Finding Fido: A Guide to Choosing a Reputable Dog Breeder

Finding Fido: A Guide to Choosing a Reputable Dog Breeder

Bringing a new furry friend into your family is an exciting and rewarding experience, but it's essential to choose a reputable breeder to ensure the health, temperament, and well-being of your future canine companion. With countless breeders out there, navigating the selection process can feel overwhelming. This guide outlines key steps to help you find a trustworthy breeder who prioritizes the welfare of their dogs.

Research Breeds

Before diving into the search for a breeder, take the time to research different dog breeds to determine which one best suits your lifestyle, preferences, and needs. Consider factors such as size, energy level, grooming requirements, and temperament. Each breed has unique characteristics, so choose one that aligns with your living situation and activity level. 

The AKC website has extensive information on each breed of dog. If you are interested in getting a dog that isn’t listed on the site, like a Goldendoodle, be aware that Goldendoodles are not a recognized breed of dog. Dogs like these are crossbred for specific traits regarding appearance, and have no breed standard. They are commonly referred to as designer dogs. It is very hard to determine which breed the dog will take after in terms of energy level and temperament.

Designer dogs are also frequently bred by unethical breeders just trying to make money. This means that the resulting puppies could have serious health conditions, now or in a few years, and may have behavioral problems due to not being socialized appropriately as puppies, and frequently they are taken away from their mother too soon.

Seek Recommendations

Reach out to trusted sources for recommendations on reputable breeders. This could include veterinarians, dog trainers, breed clubs, or fellow dog owners. Personal referrals can provide valuable insights and help you narrow down your options to breeders with a proven track record of ethical breeding practices and healthy puppies.

The AKC has a marketplace where reputable and ethical breeders can list puppies for sale. If there is no one in your area, you can also find listings of AKC breeders. While these are the safest options, it is possible to find an ethical breeder outside of the AKC. And it is equally possible that a breeder approved by the AKC has changed their work ethics and started to use inappropriate breeding standards. Just be cautious and avoid falling for puppy mills and puppy scams.

Verify Credentials

Once you've identified potential breeders, verify their credentials and reputation. If a breeder claims to have AKC registered puppies, and yet they don’t appear on the AKC website as an approved breeder, ask them why. Additionally, check for any certifications or accreditations that demonstrate the breeder's expertise and adherence to industry standards.

Finally, some states maintain lists of “high output breeders,” meaning puppy mills, or breeders that are using unethical practices. Check your state’s website to see if this information is publicly available. 

Visit the Breeder

Schedule a visit to the breeder's facility to assess the living conditions and meet the dogs in person. A reputable breeder will welcome prospective buyers to their premises and provide full transparency regarding their breeding operation. During your visit, observe the cleanliness of the facilities, the demeanor of the dogs, and the breeder's interaction with them. Pay attention to signs of proper care, such as well-fed dogs, clean living areas, and socialization opportunities.

If the breeder declines, or states they have no facilities because all of their breeding dogs live off property, there is nothing wrong with ending your conversation with that breeder and looking for a different one. Make sure you can meet the parents of your potential puppy and interact with them as well.  

Ask Questions

Don't hesitate to ask the breeder questions about their breeding practices, health screening procedures, and the lineage of their dogs. When researching the breed of dog you want, also research genetic disorders, and common health issues to the breed. Then, inquire about genetic testing for hereditary health conditions, vaccinations, deworming protocols, and the socialization efforts undertaken to prepare puppies for life in their new homes. A reputable breeder will be forthcoming with information and willing to address any concerns you may have.

Review Contracts and Guarantees

Before committing to a purchase, carefully review the breeder's sales contract and any health guarantees provided. Ensure that the contract outlines the responsibilities of both parties, including provisions for returning the puppy if unforeseen health issues arise. A reputable breeder will stand behind their puppies and offer support and guidance throughout the dog's life. They will also insist that, if you are no longer able to care for the puppy in question, you will not take the dog to a shelter or give it away to someone else, but instead, return it to the breeder.

Follow-up Support

Choose a breeder who offers ongoing support and guidance after the sale. A responsible breeder will remain available to answer questions, offer advice on training and care, and provide resources to help you raise a happy and healthy dog. Building a lasting relationship with the breeder can be invaluable as you navigate the joys and challenges of dog ownership.


Finding a reputable dog breeder requires diligence, research, and careful consideration of various factors. By conducting thorough research, seeking recommendations, verifying credentials, visiting the breeder, asking questions, reviewing contracts, and seeking follow-up support, you can make an informed decision and find a breeder who prioritizes the well-being of their dogs and produces healthy, well-adjusted puppies. 

Remember that patience is key, and it's worth taking the time to find the perfect furry companion for you and your family. And after you get the best puppy for you, be sure to look at the nutrition and supplements your puppy will need for a long and healthy life!

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Pet Wellness Direct does not intend to provide veterinary advice. We help pet owners to better understand their pets; however, all content on this site is provided for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional veterinary advice, care, diagnosis, or treatment. If you suspect that your pet needs medical assistance, you should contact your veterinarian immediately.