How to Find the Right Dog Breeder

Cagri Sarigoz Cagri Sarigoz · Updated January 16, 2024

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Congratulations! You chose to buy a new pet who will no doubt become a cherished member of your family. You have probably already spent many, many hours choosing the right breed for your individual needs. And now you are ready to make the next crucial decision: How do you find the right dog breeder? There may be many breeders working with the breed of your dreams. What should you look out for to find the right one? This article will provide you with the essential information for finding a trustworthy seller and avoiding scams.

Gather Information

As a first step, you should start with thorough research on dog breeders that work with your desired breed. One way to tackle this research is by going online and googling the breed of your choice. Another option is to ask other dog owners or contact your local vet and ask for personal recommendations. Depending on where you live and the breed you are looking for, the perfect breeder may not be in your local area or even in your state.

Study the homepage of your potential breeder in-depth and gather all the information you can about them. Look to see if the page is up-to-date and look through their social media presence. Next, look for reviews of the breeder on Facebook and Google Review.

You should also check if the breeder is part of a breeders’ association. There are several in the U.S. If your breeder is part of one, you should check their membership standards.

Make Contact and Visit the Breeder

If the homepage and reputation of the breeder are convincing, you should contact them via email or phone to confirm your first impression. This is the right moment to ask them about themselves, why they breed, and how they secure the dog’s well-being. A reliable and passionate breeder will be happy to answer all of your questions. If this conversation left you with a good gut feeling, this is an excellent time to schedule a visit to the kennel.

One of the most crucial things to watch out for a while visiting the breeder is their willingness to show you everything and answer all of your questions. While visiting them in person, you can get a sense of if they have anything to hide and if they create a good home for their dogs. If the litter of your puppy is not delivered yet, other pets living in the breeding environment will give you a sense of how your future dog will spend their first weeks.

During the visit, take care to note the following things:


You should check whether the kennels are pleasant, bright, and properly hygienic during your visit. Unfortunately, it’s a pretty common practice by untrustworthy breeders to do a fast clean-up before a client visit or just show parts of the property. In contrast, other parts are filthy and uncomfortable for their dogs. If you have any feeling that this could be the case, it’s best to come by again another time.

Social Contact

As your puppy will be initially socialized by its breeder and the other animals at the kennel, it’s essential to take note of how the current dogs and puppies relate to the breeder. Does it seem like a caring relationship with no signs of fear? How is the relationship between the breeder’s dogs and the household? How are the pets dealing with each other? Is the dog allowed to go outside and play with others? Are the pets in contact with neighbors, and are they familiar with everyday noises, traffic, etc.? You want your puppy to be born into a calm and safe environment. Feel free to ask questions about this if it’s not evident during the visit.


The first few weeks of its life, a puppy lives from the mother’s milk – only under extreme circumstances should a dog be transported away from its mother before this time and, in general, it is illegal to do so. After 6 weeks, a puppy can begin to eat the nutrient-rich food it requires to help it grow properly. Check with the breeder about what they feed their puppies and mothers. Some breeders offer a transition food supply for the first weeks in the puppies’ new home, so it doesn’t go through too many changes at once. If this is your first time owning a dog, ask your breeder about the best feeding schedule.

General Health and Mood

Generally, it’s crucial to check if the dogs seem healthy, active, happy, and friendly. Trust your gut on this. You will be able to observe if they are mistreated in their behavior.  If you get the chance to spend quiet time with your potential puppy, you should use the chance to play and hang out. If the puppy seems apathetic, anxious our shows signs of injuries, this is a bad sign. Usually, young dogs are curious about who is visiting them. Also, you should pay attention to the condition of its eyes and coat. Bright eyes and soft even fur are what to look for here.

Ask Health Related Questions

You want your dog to arrive at your family in good health. Ensure you get a full understanding of your new dog’s health before it arrives at your home.

  • Is the dog vaccinated? Vaccinations start in the the 6th to 8th weeks. The essential vaccines for a dog are against canine distemper, parvo, hepatitis, and leptospirosis. Ask the breeder to verify through a vaccination certificate.
  • Are they microchipped? A pet receives a microchip with the pet’s passport.
  • Are they dewormed? This is a standard in the first examinations by the vet. Make sure to get the contact data of the veterinarian who did the treatment and paperwork from such procedures.

Ask About the Parents and Their Temperaments

If you get the chance, you should also get to know the mother of your puppy. She should be in a healthy condition and be in a good relationship with the breeder. Your alarm bells should ring if the breeder treats her harshly or separates her from her puppies too soon. The best case is to get to know her with the puppies since some bad breeders try to present other dogs as the mother of the litter. Other things to watch out for:

  • Ask about the age: The mother should be between a minimum of two years and a maximum of eight years old.
  • Ask about the birth: Were there complications?
  • Frequency: Don’t buy from a breeder who is overbreeding. One litter per year, per dog, is ideal. If it’s more than three, it’s unacceptable.

Necessary Paperwork

You should insist on essential paperwork for the purchase of the dog. You should request a health test, vaccination papers, proof of pedigree, and a sales contract with all necessary information, including the purchase price, breeder’s contact info, and any other pertinent information.

Visit At Least One More Time

Puppies are cute and can distract enormously from observing the environment. If you have any insecurity with the breeder, you should go back again. Also, breeders’ openness to a second visit is a good sign of their reliability since it’s best for both sides to get to know each other better. A good and caring breeder wants to secure a safe and happy home for their puppies.

Is Your Dream Puppy Really Far Away?

It might not be possible to find a breeder in your local area, so there is always the option to work with a breeder who lives far away. If you make this choice, you may still want to go and visit the breeder or send along a friend or relative that lives closer to them. If this is not possible, some breeders will invite you for a virtual visit. Via a video call, you can see how the dogs live and the general environment of their home.

Don’t despair if your perfect breeder lives far away. The professional pet transportation company, CitizenShipper can help you get your new pet home, no matter the distance.

Finding the right breeder and the right puppy takes time. It’s a choice to make wisely since this dog will be on your side for many years. We wish you good luck with your research and a great start with your new friend.