While the Humane Society of the United States adamantly opposes breeding in any way, shape, or form, we at BarkTalk accept the reality that dog breeders exist, both good and bad. So we've put together this article to highlight certain standards we feel are important, and to help you make an intelligent decision about who to buy your dog from if you're dealing with a breeder.
There are many forms of breeders, but we're going to focus on what we'll call the Hobby or Professional Breeder.
When dealing with any breeder, use your good common sense and look for the following:
Cleanliness. Look for a good clean kennel. If you see dirty, unkempt dogs, or feces and urine in a kennel, tak a pass.
Frequency of Breeding. Ask the breeder how often s/he breeds his animal. Any more than four or five times per year for a male is too much. Ideally, look for a breeder who breeds from zero to four times per year. And for the female, most breeds do best if they're only bred once or twice per year.
Why? Why is the breeder breeding? A good breeder breeds only when a litter will enhance the breed.
A Full Veterinary Exam. A good breeder will be sure that each puppy has a full veterinary exam and a clean bill of health. Insist on this.
Human Contact. Human contact is vital, so find a breeder who has lots of hands-on with the puppies, and allows the puppies frequent "outside" time. Ideally, these puppies will have had substantial early socialization and training.
A Contract. A contract protects both you and the breeder, as well as the puppy, so don't purchase a puppy without one. A truly responsible breeder's contract will allow you to return the puppy to the breeder at any time (in fact, will insist that you do so), for any reason.
Screens Breeding Stock. A good breeder will screen his breeding stock to weed out any hereditary defects from the breed.
Club Affiliations. A good and reputable breeder will ideally belong to or affiliate with a breed club or kennel club that works to promote and protect the breed.
Puppy Placement. A good breeder is most interested in assuring that each and every puppy is placed in the best home possible -- not just in "getting rid" of the puppies!