10 Things to Consider to Find a Reputable Dog Breeder

Mollie Jones has over six years’ experience blogging for the automotive, insurance, hospitality and music industries. In her spare time, she enjoys yoga and volunteering at her local pet shelter.
Note: Sponsored content was created and provided by Nationwide Insurance.


Before I chose my dog Max, a beautiful black and white Australian shepherd, I really did my homework. I took online dog breed quizzes to find ones that matched my lifestyle. I visited shelters and local rescue groups and looked at multiple breeds of all ages, but still couldn’t find the perfect pooch for my needs (and my cat’s). Ultimately I decided to go the purebred puppy route, which meant finding a dog breeder I could trust. After much research, here’s what I learned about finding a reputable dog breeder that can match you up with your new best friend.

Where to find a good dog breeder
As you begin your search for a reputable breeder, there are a few fantastic resources you should consider before perusing directories online, which can be full of “backyard breeders,” who unfortunately may be more interested in earning money than bettering a breed (more on that below). One of the best things you can do is to check with national or local organizations, such as the American Kennel Club, which has local chapters. Family, friends, coworkers and neighbors are also great sources for referrals, as is your local veterinarian.

10 signs of a reputable dog breeder
Once you have a list of breeders to contact, here are 10 ways to tell when you’ve found a responsible one.

1. He/she is very knowledgeable about the breed, and focuses on raising only one or two different types of breeds. The breeder also should not constantly have one or more litters available; this may be a sign of the “backyard breeder” mentioned above, which means you may end up with a sick or unsocialized puppy.
2. A responsible breeder is willing to provide references of previous customers.
3. The breeder should want to meet you in person before you buy vs. simply selling over the Internet and shipping your pooch. They should ask you questions and want to get to know you, such as your reason for wanting a dog, what your lifestyle is like, where the dog will live, etc.
4. You should be introduced to the litter’s mother, who lives on-site with the puppies (also known as a dam); the father may also be on-site if a stud wasn’t used.
5. Ask to see where the puppy has been raised, which should be a clean, safe area.
6. The breeder should be able to tell you a specific puppy’s temperament and help you choose the one that best matches your needs. The puppies in the litter should not appear skittish or unsocial.
7. A responsible breeder won’t let the dog go home with you until 8-12 weeks of age; these first weeks of a puppy’s life are critical and should be spent with the mother, otherwise you run the risk of an overly anxious or unhealthy pup.
8. You should be provided with breed information and the necessary papers to register your puppy, as well as a health guarantee. A responsible breeder will also make you sign a contract promising to return the dog to them if you can no longer care for the animal vs. surrendering it to a shelter.
9. The breeder should offer guidance to help you acclimate your dog to its new home and be available to answer any questions you may have.
10. One of the best ways to tell you’ve found a great breeder is that they request updates or pictures of your new pal over its lifetime. This shows how truly invested they are in each of their dogs.

Before you bring your new puppy home, make sure you’ve already bought the essentials, such as a dog bed, food, chew toys and a crate. You’ll also want to set up a safe room or small area of your home for the puppy to spend his first couple weeks as he adjusts to his new life.

When it’s time to pick up your puppy from the breeder, definitely make sure you have enough car insurance coverage. Driving home with a new puppy can be distracting, so be sure to review your coverage before you travel, and get a car insurance quote if you need to make adjustments. Just like you compared breeders to find the best one, it’s important to read auto insurance reviews and compare rates from a few different companies.

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