to end up in a shelter/rescue.
The breeder isn’t active in breed specific clubs
Breeders are truly passionate about their breed and are always trying to learn more. A common way to do this is to become active in local, state, or national
The breeder doesn’t encourage you to stay in contact
Like I have said, these puppies are the breeder’s babies. They have been there for their birth and watched them slowly develop individual personalities. The breeder should be willing to provide lifelong assistance to you to ensure things go smoothly with your new addition
These are 10 things that I find important when looking into a breeder. Remember, doing one of these 10 things does not automatically mean poor breeding, but they are signs you should pay attention to. What else do you look for when choosing a breeder?
Pam Torres says
Great article! I’m going to share it on my Project Madison Facebook page. This is an awesome blog with important information. My first book in the Project Madison series is all about a puppy mill.
I would be interested in reading about the puppy mill once you have it completed!
Looking for responsible breeders members. There are membership requirements and documentation requirements to verify qualifications. A good resource for buyers to find out what responsible breeders should be offering. http://www.elitedogbreeders.com
Chelsea Price says
This is a super informative post. Before I got so involved with animal rescue, my husband and I purchased a Mal-Shi from a local breeder (my husband ended up being severely allergic to her, and now she lives happily with his parents and their dog). At this time, I knew next to nothing about breeders. However, we definitely chose a good one. He had us come right in to where the puppies were kept, and he brought us back to meet their parents. It was a clean, bright building, and he seemed like a very caring breeder. He kept in touch and asked us to send photos.
That having been said, I am concerned about the huge amount of backyard breeders and puppy mills we have here in Iowa. Now that I’m involved with a shelter and have seen how many dogs come in with health and behavior problems due to bad breeding, I don’t think I would buy from a breeder again, no matter how good they are. I do, of course, respect the decisions of people who do go that route, and these are very important tips for them to know! Thank you for sharing.
I completely agree. Both of my dogs are from a well-respected breeder, but that was before I got so involved in the rescue world. We had a dog before that who was from the local shelter, but he has since passed away. I see the constant posts of animals needing homes and it just breaks my heart.
So many people breed their dogs for the wrong reasons or say “I”ll let her have one litter than fix her”. Then they give the puppies away for 10 bucks. Rinse and repeat. There are so many dogs, purebred and mixed, in shelters/rescues all over the place.
Will politely point out that your good breeder is obviously deliberately breeding – take your pick….designer dog, mixed breed, mutt. I am glad your dog turned out to have a nice personality. I hope you didn’t pay hundreds of dollars for your dog.
One more thing – if a breeder wants cash only, or accepts a credit card for payment…not a good sign. Not at all.
Monica Sellers says
Just curious. . You said it is bad if the breeder wants cash for payment and bad if they take credit cards for payment. What type of payment does a “good” breeder prefer?? Jellybeans? Prostitution? Just curious…
Monica, I’m trying very hard not to be as rude as you are in your response. Have you ever heard of a person writing a check? Yes, a check … no jellybeans, no prostitution just a common every day check. Why? Because you can stop payment when you find out the puppy you bought is sick, has a congenital defect or a vast array of other issues that show you have been swindled. Paying with cash you might just as well kiss it goodbye; you’ll never get it back from a puppy miller or a backyard breeder. Check out for yourself and see the procedure for cancelling a credit card payment.
One of the most important characteristics of a responsible breeder is that they don’t breed unless they already have some reservations. Some will ask for a deposit (this should be refundable if no litter is produced or there ends up being no puppy available… never wait for the “next” litter) I think the operative word in the payment method is ONLY. They should accept checks and it is easy to set up a PAYPAL account!
I am not sure what a Mal-Shi is. Malumute and Shitzu? Maltese and Shitzu? Buyer beware… these “designer” breeds are not “designed” with any thought to the outcome, are not health tested for inherited disease, have no support of a breed club or even a group that has decided to establish a breed. If it is a “designer” breed 100% of the time it is a backyard breeder, regardless if he meets one or two of the requirements of a responsible breeder. Good article but it did not go far enough in defining responsible breeding or give resources… such as Canine Health Information Center.
Interesting piece, thank you. I got my first dog from a show breeder here. Now I’m in rescue and sometimes it feels like we’re fighting a losing battle as the backyard breeders are churning dogs out faster than they can be rescued. I wish there was a standard that breeders were held to across the US, and simply not allowed to breed if their dogs don’t meet it. The AKC is a joke as any puppy mill dog can be registered. So maybe quality breeders should breakaway and do their own thing! I’ve also noticed that many quality breeders tend to be involved in rescue. And if not, they should be!
I completely agree. Every quality breeder I know is involved in rescue and makes sure their dogs never end up in a shelter. I keep trying to come up with ways to end backyard breeders, but I don’t know that we will ever be able to do that. Ending puppy mills is one thing, but backyard breeders is a whole different story.
Backyard breeders are a HUGE issue in the area where we live currently. Almost every person that owns a dog wants to breed them at least once. They don’t care about bettering the breed or achieving standards. I see it every day and it is so maddening.
Nikki, well said. The AKC makes 40% of their multi-million dollar profits.
Although I do not agree with all of AKC opinions they can’t be held responsible or expected to be a monitor of dog “production”. AKC registers dogs. That is their primary purpose. They do a fairly good job of keeping pedigree records and inspect breeder records when there may be a problem with verifying pedigrees. They are not in the business of monitoring breeders habits. They will report poor conditions they observe to the proper authorities. Without AKC to monitor pedigrees we would have a far worse mess than we have now. It is not a bad thing to get a dog that is registered as it means its ancestor history is more likely to be accurate. AKC does not registered mixed breed, designer dogs. You can’t make them responsible for backyard breeders and puppy mills. They are not the primary contributor to the existence of these “businesses” uneducated buyers, buyer who purchase a dog to “save” it instead of reporting unsanitary conditions and others who turn a blind eye to abuses/neglect are more culpable.
“Adopt, Don’t Shop” gets on my nerves too. I have German shepherds. One is a rescue and one is from an excellent breeder (and now dear friend). When I bought my dog (after a year of research) I lost several rescue “friends” because they were horrified that I paid for an intentionally bred dog “when there are so many in the shelter.” (My reasons for purchasing a well-socialized, health-tested puppy fell on deaf ears.) Thanks for a well articulated post on the distinction between the breeder of my show dog and what I imagine the breeder of my rescue dog was like.
2 Brown Dawgs says
I had not seen this post before. 🙂 So now you have one more view. lol
It is an interesting read. I will say that I do not agree with some of the things you say signal a back yard breeder. Field trial dogs are often placed at 49 days. It is very normal and these are expensive dogs from impeccable pedigrees. (Just try to purchase one and find out how difficult it can be.) They grow up to be accomplished and social dogs. So 8 weeks is not hard and fast and I don’t believe it is actually backed by science.
Also I am not big on mandatory spay and neuter. There is real evidence that it is detrimental to the long term health of the pup. Limited registration can fill this role much better. But of course a person determined to breed will find a way. I also have no use for contracts. Normally they cannot be enforced. AKC won’t enforce them and courts don’t want to be bothered. I do think they are helpful so that breeder and buyer know what to expect.
I agree with some of your other points. I think always having pups is a very bad thing. I know a Chessie breeder like this. Sometimes the dogs have clearances and sometimes they have prelims and sometimes nothing. Yet this person would not consider themselves a backyard breeder and I believe they are an AKC breeder of merit (much as that is worth). The other problem with always having dogs is that it does not give the pups from a particular mating time to grow up so that health temperament issues can be seen and avoided.
1. It is “old school’ to place any dog including hunting dogs before the age of eight weeks. Studies show dog placed before eight weeks have more behavior problems as adults than those placed after eight weeks. Realistically NO training occurs in a young puppy that can’t be done while he or she stays with the litter and mom. A good breeder begins socialization from birth and a good field dog breeder should begin any needed training (if needed) before the dog leaves… but it should not leave before eight weeks. If you have no contract you have no understanding of expectations. Contracts are for court, not AKC. They are not a judicial branch. Experience has shown me without a written understanding between reasonable individuals you open yourself up to all kinds of grief. No contract also opens you up to shyster breeders who will add on to your verbal agreements or change them entirely, leaving you open to litigation with nothing to back you. Lack of contracts destroy good relationships. I agree that the mass production of puppies is always a bad thing especially when the “breeder” relies on the profit to maintain their lifestyle or is their sole income. This is a conflict of interest for the breed and the health of the breed and individual dogs.
Good “start” however there is so much more…..
OFA health testing is the world standard. OFA Web page is available 24/7 for the public to search and see if their pup’s parents have had “every” DNA or OFA testing completed.
Dog Sports … reputable breeders want to prove the pups they are producing come from superior lineage, health, brains, physical ideal, physical and mental ability… Reputable breeders do this by way of accomplishing AKC, UKC, CKC titles on the dogs they are breeding and not just pumping out pups for the public, regardless of physical ideal, mental stability and or, ill health.
Actually OFA is NOT the worldstandard. It’s only the US standard.
In this day and age of anti breeder crusaders and pet theft, no one comes on my property.
AKC breed clubs can leave a lot to be desired.
Pretty much this focuses on unimportant stuff and goes along with the animal rights antibreeders.
What’s important? Time in breed. References. Commitment to the breed. Knowledge of the breed. How the dogs fit into the breeders life. Commitment to health of the dog and genetic diversity. This snobbery about who can only be considered a good breeder is what is losing us the right to breed. For heavens sake, in Long Beach, you have to pay a big fee and have a background check! I am tired of breeders being labeled as byb, puppy mills and other nasty slurs by people who have no clue on what it takes to produce a puppy!
This is not an “anti breeder” post. It is a general guideline for people to use if they prefer to purchase through a breeder. I fully support breeders that focus on keeping the breed standard alive. This post is focused on breeding practices for the wrong reasons.
The Adopt Don’t Shop campaign is not aimed at responsible breeders. I don’t believe responsible breeders are shipping their dogs to pet stores at a very early stage of life.
It depends on who you talk to. Some people believe it’s focused on puppy mills, others on breeding in general. It is definitely a slogan that varies.
Great article with one questionable point. “Breeder should DEMAND puppy be returned to them…..you can DEMAND till the cows come home with some people and it will never happen. I’ve seen a breeder be lied to by some of the best! So please re word that….A responsible breeder can only ask that the puppy be brought back they can’t break your door down and tear it our of your hands that is against the law. Just saying.
Valid point. However, if you have a contract it becomes a legal battle that the breeder will ultimately win.
Dayna Small says
A mostly good if generic list, but a couple quibbles.
1. It’s not “if every breeder were responsible…,” it’s if every OWNER were responsible. It’s long past time we put the responsibility for shelter animals on the people who are abandoning them to end up there.
2. Many, if not most, breeders do not have both the dam and the stud on the premises. While a breeder should be able to tell you about the stud, it is not reasonable to expect that both parents will be there to meet.
3. Limited Registration is not the same as a spay/neuter contract. Recent research has shown that early (i.e. before 18 months of age) spay/neuter has more health drawbacks than benefits. In fact, neutering male dogs is counterindicated. So while all of my puppies go on Limited Registration unless they are being sold as a show/breeding prospect, I do not and will not require spay/neuter.
It goes for both breeders AND owners. It is definitely a two-way street. You are right – a limited registration does not allowing breeding. The breeder can and should have an age they require puppies to be fixed, whether that’s 6 months or 3 years. With everything I have seen, the majority of people cannot handle an intact dog for it’s entire life.
Dog breeder says
while some things on this post are informative there are some things I as a breeder do not agree with.
One thing is breeders who dont allow you to visit. A lot of pupy buyers are reading articles like this and expect to visit their puppy before they are 8 weeks old. Buyers need to remember that breeders run their program from their home. A home where their family lives. We like to develop a relationship with buyer before we just invite a random person into our home. We don’t know you. We have family that we have to put first. This is why we set a deposit in place and talk with you throughout the entire 8 weeks. So we can build a relationship before we invite you to our home. People can’t just expect to get to walk in our home with open arms b/c you want buy a puppy. It’s rude to expect that. This is why we take a deposit get to know you and allow you to visit, get a tour and meet the puppies parents when you pick up. Also this is a safety measure since puppies typically don’t get their second set of shots until right before they go home. We don’t know where you have been and we can’t risk letting you drag in a disease to young puppies with immature immune systems.
Second thing I don’t agree with…
Breeders don’t always have the sire on site. It’s not always possible. Especially if we want to breed to an outside stud. That’s a ridiculous request.
I very much agree with the above and would add a couple points. I do not encourage people to come over many times before the puppies are ready to go. There is a tremendous disease risk in letting lots of people traipse in and out of your house. Parvo in particular is deadly and can be brought in on your shoes or clothing and it’s very hard to kill in the environment. I value the lives of my puppies far too much to risk their lives that way. Throughout the first 8 weeks I keep puppy people and friends in the loop and involved by providing tons of photos and many videos. I think that’s fair enough and it’s certainly easy to do for the average breeder in this age of facebook and youtube.
I also agree, I do not require mandatory neuter. Studies are emerging that it may not be in the best interest of the dog.
Agreed with not necessarily visiting the parents of the litter. That’s a ridiculous point. I’d actually be more concerned if the sire and dam of every litter produced were living on the property–THAT is suspect. The sire might be across the country, overseas, or even long deceased.
The rest of the article is pretty good though 🙂
Breeders don’t always have the sire on site, but they do have photos and documentation. I would never put a deposit down on a puppy if I couldn’t see the environment it would be raised in. I understand these are homes and people want their privacy, but that’s what happens when you do things out of your home. It goes the same way for the buyer. I don’t know you or how your raising your puppies and I want to ensure they are getting the best start to life. Words and pictures only show so much.
Do you return that deposit if what they see when they meet the pup is not what they are looking for? Your concern on vaccination is only partially right. Until a pup receives its last vaccination at 16-weeks-old their immune systems are still immature. With that line of thinking you shouldn’t be selling your pups until they are 16-weeks-old.
So very true! Thanks to the author for sharing!As a breeder I believe we all need to be involved in rescue as well as standing behind every puppy we sell.
Thank you for such kind words. We all need to work to make sure every dog gets the life it deserves.
Very good article! I own a rescue and see what back yard breeding does first hand. I do not however believe that responsible breeders should not exist. I have 2 registered Yorkie, 1 is 7 and the other is 5, I also have 3 rescues and I love them all the same. I had always wanted a Yorkie since I was a child so once my kids grew up and moved out I rescued 2 Yorkie. .. 1 was 7 and one was 6… then I decided I would but a pup, then another and both were from responsible breeders. Everyone has a choice and as long as they do that wisely… there should be no problem.
You’re exactly right. I fully support responsible breeders. Our breeds would die out if it wasn’t for them.
sue Turner says
As a breeder I would like to say I would like my new puppy owners to be able to look me in the eye ask any question they like and know the answer I give is an honest one, so what would I think is important is HONESTY and no kennel blindness, no dog is perfect but being Honest will help to get there
Such a great point. Honestly is immensely important.
Honesty is important in both worlds, responsible breeding and responsible rescue.
Barbara M says
National Borzoi Rescue Foundation (NBRF) would like to ask for permission to share this article on their website http://nbrf.org/ We think it is an exceelent article that would help folks when looking for a Borzoi puppy. Thank you!
You certainly may 🙂
Kay Montgomery says
Although I no longer breed dogs, about ten years ago I actively bred, sold, and showed Jack Russell Terriers. Of your list, I made 9 out of the 10. Only a few returned pups. I had a genetic deafness issue. I had every dog and puppy tested for over three years until I weeded out the genetic tendency dogs. I spayed, neutered and gave away several of my kennel dogs. I took some pups from the owners and had them tested at my expense. Each kennel had 2 dogs, a tarp for shade if in a sunny area and a kiddie pool. There are many responsible “backyard breeders”. I really detest the term, but it is out there. I did let my pups go earlier than 8 weeks because I believe the earlier (not less than 6 weeks) the better they bond with the new owner. I still like to get my own new pups at 6 weeks. I no longer breed, but should I decide to in the future I will keep your guidelines in mind. Oh, I also had a rigid contract that specified the dog never be rehomed or placed in a shelter or rescue without my permission.
Backyard breeders can be a confusing term, but to most people it simply refers to irresponsible breeding. Many responsible breeders breed in their “backyard”, but I’m definitely not referring to them. The research I have read is actually leaning toward spending 10-12 weeks with their mom so they learn appropriate behaviors and become confident in themselves.
Long time show breeder says
I will agree with some not all of these points.. First off we all need to cut it off with the labels… you can’t not define the word responsible breeder, everyone has a different definition of what that means.
1)Pups are sold over the age of 8 weeks?? By golly yes, it is the law, and any breeder selling a cat or dog under that age is breaking the law so i hope they are over 8 weeks. That includes Rescues and shelters.
2)Well depending on if my dogs are showing, or i used a stud, or if i used frozen semen from a dog that died 15 years ago, that might not be possible. But i will provide health testing from the parents.
3) You will not be welcome in my home in a million years ever…. I have a friend who breeds who was brutally raped for hours on end by a “puppy buyer” visiting her pups. I have a family it is our private home… I will meet you at a dog show, give you references, even let you talk to my friends, but you are not welcome into my private space of my home. We also don’t want your germs harming our pups.
4) yes a breeder should always ask questions, and best of all ask you for your Veternarians phone # and a written reference from them… screw they puppy buyers friends and family like they are going to say something rude about them.
5) Well a lot of breeds, well you just eliminated half of show breeders on that one.. I know more than 20 show breeders off the top of my head that have over 7 breeds…. guess i should let them know they are byb’s
6) Well science and research now says that spaying /neutering an animal can have serious health issues in the long run. esp if done before 1 year of age.. so guess we have to rethink that choice, hell i have a crazy idea why don’t we hold dog owners responsible for the behavior and actions… crazy thought isn’t it.
7) Ohhh guess those show breeders with 7 or more breeds are screwed on this one too since they always have pups of some breed available.
8) Contract is going to depend on who you are… I have purchased and done a lot of deals in the dog world by word of mouth and no contracts… most times with puppy owners there is a basic contract, but honestly no court in the world would honor it so it is really just a fancy time consuming piece of paper to make us all feel fussy like we did the right thing.
9) yes because a breed club is a real measure of ones ability and knowledge? What if the breed club does not support Rescue or Health testing in the breed should one be on board with that? I think you can be a wonderful breeder and not involved in a breed club.
10) Okay i agree a breeder should always involved in where their pup and owner of the pup is… it helps us breed a better dog to know what they look like and their health at a certain age.
Funny that you did not mention that a breeder do health testing recommended by their breed club or the OFA wouldn’t that be important??? Maybe more than how someone keeps house?
I really want to stress it is time for owners to step up and be responsible for their dogs, back yard breeders are not filling shelters and rescues.. that is a lie, i ran a rescue for 10 years, not one back yard breeder dropped a dog off at our shelter, a lot of very irresponsible owners did.
Ponder this.. If i bought a car from Ford, and 2 weeks after buying it went out drinking and driving and smashed the car up.. is Ford responsible for my accident? 99% of ppl would blame the dumb ass driver… well why in the dog world is the producer of the product to blame, even when they gave a manual to you , interviewed you , took the time to make sure you knew how to care for the product…??? Stop blaming the dog breeder who does do all these things! Let face it bad dog owners are filling shelters, in our throw away society. Hold the owners responsible for their actions. Many times these owners never tell the breeders, for whatever reason that the got rid of the dog.
Well my rant is over for the day.
Unfortunately, 8 weeks is not the law everywhere, only in certain states. Personally, I would never purchase a puppy if I couldn’t see where it was raised. That is hugely important when deciding on a breeder. If I can’t see the environment and the mental stimulation you’re providing for positive development, I would move on. Dog guardians should be responsible for their own behaviors, but their not. When we bring life into this world we need to make sure we’re doing everything we can for that animal. Sometimes that means looking out for them long term. Contracts are being taken more seriously and something I truly support.
You’re right, breed clubs aren’t the same but that’s where research comes in. Good breed clubs are focused on education and maintaining standards. Something that every responsible breeder should focus on. I did mention that breed specific health testing should be done for each dog. Irresponsible breeders may not be dropping off the puppies at rescue, but they didn’t ensure the new life of the dog. The majority of shelter turn-ins could have been prevented if the breeder made sure the buyer was informed of breed traits. It should be the owner’s responsibility, but the breeder should always check.
Kelsey, I don’t know where “Long Term Dog Breeder” worked rescue but she either didn’t work it very long or didn’t have a clue where all the rescue dogs she worked with came from. I have worked rescue for more than 40 years. I have taken a few hundred pups from breeders in that time and currently have 6 Dachshunds from backyard breeder living in the rehoming center. The new flavor of the year is Beagle. Soon they will be filling the shelters, pounds and rehoming center. But for now irresponsible breeders are making room for Beagles to breed. Please keep educating. Education is the best tool we have to stop the endless supply of unwanted dogs. We can’t change the breeders as they make their living off the backs of the dogs but we can change many of the buyers. I think collectively we are doing a good job but we have to continue our efforts. Thank you for having the courage to publish.
Breeders would open themselves up to slaughter if they let people even know their address. Until the RARAs are held accountable for all the death threats, threats of cutting fencing, stealing dogs, arson….it is signing your property away to hand them your address. NO WAY is anyone coming to my property.
However whatever site you have linked to for the Great Pyrenese information is coming up on my browser as a virus. Perhaps it would be best to look into that and remove it so others with worse virus protection don’t get infected.
In the state of Florida, it is illegal to sell a dog (or cat) for profit before 8 weeks of age, and each animal must have a health certificate certified by a veterinarian that the animal has been evaluated by a vet and is clear of any detectable abnormalities (such as a heart murmur, bone malformation, cleft palate, etc), has received a bordetella and distemper vaccine, checked for intestinal parasites, and given a dewormer. This law pertains to any dog brought into the state for sale also. I work in the veterinary industry and any person who sells a puppy or kitten without a health certificate gets reported to the state agricultural board for review. Health certs protect both the buyer and seller, as buyers are protected under Florida’s Pet Lemon Law when they receive one, and sellers benefit by knowing that their pups are healthy and it adds to their breeder reputation.
I did loads of research before selecting a breeder for myself. A good breeder shows their dogs, only breeds for the betterment of the breed, and does research on any potential buyers. My breeder asked for references (and checked them), asked our intentions (pet, showing, etc), made sure of fencing, our life style, other pets, children, veterinarian, etc. It was a process and one I was more than happy to go through. I have a contract, and get no less than two updates weekly on the progress of my puppy and pictures.