How to find a responsible breeder.
As you know, I am a BIG supporter of adoption but sometimes we have checked shelters, rescue groups, put our names on waiting lists and still can’t find the right pet for us. Now what?
If you are considering buying from a breeder at all, I think it is important to do your research on breeders very carefully.
Why is it important?
Sometimes, people are motivated by profit rather than “customer satisfaction.”
Animal breeders are people who come from all walks of life. Some breed because they believe in the human-animal bond. Others breed because they are looking to make money. When profit serves as a motive, animal welfare suffers.
Quick Guide to help you in your search.
An ethical breeder will…among other things:
Welcome you to visit the mom and puppies.
Ask YOU lots of questions and be happy to answer questions.
Test the parents for genetic diseases.
Types of questions to ask
Before heading to the breeder, do your research to know what answers you should expect to the questions below. Look for a calm, professional and friendly breeder – someone who is at ease and happy when they are with their animals. Breeders who care about the human-animal bond will ask you questions to make sure that you are the best home for the animal. They will also be open to your respectful questions.
If they cannot answer the following questions or stumble to come up with an answer, it is a red flag!
Long-term Health and Genetics
If you have any concerns about the animal parent’s veterinary history, contact a veterinarian to get a second opinion before making your purchase decision.
May I look through the veterinary records of the mother?
What do you know about the father’s medical history?
What are frequent genetic problems associated with this breed/species? At what age do the problems usually show up?
What do you do to avoid genetic abnormalities?
May I see where the mom spends her time when she doesn’t have offspring? Can we take her to where she likes to play?
Where were the little ones when they were first born? Where do they spend their time now?
You want a mom for your companion animal who is comfortable around humans! Look for her to have a social, relaxed posture. As offspring get older, they need to encounter everything they would experience in their adult life before they are grown.
The more handling and exposure to noise and different environments, the better! For puppies, this is called the “sensitive period” and runs from approximately 7-12 weeks.
May I spend some time with the mom?
Where have you taken the little ones? What noises and circumstances have they been exposed to? Who has handled them and how often?
Here are the signs of a breeder that is driven by profit:
will not let you meet the mother;
will not let you see where the animals have been raised;
will not share veterinary records and/or meets at an offsite location (e.g., coffee shop or ferry terminal);
Some unscrupulous breeders will keep most of their animals offsite and then sell from a nice home.
Trust your gut and report any suspicious behaviour!
You can learn more about finding a responsible dog breeder on www.humanesociety.org.