Getting a furry friend is not easy. You would have to find a breed that suits your lifestyle. Then, upon finding the right breed for you, looking for the perfect place to get your pet is also a heavy task.
A lot of sellers may claim that they adhere to ethical breeding practices. However, in reality, some of them are only in the trade for business, not for the welfare of the dogs.
So, if you are planning to purchase or adopt a purebred, you have to be careful in choosing a breeder.
The following are some guidelines on how to find a responsible one:
1.Check the list of accredited breeders in the websites of official pet owners clubs or organizations
Pet owners organizations play a huge role in advancing the well-being of animals. They are formed with the collective goal of providing animals or pets with loving sanctuaries. Almost all pet owners’ clubs have a governing body that accredits aspiring breeders.
Breeders accredited by clubs or organizations are those who agree to sign the Code of Ethics. This guarantees that the litters of the breeders were produced in an ethical manner.
Also, their assent to the Code of Ethics will make them liable to the club in case it is found that they violate any of the rules.
By checking the list of breeders accredited by clubs or organizations, buyers would be able to trim down their options. At the very least, the buyer would be able to secure that the breeder can be made liable in case of any breach.
If you want to get a dog, you may check the website of the American Kennel Club (AKC). The club gives a Breeder of Merit distinction to breeders who have met the standards of the club. Also, the dogs featured in their websites are from litters which are registered to the club.
If your choice for your pet is a cat, you may visit the website The International Cat Association (TICA). Its website lists the breeders per breed and per location so it will be easier for the buyer to choose a breeder.
2. Plan a visit to the breeder. Do not rely on advertisements
In purchasing or adopting a pet, knowing the environment where your future companion was raised is a must. Scrupulous breeders might claim one thing in their advertisement when in reality, it is otherwise. Doing an on-site visit is the best way to assess the truthfulness of the breeder’s claims.
When visiting the breeder’s facility, make sure to check the cleanliness of the surroundings. Also, observe the relationship between the breeder and the animals. How they interact would tell if the animals were really properly and lovingly taken care of.
Additionally, do not forget to check on the health condition of the pet. Ask for certifications from the breeder regarding the health condition and the vaccination of your future pet.
By visiting the breeder, you also get to see the parents of your future pet. This will be crucial in determining whether or not the puppy or the kitten was really bred in the facility.
If the breeder is unable to produce the parent, this should be a warning that you might be dealing with a “backyard breeder”.
3. Beware of “backyard breeders” and “puppy mills”
Backyard breeders and puppy mills are two places you should avoid if you want to deal with a trustworthy breeder. While backyard breeders are considered as less evil than puppy mills, still, the two are supporting unethical and nonstandard practices.
“Backyard breeders” is the term used to denote irresponsible breeders who do not have enough knowledge and experience in breeding. They breed without taking into consideration the genetic make-up of each animal.
“Puppy mills” on the other hand, are large-scale dog breeding enterprises. They repeatedly use their breeding dogs until rendered inutile. They are usually the supplier of pet shops.
Common between the two is their concern for profit instead of the welfare of the animals. They willingly sacrifice the health of the animals to yield more money. Also, when selling their litters, they are not upfront about their medical condition.
Always keep in mind that a responsible breeder gives primacy to the health and welfare of their dogs or cats. They are honest to the buyer about their health condition so as to prevent any unwanted complications.
4. Choose a breeder who is patient enough to answer your questions and who asks you questions, as well
If a breeder is confident enough that the dog or cat was raised ethically, then, answering your questions will be a breeze. The breeder would not be annoyed with your many questions. On the contrary, a responsible breeder would feel obliged to further enlighten you about your queries.
Aside from being patient enough to answer your questions, a responsible breeder would also feel the need to ask you a lot of questions.
Go with a breeder who is curious to know about your lifestyle. This goes to show that the breeder is concerned with the kind of life that you would give to your future pet.
In summary, avoid breeders who seem to give you limited and surface-level answers. Also, stay away from breeders who pressure you into paying without knowing more about your living condition. These two are red flags that the breeder is not really concerned about the puppy or kitten.
5. Get a referral from breed clubs, your friends or a veterinarian
One of the easiest ways to find a responsible breeder is by asking a local breed club, your friends or a veterinarian for referrals.
A local breed club is familiar with the reputation of breeders. Hence, it will more likely be able to give you a few names from where you could get your pet.
Also, do not be hesitant to take the advice of a friend who has already transacted with a breeder. Your friend’s experience will say a lot about the breeder’s services.
Lastly, you may ask a veterinarian for referrals. Since veterinarians are concerned with the health of animals, they would probably suggest a breeder who stands by ethical and humane practices.
Ideally speaking, they are not ones to refer someone who they know to be nonchalant about the welfare of animals.
6. Carefully read the contents of the contract
When dealing with a breeder, secure a contract. Review the terms and conditions laid out in the contract, not once, but repeatedly. Make sure that the terms and conditions are favorable to the welfare of the puppy or kitten.
Below are some terms that should be contained in the contract when dealing with a responsible breeder.
- Health guarantee
The breeder should vouch for the health condition of the puppy or kitten within 1 year from acquisition. If found to be with a health issue, the contract should state that the breeder will give a replacement. It is the responsibility of the buyer to produce a certification saying that the puppy or kitten is riddled with a disease or infection.
Unscrupulous breeders usually require the return of the animal first before giving the replacement. This should serve as a red flag since it seems to discourage the buyer from availing the health guarantee.
- Exercise restrictions
The contract shall stipulate the restrictions on the puppy’s or kitten’s exercise up to the age of one year old. Extreme exercises have the tendency to damage their growth plates. It may also cause malnutrition.
- Return if unable to take care
Another mark of a responsible breeder is the contract stipulation that, if the buyer is unable to take care of the pet, the buyer should return it to the breeder. This shows the sympathy that the breeder has for its babies.
The breeder may also allow the possibility of re-homing to a more capable family that could take care of the animal.
7. Be cautious of breeders who accepts advanced deposits or payments online
Through the advancement of technology, it has also been easier for scammers to lure their victims. Buyers are only a click away from losing their budget for a puppy or a kitten.
Always put in mind that responsible breeders would want to meet the future caregivers of their babies. They will not unmindfully take payment from anyone that they have not met in person.
Also, as mentioned above, it is preferable to meet the breeders personally and to visit their facility. Thus, it is better to avoid breeders with online payment schemes.
8. Pick a breeder who is willing to guide you after taking your pet home
If breeders are really after the welfare of their babies, then, they understand that their responsibility extends until the time that the buyer brought home the animal. This shows their willingness to find a good home for their puppies or kittens.
A breeder who is not open to any form of communication after the purchase is only after the money. The breeder and the buyer should be willing to partake in a partnership that would last all throughout the animal’s lifetime.
Go for breeders who offer guidance and assistance, even if the animals are not in their custody anymore.
In sum, a responsible breeder is someone whose concern is for the puppy or the kitten; not for the profit. Choose a breeder who gives primacy to the animal’s health and welfare.
Any sign showing that the breeder is more concerned with the money should automatically serve as a red flag to the buyer.