What to look for when picking a good breeder

In recent months, there has been an experiential increase in households adding a puppy to their family during lockdown. Rescue centres are reporting they have never been so busy with adoptions and breeders are receiving phone call after phone call from eager families. 

Yet even amongst the increasing demand, it is important to remember the weight of your decision to bring home a puppy and ensure you do your due diligence when researching the breed you think would be a good fit and in turn the breeder you would like your new family member to come from. 

So, how do I pick a good breeder? 

Unfortuantely, no matter the breed, finding a reputable and trustworthy breeder is not always easy. However, trust us when we say, it is always worth it. 

When deciding on your breeder, you should; 

1. Contact various reputable dog trainers – Bias aside, as individuals who work in the dog training industry day in and day out, dog trainers come in to contact with hundreds of different dogs/breeders a year. Do make sure you contact a few different trainers when in the research phase as many trainers will have a bias towards a particular breeder.

2. Meet both parents of your puppy [if possible] – Whilst it may not be possible to meet the puppy’s father, as quite often they are stud dogs bought in from interstate. But, you should defiantly meet the Mum, if the breeder  gives you excuses that you can’t meet the mum, then I would run a mile! 

Certain genetic traits are passed on, so when the meet and greet occurs, watch the mum’s behaviour closely. If mum is a nervous insecure dog, then there is a good chance that your puppy will have some of those traits. For this reason, Skype/zoom videos is not an acceptable substitute for meeting the mum in person!

3. Research your chosen breed’s specific health problems – Being equip with the knowledge of your breed will allow you to ask the right questions of the breeder. For example Labradors are known to suffer from hip dysplasia then ask the Breeder for full health records including their hip socre. Reputable breeders should be more then happy to provide full health records and should have up to date testing on their dogs.

4. Ask why the breeder has chosen to breed dogs- If the answer is to make money or they can’t come up with a valid reason, then this should raise some serious red flags. A breeder’s intention should be to better the breed, the majority of breeders if they are doing everything responsibly will lose money, or at the very minimum break even.

5. Inspect the property- This is difficult at the moment due to the lockdown/Covid situation. But you want to make sure you are not buying your puppy from a puppy farm. You want the property to be nice and clean. Ask about environmental enrichment that you breeder is going to do with the puppies. This is an really important aspect in developing a confident well rounded dog.

6. Ask lots of questions- No question is a stupid question. And you should expect a lot of questions from the breeder. Be wary of a breeder who is hesitant to answer to many questions and wants you to pay a deposit straight away. 

A good question to ask to see whether your breeder has your best intentions in mind is: “ can I buy 2 puppies at once from you”. Buying 2 puppies at once is strongly not recommend by most professionals as it can lead to a whole host of problems, including littermate syndrome. So if your breeder doesn’t even mention this and encourages you to buy 2 puppies alarm bells should start ringing!

7.Be patient– whilst it may seem like a really good time at the moment to get a new addition to your family, if your living in Victoria I would strongly recommend waiting until after restrictions ease. Take your time and don’t be in a rush to get a puppy.

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